BirdLife You Yangs Birding and Boneseeding

7 June 2014, species count 43

Despite the long weekend and the forecast that did not sound ideal for birding and boneseeding, 20 of us met to begin our YY visit in cool-to-mild sunshine. This was the first attendance for a number of people, including a visitor from Germany. It was an auspicious occasion because, as Bill Ramsay pointed out, this was the 400th outing listed on the BirdLife Melbourne website

Hakea laurina. Photographer: Merrilyn Serong
Hakea laurina. Photographer: Merrilyn Serong

Birding around the Park Office was fantastic, particularly for winter. Many of us had excellent views of Black-chinned Honeyeaters and Golden Whistlers foraging in eucalypts. A Brown Treecreeper and a White-throated appeared nearby and the resident Tawny Frogmouths were perched exactly where we saw them on our March visit. Crested Shrike-tits and Varied Sittellas showed themselves as well as Scarlet and Eastern Yellow Robins. The small birds included Weebill, Silvereye, Striated Thornbill and Spotted Pardalote.

New Holland Honeyeater. Photographer: Merrilyn Serong
New Holland Honeyeater. Photographer: Merrilyn Serong

At our next stop, Gravel Pit Tor, Wedge-tailed Eagles soared overhead.

After lunch at Fawcett’s Gully, we decided to go straight to our boneseeding site instead of going for a walk where we were. Being winter, we would lose the light too soon if we delayed any longer.

Far to the back of our boneseeding site and not far from the dry creek bed there, a new bike path is being constructed. This is where we did most of our work, using cutters, spades and strong arms and backs to remove numerous large weeds. With great effort and effect some keen people cut and dug out stubborn boxthorn plants as well. The boxthorn here is not as invasive as the boneseed, but tends to fight back. Some people on their first outing with us were very happy that we did so much birding and didn’t spend the whole day pulling out boneseed. An hour or so is plenty of time to remove an enormous number of weeds with so many good workers.

The only rain for the day fell on us while we were boneseeding, so we did become a bit damp. When we stopped weeding, the sky cleared somewhat and we walked to the Seed Garden (Eastern Flat) for more birding. Towards the end of the day, on the far eastern side of the park, where it borders with farmland, we found several Flame Robins as well as a pair of Jacky Winters.

Jacky Winter. Photographer: Merrilyn Serong
Jacky Winter. Photographer: Merrilyn Serong

As we walked back to the cars through our site, a Restless Flycatcher appeared. It showed itself near the cars a little later and I think nearly everyone who was still there saw and heard it.

A total of 43 bird species for the day was certainly good for winter. We hoped for perhaps a Swift Parrot or a Diamond Firetail, but found none. For a full list of our recorded bird species, see the Melbourne website: in the ‘400’ column.

Anyone who is not on my YY Birding and Boneseeding contact list and would like to join us on one of our outings will be very welcome. Email me at and I’ll send you a reminder before the next outing.

Photos from this year’s YY outings are on my website at

Contributor: Merrilyn Serong

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