April Fool's Day, plus drongo
Didn't get a pinch and a punch for the first of the month, but did catch a bird or two trying to make an April Fool drongo of me in Tyto today. Not, however, the Spangled Drongo above. It was on best behaviour, though not quite at the species' spangliest.
First up, a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo making a rare appearance and almost passing itself off as a Little Bronze. But the immature bird, quiet (as are all cuckoos at present) and rather plain, carried a telltale bright green sheen on its back (precisely: wing coverts). They are slightly larger than Littles, but I've found the species' shade of bright green is a surer identifier. Sorry, no picture.
Further along the track, much activity and several high-pitched calls as a minor wave of small birds, including Sunbirds, Dusky, Yellow, and Brown Honeyeaters, Varied Trillers, Rufous Whistlers, and Red-browed Finches came through - with a surprise higher in trees: first Mistletoebird for months, but sounding squeakily Sunbirdish. Surprise in part, too, from total absence of the species recently in spite of mistletoe flowering aplenty. Again, no picture.
Then, worst trick of all: Grey Goshawk glided briefly across my line of sight at bird hide, vanished into nearby paperbark, emerged obscured soon after, vanished again, popped up distantly twice more during the morning, and never offered any chance for a picture.
But the cuckoo and Mistletoebird did mean a flying start on the April count. March brought 97 species, against 89 for February and 109 for January. I'll expect 120 this month. And a nerdish observation. The difference between the March and February figures would suggest some effect from the floods. But the 10 per cent margin could be wholly explained by the fewer days: 28-31. The 109-89 Jan-Feb difference was, however, largely seasonal.