May, June and July 2016 Education Report

During the past three months Pat Bingham has taken the members of the Hawthorn U3A for three bird walks. This group are enthusiasts for being out and about, walking in all weathers, with birds as a lovely extra.

On 20 May they visited Norton’s Park & Shepherd’s Bush. Eleven people attended and they saw 27 species including the pair of Scarlet Robins that had been reported on Birdline and a lovely male Golden Whistler who entertained them with his calls. It was a very windy day with plenty of sun.

On June 17th the same members visited Wattle Park. This day only 10 people attended and found 13 species including two pairs of Tawny Frogmouths and 17 Gang-Gangs (noisily squabbling over fruits of a Southern Mahogany). It was a very cold, wet, bleak day. Lots of Saffron Milk-caps (edible fungi) and Nodding Greenhoods (orchids) were interesting when the birding was so slow.

Rigby’s Wetlands (along Dandenong Creek in Mulgrave) was visited on 15 July. Forty-one species were viewed by the 10 people attending. These included a Pelican and Great Egret, 15 Flame Robins and 50+ Red-browed Finches. The wetlands were very full and empty of most ducks and gallinules. The day was summed up as no waders, no sunshine but lots of wind blowing.

Pat then gave two lectures to groups at the Deepdene U3A and a second one at the Stonnington U3A. Thirty people attended on 23 May and another 45 people, a week later on 31 May. Her talk was entitled ‘Australia – Land of Parrots. Is this really so?’ Pat reports that the talk went well with lots of comments and questions and was much enjoyed by both groups. It covered the history of the reporting and mapping of parrots from Roman times to the early settlement of Australia: the types and relationships of Australasian parrots and a discussion of the latest evidence suggesting that parrots like their closest bird relatives (songbirds) may both have evolved and spread from Gondwana. Thus ‘Terra Australis – Land of Parrots’ is perhaps more accurate than singling out Australia alone.

On Saturday 16 July, 2016 Gay Gallagher gave a Powerpoint presentation to the Knox Home Garden Club. The venue was the U3A Knox in Ferntree Gully. Forty-five people attended to see and hear her presentation on ‘Attracting birds to your garden’. They were an interested group who asked lots of questions.

On Wednesday 20 July, 2016 Janet Hand visited the ladies of Kew Legacy. It was a cool day and 12 ladies attended to hear how to identify birds and saw photographs of the ones they may find in their area.

Janet Hand visited the Korana Community Centre in Kew on Thursday 28 July for a post lunch presentation. Twelve gentlemen enjoyed her presentation on local birds and how to identify them.

I thank Pat and Gay for running their education activities. Also a special thanks to Gay for keeping an eye on Education while I was on holidays. We look forward to a busy Spring after the current weather passes by.

Janet Hand, Birdlife Melbourne Education Coordinator (Phone 9842 4177)

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