With summer now ended and autumn started Golden-headed Cisticolas are starting to call less and less as the breeding season is coming to a close. The bird’s incessant buzzing and chirping in spring and summer signifies these warmer times of the year as much as the cicada does. In wetlands and nearby grasslands during these months males are commonly seen perching and calling on the tops of tall grasses, reeds and sedges or conducting elaborate flights while calling to nearby females.
This tiny species is common along the coastal and nearby regions of eastern and northern Australia but during the cooler months it can be quite hard to spot, mainly due to its size and habit of concealing itself amongst wetland vegetation.
While photographing these birds I came across a few other little critters on my travels.
These large Orb Spiders Eriophora sp. are a common sight amongst reeds west of Wonthaggi and some can grow quite big.
The Striped Marsh Frog Limnodynastes peronii with its distinctive sharp and loud “tok” call is one of the most common frogs in the region and can be found in a wide variety of habitats but requires a reliable water source to lay its foaming mass of eggs in the water amongst vegetation. For the most of the year the males can be heard calling, usually while half-submerged in water.
This pair of dragonflies, most likely Australian Emperors Hemianax papuensis , was mating in the middle of the pond but the female (in the water) seemed like she was having a whole lot of trouble keeping her head above water. The female usually has to extend her abdomen up in order to successfully mate with the male but she was more preoccupied with her own survival. The male finally gave up and they both flew away separately.
The frenzied activity surrounding wetlands may be drawing to a close in readiness for the winter downtime but there’s always something interesting to find.