All posts by pardalotus

Weekdays outing to Karkarook Park, Heatherton

10 December 2019
Photographs by Katmun Loh

Twenty-three people started walking in misty showers of rain. These soon eased and patches of blue started appearing. Around the car park and near the picnic shelter of the “dragonfly” structure the dominant birds were, unsurprisingly, Noisy Miners and Australian Magpies keeping their attention on the possibility of picnic scraps.

Group on Dragonfly - Katmun Loh
Group on the ‘dragonfly’

A brief walk along the dragonfly’s tail allowed those who had not visited the park before to appreciate its size and layout and to turn binoculars towards the various lakes. The reed-fringed inlet of the main lake seemed only to host a Eurasian Coot and a Dusky Moorhen but as we crossed the small bridge we heard Australian Reed-Warblers calling and a couple were glimpsed by fortunate watchers.

Immature Silver Gull - Katmun Loh
Silver Gull, immature

Birds flying over had added Rainbow Lorikeet, Silver Gull and Little Raven to a list which included Magpie-lark, Galah, Red Wattlebird and Welcome Swallow.

Rainbow Lorikeet - Katmun Loh
Rainbow Lorikeet

Walking toward the lake we passed by a pair of Australian Wood Duck with 4 “teenaged” young, all well habituated to humans walking near. The walk along the western side of the main lake did not yield many new species though Superb Fairy-wren and Red-browed Firetail were much admired, especially the former with an active blue male and brown female. The high mournful whistles of Little Grassbird proved challenging for many to hear as we passed close to another reed bed. The large untidy nest of a Little Wattlebird was noted in a tree fork in the north-west of the park.

Galah - Katmun Loh
Galah

Birds were fewer on the southern side of the park though House Sparrow was added near the horse paddock of the harness club. A relaxed lunch was enjoyed after we returned to the “dragonfly” before we headed off to the western lakes.

Hoary-headed Grebe - Katmun Loh
Hoary-headed Grebe

This is usually a rewarding area and today did not disappoint. Swans were not seen but Hardhead and Grey and Chestnut Teal were added here. One highlight was the Latham’s Snipe which flushed briefly. An Australian Pelican flew over, very high, while a Nankeen Kestrel hovered far below it.

Nankeen Kestrel - Katmun Loh
Nankeen Kestrel, hovering

A Hoary-headed Grebe seemed to be alone but the shape of the small lakes and the vegetation around the edges meant counting birds was challenging. Many considered the highlight of the day was the pair of Freckled Ducks roosting quietly at the reeds’ edge.

Freckled Duck female - Katmun Loh
Freckled Duck, female
Freckled Duck male - Katmun Loh
Freckled Duck, male

Back to the car park and bird call where the total was 46 species, a very creditable total for a small created suburban site with a history as a sand quarry and the practical function as a water purification zone.

Diane Tweeddale, Leader/Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekday outings

Education activities November 2019

U3A Hawthorn Birdwalk on Friday 15th November was at Wilson Reserve in Ivanhoe. Twenty one people attended, and 35 species were seen, on a lovely sunny morning with lots of water in the billabongs and yellow irises making a great display.  Species showing themselves well for photography (by Jim Sharpe) were an Australian White Ibis with lots of neck plumes showing his/her breeding status and several Red-browed Finches feeding in the grass. Noisy Miner, Mudlark and Chestnut Teal all had nests and/or young, and the Bell Miner calls were deafening at close range. This group was again led by Pat Bingham and I thank Jim for his photographs.

Picture1
Australian White Ibis
Picture2
Red-browed Finch

On Tuesday 19 November 2019 Sally Heeps gave a presentation to the Salvation Army Companion club at Waverley. There were about 30 people and she spoke about encouraging birds to their gardens and the species of the area.  I am told they were a friendly group and happy to share their bird stories.

Many thanks to all my helpers this year.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2020.

 Janet Hand, BirdLife Melbourne Education Coordinator (Phone: 9842 4177)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginners outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

24 November 2018
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 62
Photographs by Eleanor Dilley
Rufous Fantail - Eleanor Dilley
Rufous Fantail – bird of the day

Moderate temperatures and light winds provided excellent conditions for the 37 members attending this outing. The Newport Lakes Reserve was looking very good with lots of eucalypts flowering and plenty of water in the ponds. Soon after leaving the carpark a small water hole on the left had attracted a male Rufous Whistler which moved around in a small bush alongside it.

Rufous Whistler male - Eleanor Dilley
Rufous Whistler, male

Red Wattlebirds, New Holland Honeyeaters and a few White-plumed Honeyeaters were dominant in the tree canopy.

White-plumed Honeyeater - Eleanor Dilley
White-plumed Honeyeater

From the amphitheatre several Dusky Moorhens were seen, some shepherding very small chicks away from the admiring crowd. Australian Reed-Warblers were singing lustily around the edge of the lakes and could occasionally be seen.

Dusky Moorhen with chicks - Eleanor Dilley
Dusky Moorhen with chicks

Near the bridge a pair of Spotted Pardalotes had a nest between some rocks and members enjoyed excellent views of them. On crossing the stepping stones a pair of Black Swans had four young cygnets learning to feed themselves. On the dead trees further up the lake a male Australasian Darter was drying his wings along with a Great and a Little Black Cormorant.

Black Swan cygnets - Eleanor Dilley
Black Swan cygnets

Several Superb Fairy-wrens were seen foraging in the undergrowth beside the lake. On heading towards the arboretum ‘bird of the day’ was spotted – a Rufous Fantail!  This was a most unusual sighting for a suburban park in November. The bird stayed around for 10 to 15 minutes, enabling everyone to have a good look at its beautiful plumage.

During lunch a bird call for the morning produced 38 species. Some members voiced their delight at the large total number of individual birds actually seen. Most of the group then drove down Maddox Road to the shore, where it was high tide. Unfortunately a serious pollution event had contaminated the Paisley-Challis Wetlands with an oily chemical, seriously degrading the habitat.

White-faced Heron - Eleanor Dilley
White-faced Heron

With the aid of booms the pollutant had been prevented from entering the bay, so the birds there seemed unaffected. Pied and Little Pied Cormorants were resting on partially submerged tyres whilst lots of Silver Gulls along with a few Black-winged Stilts and a lone White-faced Heron were on the shore.

Red-kneed Dotterel - Eleanor Dilley
Red-kneed Dotterel

A Red-kneed Dotterel and a Common Greenshank were also located amongst rocks on shore. Members then took the track through the wetlands to Jawbones Reserve and were rewarded with some great sightings. These included several Blue-billed Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks, Grey and Chestnut Teal, Royal Spoonbills and Hoary-headed Grebes.

Blue-billed Duck - Eleanor Dilley
Blue-billed Duck
Pink-eared Ducks - Eleanor Dilley
Pink-eared Ducks

A few Whiskered Terns showed off their flying skills, swooping down to the water’s surface to grab whatever morsel was on the surface. Little Grassbirds were calling lustily from the reeds, but were very hard to see.

Whiskered Tern - Eleanor Dilley
Whiskered Tern

At the turning point of the walk a large number of Pied Cormorants were displaying their very white breasts in contrast to the Little Pied Cormorants, some of which looked decidedly grubby.

Pied Cormorants Royal Spoonbill - Eleanor Dilley
Pied Cormorants watched by a Royal Spoonbill

A Great Crested Grebe was spotted nearby, raising excitement levels as we retraced our steps to the car park. A final look was taken on the shore where the tide was lower than it had been when we set out. Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints could now be seen foraging in the mud close to the bird hide.

Sharp-tailed Sandpipers Red-necked Stint - Eleanor Dilley
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stint

Forty-four species were recorded for the afternoon session, which produced a combined total of 62 for the day. Once again, many thanks go to Eleanor Dilley for taking all the splendid photographs in the Report.

View the complete bird list for the day: BM Nov 2019 Bird List Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

 

 

 

Weekdays outing to Barry Road Grasslands, Galada Tamboore

19 November, 2019
New Holland Honeyeater - Katmun Loh.JPG
New Holland Honeyeater. Photo by Katmun Loh

The venue was unfamiliar to most of our members and we were extremely grateful that Jodi Jackson was available to lead us when circumstances prevented Bridget, our advertised leader, from attending.

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Golden-headed Cisticola - Bevan Hood
Golden-headed Cisticola. Photo by Bevan Hood

The weather was favourable, light clouds and breezes, so sunscreen rather than raincoats was advisable. Our group numbered twelve and car park birding was dominated by those introduced evils, the Common Starling and Common Myna. However Crested Pigeons and New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters were sighted with Red Wattlebirds calling and an occasional Willie Wagtail making an appearance.

Common Starling juvenile - Bevan Hood
Common Starling, juvenile. Photo by Bevan Hood

Walking the track toward the ‘rusty’ pedestrian bridge we encountered brief sightings and then heard the trills of a somewhat unexpected White-winged Triller. First at least two males were seen and then at least one female flew between trees. Quite a good start to the walk. Could it get better? We doubted it.

White-winged Triller - Katmun Loh
White-winged Triller. Photo by Katmun Loh

Approaching the bridge we found the traffic noise overwhelmed any bird calls present so it was eyes only. City views can be available from the bridge but today there was insufficient wind so smog cheated photographers of clear views.

Little Pied Cormorant - Katmun Loh
Little Pied Cormorant. Photo by Katmun Loh

Male and female Superb Fairy Wrens fluttered around each other near the low scrub and the call of a Eurasian Skylark was audible to many as we walked away from the bridge and freeway.

Group on viewing platform - Katmun Loh
Group on viewing platform. Photo by Katmun Loh

A viewing platform located by the Merri Creek adjoined the reedbed containing calling Australian Reed-Warblers and Little Grassbird (seen by a fortunate few). To maintain the grasslands requires intervention and we passed a small team spraying invading broad-leaved weeds.

Horsefields Bronze-Cuckoo - Katmun Loh
Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh

The track passed a short distance from a wetland where the intrepid observers who braved potential snakes (none detected) were rewarded with Hardheads, Hoary-headed Grebe, Purple Swamphen and Dusky Moorhen.

Hardhead male - Bevan Hood
Hardhead, male. Photo by Bevan Hood

A highlight here was a Nankeen Night-Heron which flushed briefly and allowed everyone to see it.

Nankeen Night Heron - Katmun Loh
Nankeen Night-Heron. Photo by Katmun Loh

Continuing we often encountered Golden-headed Cisticolas rising from the grass and, on one much-appreciated occasion, perching on the grass stalk for a minute. Our only raptor, a Nankeen Kestrel, hovered characteristically over the grass.

Hovering Nankeen Kestrel - Katmun Loh
Nankeen Kestrel. Photo by Katmun Loh

Our track rose toward an escarpment. Here was the creek and denser bush and here we added Red-browed Finches and a couple of Grey Fantails.

Grey Fantail - Katmun Loh
Grey Fantail. Photo by Katmun Loh

By now the thought of lunch was attractive and the potential rock crossing at the end of the track seemed a very good place to turn back. On the return we encountered our only Spotted Pardalote calling and glimpsed Brown and Yellow-rumped Thornbills.

Galah - Bevan Hood
Galah. Photo by Bevan Hood

We would have covered at least 4 km and sitting for lunch was very pleasant, even more so when we did the bird call to find we had a list of 45 species. We thanked Jodi whole-heartedly for sharing her knowledge with us.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

 

Weekday outing to Sherbrooke Forest

6 November 2019
All photographs by Bevan Hood
Laughing Kookaburra - Bevan Hood
Laughing Kookaburra

A very windy and cool day greeted 12 members attending the November mid-week outing commencing at O’Donohue Picnic Ground off Sherbrooke Lodge Road in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

Before setting off into the forest we had excellent views of a Rose Robin feeding on the verge of the forest, the first highlight for the day.  Noise from the wind in the branches of the Mountain Ash trees drowned out birds calling at times but during the lulls, calls from Crimson Rosellas predominated, followed at times by Golden Whistlers at Grey Shrike-thrush.  A White-throated Treecreeper, first heard, and then sighted on a tree led to male Lyrebird feeding below.  One of two for the day.

Rose Robin - Bevan Hood
Rose Robin

On crossing the bridge over Sherbrooke Falls, a Rufous Fantail was calling and finally spotted.  Our second highlight for the day. Distant calls from Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Grey Butcherbird and Little Raven, added to the days total 26 species recorded.

