As a kid I used to love a set of four books about the wildlife you could find at different seasons of the year. They were called “What to look for in Summer” and such like. I found one in a book second hand bookshop last year and I bought it in a heartbeat. When I opened it was like walking back into the past.
The pages were full of illustrations where wildlife was abundant under every hedgerow, in every stream and in every patch of woodland. The sky was not always blue, but it always contained birds. It promised a kind of abundance that I never did find – but it encouraged you to keep looking, because you never knew if that next field would be the one that looked like the book.
A good number of the books I have read about birds in Australia mention has been made of the migration of robins down to the coast in winter. There are descriptions of flocks of these birds working their way through sand dunes, over beach wreck and coastal heath lands. As far as I was concerned they took on the same status as the fields in the books I read as a kid – nice stories, but probably a little exaggerated.
Then last week I went to the coast in winter and the place was heaving with them - Flame Robins. Well heaving may be a bit of an exaggeration, but that seems OK under these circumstances.
These are small birds – only about 13cm long. That’s a couple of cm smaller than European Robins and about half the size of an American Robin. They were also very flighty – flicking away from me as I approached. I struggled to get close to them. Standing still did not work, walking slowly did not work, they were spooked by the car and generally not all that cooperative. But they were there!
I did manage to get a few worthwhile shots – but better than that I saw the kind of things that were described in the books – which just goes to show, that if you keep looking sometimes you do find the things that people write stories about.
Now its your turn to be involved with Wild Bird Wednesday.
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And sorry if I did not manage to get back to you last week – I was watching Robins!