Friday, 19 September 2014

Tawny Frogmouth update

The local Tawny Frogmouths are now well into their brooding routine.  It seemed at one stage that they were heading towards an early start (by about three weeks) but a burst of very cold weather in early August put a stop to that!

Yesterday the female bird was perched on a small branch in a Yellow Box (Eucalyptus meliodora) in a position where I walked under her a few times.
That image does show the patch of Tawny colouring on her shoulder (the male is all grey).  Here is a closer shot of that part.
She gave me a steely gaze each time, and stretched out into "broken branch" pose.  I also noticed that after I had passed she shuffled back into the axil of the branch but soon shuffled out into the sunshine, about 70cm along the branch.  These toes are made for shuffling:
As explained in Gisela Kaplan's book on the species, the second toe is very flexible and can be moved so as to give a very stable grip when the bird is on a thicker branch perched parallel to the branch rather than the perpendicular position shown here.

For comparison the following image (taken a day later, from slightly longer range.shows her in non-camouflage mode.
It seemed that she only went into 'stick' mode when I got within about 5m, but I didn't push this as I didn't wish to agitate her.


Ian Fraser said...

Great stuff - I am most jealous! (My niece in suburban Adelaide delights in flaunting her back yard tawnies too.) But beware of believing everything you read in Gisela Kaplin....

Flabmeister said...

I am aware of the risks of that book - and my own observations differ from hers on a number of fronts. The birds are so easy to study that I am surprised how much difference in opinion there is. Most of them are based on small samples (eg mine is one) with which generalisation is very risky.

It will be very interesting to see what Stuart Rae comes up with having a squillion pairs in his study.

Ian Fraser said...

Yep, it's a pity Stuart didn't get the chance to write the book.

Jeni at Northern Rivers Dreaming said...

We first found your blog while searching for info about the tawnies on our property, so it's always lovely when you post an update :)

Flabmeister said...

Always pleased to help Jeni!


Peter Quinton said...

After many years of having Frogmouths up near Rossi, the population has disappeared (althought the diversity of other species has been steadily increasing) :( Good luck with your breeding season.

Flabmeister said...

thanks Peter.

With any luck they haven't gone too far and will return. My pair shifted nest sites about 70m and stayed there a couple of years and then came back.

In Summer, I am sure they are somewhere within about 200m of the nest site but I often cannot locate them. The % of days in which I find them climbs through Autumn and I can usually track them down 90-100% of days in from June to December.