Winter

Minor Cold: Pheasant cock calls its mates


July 22nd, 2012
by Jo Law

Following the trend of the preceding days, this pentad began with daytime maximums reaching the high-teens. In combination with the welcoming sunshine the deceptively warm days lured one into forgetting that we are in deep winter. The sharp drop of temperature on Thursday July 19th caught me by surprise. The lowest daytime maximum to-date of 13.7ºC, recorded at Bellambi AWS was followed by the lowest overnight minimum to-date of 7.7ºC. At the University of Wollongong, it was the mid-year graduation. Fresh graduates donning blue gowns laden with flowers and gifts roamed the campus. Proud parents accompanied their offsprings in celebrating at their latest achievement. They commemorated the occasion by taking a variety of portrait photographs against the campus’s bush settings. Nearby the Australian wood ducks (Chenonetta jubata) leisurely looked on.

The resident flocks frequently congregate around the pond and waterways between the Administration building and the Earth Sciences building. In one of the ponds, a small shag dives into the dark water to look for food. If you observe carefully, you will fat eels swimming there. A group of male wood ducks nap near the water; some individuals have been observed to be behave a little aggressively towards one another. Across the way females rest after a morning of foraging. Behind the birds is a stand of trees ideal for nesting. Breeding season has yet to begin. In spring, around six to eight ducklings will hatch to each monogamous pair. Both parents will be devoted to guarding and raising their young together.

Back in Austinmer, a satin bowerbird joins his female compatriots scanning the surrounds from a neighbours’ tree. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, ever mischievous, shred the lemons on the tree to bits, leaving a shower of two dozens half-eaten fruit on the ground. A crow lands atop the white cedar and responds a call from his mates.

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