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.
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.
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.
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