5 December 2015
Report by Merrilyn Serong
Photographs by Arthur Carew
On our last birding and boneseeding day for the year, the weather was warm, but not too hot for the seven participants. The cloud-cover remained for much of the day, providing us with shelter from the hot sun. The whole place is very, very dry. Some trees that had more or less recovered after the last drought are now clearly suffering again. In places eucalypts are flowering and attracting many butterflies, but we saw no lorikeets at all. It was eerily quiet without their shrieking calls.
Notable birds that were present in reasonable numbers almost everywhere were Rufous Whistler, Grey Fantail, Weebill and Brown-headed Honeyeater. No surprise with the first two of these species, but the large numbers of the other two were unexpected. There was evidence of breeding in various species, either with active nests or young birds. Good to see, especially in the dry conditions.
We recorded a total of 40 bird species, without visiting the Eastern Flat / Seed garden, where we usually find a few more species. The best place for a wide variety of species is generally the area where we start, around the Park Office and dam near the entrance. Here we found 27 species. We made a brief stop at the Valley Picnic Ground to look for Tawny Frogmouths that had been seen there recently, but we did not find them. Our next stop was at the Sand Mine area beside the western section of the Great Circle Drive, where there is still a little water. We didn’t stay long. Further on at the Gravel Pit Tor we found the usually reliable robins and other species before driving on for lunch and a short walk at Fawcett’s Gully. Lastly we spent over an hour at and near our boneseeding site. Some of us concentrated on a number of large plants to the north of the site. They took some effort to remove, but we cleared quite an area. Our plan is to resume where we left off next time.
Most of the boneseed plants have finished flowering now, though some blooms still persist. The fruits with their internal hard seeds are developing. It is interesting to note that Drooping Cassinia (Cassinia arcuata) plants are increasing rapidly in number in some areas of our site, particularly at the start of the main path and also along an old disused vehicle track. This native plant is known as a coloniser of disturbed areas and here it no longer has to compete with boneseed.
A list of the bird species recorded on the day will soon be on the BirdLife Melbourne website http://www.birdlifemelbourne.org.au/outings/site-lists/YouYangs%202015.html
There are reports of all the YY visits for the year on my website http://www.timeinthebush.com/you-yangs-2015.html
Our next YY visit will be on Sat 5 March 2016. All BirdLife members are welcome to join us for an enjoyable and useful day. If you would like your email address to be added to my contact list for reminders and lists of birds observed, please email me at Merrilyn@wirejunkie.com