Sunday, 9 August 2015

Chestnut-rumped Heathwren in Cuumbeun

Late last week one of the Canberra birders coming out to inspect the Hoskinstown Banded Lapwings called in at Cuumbeun Nature reserve and found a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.  This is only the second sighting of the species in the Carwoola area so was pretty exciting.  Another birder found it again the next day so Frances and I took ourselves off there on Sunday afternoon.

At the gate into the Reserve we fortuitously met Julienne, a birding friend from Hoskinstown.   She jad just viewed the bird about 30m inside the Reserve and showed us the spot.  A small dark shape zooming between the base of shrubs suggested we were in business.  Not really tickable views however - Frances recognised the overall wrenishness, but couldn't see any colours.

Then while I was looking at a slightly different patch of bush the bird ascended about 2m into an Acacia rubida, giving me great views and sang its heart out before disappearing.  Happy, happy happy.  I was not quick enough to get a photo of the bird but some of the vegetation did pause a bit longer.

Here is the basic habitat where we saw the bird.
Most of the lower layer is Kunzea ericoides rather than a member of the heath family but the latin does mean 'heath-like" so I guess it will do for a haunt of Heath-wren!

A very attractive dam just up the road was well occupied by very noisy frogs.
 Just about the first 'egg and bacon' bean of the year Dillwynnia sieberi.
 Acacia dealbata 
Some early(ish) Acacia rubida.
 Ditto.
I liked the pink colouring of the trunk of this Eucalyptus rossii, where some Acacia foliage has whipped back and forth in the recent tempests.
Obviously the tree has been going to gym to get such well defined wrinkles in its pits.  Definitely a 6-pack to be proud.
Needless to say, with this being Cuumbeun the sinecerebrate (from the Latin sine = without and cerebrum = brain) bogans have been present.

Getting back to the bird which is the main topic there are some interesting aspects to naming it.  I had a memory of seeing it called - as a vernacular name - "Chestnut-rumped Hylacola" but after searching all my field guides (about 8 of them) going back to a 1971 printing of Cayley's "What Bird is that?" the name is always given as some version of Chestnut xxxxx Heathwren.  The most authoritative guide to the names of Australian Birds (Australian bird names by Fraser and Gray) doesn't even list Hylcola in the common names section.  However on looking up Avibase there is Chestnut-rumped Hylacola giving a binomial name as Calamanthus pyrrhopygious!

What wonders taxonomy doth deliver!

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