Category Archives: Birds

Weekday outing to 100 Acres, Park Orchards

12 December 2022

Leader: Rob Grosvenor

It was lovely to see 15 hardy souls gather to birdwatch what could have been 100 acres of sodden bush. Quite a few donned their waterproof over pants in anticipation of a wet outing.  Mercifully, we had two and a half hours of scudding clouds, a little sunshine and only a few drops of rain.  The car park yielded a few species as we waited for everyone to arrive.  A couple of Wood Duck, some Welcome Swallow, Magpie-lark, and a flyover Australian White Ibis.  Little Raven and Noisy Miners were also present. 

Little Raven. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff
Little Raven. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff
Noisy Miner. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley

We thanked Diane for all her years organising the Midweek outings and welcomed Phillip into the role.

A prior recce of the site had established a few problems with fallen trees and extensive water over some paths. Our route through the woodland was tailored accordingly. After a slow start where sounds dominated, and sightings were restricted to glimpses we were presented with some lovely views of a rather tolerant male Common Bronzewing.

Common Bronzewing. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley
Common Bronzewing. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff

We proceeded past Green Dam and came across both Crimson and Eastern Rosella before being surprised by a beautiful Australian King-parrot. 

Crimson Rosella. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff
Australian King Parrot. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley
Australian King Parrot. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff

Rainbow Lorikeets and Noisy Miners were very active around here along with a Pied Currawong and a Laughing Kookaburra.  

Rainbow Lorikeet. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff
Laughing Kookaburra. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley

An Australian White Ibis was seen landing in a nearby garden, and an Australian Magpie was heard.  The parrot family though, was keen to make its presence felt with a flyover by 2 Galahs and a fly past by 2 Little Corellas, and just as we got near Brown Dam a flyover of 5 Sulphur Crested Cockatoos one of which presented for a photo.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike also turned up here, submitting to the photographer’s lens.  

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley

Small birds were hard to find, and up to this point we’d managed 1 Brown Thornbill and a heard a few Spotted Pardalotes.  We continued along Ridge Track and heard Grey Fantail as well as spotting a secretive Superb Fairy-wren.  Bird Corner didn’t turn up much for us at the end of the group, but we did hear a Common Blackbird and a White-throated Treecreeper before descending the Northern Boundary Track.  

As we neared Chris’s Track the Red Wattlebirds, which had been evident by their calls, revealed themselves along with a few more Superb Fairy-wrens.  A Grey Butcherbird also made a brief appearance here.

Red Wattlebird. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley
Red Wattlebird. Photograph by Steve Hoptroff

Descending to Tadpole Dam more Red Wattlebirds became evident, a Grey Shrike-thrush was calling, and another Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike turned up.  The Olive-backed Oriole’s rolling call was heard again by some in the group, but it proved rather elusive. Tea Tree Track provided a brief spell of LBJ activity with 2 groups of Thornbills – Brown working the middle canopy and a flock of Striated up top.

We then headed back to the car park and doing a final check with the lead group we were able to add a few more species to the list…Eastern Yellow Robin, Eastern Spinebill, and Fan-tailed Cuckoo.  A quick walk over to the far side of the oval yielded some nice views of Eastern Rosellas and an Australian Magpie fossicking around in the grass.  No Water birds apart from the Wood Duck and no Whistlers.  On a more positive note, we didn’t record any Common Starlings or Common Mynas.

Pied Currawong. Photograph by Eleanor Dilley

32 Species all up was a very satisfactory total for the morning.

Photos kindly provided by Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff.

Phillip.

Beginners Outing to Pound Bend

26 November 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 50

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. 

Little Corella. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Long-billed Corellas. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Wood Duck and chicks. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

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.

Eastern Yellow Robin on nest. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Eastern Yellow Robins. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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. 

Male Bronzewing following female. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
White-faced Heron on nest. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

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.

Laughing Kookaburra. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Sacred Kingfisher. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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.

Superb Fairy-wren, female. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
White-browed Scrubwren. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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.

Weekday outing to Kurth Kiln

November 2022

Images and story by Steve Hoptroff

Ten brave souls travelled the distance and braved the Stygian gloom of a rather damp Dandenong day around  Kurth Kiln, so named as it is the sight of a charcoal producing kiln built by Dr. E.E. Kurth during World War 2, but more of that later.

Kurth Kiln car park of which there are two, caused a little confusion but we managed to eventually gather together for our day of birding.

In the car park, an Eastern Yellow Robin seemed very curious about our presence in his territory and the Fairy Wrens were very tame indeed, even joining later for lunch hopping around the picnic table. Grey Fantails flitted amongst the bushes.

Eastern Yellow Robin

There was a lot of bird sound, White Throated Treecreepers, Rufous Whistler, Yellow- faced Honeyeater and Kookaburras.

