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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Grey Shrike-thrush

Grey Shrike-thrush (Image ID 43375)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Thu 12th Nov, 2020 and uploaded on same date.
Resolution1049x1400
Viewed62
ID43375
CommentHaving only recently set eyes on a Grey Shrike-Thrush at Royal Park Wetlands, I have now become very familiar with its call and its particular territory within the wetlands. This is a closer portrait than I have previously secured, and shows a male’s brown saddle in the back, black beak, and white lores that are characteristic of the “harmonica” subspecies common in Eastern Australia. “Harmonica” is certainly an apt name for this bird’s resonant echoing call that carries across the whole wetlands area. While inclined to sedentary pairings, this one appears to be a loner. No female in sight as yet. I did, however, notice two very worried New Holland Honeyeaters following it around and become quite agitated, although neither actually resorted to swooping. No doubt they had a nest in the vicinity and were all too aware of a Shrike-Thrush’s taste for nestlings. From the New Hollands’ point of view, you shouldn’t judge a Shrike-Thrush by its dulcet tones and deceptive beauty. It has a darker side, but perhaps, in the natural order of things, we might forgive it. It was, of course, a thrush that T.S. Eliot evoked in Burnt Norton: “Shall we follow/The deception of the thrush?/There they were, dignified, invisible/Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves…/Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind/Cannot bear very much reality”. Eliot was writing in 1935, not long before the Second World War, but there is, of course, much in the reality now facing human kind, and countless other species, that we may find hard to bear but must certainly find the courage to face.
EquipmentNikon Z7 with Nikon 300mm PF f/4 telephoto
ISO 1250
1/1250th f6.3
LocationRoyal Park Wetlands, Parkville, Victoria
Keywordsmale, adult
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