First Fairy-Wrens

Michelle, the Fairy-Wren guru, spent the day getting Sara and me up to speed on our duties for the next few months. Basically, we will follow a population of Purple-Crowned Fairy-Wrens here at Mornington Station, trying to find every nest and monitor every individual bird. The Fairy-Wrens live along a section of Annie Creek, which flows right through the station, and particularly like a spiky, palm-like plant called pandanus.

Which means that Sara and I will spend our time tramping back and forth through riparian undergrowth, peering at Fairy-Wren legs to read color bands, and avoiding the worst afternoon heat. We will wake up at 4:30 each morning, work outside for a few hours, then do another field session late in the afternoon.

Michelle showed Sara and me our territories today along a 3-kilometer stretch of Annie Creek. I saw my first Purple-crowned Fairy-Wrens – the males are gorgeous, with bright purple foreheads, black ear patches, and long, expressive tails. In the afternoon, we went swimming to cool off. After sunset, I looked up to see the Southern Cross and distant flashes of heat lightning, while night birds made unfamiliar noises.

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