You Yangs Birding and Boneseeding

3 September 2016
Written by Merrilyn Serong
Photos by Arthur Carew

On this mostly mild and calm, partly-sunny morning, the 13 participants who assembled at the usual meeting place at 10am managed wonderfully in my absence. A huge thank you to Denise for responding at short notice and collecting signatures, keeping the day well organised, and making clear and complete bird lists at each location. Further thanks to Arthur for providing excellent photos taken on the day. Welcome to the three newcomers and to one who made a return visit after about 16 years. Thanks also to all the regulars who always make the day so successful.

Spring was certainly noticeable with such species as Horsfield’s and Shining Bronze-cuckoos being recorded in two places while Fan-tailed Cuckoos were at all places where the group stopped.

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Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Superb Fairy-wrens, Spotted Pardalotes, Red Wattlebirds, Grey Shrike-thrushes and Eastern Yellow Robins were also everywhere. Weebills, New Holland Honeyeaters and Brown-headed Honeyeaters were plentiful. Even Mistletoebirds were found in three places. In contrast, Purple-crowned Lorikeet was only recorded once, as were Kookaburra and Tree Martin. Surprising finds were Rainbow Bee-eater and Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. That was our first record of the latter. Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters occur in numbers at The Brisbane Ranges and would only have to fly 10 to 20 km to be in the You Yangs.

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Red Wattlebird

The You Yangs area sits in a rain-shadow, largely due to the Brisbane Ranges blocking rain-bearing winds from the west. Brisbane Ranges habitat tends, therefore, to be wetter than that at the You Yangs. However, at present the You Yangs area is unusually green. The dams have water in them and some are dotted with clumps of white frog spawn. Pobblebonks, Spotted Marsh Frogs and Eastern Common Froglets share the soundscape at the dam above Fawcett’s gullly. Their calls are all quite different from one another, so are easy to distinguish.

Another sign of spring is the flowers, including those of the boneseed itself, of course. In the afternoon of the visit, the group removed one and a half hours’ worth of these flowering plants from a dense growth to the south of our official site. The springtime yellow of the brightly blooming wattles remains. These include Golden, Gold Dust and Hedge Wattles. Elsewhere Dwarf Greenhoods are growing in places that are boneseed-free and usually quite dry.

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Willie Wagtail

The last BirdLife You Yangs birding and boneseeding visit for the year is planned for Saturday 3 December. That will be the last time I organise and lead the outings for at least a year. One participant has offered to organise next year’s outings and she and others are prepared to lead one or more, so the project will continue.

A bird list will be posted at http://www.birdlifemelbourne.org.au/outings/site-lists/YouYangs%202016.html

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