BirdLife You Yangs Birding and Boneseeding

6 September 2014, species count 64

After a week of variable weather in Melbourne, we very much enjoyed a calm, blue-sky sunny Saturday at the You Yangs. Perfect for birding and boneseeding. Some of us, including me, planned to leave early due to other commitments, so we curtailed some of our usual morning activities. After an hour or so of successful birding near the Park Office and dam, close to the entrance, we drove around the Great Circle Drive, straight past Gravel Pit Tor and Fawcett’s Gully, and on to our boneseeding site.

Boneseed for removal
Boneseed for removal

We arrived by 11.30am instead of the usual 2 or even 3pm at this time of year. Again, we had to walk some distance into our site before finding any substantial boneseed plants.

Area previously cleared of boneseed
Area previously cleared of boneseed

There is little re-growth of the weed through the main part of our area, but there is certainly an abundance of plants near the dry creek at the back (east) of our site.

Part of site with new understorey
Part of site with new understorey

There is an even larger growth of the plants on the other side of the creek to the south of the Seed Garden (East Flat). Flowers are open on many boneseed plants and there are plenty more ready to bloom.

Flowering boneseed
Flowering boneseed

After an hour and more of weeding, we began to go our various ways, though several of us had lunch at the edge of our site, within view of a White-winged Chough on its nest, high in a eucalypt. Some participants left for the Western Treatment Plant and others for pre-planned afternoon activities. Even those who stayed at the You Yangs chose different places to bird for the next hour or two. In all, the 16 participants recorded a total of 64 bird species and pulled out an uncountable number of boneseed plants. Our site is looking very good.

Boneseed pulled out
Boneseed pulled out

Special birds found during the day included Wedge-tailed Eagle (always a spectacular sight), three Lorikeet species, Fan-tailed Cuckoo (continuously calling), Brown Treecreeper (becoming regular), Black-chinned Honeyeater (also more common, it seems), Speckled Warbler (the first for a boneseeding day, and seen after I had left!), Olive-backed Oriole, a number of Dusky Woodswallows, and both Jacky Winter and Diamond Firetail. Wonderful.

Photos from this year’s YY outings are on my website at http://www.timeinthebush.com/you-yangs-2014.html

Contributor and photographer: Merrilyn Serong

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