yellow tailed black cockatoo

Yellow and Black

 

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A simple but stunning livery, these birds look amazing in flight. The bird pictured is a male ; indicated by the pink eye ring. In the female the eye ring is grey.

The Yellow – tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus – so named for it’s sombre feather ware) has drifted into our area with lazy wing beats, announcing it’s arrival with a creaking call. Coinciding with the appearance of this bird are the first decent rains of Autumn. I have observed flocks of up to seventeen birds in the last week.

The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo has incredible strength in it’s beak. It is able to break bark off trees (frequently wattles) and extract borer grubs to feast on. The main item of interest on the menu at the moment are unopened green pine cones, which the Cocky prizes open with little trouble in search of the seeds forming inside. Take a hard hat when walking under pine trees as the birds almost seem to drop them on purpose. If startled they often fly off carrying a pine cone with them.

Like all cockatoos, they need nest hollows high up in large eucalypts to raise one or two young. The young follow the adults for some months begging for a feed. They appear to be nomadic in our area, unlike the Sulphur -crested Cockatoo and the Long-billed and Short-billed Corellas which are permanent residents doing very well with the assistance of horse owners feeding grains to their nags.

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Platypus results down on last year

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Our annual platypus survey continues to grow in popularity with 22 participants up from 19 last year. Members of the King Parrot Creek Environment Group took observation positions upstream from Moore’s Reserve and Strath Creek Landcarers  positioned themselves downstream. The survey involves recording observations over a one hour period and making notes every 10 minutes. There were observations that varied from King Parrots and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and fish a’ jumpin’ to 1 platypus sighting and 1 Native Water Rat (Rakali). The water level was down on last year after a very dry summer and may account for the lack of platypus sightings compared to the 5 observed last year. Families are a welcome part of the survey; young Max was very keen to make the most of the experience and after falling  in the Creek returned home with the souvenir of a Bull Ant sting for his evening out.

As darkness descended on the last day of summer through the towering manna gums of the Coonan’s Reserve, participants gathered to collate results and enjoy a beverage and snack before a spotlight walk through the bush.  A feature of Coonan’s Reserve is a predominance of tree violet understory granting safe cover to small birds for roosting. Several silvereyes and a yellow faced honey eater were seen huddled up within arms reach. This year we failed to spot any sugar gliders or brush tailed possums but we did find one ring tailed possum whilst foraging micro bats frequently flew through the spotlight beam. The night was clear and the stars brightening as we departed the Reserve around 10 p.m.

This weekend, members of Strath Creek Landcare will be doing their part in a Clean up Australia Day activity at Strath Creek. Our King Parrot Creek Environment Group engaged in a clean up day on the Australia Day Public holiday. We managed to pick up and bag almost a tandem trailer load of rubbish in the 3km between the Hazeldene Store and the Flowerdale Hotel, before enjoying a BBQ on the banks of the Creek back at the Store. By the time we had finished it was 35 degrees, so we will probably look at running this activity next year in March.