15 April 2015
Morning thunderstorms and wind did not deter 25 people from assembling at Tirhatuan Park. The storms abated and the sun came out warmly as John Bosworth led our group. The council-run park is very well maintained with good facilities.
Though the car park was dominated by Noisy Miners we also recorded large flocks of Australian Wood Ducks and Little Corellas plus sightings of Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Little Ravens, Australian Magpies and Magpie-larks in addition to Common Bronzewings and Crested Pigeons on the mowed grass area.Spotted Pardalotes and Grey Butcherbirds were vocal but initially unseen while occasional Rainbow Lorikeets and a lone Straw-necked Ibis flew past. A short walk to one of the lakes added waterbirds to our list – Grey and Chestnut Teal and Pacific Black Duck were joined by Eurasian Coot, Dusky Moorhen and Masked Lapwing.
Turning inland we watched a White-faced Heron showing only its neck above the reeds while a Willie Wagtail scolded from the edge of the scrub. A Great Cormorant flew over while Superb Fairy-wrens called invisibly from the understorey. Moving into the bush we followed a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and then watched with fascination as it beat an enormous brown moth (perhaps a hawk moth or a gum moth) against a branch.
Thornbills were challenging but eventually both Brown and Striated Thornbill were identified while Grey Shrike-thrush only gave their single note call. Heading back for lunch a rear group recorded a Great Egret flying over. After lunch in the picnic shelter we drove the short distance to the closed entrance to Nerre Nerre Warren picnic area.
A walk through the bush added good views of male and female Golden Whistler, lots of Grey Fantails and, in the mistletoe, a few Eastern Spinebills. A highlight for many was the close sighting of a male Scarlet Robin.
The views of a previously-heard White-eared Honeyeater had almost rounded off the day when the cry of ‘Raptor!’ alerted us to the final sighting of the day, a Peregrine Falcon, the only raptor for the day.
The final species total was 51, rather commendable in the windy conditions, and many who had been unaware of the area were heard planning return visits. Our thanks go to John and his wife Margaret for their careful preparation which produced such a pleasant day’s birding.
Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings