Forty members assembled at the East Carpark in pleasant weather conditions and set off to walk clockwise around the lake. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were very vocal and provided easy sightings along with a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets which were peering out of a nest hollow.
A Laughing Kookaburra was perched above the track near the first bend and a pair of Tawny Frogmouths was spotted nearby.
On the lake there were good views of Australasian Darters, Australasian Grebes, Little Pied Cormorants and Black Swans. Nesting on the main island were Royal Spoonbills, Little Black Cormorants and numerous Australian White Ibis.
There was not as many different species of duck as in previous years, with the majority being Australian Wood Ducks and Pacific Black Ducks.
There was a pleasing number of bushbirds seen, such as Superb Fairy-wrens, Red-browed Finches, Magpie-larks and a Spotted Dove. However, ‘bird of the day’ was a female Satin Flycatcher which was in trees near the path and was clearly seen by all the members and was a ‘lifer’ for many of them.
Lunch was eaten near the carpark, where Eastern Rosellas and Galahs flew close by giving good views to all. A short walk was taken in the afternoon towards Shepherds Bush and 4 extra species were added to the list including Pied Currawong and Welcome Swallows.
A creditable total of 49 species was recorded for the day, with lots of really good sightings, especially the uncommon Satin Flycatcher which was the most cooperative bird.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for, once again, providing many excellent photos from which the ones used above were selected.
Thirty-two members gathered in glorious sunshine at Pound Bend Carpark and were greeted by lots of birds, both heard and seen, in the surrounding area. A variety of parrots were feeding on the grass, including Little and Long-billed Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs, as well as Australian Wood Ducks with chicks.
Setting off along the riverside track it was interesting to see the Yarra in full spate after the recent heavy rains. There were many highlights along the track such as an Eastern Yellow Robin sitting on a nest close to the path. It seemed very vulnerable as there were Pied Currawongs, looking threatening, nearby.
A pair of Common Bronzewings came into view walking along the track ahead of us with their wings shining in the sunlight. Seemingly oblivious to our presence they sauntered on, eventually taking wing and disappearing into the bush. Gang-gang Cockatoos and King parrots were among the more unusual birds spotted near the end of the riverside track.
A short circuit walk away from the river was unproductive. However, on regaining the riverside track, a White-faced Heron was spotted standing on its nest in a tall Manna Gum on a small island in the river. Further along, a Laughing Kookaburra was perched, manipulating a large frog in its beak. It quickly flew to a nest hollow, presumably to feed its mate and/or its chicks.
Just before the end of the walk a Sacred Kingfisher was heard and eventually located on a fallen tree in the river. No Cormorants or Darters were seen, maybe because the river was flowing so rapidly that it would have been hard for them to feed. Many of the expected bush birds were heard but not many were so readily seen. Olive-backed Oriole, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Shining Bronze-Cuckoo came into the latter category. Good views of Superb Fairy-wren and White-browed Scrubwren were obtained by a section of the group in the right place at the right time.
After lunch a short walk was taken to the tunnel exit which was a dramatic sight with water gushing through very fast. No further birds were seen to add to the morning’s total of 50 species. It had been an enjoyable walk in ideal conditions, particularly so for a few members for whom it was their first visit.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for, once again, supplying the excellent photographs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good birding weather met the 17 who initially assembled beside the Corinella cemetery. Our leaders promise of orchids had us “eyes down”. We were not disappointed – there were carpets of milkmaids and trigger plants interspersed with blue and pink sun orchids and the likelihood of more flowers when the sun was higher.
Birds were calling in the cemetery and in the roadside trees. A Striated Pardalote was busy flying in and out of its nest in the top of an electricity pole, and a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo was calling loudly in the trees. Through the cemetery and away from the road there were many birds to be seen and/or heard in the remnant bush area managed by Parks Victoria. These included Grey Fantail, Eastern Yellow Robin, Varied Sittella, Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, and Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Flying above us were Straw-necked and Australian White Ibises, and Dusky Woodswallows. A highlight was a Crested Shrike-tit located near the top of a tall eucalyptus tree.
From this bush location we drove to Corinella foreshore, for lunch, followed by a short headland walk. Scopes were put to good use to scan the shoreline and the sandbanks out in the bay. The sightings included Australian Pelican, Silver and Pacific Gulls, Pied Oystercatcher, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants, and Royal Spoonbill. The highlight was an Eastern Curlew on a distant sandbank. Some of the group were treated to a fly-past by a Wedge-tailed Eagle being heartily pursued by several smaller birds.
Our final location was Candowie Reservoir, which involved driving on the picturesque country road leading to its elevated position. Here, we parked alongside the boundary fence from where we could see most of the water surface. Being 100% full to overflowing was no doubt part of the reason for the shortage of ducks and other water birds. Great Cormorants and a Musk Duck with two chicks provided good views. In the nearby trees and bushes we had sightings of several species that were already on the day list, but we added Crimson Rosella and Little Corella to it. A closing highlight, seen by some, was another Wedge-tailed Eagle soaring nearby.
The total species count for the day came to 61, which was ample reward for the those who made the trip to Corinella. Thanks go to Steve Hoptroff who contributed the accompanying photographs.
Seventeen members gathered at Le Page Homestead carpark and enjoyed watching the many birds which were around. One person recorded 24 species before the walk even started! The deciduous trees, bare of leaves, enabled small birds such as Striated Pardalotes to be seen and photographed.
At the lake just below the homestead a pair of Purple Swamphens on a nest were busy feeding 2 very young chicks. On the larger pond were, Eurasian Coots, Grey Teal, Australian Wood Ducks, and a pair of Australasian Grebes. Near the parterre garden several small birds were foraging, including Red-browed Finches, Grey Fantails and Superb Fairy-wrens.
Members then took the Wonga Walk Track, alongside the river, and saw several new species including Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Musk Lorikeet and Long-billed Corella.
Lunch was eaten back near the carpark after which most of the group drove the short distance to Morang Wetlands. There was a lot of water in the lakes and a good variety of birds. A lone Black-fronted Dotterel was feeding on the shore and several Australian Reed-Warblers could be heard but not seen.
A pair of Blue-billed Ducks, Hardheads, Grey and Chestnut Teal were on the water along with Great and Little Pied Cormorants. Fairy Martins and Welcome Swallows were skimming over the surface feeding on insects. On the ridge track Dusky Woodswallows were seen, and Bell Miners were heard.
Unfortunately, the pair of rare (for this site) Square-tailed Kites, which had been seen on the recce just three days earlier, did not appear. Photos from the recce are included here so that those who return to try and find them can look out for the diagnostic patterns shown on the upper and lower sides of the wings.
However, a gratifying total of 62 species was recorded for the day and everyone agreed that it had been a most enjoyable excursion. Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for providing the above excellent photographs.
A fine weather forecast no doubt helped in attracting 46 members to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens for the August Beginners Outing. It was misty as the group assembled at Stringybark Carpark, seeing Superb Fairy Wrens and Grey Shrike Thrushes whilst listening to the trilling call of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo. As the walk began the Cuckoo was spotted close to the track, but the poor light made it hard to distinguish its colours. Soon afterwards several other species were sighted, including Eastern Rosellas and Brown Thornbills and, some distance away, a large Koala was found reclining in the fork of a tall tree.
A female Flame Robin provided fleeting glimpses as she flew up to perch briefly on the new boundary fence before returning to forage in the grass. An Eastern Yellow Robin was sighted high up in a tree and this proved to be the first of many of this species seen on the day. As members left the wooded area the mist cleared, and the rest of the day was bright and sunny. A Brown Goshawk was circling overhead in the clear blue sky, and, to the delight of the watchers, it was soon joined by an impressive Little Eagle.
Just before reaching the wetlands a small flock of Spotted Pardalotes were observed feeding low down in small trees, giving excellent views. On the first pond there appeared to be only Pacific Black Ducks, but then a lone Australasian Shoveler was seen at the far side of the water. There was a greater variety of birds on the second pond, including Chestnut Teal, Dusky Moorhen and both Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes. On the way back towards the carpark there were lots of Swamp Wallabies showing themselves and, as if not to be outdone, a large flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos appeared flying overhead. Fortunately, a few of them landed in a nearby tree thus providing a longer and much closer view of them. A Grey Butcherbird was heard many times before it showed itself to some of the group.
It was pleasing to see that there were very few Noisy Miners in the park, the result being that there was a greater variety of honeyeaters than on many of our recent excursions. New Holland Honeyeaters were the most common but there were also White-eared, White-plumed, White-naped and Yellow-faced, as well as Eastern Spinebills.
After lunch most of the members drove the short distance to the Australian Garden Carpark and, as they approached, Bell Miners could be heard beside the road. Shirley (one of our members and also a Friend of C.B.Gardens) gave some information on the gardens and pointed out some spectacular flowering plants as she led a walk to the far end of the gardens. Highlights included Little Pied Cormorants, more New Holland Honeyeaters, and a family of Pacific Black Ducks with a dozen very small ducklings.
