This is the last in my series on Mossvale Park 2017. I could go on about many things, but a lot has already been covered in other stories, so no need to become overly repetitive. One of the things that is ever present at Mossvale Park is the birdlife and other fauna. It’s not overly diverse and seems to host a resident group of familiar and not so familiar birds. There are also other hidden dwellers about, but they are nigh on impossible to photograph and can only be done at night with much perseverance and fortitude, and I’m not that keen on wandering about the park at night for an obscure denizen.
The most pervasive birds seemed to be the Australian Wood Duck. A family (or several now) appears to have made the park as their permanent home and you will see them there every year from Winter to Summer. They’ll be sitting on the bridge as you cross the river, waddling in the open fields or sitting in trees looking down at you. Earlier on there seemed to be just one family in residence, but lately there seems to be several families, or the ducklings are now fully grown and like many of today’s kids don’t leave home. It may well be the latter given that the earlier couple had around six youngsters.
Rosellas start to come out in Spring as do the Kookaburras, but the latter’s arrival can be varied. Sometimes you’ll find the Kookaburras about quite early and other times only closer to the end of Spring. This is pretty much what happens at home in Mirboo North as well, as the Kookaburra’s morning and evening songs have only really started in the last few weeks. The Rosellas have also begun to return in greater numbers (along with the King Parrots), as they return from wherever they go in the Winter months. The Magpies are always about and Mossvale Park is no exception. I saw a pair nesting in a tree in the early part of Spring, but on returning a day or so later, the nest was no longer occupied. I wonder if a possum had taken the eggs. Possums are prolific in the park and provide lots of chocolate bullets for our two hounds.
And as the trees finally come into full leaf and flower, Wattlebirds are everywhere enjoying the abundance of food available in the park. Wattlebirds can be a right pain to photograph as they flit rapidly from one flower to the next and never seem to stay still for a second. it’s exactly the same at home, where even photographing them while nesting can be hit or miss. Though the more I look at these photographs, the more I’m thinking that these aren’t Wattlebirds, as they do look somewhat different to those at home. Some further Googling indicates that these could be Yellow-Faced Honeyeaters.
And then there are the less usual birds that sometimes come to the park like one I hadn’t seen before and may be a Common or European Starling. The song was certainly different to any I’d heard before. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to see these birds about. We’re lucky not to see many Sparrows, but Indian Mynah birds are quite prolific in some parts of the township. Thankfully, they appear to like open areas, so we never see them where we live. And then there are the ever-present tiny little birds that zoom about and even when they are still for a few seconds, they are so small that even my longest lens sees them as not much more than a dot most times.
An oddity that I mentioned at the beginning is a locally appearing yabbie, crayfish or what have you (it may be called a Burrowing Crayfish). Certain parts of Mossvale Park are full of these holes in the ground and in the early days I couldn’t fathom what they were. Then one day a similar hole appeared in our yard and one night I went out and shone a torch at the hole and, after waiting for a while, the ugliest and spiniest black yabbie/crayfish emerged partly out of the hole waiting for a meal. These creatures are extremely sensitive to vibrations and even when walking on our concrete footpath, the vibrations were enough to scare the one in our yard. That said, unfortunately it’s abode was destroyed when we had to repair our retaining wall. Other spiny creatures also start to become abundant in Summer.
There are also other birds about like the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Corellas and Galahs, as well as other Parrots, but I never seem to have the right lens at hand when they are about, especially as they tend to gather about in the taller trees. That said, 2017 was most certainly an interesting year at Mossvale Park.