Brown Snakes and Woodswallows
Lately I have been trying to go for an early morning walk for the good of my health. Now that the days are beginning to warm up and most of the frosty mornings seem to have gone these are a little more pleasant. First thing in the morning is usually the best time for birding anyway.
We have had the occasional day in recent weeks where the temperature has soared into the low 30s. This means that some of our Australian reptiles are on the move again. Lizards are actively appearing in different parts of the garden and we usually delight to see them as they make their way around.
What I didn’t enjoy seeing on a recent morning walk was a Brown Snake. This species is widespread throughout our region and relatively common. It is also one of the deadliest snakes in the world. While snake bites in Australia can be fatal, the death rate is low because very few people ever get bitten. If they do, it is often their own fault, usually as a result of cornering the snake or trying to kill it. Naturally it will try to defend itself. Most snakes in Australia are intent on getting out of your way as quickly as possible.
Now the snake in question was dead when I saw it as it had been run over while crossing the road I was walking on. In the days that followed I saw two other dead Brown Snakes in nearby roads.
Just a little further on I saw several Dusky Woodswallows. These lovely little birds are widespread in southern and eastern Australia and always a delight to see. Often they can form congregations numbering in the hundreds or even thousands within a relatively small area. On my recent morning rambles, however, I have only ever seen two or three. They have appeared in the same spot along the road now on a number of days. I must watch more attentively to check out if they are nesting somewhere near.