Pied Currawong - Bevan Hood
Pied Currawong

After lunch in the picnic ground, we walked to the end of Sherbrooke Lodge Road admiring the many large Rhododendron trees in private gardens, stopping at the Ray Littlejohn’s memorial which commemorates the work Ray did in the early study on the Lyrebirds in Sherbrooke Forest.  Unfortunately, no additional species sighted.

Eastern Yellow Robin - Bevan Hood
Eastern Yellow Robin

Many thanks to Rhonda Miller who led the outing, for her local knowledge of the area and indicating that the 26 species recorded was above average for this type of habitat.

Graeme Hosken, for Diane Tweeddale who was not available to attend the outing.

Education activities October 2019

A very successful Birds in Schools Program has continued this month. Both Sally Heeps and Bill Ramsay have been to both Cornish College on 10 October and Wooranna Park Primary School on 17 October.  I thank them for their contributions to these programs.

On Sunday 13 October, Graeme Hosken led another successful bird walk around Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick organised by The Friends of Wilson Botanic Park.  The day was fine, cool and with no wind. Fourteen people attended the two hour walk with 21 species recorded.  Species numbers now average 25 over the 18 visits since 2004. The records now show 87 species found there over that period – not bad for a park now in a suburban environment. Thank you Graeme.

The U3A Hawthorn Birdwalk, led by Pat Bingham, was around Banyule Wetlands on Friday, 18 October. Thirteen participants recorded 35 species. Lots of breeding – including three frogmouth nests (one with one young), Eastern Swamphen with one young, Buff-banded Rail with three young, and countless Noisy Miner families.  On the swamp they also had a pair of Pink-eared Ducks (sadly driven out of the nest boxes this year by aggressive Silver Gulls) and a couple of Cattle Egret in partial breeding plumage.

The Blackburn Creeklands Spring Bird Survey was held early on Saturday morning, 19 October.  31 people (a mixture of adults and a good number of eagle-eyed children) split into two groups led by Ian Moodie and Pat Bingham. They headed off in opposite directions, returned for morning tea and combined their bird lists into one, with a total of 29 species.  Highlights were four Frogmouth nests (but no young seen), Mudlarks incubating, Grey Butcherbirds and Kookaburras feeding young, and both Chestnut Teal and Pacific Black Duck with broods of small ducklings on the creek.  We  also recorded Gang-Gang Cockatoos, Little and Long-billed Corellas, Galahs, King Parrots and both Eastern and Crimson Rosellas – a good number of which may compete for breeding in the many excellent tree hollows along the creek.

On Sunday 27 October 2019 we held our 21st Breakfast with the Birds at Banyule in partnership with the Banyule City Council.  This year we made a small charge to attend after more than half of the people booked in 2018 failed to turn up.  We had 80 people present out of the 96 who booked. These were split up into ten walking groups who walked the Banyule Flats and Warringal areas for two hours.  Upon their return the Council supplied a beautiful sit-down breakfast.  A bird call totalled 67 species with two new ones being added this year.  Gang-gang Cockatoos and a Leaden Flycatcher.  This makes a total of 126 species in Banyule on this day since records began in 2001 and 68 in the Warringal area since we started recording there in 2011.  I must thank the Banyule City Council for the wonderful spread of food, Jim Mead, their Environmental Sustainability Education Officer and his helpers (Alice, Micky and Rob in the kitchen) and John and Meg who helped with telescopes at the wetlands.  I must also thank my helpers Susan and Kevin Bailey, Peter Bennet, Pat Bingham, Alan Crawford, Pete Dynes, Lyn and Geoff Easton, Meg Houghton, Margaret Lo, Bill Ramsay and Sonja Ross.  Also thank you Daphne Hards who assisted with a telescope at the wetlands and Anthea Fleming for her information on the Warringal Conservation Group.  Another very successful day.  Thank you everyone.

Photos below:

Janet Hand, BirdLife Melbourne Education Coordinator (Phone: 9842 4177)

Beginners Outing to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

26 October 2019
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 53
All photographs by Eleanor Dilley
Little Pied Cormorant - Eleanor Dilley
Little Pied Cormorant

There was a challenging start to this excursion as members had to negotiate thousands (literally) of motorbikes assembling in Cranbourne for their annual cavalcade to the Grand Prix on Phillip Island. Furthermore, the weather conditions were far from ideal with very strong winds and heavy squally downpours throughout the day.

