Beginners outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

22 October 2022

Leader: Alan Veevers

Species count: 44

Twelve intrepid birdwatchers set off in torrential rain to walk around Newport Lakes. Red Wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters were the dominant species in the trees, while lower down Superb Fairy-wrens were plentiful. Fortunately, by the time the group had reached the far side of the lakes the weather had cleared, making it much easier to spot the birds.

“A wet start”. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Superb Fairy-wren. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

An Australasian Grebe, obviously used to people, swam towards us as we crossed the stepping-stones. A female Australasian Darter was first observed swimming with her snake-like neck protruding from the water and later seen perched on a rock, perhaps hoping for some sunshine to dry her wings.

New Holland Honeyeater. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A pair of Black Swans with young fluffy cygnets were on the water along with a Chestnut Teal, one of few ducks seen at this site.  Reed Warblers were calling loudly, but only a few were seen. A Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo was one of the less common birds heard. As we left the amphitheatre we were treated to an “I’m wet-through too” flypast by a Little Pied Cormorant.

Little Pied Cormorant. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Darter, female. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

An early lunch was eaten in the carpark as the picnic area access track was flooded. Members then drove to Jawbone Reserve, parking on Crofton Drive to give easy access on foot. Walking towards the large pond by the Quest Apartments it seemed that spring was in the air as Great Crested Grebes were busily building a nest while two pairs of Eurasian Coots each had several small chicks. 

Great-crested Grebes at nest. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Swan and Coot families. Photo by Steven Hoptroff

Several more Swan families were observed elegantly swimming amongst reeds. Four male Blue-billed Ducks in fine plumage were admired, but as no females were seen it was conjectured that they might be on  nearby nests. An Australian Reed-Warbler loudly claimed his territory in the lakeside reeds.

Blue-billed Duck, male. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australian Reed Warbler. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Both European Goldfinch and Common Greenfinch were found, and Little Grassbirds could be heard calling from the reeds. Returning towards the cars an interesting group of Royal Spoonbills and Pelicans was admired. After the official end of the excursion several members walked to another area of the reserve where they were rewarded with good views of White-fronted Chats and a Little Black Cormorant.

European Goldfinch. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Common Greenfinch. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Despite the wet conditions at the beginning of the outing, all those present felt they had enjoyed a good day’s birding with a total of 44 species recorded. Many thanks to Eleanor and Steve who, despite the rain, produced many terrific photos, some of which illustrate this Report.

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