BirdLife Melbourne You Yangs Birding and Boneseeding

6 June 2015

After a cool and wet week, we were very fortunate to have a mild, sunny, blue-sky morning and some lingering sunshine later in the day for our June You Yangs visit. Seventeen people participated in the day.

With many eucalypts in flower, birds were abundant. I had visited one week earlier to check on conditions, and, of course, to look for the Tawny Frogmouths near the office. Not having seen them for some months, I was very glad to find three Tawnys in a likely-looking tree some distance away. Sadly, they were no longer there on the 6th.

Tawny Frogmouths. Photo by Merrilyn Serong
Tawny Frogmouths. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

However, we saw many other bird species, including Fuscous Honeyeater. This species was a first for our YY visits. We recorded nine honeyeater species in all. Surprisingly there were large numbers of White-naped and relatively few White-plumed. It is usually the other way around.

White-naped Honeyeater. Photo by Ken Haines
White-naped Honeyeater. Photo by Ken Haines

Other observations included ten species of cockatoo or parrot, four thornbill species, and five robins including Jacky Winter. We were disappointed not to see any Diamond Firetails, but we did see Red-browed Finches. Welcome Swallows afforded a spectacular sight late in the day as huge numbers of them flew low over grass in a paddock to the east of the park. The total species count of 55 for the day was rather good for this time of year. The full list will be accessible on the BirdLife Melbourne website via this page http://www.birdlifemelbourne.org.au/outings/.

Some mystery birds were not included in the total list. One distant bird looked to some people like an out-of-season Olive-backed Oriole, but to others it looked more like a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater. We might have been looking at different birds, but didn’t count either. Unidentified Corellas flew over the Office area. There was also a Brown Goshawk or Collared Sparrowhawk at Gravel Pit Tor, but we couldn’t decide between the two possibilities. However, a definite Sparrowhawk flew close overhead at the Eastern Flat / Seed Garden area.

Galah at You Yangs. Photo by Arthur Carew
Galah at You Yangs. Photo by Arthur Carew

During the day we followed the usual plan of starting near the Park Office, driving to Gravel Pit Tor then to our lunch spot at Fawcett’s Gully and to our boneseeding site. After pulling out lots of weeds near a dry creek bed at the border of our site, we spent some time birding in the nearby Eastern Flat / Seed Garden area. This is nothing like as open an area as it used to be, largely due to the numerous Golden Wattle Acacia pycnantha plants that are increasing there in both size and number.

Purple-crowned Lorikeet. Photo by Arthur Carew
Purple-crowned Lorikeet. Photo by Arthur Carew

Thanks to everyone who participated in the day for your convivial company, lots of interesting bird sightings and plenty of boneseeding. Our next visit is planned for Saturday 3 October. Please note that there will be no officially-planned YY birding and boneseeding visit in September this year. That being said, anyone is free to go there any time and watch birds and remove boneseed, of course.

I have included words and pictures from the day on my website, http://www.timeinthebush.com/you-yangs-2015.html, where there are also photos from earlier visits.

Contributor: Merrilyn Serong

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