Common Bronzewing - Eleanor Dilley
Common Bronzewing

Setting out from the Stringybark Car Park a Golden Whistler could be heard calling but he was hard to see as he was very wisely tucked down in dense vegetation. Grey Fantails and Brown Thornbills were also sheltering in the thickets. A Pied Currawong on a nest and a Common Bronzewing in fine breeding plumage were seen early on. A highlight was seeing a Horsefield’s Bronze-Cuckoo and a male White-winged Triller on branches of the same dead tree.

Superb Fairy-wren - Eleanor Dilley
Superb Fairy-wren

There were several duck species on the wetlands including Chestnut Teal with ducklings, Grey Teal and Hardhead. A few Little Black Cormorants were swimming as were Hoary Headed Grebes, while both White-necked and White-faced Herons flew overhead.

White-necked Heron - Eleanor Dilley
White-necked Heron

On leaving the wetlands a Pallid Cuckoo was heard calling and was located in the distance on a dead branch low on a tree.

Pallid Cuckoo - Eleanor Dilley
Pallid Cuckoo

Several Swamp Wallabies were spotted keeping low profiles in the wet bracken. On returning to the cars another heavy downpour forced the members to use the information shelter for their picnic lunch.  An Eastern Yellow Robin was singing lustily as we ate and was eventually located in the nearby undergrowth.

Swamp Wallaby - Eleanor Dilley
Swamp Wallaby

Most of the group then drove to the Australian Garden which was looking very colourful with spring blossoms.  Nine additional species were found here including Dusky Woodswallow, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Wattlebird and Silvereye.

Australasian Grebe - Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Grebe
Dusky Woodswallow - Eleanor Dilley
Dusky Woodswallow

A grand total of 53 species was recorded for the day, which was a very good result considering the weather conditions.  ur thanks go to Eleanor Dilley, our faithful photographer, who still managed to produce the excellent images in this Report despite the gale force winds and patchy rain!

 

 

Weekdays outing to Phillip Island

1-2 October 2019
Black Swan cygnets - Bevan Hood
Black Swan cygnets. Photo by Bevan Hood

The group numbered 16 when we assembled by the information centre on Tuesday at 13.00 in calm sunny weather, perfect for birdwatching.

Group with Phillip Island bridge in background - Katmun Loh.JPG
Group with Phillip Island Bridge in the background. Photo by Katmun Loh

Our leaders were Sally and Derek Whitehead, keen birders who live on the island. They were very familiar with the Cape Barren Goose population but those visiting from the Melbourne branch were very interested to see the recovery of this once-threatened species. Almost to plague proportions according to some disgruntled land owners.

Cape Barren Goose Bevan Hood
Cape Barren Goose. Photo by Bevan Hood
Cape Barren Goose goslings- Bevan Hood
Cape Barren Goose goslings. Photo by Bevan Hood

The geese were quiet but that cannot be said of the numerous Masked Lapwings. These noisy neighbours appreciate the mowed grasses and clearly you were not an islander if your block didn’t boast a pair, preferably breeding. Meanwhile the sky was filled with skeins and small groups of Ibis, mainly Straw-necked though there were a few Australian White.

Straw-necked Ibis - Bevan Hood.jpg
Straw-necked Ibis. Photo by Bevan Hood

Our first location was the Newhaven jetty where both Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls were observed, the latter mostly immatures in their mottled brown plumage and looking somewhat scruffy.

Silver Gull - Bevan Hood
Silver Gull. Photo by Bevan Hood
Pacific Gull immature - Bevan Hood
Pacific Gull, immature. Photo by Bevan Hood

The area also hosted Black Swans and Australian Pelicans while cormorants included Little Pied, Pied and Little Black.

Black Swan - AustnPelican - Royal Spoonbill - Bevan Hood
Black Swan, Australian Pelican and Royal Spoonbill. Photo by Bevan Hood

 

Out to sea an Australian Gannet was briefly viewed and then confirmed as it plunged after fish. Around the houses ringing the jetty area we also noted Welcome Swallows, Galahs, Australian Magpies and Wattlebirds, Red and Little.

