Bush Stone-curlew, Upotipotpon, NE Vic.
This single Bush Stone-curlew visited a property in Upotipotpon on three successive nights in mid-November 2015. It allowed the photographer, landowner Lance Williams, to approach fairly closely (~15 m) to get this photo. Presumably the same bird was the one seen on the other nights. It’s doubly exciting, as this property is the site of one of TfN’s predator-proof enclosures, though this bird clearly preferred the proximity of fluorescent lights and humans, to the relative safety of the fenced site.
Judging by the size of the bird and given that it’s still the curlew breeding season, it’s unlikely this was a young bird; more likely an adult out and about, looking for some company.
Curlews have been recorded on this property intermittently over the last 10 years, but never so close to human habitation. The first the residents knew if the bird’s presence was when it called and then discovered the bird withing torch-beam distance of the house. The question is ‘Why would this bird come so close to the house and start calling?’. It’s clear that curlews are individuals and have highly variable behaviour when it comes to humans (and lots of other aspects of their ecology). Could it be attracted by the insects drawn to house lights (it was a cool night with little insect activity), or had this bird become used to human presence previously (at another location) and, seeing the house lights, felt ‘at home’ close to the house. Or could it be that this bird has experience of finding other curlews near light sources – was the well-lit house just a big, full-moon? We’ll never know, of course, but it’s presence on this property is an encouraging sign for the landholders and the project.
The same Upotipotpon curlew (presumably) on another night.
Thanks to Lance Williams for permission to use his rushed snaps of the curlew visitor.