Anyone recognise this?

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albys
albys's picture
Anyone recognise this?

Saw this one flitting between broom plants yesterday, never seen it before and a careful look through my field guide leaves me stumped. Sorry for lousy photos  - best I could do with my pocket camera at the time - but I hope the main features are clear enough: bit bigger than a sparrow, strong black "hood" wrapping right around from crown to throat, white face, seems like a heavyish yellow bill. I'm a little way north of Ballarat, if that helps. Thanks for your thoughts.

zosterops
zosterops's picture

are you sure that's a bill?

could it not be a white-fronted chat with a food item?

albys
albys's picture

Ahhhh, I just listened to the white-fronted chat's call and you're spot on. Can't believe I missed that in my guide! Thanks!

Woko
Woko's picture

Do you know which broom species that is, albys?

lorne.johnson@d...
lorne.johnson@dow.catholic.edu.au's picture

Striking birds. Not seen that often, really. LJ

albys
albys's picture

Woko - don't know! Plants are not my forté, but I'll have a closer look tomorrow and compare to some pics I've found at http://www.ala.org.au, apparently there are three species found around here, Common, Flax-leaf and Canary.

BabyBirdwatcher
BabyBirdwatcher's picture

Definitely a White Fronted Chat

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi albys, I ask because there are several species of broom in the Mt Lofty Ranges which are totally feral & need to be eradicated as replacement native vegetation matures. It would be nice to think that the broom in your photo isn't feral.

al
al's picture

@ Woko, it looks like furze.

zosterops
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Yes, it looks like Ulex europaeus to me also, though a closeup would be required to be more confident in identification. 

In any case at least it is evidently providing some semblance of habitat and ecosystem services, especially given the rather depauperate appearance of the landscape in the background. Certainly scope for an indigenous revegetation and rehabilitation project, I'd say. 

albys
albys's picture

Right again, zosterops (and al) - on closer inspection Ulex europaeus seems right to me. Sorry for the misleading broom remark, guess I'd seen the similar-looking flowers on some broom and thought these were the same. But no, they're very spiky! As I said above, my plant knowledge is pretty basic, but at least I know one more thing today than I did yesterday.  smiley   Thanks again for your help, I'm hoping to see that white-fronted chat again sometime...

Woko
Woko's picture

I think furze is sometimes called broom.

As for ecological services provided by furze! Whew! I guess it prevents soil erosion & absorbs carbon dioxide. I can't think of any others. It's oh, so invasive & once established it's a devil of a job to eradicate making revegetation an incredibly laborious process. If it was my property I'd be trying to eradicate the furze in case it spreads to other places - even if I wasn't planning any revegetation.

zosterops
zosterops's picture

Ulex europaeus is usually called gorse here, i think. 

I once thought along the same lines, Woko.

Until I saw the damage firsthand done by council weedspraying/control 'conservation' efforts aimed at wiping out blackberry, broom and gorse thickets. As it happens these weeds were the only semblance of habitat left available to local colonies of Superb Fairy-wrens. The eradication effort wiped out the weeds, and the wrens too, leading to a local exirpation of the species. and the weeds recolonised. 

Personally I would advocate a staged removal process whereby exotic weeds are removed gradually whilst suitable native cover has been established so native fauna have somewhere to go. Exotic weeds may support fewer species than healhy native systems, though i would dare venture that any remnant native species are better than none. just my 2c 

pacman
pacman's picture

lorne.johnson@dow.catholic.edu.au wrote:

Striking birds. Not seen that often, really. LJ

not sure that I agree with you Lorne;

else I must have had a White-fromted Chat year in 2013 - from memory I saw them in Mandurah WA; Griffith NSW; Canberra and at least 1 other spot

Peter

al
al's picture

13 must be your lucky number, Pacman :)

I do a lot of birding and quite often go for years without seeing them.

But then, I don't do as much traveling as you.

I don't think they are very common in Central Victoria.

 albys bird looks like a male White-fronted Chat, mine is a female.

Woko
Woko's picture

Excellent point, zosterops. Gradual removal while replacing the weed with similar habitat will enhance the survival of whatever wildlife might use the weeds. In the case of Ulex europaeus, however, the speed with which the noxious plant regenerates demands very swift action indeed, not to mention thorough & frequent follow up over many years to deal with new seedlings.

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Don't forget these can remain dormant in the ground for more than 20 years, I did read somewhere 25 years (Gorse), and re germinate with soil disturbance. Burning alone is not a viable solution, other than for removal of otherwise impenetrable thickets, as that assists in the re generation process. Any machinery used for removal should be thoroughly cleaned before moving off the contaminated property, as this is another way for weeds to spread. Here is a link from Forestry Tasmania on Gorse, recommending a Multi faceted approach to control, including burning, mechanical and chemical removal. There are many other similar sites on this topic.

http://cdn.forestrytasmania.com.au/uploads/File/pdf/forest_health_leaflets/weed_identification/weedinfosheet4gorse.pdf

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Woko
Woko's picture

That's very useful information, Dale. One aspect of managing gorse is to revisit the site every year for at least 25 years to deal with any seedlings. The same applies in SA to the pernicious WA species Golden Wattle Acacia saligna (still sold in some SA nurseries) & Cape Wattle Paraserianthes lophantha. 27 years after eradicating the parent plants I still have seedlings of these two species appearing! Grrrrrr!!

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