Australian Pelican - Katmun Loh
Australian Pelican. Photo by Katmun Loh
Australian Pelican - Bevan Hood - 2
Australian Pelican. Photo by Bevan Hood
Australian Pelican - Bevan Hood
Australian Pelican. Photo by Bevan Hood

Then it was across to Fisher’s Wetlands, Newhaven, where there were ducks, Chestnut Teal, Australian Wood Ducks, Australasian Shovelers and Australian Shelducks.

Australasian Shoveler - Katmun Loh
Australasian Shoveler. Photo by Katmun Loh
Australian Shelduck f and m - Katmun Loh
Australian Shelduck, male and female. Photo by Katmun Loh

 

Both Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes were present while Black-winged Stilts foraged on the far side of the water.

Musk Duck female - Katmun Loh
Musk Duck, female. Photo by Katmun Loh

A Royal Spoonbill shared a roosting islet with swans and pelicans and a Whiskered Tern fluttered and dipped near them. From the bush we could hear a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo calling while a Swamp Harrier and then a Brown Falcon started our raptor count for the visit.

Brown Falcon - Katmun Loh
Brown Falcon. Photo by Katmun Loh
Black-shouldered Kite - Bevan Hood
Black-shouldered Kite. Photo by Bevan Hood

The birding is usually excellent at Fisher’s Wetland and today was no exception. The bush was home to Yellow-rumped and Brown Thornbills plus White-eared Honeyeaters and Grey Fantails.

White-eared Honeyeater - Katmun Loh
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Katmun Loh
White-eared Honeyeater - Bevan Hood
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Bevan Hood

On checking Rhyll inlet from the cliff top (scopes are recommended for this location) we were able to include several new species. The sand spit hosted Bar-tailed Godwits and Australian Pied Oystercatchers and a Caspian Tern flew past while the highlight here was Whimbrels on the rocks at the cliff base.

Australian Pied Oystercatcher - Katmun Loh
Australian Pied Oystercatcher. Photo by Katmun Loh

We were kept so busy observing and recording that we decided to drive over to the Shearwater estate and complete the day with a bird call there rather than visit the Rhyll yacht club as originally planned.

Galah - Bevan Hood
Galah. Photo by Bevan Hood

The yacht club might have similar results to the Newhaven jetty area while the estate contains central wetlands for water management and is well worth a visit. Yes, there were Little Grassbirds calling and many watchers managed to see an Australian Reed-Warbler as it foraged along the reed base. Highlights here were Fairy Martins collecting mud for nests under a culvert and a pair of Superb Fairy-wrens glowing brilliantly in the late afternoon light as they perched on the reeds.

Superb Fairy-wren male - Katmun Loh
Superb Fairy-wren, male. Photo by Katmun Loh

We called the list and were gratified to number 68 species for the afternoon. Thanks to Sally and Derek.

Next morning we assembled at 08.30 without two of our number who were only available for the Tuesday. The first stop was the Oswin Roberts Reserve on Harbison Rd, Rhyll, another excellent birding location.

Common Starling - Bevan Hood
Common Starling. Photo by Bevan Hood

We didn’t need to leave the car park to record Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets, Laughing Kookaburra, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Eastern Rosella and Fairy Martin.

Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike - Katmun Loh
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Photo by Katmun Loh
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike - Bevan Hood
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Photo by Bevan Hood
Eastern Rosella - Bevan Hood
Eastern Rosella. Photo by Bevan Hood

Walking around the short circuit by the car park we had the good fortune to locate and then actually see a calling Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, to watch brilliantly coloured Striated Pardalotes and to encounter a couple of feeding Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos.

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo - Katmun Loh
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo - Katmun Loh
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Photo by Katmun Loh
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo - Bevan Hood
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Photo by Bevan Hood

Fan-tailed Cuckoo proved challenging to locate but most of us were finally able to view the birds. A fortunate group actually observed not one but three Fantail Cuckoos in the same binocular view.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo - Bevan Hood
Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Photo by Bevan Hood
Fan-tailed Cuckoo 2 - Katmun Loh
Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh
Fan-tailed Cuckoo 1 - Katmun Loh
Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh

Along the track we encountered a couple of Swamp Wallabies while checking the understorey. Then it was time to drive to the Nobbies for seabirds. Here the raptor count increased as we recorded Peregrine Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel and Whistling Kite.

