Where the chicks are hanging out this summer

Most will be aware of the history of the Euroa Arboretum site – from the Grassy Woodlands of the indigenous Nira Balug clan, through a period of clearing into a rural landscape and then for six years as VicRoads depot. In 1994 the Euroa Council officially sanctioned the Euroa Arboretum Committee of Management. Since then work has continued to create an open space more in keeping with the original landscape.Diamond-Firetail-DSCN3269-300x188A good measure of the success of any rehabilitation effort is if the fauna come back and interact with the environment. An even better sign is if the fauna consider the environment good enough to raise a family in (a bit like humans). On this score the Arb must be doing something right. A saunter around the walking track this week revealed a woodland alive with small birds — adults and their chicks, making a racket.

The chattering was loudly led by Superb Fairy-Wren families and Willie Wagtails. They were joined by a flock of Diamond Firetails (Stagonopleura guttata) Diamond-Firetail-DSCN5543-300x239pictured above foraging through the grasses looking for ripened seeds. Firetails are one of the most spectacularly coloured of the finch family. The juveniles (pictured right) are duller in colour and typically have a black beak. The bill changes to red before the full adult plumage is attained. Unfortunately the Diamond Firetail is listed on the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Threatened List (2014). Encouragingly there were several chicks in the group.

DSCN5586-300x264Another group of chicks conspicuous by continually diving from a nearby tree into the Arb dam were White-plumed Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus penicillatus). These honeyeaters are endemic to mainland Australia and are found in open woodlands environments near water (just like the Arb). The chick pictured above had just finished its bath and had yet to dry out.

So the chicks this summer are hanging out at the Arb. Pretty good for a revegetated gravel pit!