The grass is greener on the other side (of the world!)

Not always, but at this time of year it certainly is! Despite a noticeable lack of rain during this trip to Coomalie, the site looks completely transformed compared to the dry season, with fresh green grass everywhere. Check out these comparisons of August vs. January.

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Because of the lack of rain, the wrens hadn’t started breeding by the time I had to leave to head back to the states. That being said, they had certainly geared up for the breeding season, with almost all of the males in bright plumage, and the territories (almost all pairs, I only saw one group that may have had an auxiliary helper) were much more defined. Instead of large groups of wrens hanging out in flocks, almost all interactions between groups that I saw were “kerfuffles,” with males invading other territories, oftentimes carrying petals as an extra-pair display for the female in that territory. For the most part the birds were very quiet, with only brief bursts of song at dawn, but after several good nights of rain (my last two nights) they perked up a bit and seemed to be more active. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have started breeding now!

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And….because I can’t resist posting this picture again, here is a rainbow pitta that I caught right in front of the miner’s hut. I had seen it fly through that space several times, and after catching it with a beakful of worms (and seeing a nice brood patch), it seems like it was foraging by the creek and then flying by the miner’s hut to provision chicks. Richard says that is also likes to fly straight through the Sydney Williams house!

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