Peregrine Falcon - Katmun Loh
Peregrine Falcon. Photo by Katmun Loh

Many smiles resulted from the glimpses of Little Penguins in their nesting boxes on the side of the hillside as we traversed the board walk. Crowds of tourists and families were taking advantage of the school holidays and beautiful weather. The calm settled conditions for the previous couple of days were not likely to have driven any albatrosses inshore so we were not surprised when none were seen.

It was not a far drive to Swan Lake from the Nobbies and most of us were soon smiling as pairs of Black Swans led their fluffy grey cygnets and a pair of Chestnut Teal boasted seven ducklings.

Black Swan - Bevan Hood
Black Swan. Photo by Bevan Hood
Chestnut Teal - Bevan Hood
Chestnut Teal. Photo by Bevan Hood

There were raptors, Swamp Harriers and Whistling Kites, as we walked the board walk and some of us wondered how many cygnets, ducklings and goslings would make it to adulthood. We decided to have the bird call here and made ourselves comfortable but the usual “bird call calls” rang out with White-browed Scrubwren and Silvereye joining the list at the last minute. The morning’s list totalled 66 species and the cumulative total for the two days was 90 species. It goes almost without saying that we thanked both Sally and Derek whole-heartedly for all their preparation which had gone into such a successful session.

Diane Tweeddale Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

 

Beginners Outing to Hawkstowe Park

28 September 2019

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 54

All photographs by Eleanor Dilley

Striated Pardalotes - E Dilley
Striated Pardalotes

There was a chaotic start to the excursion as members struggled to find a way to drive through the very poorly signed diversion off Plenty Road into the park. However, once in the carpark they were immediately rewarded with some good sightings. Vociferous Striated Pardalotes were checking out nest hollows in the old deciduous trees and lots of other species, including King Parrots, were easily seen.

King Parrot - E Dilley
King Parrot

There was a chaotic start to the excursion as members struggled to find a way to drive through the very poorly signed diversion off Plenty Road into the park. However, once in the carpark they were immediately rewarded with some good sightings. Vociferous Striated Pardalotes were checking out nest hollows in the old deciduous trees and lots of other species, including King Parrots, were easily seen.

Wood Duck - E Dilley
Wood Duck

Following the Wonga Walk track beside the Plenty River many small birds were seen, including Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails and an Eastern Yellow Robin.  A Fan-tailed Cuckoo could be heard calling and a Brown Goshawk flew overhead.  Many Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were flying around and a single Long-billed Corella was spotted perched in a tall tree. Returning via the homestead ponds, a turtle was seen swimming and bobbing its head out of the water. In the reeds, Australian Reed-warblers were singing lustily but were hard to locate.

Wood Duck and chicks - E Dilley
Wood Duck and chicks

After lunch most of the members drove to the northern end of the park to visit the wetland areas. Water was plentiful in the ponds but there were not as many ducks to be seen as in previous years.

Pacific Black Duck - E Dilley
Pacific Black Duck

A pair of Black-fronted Dotterels was spotted as well as Grey and Chestnut Teal.  A beautiful Olive-backed Oriole was sighted perched in a tree by the lake and everyone got good views of it.

Australasian Grebe - E Dilley
Australasian Grebe

The highlight of the day occurred when a pair of White-winged Trillers was located perched on a dead tree amongst small wattles. The pair stayed around feeding in the bushes allowing everyone a good look. For many of the Beginners this was a new species while for everyone else it was a thrill to see this uncommon bird in shining breeding plumage.

White-winged Triller - E Dilley
White-winged Triller

This was followed by seeing a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles majestically soaring overhead.

Wedge-tailed Eagle - E Dilley
Wedge-tailed Eagle

A magical end to a great day’s birding at Hawkstowe, with 54 species recorded for the day. Our thanks go to John McKenzie for sharing his local knowledge and locating both the Oriole and the Trillers for us. Also, many thanks go to Eleanor Dilley who once again provided her splendid photographs for the report.

View complete bird list: BM Sep 2019 Bird List Hawkstowe Park