Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Metung Fig Tree

 The Metung Fig Tree

Recently I received a report of a flock of Topknot Pigeons at Metung. Topknot pigeons are not very common in East Gippsland. According to eBird and Birdata, most of the sightings are around Cabbage Tree Reserve and Cape Conran.  The Topknot Pigeon appears to be extending its southern range, though it must have been at least visiting East Gippsland for some time, as according to "The Emu", Topknot Pigeons where known at Marlo in 1919. ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU918265) .

I had only ever seen Topknot once, near Bete Belong in a semi rainforest gully. They were very wary, and I didn't have a camera with me, so I missed a photo opportunity.

So, when I heard of around 30 Topknot pigeons at Metung, along with a Brown Cuckoo Dove and a couple of Koels, I went down as soon as I could. By the time I got there, the cuckoo dove had left, but there were still lots of Topknots.

The birds where feeding in a large Morten Bay Fig Tree. This tree seems to be a focal point for a number of migrants including Channel Billed Cuckoo, Figbird, Koel, and of course, the Topknot Pigeons.

The Fig tree is located on Mairburn Rd, Metung. You can access it by either Stirling Rd or Beach Rd.

Google Maps
The Fig Tree

The Topknots where very approachable, and seeming rather engrossed with their feeding. They were, however, very aggressive towards other birds that attempted to land in "their" fig tree.

On the three occasions I was there, I noticed that a number of Topknots where flying in from the north. Maybe they had another roost or feeding location?

Pacific Koel

Pacific Koel

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