Beginners outing to Banyule Flats

28 February 2015; leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 56

Despite the weather forecast predicting a very hot day, 41 members came to Banyule Flats and enjoyed what turned out to be a comfortably mild day. Early arrivals were given the task of finding two Tawny Frogmouths known to be in the triangle of trees adjoining the car park. Several succeeded and others were shown their typically well-disguised positions.

The lake was the first location visited and it did not disappoint. The surprisingly high water level dictated the species to be seen on it, with Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes present along with the common duck species, Eurasian Coots and Dusky Moorhens. Black-winged Stilts waded near the lake edge and a Buff-banded Rail wandered along a rare mud bank exposed at the northern end. A flock of Red-rumped Parrots flew into the water-bound dead trees, affording excellent views, and an Australasian Darter soared high above.

The walk continued around the dry billabong to the windmill, where local expert Anthea Fleming pointed out a Mistletoe Bird’s nest. It had recently been vacated following the successful raising of chicks. The rear half of the group studied, presumably, one of the young birds which was located high in a nearby dead tree. Those in the front half of the group, having walked on, were duly miffed to have missed out on this sighting.

After lunch a short walk to the ‘grotty pond’ rewarded us with a brief sighting, for some, of a flushed Latham’s Snipe and a lengthy sighting, for all, of a Spotless Crake foraging in the mud between the rubbish and the reeds. A Purple Swamphen with three crake-sized chicks added to the interest. In the nearby trees a family of Grey Butcherbirds was feeding, seemingly posing for the photographers amongst us. A delightful outing ended with a bird call of 56 species..

See attached bird list for this outing: BM Feb 2015 Bird List Banyule Flats

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