I was out west over last weekend catching birds as part the long-term study at The Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve, which is a cooperative site and the trip was organised by Mark Clayton. The most noticeable trend that I noticed amongst the birds we caught and banded was the high proportion of young birds. It is the end of the breeding season for the passerines and most of the young were free-flying and independent, although some were still being fed by attending parents. The other point I noticed was the different strategies of moult that the various species have adapted to suit their lifestyles. Below are only a few examples.
|A first year Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus|
This young Scared Kingfisher was in perfect condition with a full set of fully-grown flight feathers, all with fine clean edges. This is a single brooded migrant species and the adults had probably flown north already. The buff tips to this bird's crown and covert feathers indicate that it is a bird hatched in the recent breeding season. So, this bird was ready to fly north probably following innate properties to guide it to its winter quarters in the north of Australia or perhaps Papua New guinea.
|A first year Yellow-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus ornatus|
|The same Yellow-plumed Honeyeater - face on|
The plumage details which discern this bird as a youngster are: the brown feathers on its back and crown, the incompletely-grown wing coverts, some of which are still in quill, the yellow base to its bill, the pale brown streaks on its throat and breast and the thin yellow line across the side of its neck.
|An adult Yellow-plumed Honeyeater - face on|
The plumage details which discern this as an adult Yellow-plumed Honeyeater are: the bright yellow crown with no brown feathers, the yellow plume feathers standing out from the sides of its neck, the heavy black streaks on its throat and breast, and the lustrous black bill.
|A first-year Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta|
|The same Restless Flycatcher - face on|