Beginners outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

25 october 2014; leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 71

The weather was overcast but with little wind, giving good conditions for the forty-two members who met at Newport Lakes. Flocks of small bush birds such as Red-browed Finches and Superb Fairy-wrens were plentiful along the edges of the tracks. A Nankeen Night-Heron was perched by the creek at the Amphitheatre whilst two young Red Wattlebirds being fed in their nest provided another highlight. A male Australasian Darter standing on a rock near the stepping stones was much admired and further along three Cormorant species; Great, Little Black and Little Pied were all perched on the same old stag, providing good comparisons. Inevitably, with such a large group, some species were not seen by everyone. For example, those near the front had a clear view of a Rufous Whistler while those at the back saw a Collared Sparrowhawk and a Sacred Kingfisher. A total of 47 species was recorded during the morning walk around the lakes.

Most of the group then drove down Maddox Street to the Bay, where lunch was taken beside the recently refurbished hide. Scopes proved useful in identifying five distant Gull-billed Terns and also for enabling close-up views of Common Greenshank and Royal Spoonbill. Many other waterbirds were seen from this excellent picnic spot, including several hundred roosting Whiskered Terns. The afternoon walk took us from the lunch spot into Jawbone Reserve using the coastal cycle/walking track. There were good sightings of waders such as Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-kneed Dotterels in the salt marshes and numerous ducks on the deeper ponds. Several male Blue-billed Ducks as well as Great-crested Grebes were in full breeding plumage. Another interesting sighting was of European Greenfinch eating seeds from an aquatic plant on a small wetland beside the path.

This was a most productive and enjoyable day with an overall total of 71 species, from 47 at Newport Lakes and 55 at Jawbone Reserve and beach.

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