Ian’s 9/3/09 Newsletter – Bird of the Week: Green-backed Gerygone
Once again, my apologies for a late posting. I’ve just spent 5 days – with a 2 night stop at Mataranka – driving the 2,500km from Townsville to Darwin for the photography trip I mentioned last week. I usually prepare a trip wish-list of target species: this one has 35 on it, consisting of 9 that I haven’t seen before (the “tick” list), 9 that I have seen but haven’t photographed (the “click” list) and the remainder are candidates for better photos.
Last week’s bird was the widespread songster the White-throated Gerygone, so maybe it’s appropriate that the first target achieved – one of the 9 potential clicks – was the Green-backed Gerygone. The photo shows its diagnostic features: grey head, greenish-grey back and red eye. It may look rather nondescript but the greenish back is quite noticeable and it has a distinctive song. It feeds in typical gerygone style, foraging in the middle canopy of trees and hovering around foliage. There was a typo in last week’s email: gerugonos, not gerugogos, means something like “born of sound” in Greek but you were all too polite to point it out.
In Australia, it has a restricted distribution, occurring only in the Top End of the Northern Territory and the adjacent Kimberley region of northwest Western Australia. It is, however, quite common and we had no trouble finding it at Buffalo Creek near Darwin, where I’d seen it on a previous trip in 2002. It also occurs in New Guinea. Buffalo Creek is famous among birders as a stake-out for the elusive Chestnut Rail – http://www.birdway.com.au/rallidae/chestnut_rail/index.htm – which proved typically elusive this time even though several were to be heard in the mangroves.
We leave Darwin for Kakadu tomorrow and will probably spend a week there. So, I plan send you a catch-up bird of the week before we leave, as we’ll be camping most of the time and may not have internet access.
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerygones, as one might expect, is not a bird I have enjoyed seeing, except through the lens of Ian and others. With the internet’s ability to share things, you get to learn about and “see” things you would not get the chance to do as easily. Thanks, Ian, for sharing your birding adventures.
Gerygones belong to the Australasian Warbler – Acanthizidae Family and are in the Gerygone species of which there are 19 of them. They are the Brown, Grey, Norfolk, Chatham, Fan-tailed, Treefern, Golden-bellied, Rufous-sided, Mangrove, Plain, Western, Dusky, Large-billed, Biak, Yellow-bellied, Ashy, Green-backed (this one), White-throated (last week’s), and the Fairy Gerygones. The ones with links will take you to Ian’s photos.
It was a little hard to find out much about the Gerygone, but here are some of my finds for the missing birds that Ian still needs to go find.
Grey Gerygone – video , Golden-bellied – video , Plain-Sound , all at IBC (Internet Bird Collecton)
Sounds like Ian has found a “catch.” It is always exciting when you find and photograph a rare bird. That is a part of the joy of birdwatching. When you search, scan, listen, know it’s there and then finally find that prize.
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. (Matthew 18:12-13)