We set off along Thorntons Track (Dedicated to Ron Thornton, the caretaker of Kurth Kiln for many years) in a light drizzle. Once into the tall trees we didn’t notice it. Lots of sound, Rufous and Golden Whistlers, Spotted Pardalotes, GST, Shining Bronze Cuckoo were a few, but no visuals until Phillip at the front of line saw a Superb Lyrebird flit across the track. We waited hopeful that it would reappear. After five minutes it called, very near to us and a few lucky folks caught a fleeting glimpse in the thick undergrowth.

Superb Lyrebird

Continuing along the track we crossed the river to a clearing where we were treated to two minutes of a Shining Flycatcher high in the trees.

Shining Flycatcher

Continuing on Scout Loop we headed back to the car park via Kurth Kiln for lunch watching a pair of wet Kookaburras foraging for grubs on the way.

Laughing Kookaburra

The charcoal produced at Kurth Kiln was used in Gas producing Units to power motor vehicles in WW2 because of the shortage of Gasoline. It was built in 1942 to Dr. Kurth’s patent but discontinued in 1943 due to abundance of Charcoal available from other sources.

Once out in the open the precipitation was more apparent and lunch was  rather a damp affair. Undeterred six of us ventured out again along the Tomahawk Creek circular track to see what birds we could find. The rain got heavier, birds sheltered and kept out of sight except for a pair of White-throated Treecreepers collecting bark nesting material and depositing it in  a hole in a nearby tree of which we had good views.

White-throated Treecreeper

This is a beautiful location and no doubt is stunning on a sunny day. Well worth another visit. The consensus was that it was a day of quality rather than quantity.

Red-browed Finch

Finally two of us decided to go around Thornton Track  again anticlockwise to seek the elusive Lyrebird. Sadly this was not to be but a group of Red-browed Finches and a Crimson Rosella posed for  pictures.

Crimson Rosella

At the end of the walk the sun came out (for a few minutes) and two Golden Whistlers were seen at the edge of the forest.

Golden Whistler

Looking forward to 100 Acres next month!

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.

Weekday outing to Corinella area

19 October 2022

Leaders: Alan and Hazel Veevers

Photographs by Steve Hoptroff

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. 

Crested Shrike-tit
Grey Shrike-thrush

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. 

Immature Pacific Gull
Australian Pelican

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.

Eastern Curlew
Female Musk Duck and chicks

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.

Beginners Outing to Hawkestowe Park

24 September 2022

Species count: 62

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

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.

Striated Pardalote. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Purple Swamphens. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

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.

Red-browed Finch. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Superb Fairy-wren. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

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.

Long-billed Corella. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Musk Lorikeet. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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.

Blue-billed Duck. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Black-fronted Dotterel. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

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.

Dusky Woodswallow. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Great Cormorant

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.

Recce photos of Square-tailed Kites by Steve Hoptroff

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.

Weekday outing to Long Forest/Lake Merrimu

20 September 2022

Photographs by Steve Hoptroff

Another ideal day for birding, clear and calm, as we assembled under the leadership of Graeme Hosken. Our enthusiasm did not reach to expecting any of the birds historically recorded here after we read an old list which included Plains Wanderer and Mallee Fowl. We listed a couple of Crimson Rosellas and Red Wattlebirds flying through and a few Brown Thornbills foraging among the lower tree trunks. Over the stile and along the Long Point Track to Coimadai Creek and then the circuit back to the cars. Thirteen people attended and provided plenty of ears to record Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, White-throated Treecreeper and Yellow-faced Honeyeater while eyes recorded Grey Fantail and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.  Fan-tailed Cuckoos trilled incessantly but none were seen.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

The only waterbirds of the morning were a pair of Grey Teal on the Coimadai. Raptors were initially a single Brown Goshawk overhead but a Brown Falcon was added on later inspection of a photo.

Brown Falcon

Back at the cars we then drove to the picnic area at Lake Merrimu. This is a very mowed, fenced and apparently unpromising area, with wind sweeping across the lake. Scopes are useful as waterbirds are quite distant. After the Welcome Swallows, Little Corellas and Little Ravens overhead the list from the water and banks grew. Ducks seen were Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck and Australian Shelduck. Australasian Grebe and Great-crested Grebe swam and Masked Lapwing were sighted on a close bank. A walk around the lightly wooded perimeter of the reserve added White-plumed Honeyeater and Common Bronzewing. The only raptor here had been a Nankeen Kestrel over the water when the Bird of the Day appeared as we were winding down. An adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew around the bend and was then pursued by the lapwings and landed on the nearer promontory and the water.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
White-bellied Sea-Eagle

A grand finish to a successful day. Thirty species at Long Forest, 23 at Merrimu and a cumulative total of 46 species. We thanked Graeme for his preparation and knowledge which led to this result.

Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

Weekday outing to Braeside Park

5 October 2022

Pink-eared Ducks. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

The day promised fine weather, calm and clear for birdwatching, and it didn’t disappoint. Seventeen started the walk under the leadership of Rosemaree Mclean and Malcolm Brown of The Friends of Braeside Park. 

Eastern Rosella. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Our interest was high as the morning’s walk was to be through the heathland area which is as yet not publicly accessible. The heathland has formed on low-nutrient sands and our track passed along white sand where tiny insectivorous sundews grew. At the start, Rosemaree’s favourite Tawny Frogmouth, was beautifully cooperative as it sat patiently and photogenically on its tree fork nest. 

Tawny Frogmouth on nest. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After the aggressive Noisy Miners in the car park a Tawny was a great sighting. Trees are more spaced and fewer on the heaths so birds are restricted, though we still noted Little Raven and Rainbow Lorikeet while the calls of Grey Butcherbird, Red Wattlebird and Spotted Pardalote reached us as we walked. 

Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Rainbow Lorikeet. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Spotted Pardalote. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A skein of Straw-necked Ibis flew over and a couple of birders were briefly able to glimpse a Brown Goshawk pass above.

The call of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo reached us and a small pond contained a Chestnut Teal – birds took advantage of any resource.

Swamp Harrier. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Swamp Harrier. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After lunch back at the cars we farewelled Rosemaree and Malcolm with many thanks. A couple of people with afternoon appointments also departed and the remainder arranged to visit the wetlands and bush, walking in 3 groups according to walking ability. This covered a variety of habitats and so the afternoon species list added a range of species. 

Red-rumped Parrot, male and female. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Black Swan with cygnets. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Waterbirds were present in numbers – Black Swans with fluffy cygnets, male and female Musk Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks in a tree, both Chestnut and Hoary-headed Grebes and Great, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants while Cattle Egrets foraged around the small herd of cattle in the adjacent paddock. 

Musk Duck, male. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Musk Duck, female. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Pink-eared Duck. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Cattle Egret. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Blue-billed Duck, male. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

A Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike was first heard then finally seen as it exited the tree canopy. 

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike with prey. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

The walk finished with the separate groups comparing lists and noting the variation with habitat. We recorded 34 species in the heathland and 27 in the bush and wetlands later in the day. 

Little PIed Cormorant, breeding adult. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

The cumulative total was 50 species, a very pleasing result.

Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekday outings

Beginners’ outing to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

27 August 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 57

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.

Spotted Pardalote. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australasian Shoveler. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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.

New Holland Honeyeater. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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. 

Pacific Black Duck with chicks. Photo by Alan Veevers

Some of the group were fortunate to see a young Southern Brown Bandicoot foraging near a picnic table, seemingly oblivious to human observers.

Southern Brown Bandicoot. Photo by Alan Veevers
Little Pied Cormorant. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

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.

Weekdays outing to Murrindindi Scenic Reserve

2 August 2022

The Murrindindi Reserve is about 70 km north of Melbourne, east of the Melba Hwy and just south of the Yea River. The reserve covers the lower reaches of the Murrindindi River which flows through Mountain Ash Forest. Unfortunately, the 2009 wild fires destroyed a large part of the reserve but the area visited on the day was spared destruction and minor damage, now replaced with regrowth creating a different habitat for fauna and flora.

The day was cold, with sunshine at times, but no wind that was forecast. With over 80 bird species listed for the reserve. A challenge awaited.

At our meeting point near Devlins Bridge, two species of Mistletoe were in flower, attracting an Eastern Spinebill and several Silvereyes. A Pied Currawong was eyeing off the small birds. Proceeding to the reserve we passed a hay distributing trunk which attracted both Little and Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Galah. Didn’t seem to worry the sheep also feeding on the hay.

Our next stop was a parking area near the suspension bridge. Toilets and picnic tables available. Leaving the vehicles and walking across the bridge, we took the track heading upstream along the eastern side of the river. Grey-shrike Thrush and Superb Lyrebird calling. A Swamp Wallaby was startled while feeding along the track and hastily left our view. A few parties of Brown Thornbill were feeding in the regrowth. A brief sighting of a Bassian Thrush as it flew across the track caused some discussion as its identity. Small flocks of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo passed overhead. Those in our party that had cameras tried to obtain opportunities for photographing an up-turned cockatoo ripping the bark from a eucalypt. On returning across the river and along the road to the vehicles for lunch, both White-throated Treecreeper and Eastern Yellow Robin were calling.

Lunch in the Sun and a “Bird Call” resulted in 25 species listed. After lunch we drove to the Wilhelmina Falls car park, and crossing the river headed towards the falls viewing area. Unfortunately, the regrowth after the fires obscured the view. Although away from the noise of the river, no calls could be heard. The only sighting was a Blackbird taking the total for the day to 26 bird species. Even with the small number seen, all attended enjoyed and for some it was a new area for them.

Graeme Hosken, Leader.