Some of the group were fortunate to see a young Southern Brown Bandicoot foraging near a picnic table, seemingly oblivious to human observers.
A grand total of 57 bird species was recorded on what was a most enjoyable and productive excursion. Thanks to our two photographers for the day, Steve Hoptroff and Alan Veevers, who, despite the early mist, managed to produce some excellent photographs to illustrate the Report. Also, thanks to Shirley Smith for leading the afternoon walk in the Australian Garden.
Thirty-three members gathered at the Somerton Road Carpark, appreciating the exceptionally fine winter’s day. High in the magnificent old River Redgums were various parrot species, including Long-billed Corellas, Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets, sunning themselves, while on the grass numerous Superb Fairy-wrens were foraging for insects
Setting off along the Creekside track Striated Pardalotes were very vocal and good views of them were enjoyed by all the members. A flock of Red-browed Finches was seen beside the path along with many more Superb Fairy-wrens.
An unusual sighting was that of a Quail-shaped bird which flew low down across the track landing behind a bush. Only the members at the front of the group got a brief glimpse before it scurried off into the undergrowth. After much discussion it could not be decided whether it was a Brown or Stubble Quail or even a Painted Button-quail. Also seen in the area were Yellow Thornbills, New Holland Honeyeaters and an Eastern Spinebill.
On leaving the creek-side track and entering the open area beside the horse paddocks, a Brown Falcon was seen and, in the far distance, a Wedge-tailed Eagle. There was also a large flock of Red-rumped Parrots which took off from a grassy patch and landed in the nearby trees. After a brief stop at the Homestead, where House Sparrows mingled with yet more Fairy-wrens, the group followed the track downhill towards the picnic area. On route, a Galah demonstrated its acrobatic ability as it seemed to be preparing a nest hole for future use. Meanwhile, a Nankeen Kestrel whizzed past overhead as did another, more leisurely, Brown Falcon.
After lunch most of the members drove to the Cemetery Carpark for a short second walk. There were great views of a Little Eagle as it circled overhead which was a delight to the photographers in the group. Not as many Robins were seen as in previous years, possibly because of the huge amount of housing development taking place along the park boundaries.
However, one male Scarlet Robin was found, much to the relief of the leaders! Other birds seen in the woodland included a male Golden Whistler and Striated Thornbills.
A total of 40 birds were recorded on what was a most enjoyable excursion.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley, Bevan Hood, Steve Hoptroff and Roger Needham for contributing photographs.
The 23 members gathered near the Visitor Centre were pleased to see a variety of birds before starting the Sanctuary walk. These included Eastern Rosella, Grey Butcherbird, Masked Lapwing, Purple Swamphen and King Parrot.
Soon after starting off along the boardwalk a Great Egret was spotted preening in a nearby dead tree, thus providing a good opportunity for photographers. From the first hide a pair of Black Swans and a Yellow-billed Spoonbill were found on the water.
Continuing along the boardwalk a number of bushbirds showed themselves, including Superb Fairy-wrens, Silvereyes, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and two Golden Whistlers. From the large hide there were great views of another Yellow-billed Spoonbill as it foraged for food close to the window. A White-faced Heron flew in, landing nearby, and a pair of Pacific Black Ducks swam nonchalantly across the field of view.
On leaving the hide some of the first group were fortunate to see a male Mistletoebird fly overhead, while those who lingered in the hide saw a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels fly in. Continuing along the boardwalk a Swamp Wallaby was seen feeding beside the track whilst more Superb Fairy-wrens busied themselves finding food. A White-eared Honeyeater showed itself as it foraged in the outer foliage of a flowering eucalyptus tree.
A flock of Little Corellas was seen, and heard, flying past the lookout overlooking the wetlands. As we walked along the high part of the track, Noisy Miners and Rainbow Lorikeets were the dominant species, though a pair of Long-billed Corellas and some Galahs were seen in a distant tree. A pair of Australian Pelicans flying gracefully in formation overhead were a delight to see. On the descent towards the creek New Holland Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails and Dusky Moorhens were sighted.
At lunch, back in the picnic area, the sun appeared and highlighted the colourful plumage of the many Crested Pigeons that foraged underfoot. Most of the members stayed for the afternoon walk up the hill towards the old homestead. Species seen here included Australian Wood Ducks, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Spotted Doves and lots more Crested Pigeons. The heritage chickens and pigs were admired along with the vast plantings of heritage fruit and vegetable species. A distant raptor created a lot of interest and, after examining photographs, it was positively identified as a Brown Goshawk.
On returning to the carpark a few members decided to revisit the first section of the wetlands walk and, following a tip-off from a Ranger, found 3 Tawny Frogmouths high up in a tree near the first hide.
A total of 47 species were recorded for the day which was deemed to be excellent for the time of year.
Thanks once again to Eleanor Dilley who provided all but two of the above photos and also for those used to verify the Brown Goshawk sighting.
Thirty members assembled at the Southern Carpark in perfect weather conditions: sunny, light winds and not too hot. Soon after commencing the walk towards the wetlands, a very well camouflaged Tawny Frogmouth was spotted in one of the gum trees. It gave everyone a good view and posed for many photographs before we moved on.
On the first pond a pair of Pink-eared Ducks was seen carefully shepherding their eight newly-hatched ducklings from one safe place to another. On the shore were a pair of Masked Plovers which dwarfed a nearby Black-fronted Dotterel, as did three Royal Spoonbills which were feeding in the background. The Dotterel was the first of many to be seen during the morning walk.
Continuing clockwise around the ponds some Australian White Ibis and many more waterbirds were seen. These included several more of the common Duck species, Australian Pelicans, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants and Australasian Darters.
At the far end of the wetlands a Black-shouldered Kite perched on top of a dead tree, leaving it several times for short hunting trips before returning to the roost. On one such occasion it became involved in a fracas with a much larger Brown Goshawk, effectively chasing it away.
Several bushbirds were also seen in this area, as well as on the return track, including Grey Butcherbird, European Goldfinch, Superb Fairy-wren and Grey Fantail.
After lunch most of the members drove to the northern end of Braeside and parked in the Pelican Carpark. A brief visit to the Visitor Centre was made so that the group could see more of the park’s raptors, albeit stuffed, before setting off on the Heathland Trail. A female Common Bronzewing feeding on the path did not seem threatened by our presence and walked across into the sunshine so that her wonderful feathers shone brightly. On reaching the ponds a few more Ducks were seen, along with Purple Swamphens and Long-necked Turtles. An Echidna was rescued from some children who were poking it with a stick, and then more small bushbirds were spotted. Another new species for the afternoon was a Pied Currawong which was heard calling in the distance.
The beautiful weather and abundant birdlife made this a most enjoyable excursion with 56 species recorded on the day.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley, Steve Hoptroff and Bevan Hood for providing the photographs.
Thirty members met near the entrance in pleasant sunny weather conditions. Starting up at the dam wall several good sightings gave an excellent start to the morning: a male Musk Duck just offshore; an immature male Australasian Darter on the roof of the small hut; a little Pied Cormorant and a White-faced Heron on the crane on the jetty and a pair of Red-rumped Parrots drinking by the slipway.
Members then drove to the third carpark and began the wetlands walk alongside the water. Dusky Moorhens, Australian Wood Ducks and Chestnut Teals were the predominant species, with Pacific Black Ducks, Australasian Grebes and Purple Swamphens in smaller numbers.
Grey Fantails, Spotted Pardalotes and Brown Thornbills were seen in the taller trees, with Superb Fairy-wrens foraging at the water’s edge. After crossing the road to the fenced wetlands, several Parrot species were seen including Little and Long-billed Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Eastern Rosellas. A bird-scarer was sounding shots from a neighbouring property which no doubt disturbed them, and possibly reduced the number of ducks and waders on these wetlands. A flock of Australasian Grebe with young of various ages were the main waterbirds seen here.
A pair of Wedge -tailed Eagles flying overhead caused a lot of interest, as did a lone Red-rumped Parrot well hidden in a tree. On returning to the first wetlands a White-faced Heron was perched on the opposite bank and later a Falcon flew overhead. It was initially thought to be a Peregrine Falcon, but later examination of Eleanor’s photo revealed it to be an Australian Hobby.
Lunch was eaten at the top of the hill near the old caretaker’s cottage. There were only 2 Nankeen Night-herons in the nearby Corsican Pine, which was well down on the numbers seen there in previous years. After bird call members drove back to the other end of the park to the Lookout. Two spotting scopes were set up near the fence, but it was hard to see between the trees. After some perseverance a Great Crested Grebe was identified as well as a pair of Blue-billed Ducks.
This concluded a satisfying day with 45 species recorded, including 9 Parrot species.
Many thanks to Eleanor Dilley, who provided all the photographs.