Saturday, 14 February 2009

The corella tree

I'd heard them fly over but hadn't seen the flock of long-billed corellas that has moved into the neighbourhood. Late this evening, as the setting sun was struggling through the smoky air, they landed in a neighbour's tree and started to dine. Apart from some intraflock squabbling, they were pleasant and talkative guests.

Long-billed corellas are common in the 'burbs and now seem to be shifting into the urbs, following crested pigeons and galahs. The pigeons and galahs are now a common sight here in Footscray. The corellas will probably settle in too.







10 comments:

Judith said...

:) lovely!

Lulu Stader said...

Great pictures, Snail!

Snail said...

I haven't been able to get out much lately, so it's nice when the birds come to me. Now they've found that tree, they'll probably be back.

Duncan said...

We've got the Little Corellas in big numbers here in Gippsland Snail, make a hell of a mess under the town plane trees.
Nice photos.

Snail said...

The tree's about 40m away from my back door. I can't get closer to take pics without looking like a prowler.

I'm hoping that the birds don't notice the hakea in my yard. They're lovely birds --- but the gap is good.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
The Long-bills traditionally lived near Horsham, in the Red Gum Country out there. Perhaps the heat has driven them south and east. Mind you, it has been as hot in Melbourne as out there.
I am aware of the general explosion of Corellas, but mostly the "Littles".
A flock of Long-bills by themselves seems unusual to me.
Cheers
Denis

Snail said...

Denis, there are plenty of galahs in Footscray but I haven't seen them feeding with the corellas around here. They probably get together along the river or around the racecourse.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
I was referring to the general explosion of Little Corellas around NSW and Victoria. In general they are now much more common in areas where they were not seen in the 1970s ad 80s.
The Long-billed Corellas seem not to have expanded their range so much.
I have seen that there were fires near Horsham. That's what I was suggesting as reason for their sudden arrival in Melbourne.
.
Galahs have been established in Melbourne for some 30 years that I know of. But, they went through a similar expansion of range as is currently happening with the Little Corellas.
.
Perhaps if the Long-bills stay, they will also expand their populations, but, truth is, they hybridise readily with the Littles.
.
So, when they were physically separated, they stayed "stable", but perhaps they are not genetically stable enough to stay distinct, over a long period of time, if they all mix.
.
Similar thing occurred with Magpies. They were regarded as two good species (Black-backed in NSW, and White-backed in Vic), but human settlement (clearing of land) allowed them to mix, and they interbred freely, leading the taxonomists to declare them races of a single species.
.
One day I expect the same declaration to be made of these two very different looking species.
You heard it here first!
Cheers
Denis

Dave Coulter said...

I get it....tropical pigeons?

Snail said...

Denis, I'll ensure your comment about hybridisation is preserved for posterity! Given the way that the long-bills are getting around, they could be mixing it with the little corellas very soon. Not sure wher ethe nearest littles are. Will check. My flock has moved on already. Not sure which way they've gone.

Dave, 'my' corellas are one of three species of cockatoo that appear on a (semi-) regular basis around here. Apart from the l-b corellas and galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos also fly over. Sulphur-crested cockatoos are gorgeous to look at and awful to listen to --- nice face, shame about the voice.