21 October 2015
Driving up the Yarra valley from Melbourne we could see the cloud covering the mountains and knew that we had a challenging day’s birding ahead of us. It started with the drive up the gravel track from the St Leonard Road to the meeting point near the start of the summit walk. In the morning the visibility was very restricted. I reflected on the variability of October weather as our previous walk had been cancelled when a total fire ban was announced and now, two weeks later, there had been extensive overnight showers. At the car park we were entertained and kept busy with our cameras by a male Flame Robin attacking his image in the side mirrors and windows of the cars.
Some were lucky enough to see a Superb Lyrebird on the approach to the rendezvous point but most glimpsed one or heard calls including mimicry. Calls were the order of the day as the dense cloud persisted. Sightings included Red Wattlebird and White-eared Honeyeater, Grey Currawong and Grey Fantail, White-browed Scrubwren and a small flock of Silvereyes but the bulk of the birds were identified aurally.
White-throated Treecreeper and Striated Pardalote, Eastern Whipbird and Eastern Yellow Robin were all heard. The final total was 19 species, almost one for each of the 20 birders attending. The rain intensified and we recognised that continuing would not be productive so we called it a day and thanked Manfred Hennig for leading us under less than ideal conditions.
The rain condensed the clouds and visibility improved for the drive down the mountain. Approaching Healesville we noted Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage plus ducks in a paddock with cattle but regretfully they were well outside our observation area and the total of 19 remained.
Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings