Category Archives: Education Activity

Education report – May 2018

Wednesday 2 May

23 members of U3A Deepdene came to hear Pat Bingham speak about “Australia – Land of Parrots”.  The lecture covered historical records, old World Maps, modern genetics and recent taxonomy, and stimulated lots of discussion and personal experiences (with both positive and negative comments) of interactions with the Australasian representatives of the family.

Ten ladies from Mercy Place Boronia made their way to the Yarran Dheran Nature Reserve in Mitcham for our annual activities morning. This involved watching a PowerPoint presentation by Janet Hand on ‘Same bird, different feathers’ – the different appearance of birds due to their age and sex. This was followed by a craft activity of making greetings cards using bird photographs and then morning tea. Later, the ladies went for a short walk in the Reserve. Thank you Gay Gallagher and Sonja Ross for your assistance, and Gay for arranging the use of the Yarran Dheran Education Centre.

Sunday 6 May

As part of this year’s Mullum Mullum Festival, Geoff Russell gave a presentation and a short talk in the Information Centre about the history of Yarran Dheran Nature Reserve and the birds that have been recorded in the Reserve. He had a group of 28 people which included a couple children. Weather wise it was a perfect day for birding –  18C, fine, sunny and most importantly no wind. After the talk, he took them on a 3 km walk through the Reserve and along the Mullum Mullum Creek. This lasted just over two hours and they recorded 29 species. They had several good views of Common Bronzewings and King Parrots. Spotted Pardalotes were heard many times but were very difficult to see because of their small size and the tall, dense forest.

Tuesday 15 May

On a cold day, 25 ladies of the Ladies Guild braved the elements at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Doncaster. Janet Hand gave a PowerPoint presentation on how to attract birds to their gardens naturally.  This presentation was well received and was followed by a lovely afternoon tea.

Friday 18 May

Hawthorn U3A’s monthly Birdwalk this month was at Norton’s Park & Shepherd’s Bush. As usual this group was led by Pat Bingham. They had 14 attendees and saw 22 species.  The parks were rather quiet except for a very noisy mob of about thirty Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  Several Eastern Rosellas were feeding in the short grass, a quiet Kookaburra looked for prey in the longer grass and a Grey Currawong having called, moved off quickly.  Once again, the group had good looks at young male Superb Fairy-wrens in non-breeding plumage, but, sadly, the Scarlet Robins, seen well last year, were missing in 2018.

Thank you everyone for your contribution to our program.

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

April Education Report

The Autumn Survey at Blackburn Creeklands was held on Saturday 14 April, which was very windy and dull, but the 27 participants, including visitors from South Australia, Holland and China, enjoyed the 27 species they found. Everyone had superb views of Gang-gang Cockatoos, feeding on gumn uts, squabbling over perches and trying to get away from a very persistent youngster who wanted to be fed. Other Autumn visitors like King Parrots and Grey Fantails were good to see but the resident Tawny Frogmouths, Brown Thornbills and White-browed Scrubwrens were rather hard to find. 27 species is a low number for the survey (now in its 7thyear) but the dry conditions and the wind on the day may have contributed to this rather poor result.

This survey was led by Pat Bingham and Ian Moodie. Pat also led the Karkarook walk (below).

The U3A Hawthorn outing was on Friday 20 April. There were 14 attendees including six newcomers to this programme. There was bright sunshine in Melbourne but they hit a bank of fog just as they got to Karkarook Park in Heatherton, so that the birds seemed quiet and the wetlands ‘disappeared’. Luckily, a few Noisy Miners continued to chase a Brush-tailed Possum through the gums (did the possum think it was still night-time?) and Pied Currawongs called eerily from the gloom – so they at least had something to peer for! Eventually the mistiness cleared and they found six species of duck, a busy flock of Red-browed Finches acrobatically collecting grass-seed, a party of Superb Fairy-wrens including young males in their sombre winter colours and blue tails, and a Little Wattlebird (uncommon at Karkarook). The wren’s winter plumage change and the differentiation of Little and Red Wattlebirds made good talking-points for beginning birders, and the total of 33 species for the morning sent them home with lots of ‘homework’ to do. The following photographs were taken by Sue Wilson – a member of this group. I thank Pat and Sue for their contributions.

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

Education report – January to March 2018

The BirdLife Melbourne Education Group has started off the year with early activities.

On Wednesday, 10 January Janet Hand addressed approximately 40 members of the Hawthorn U3A Summer School in Glen Iris. There were two parts to her presentation. First there was a PowerPoint on the work of BirdLife titled “BirdLife – preserving the future of birds.” That presentation was followed by another PowerPoint with tips on identifying birds and showing those birds found around the Hawthorn/Glen Iris area.

On Tuesday 20 February, Gay Gallagher visited the Walmsley Village Garden Club, Kilsyth. Approximately 35 people attended to see her PowerPoint on “Attracting birds to our gardens.” She said the audience was very interested and she fielded many interesting questions.

On Monday 26 February, Susan Bailey was the lunchtime speaker at a meeting of the Ferntree Gully VIEW Club who met at the Knox Club in Wantirna. Approximately 75 members were present on the day. Susan also spoke on how to attract birds into their gardens.

On Saturday 10 March Graeme Hosken led an early morning walk at Jells Park, Waverley for the Friends of Diamond Valley Parklands. Twelve members of the FODVP attended an early morning bird walk from the Information Centre and clockwise round the lake and returning to the Information Centre. A perfect morning weather-wise but groups of runners and bike riders kept them on the lookout to prevent an accident. Late nesting by a Darter was a highlight with four young in a nest.  One member asked what is a small bird with red breast? A further sighting produced a male Mistletoebird with its mate close at hand.  A rewarding sight for all the members. At the end of the three hour bird walk, 37 species were recorded.

Tuesday 13 March saw Graeme Hosken speak to members of the Australian Plant Society, Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick on the subject “Catching up with the Illegal’s”  Shorebird Migration – Australian/Asian Flyway. Thirty-two APS members attended.

On Thursday 15 March Janet Hand was a last minute replacement Guest Speaker at the Community of Ringwood Indigenous Species Plant (CRISP) Nursery AGM in Ringwood. She spoke about “Attracting birds to your garden naturally” 30 members were present and appreciative of the effort that Janet had made to attend with only 24 hours notice.

The first U3A Hawthorn monthly Birdwatching Group walk for the year was at the Sinclair Wetlands, Glen Iris on Friday 16 March. 19 attenders including several newcomers; 20 species recorded. Best birds were a young-ish Nankeen Night-heron patiently waiting for prey adjacent to the opening of a stormwater drain while a very healthy-looking Brown Rat played about on the rocks above.  Bird and rat ignored each other.  Also much amusement was caused by a Kookaburra, in a very noisy dispute with two attacking Little Ravens, just over their heads.  The observers thought they might, too, get dive bombed!  The group also had good looks at Musk Lorikeets and a pair of Red-rumped Parrots. Thank you Pat Bingham for leading this group.

Breakfast with the Birds was held on Sunday 18 March, at Wilson Botanic Park, Berwick from 7 – 9.30am. Breakfast with the Bird walks at Wilson Botanic Park commenced in 2004 with two walks, one in Spring and the other in Autumn. Unfortunately weather conditions for the day’s walk were not pleasant with a strong north wind and the possibility for rain. Luckily the rain and a cool change came after the walk concluded. The recent dry conditions have had an effect on many plant species in the park and the ‘bush’ birds are not in their usual haunts.  Missing were Superb Fairy-wren and White-browed Scrubwren.  A Hoary-headed Grebe with young was the highlight for the morning.  No new species were added on Sunday for the WBP Bird list which stands at 87. This list contains highlights being: Satin Bowerbird, Australasian Bittern and Channel-billed Cuckoo. Thanks to Graeme Hosken for leading the Wilson Botanic Park walks.

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

Education activities November 2017

Photographs by Sue Wilson, Hawthorn U3A

On Saturday 11 November, Geoff Russell lead a Bird Walk through the Yarran Dheran Reserve in Mitcham. The activity was limited to 25 participants and 30 species were seen. The most interesting sighting was Olive-backed Orioles.

Graeme Hosken addressed the Australian Plants Society – Wilson Park Berwick Group on “Catching up with the illegals” (Bird migration between Australia and the Northern hemisphere) on Tuesday 14 November. The audience was fascinated by the movement of these birds.

201711 picture 1The U3A Hawthorn 2017 Birdwalks finished the programme at Wilson Reserve, Ivanhoe, on November 17. It was a rather warm, muggy morning but they succeeded in doing the circuit before the thunder rolled and the rain started. 14 people attended and 24 species were recorded. The best birds were Nankeen Night-heron, Common Bronzewing, and a glimpse of an Azure Kingfisher by a lucky few people. A tiger snake was also close to the billabong so they needed to remember to look at their feet as well as the heavens!

201711 picture 2The final planned activity for the year was on Tuesday 28 November at the Mooroolbark Library. Janet Hand’s Powerpoint was about “Attracting birds to your Garden naturally”. This was a community event where 30 plus people booked at attend, thus a very interested group with plenty of questions. Problems/questions about Pied Currawongs killing the smaller birds and bats in Upwey and Eastern Koels calling at two different locations. ‘How do you discourage Noisy Miners?’ seems to be a common question everywhere.

I wish to thank the 25 people who have assisted me this year with our 43 activities. Without your help we could not have made so many people in the community aware of our lovely birds and their needs.

Season’s Greetings to all.

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

Education activities October 2017

Pat Bingham gave a talk to the East Burwood Probus on 2 October entitled ‘Birding with BirdLife’ – so it was both a bit of history of the formation of the organization and what it does, including advertisement of Bird Week activities. 80 people attended on the day.

On Friday 6 October, Sally Heeps spoke to the Greensborough Salvation Army Triple L Club (Laughter, Lunch and Leisure). Approximately 25 people attended on this day. Her PowerPoint presentation was about the birds of the area with special reference to the Doreen wetlands.

On Saturday 7 October, the Whitlesea Council planned a walk through the Quarry Hills Park, South Morang covering both the Hunters road and Granite Hills sections. This same walk was planned last year but cancelled because of the dangerous windy conditions. This year it was cancelled because of lack of numbers. I thank Sally Heeps for volunteering both years to lead the walks.

A Kinglake West Birdwalk was held on Sunday 8 October. This was the seventh annual birdwalk since the 2009 bushfires which burnt much of this property. Strong winds made it very difficult to hear or see birds this year. I thank Graeme Hosken and Peter Dynes for leading the bird walk this year. Eastern Whipbird was added to the list this year. The total species seen on the property on survey days is now 66.

Janet Hand made a trip to Kilmore to set up an information stall on Saturday 14 October, at the APS Mitchell Plant Expo and Plant sale. The weather was kind and over 200 people attended. Country people certainly are very interested in their gardens and the birds that live in them. It made for some very interesting discussions.

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On Sunday 15 October, Graeme Hosken led a Spring Bird Walk at Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick. This was a Breakfast with the Birds event starting at 8am. Although the attendance number was low Graeme tells me the supplied breakfast was lovely. The group saw 24 species and added a Yellow-faced Honeyeater to the Park’s list.

About 40 ladies attended a PowerPoint presentation on Monday 16 October, for the Templestowe Ladies Probus Club. Janet Hand gave this presentation about the ‘Birds found in Manningham.’

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On Friday 20 October, Pat Bingham had the U3A Deepdene walk at Jells Park; 20 people, 40 species and a good time was had by all as the Freckled Ducks (two females) sailed past; a pair of Sacred Kingfishers called and were seen briefly; the breeding White Ibis, Cormorants (Great and Little Black) and Reed-Warblers were cacophonous. Attached photos, by Sue Wilson, are fun, especially the Wood Duck with attitude – ‘What a big breast I’ve got!’.

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The next day, October 21, Ian Moodie and Pat Bingham led the Spring Bird Survey at Blackburn Lake Creeklands. They had about 25 people and 21 species. Lots of breeding – including Chestnut Teal with ducklings, Magpie-larks building a mud nest, Grey Butcherbird, Kookaburras and White-browed Scrubwrens feeding young, and three Tawny Frogmouths on nests but no sign of young on these nests yet.

Our 19th Annual Breakfast with the Birds at Banyule was held on Sunday 22 October, 2017. With 116 people enrolled we were ready with our leaders at 7.30am. As light showers passed Janet Hand sent off groups of eight with each leader. Towards the end it was obvious that many of those who had booked failed to attend. I thank my leaders on the morning – Susan Bailey, Pat Bingham, Emma Bond, Alan Crawford, Peter Dynes, Lyn Easton, Anthea Fleming, Robert Grovenor, Sally Heeps, Meg Houghton, Owen Lishmund, Richard Loyn, Ian Muir, Geoff Russell, Scot Sharman. Thanks also to Daphne Hards, Bill Ramsay and Sam (Banyule Council employee) for their assistance with the telescopes at the wetlands. Special thanks to Jim Mead, his assistants and the Banyule City Council for a beautiful sit down breakfast. 73 species were seen in Banyule and 37 in the Warringal area. Three Warringal species were not seen in Banyule so we had a grand total of 76 species for the morning. A dozen species were observed breeding in Banyule and two in Warringal. Eastern Whipbird was added to the Banyule list this year. Our list now totals 123 species for this one day in October. Well done everyone.

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My thanks to the many people who have helped with these activities.

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

Education report: September 2017

September and October are traditionally the busiest months for education activities and this year is no exception. We started with three different activities on Friday, 8 September.

Firstly, on 8 September Pat Bingham led members of the Deepdene U3A on a birdwalk through Banyule Flats. 11 people attended and 32 species were seen and a good time had by all. Lyn Easton (who happened to be doing her regular morning walk in the area) showed them a Tawny Frogmouth on a nest.  At the swamp they saw Hardheads, Chestnut Teal and Australasian Grebes. Several pairs of Red-rumped Parrots disputed over nest hollows in the old trees in the swamp.  Along the Main Yarra Trail they saw a Fan-tailed Cuckoo and had a pair of Gang-gang Cockatoos fly over.

Also on Friday, 8 September Janet Hand addressed the Hawthorn Glen Combined Probus Club in Camberwell. About 60 members were present to hear about the birds found in the area. Many expressed their surprise at the large number of species around.

That afternoon Janet Hand, Bill Ramsay and Ron Hand set up our display and information stall at the Eltham Plant Expo at the Eltham Community Centre.

The Expo ran on Saturday and Sunday 9-10 September and was run by the APS Yarra Yarra branch of the Australian Plant Society. Many other ‘plant related’ organisations were present as well as many plant sales and displays. Over 700 people attended over the weekend. This number did not include the organisers and helpers at the different displays. Janet Hand was assisted over the weekend by Elizabeth Ainsworth, Daphne Hards, Susan Bailey, Sally Heeps and Anthea Fleming.

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The monthly Hawthorn U3A Birdwalk on 15 September was at Wattle Park. 14 people attended on this warm morning with lovely wattles and a big patch of Nodding Greenhood orchids but rather few birds (11 species).  They saw a Tawny Frogmouth on a nest and found another pair, surviving, but their nest had been destroyed and broken egg-shells were on the ground beneath the nest site.  Once again Pat Bingham led this walk.

Also on 15 September Graeme Hosken led a group of 12 people on a bird walk to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Fairy Dell. This area was part of the old Healesville Freeway reserved land behind the Wantirna shops. Much of the land was sold for development but this section was saved.

On Monday 25 September Susan Bailey addressed the members of the Darebin U3A.  She spoke about the birds found in that area of Melbourne. With over 50 people attending it was the second largest crowd at a function this year. The topic obviously created a lot of interest and discussion.

‘Attracting birds to your garden naturally’ was the subject of Janet Hand’s Powerpoint to the ladies of the Yarra Valley VIEW Club at Chirnside Park on Tuesday 26 September. Fifty ladies were present for this luncheon and presentation.

On Thursday 28 September Janet Hand made her annual visit to the ladies at the Mercy Hostel in Boronia. This hostel is a member of BirdLife Australia and they are blessed with a range of birds visiting their gardens. The topic changes each year but it was back to the basics of talking about local birds again this year.

My thanks to all those who have assisted this month.

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

BirdLife Melbourne Education report

August 2017

On Tuesday, 1 August Gay Gallagher addressed the ladies of the Bulleen Baptist Pathways Church. About 50 ladies attended to hear her speak about attracting birds to their gardens. Great interest was shown and many questions followed. I thank Gay for standing in for me on this occasion.

On Thursday, 3 August Sally Heeps attended Lauriston Girls School in Armidale. She spoke to the Grade one girls about which birds they may see in their backyards. The chosen birds were those featured on the Victorian Birds in Backyards poster. The girls got very excited when they saw one that they recognised. Thanks Sally.

Karkarook Park in Cheltenham was the latest venue for the Hawthorn U3A’s monthly bird walk on Friday, 18 August. The day was very, very windy and cold and all birds were taking shelter (especially bush birds).  Eleven people attended and they saw 27 species.  The best birds were Hardheads, Caspian Tern and two Black-fronted Dotterel. A Black Swan was on a nest very close to the pedestrian bridge on the approach to the main lake – hope it survives people, push-chairs and dogs! Pat Bingham led this walk and the following photographs were taken by Hawthorn U3A member Sue Wilson. Thank you Pat and Sue.

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

July 2017 Education Activities

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On Friday 21 July, Pat Bingham lead 15 members from the Hawthorn U3A on their monthly bird walk. This month the venue was Rigby’s (Dandenong Creek Wetlands) where they saw 31 species. They saw a Swamp Harrier, Flame Robins (including three lovely males) and 50+ Red-browed Finches. The pondages were very full and overflowing, so there were very few wading birds but they did see two White-faced Herons squabbling in a tree adjacent to Dandenong Creek, very close to a tree where they have previously nested. Are they planning to nest there again?

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Thanks Pat and thank you Sue Wilson (U3A Hawthorn) for your photos.

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

June 2017 Education activities

On Wednesday 7 June, Bill Ramsay did a presentation at the Hawthorn Library for their Everyday English Class which is run as part of the Library’s Multicultural Program. The audience consisted of seven women plus the Coordinator. Usually she expected 12 but a few had pulled out. Bill spoke about “Attracting birds to your garden and what you may hope to see”. There was a fair bit of audience interaction and questions during the presentation which was a good sign. This was the purpose of such presentations and everyone seemed appreciative of Bill’s efforts.

Approximately 50 people were present when Sally Heeps addressed the Mill Park Garden Club on Friday 16 June. Sally’s topic was ‘Attracting birds to your garden naturally”. They seemed to enjoy hearing how to attract birds by plantings and liked identifying the birds which did visit their gardens. Sally also talked a little about nest boxes, and digressed into how the changes in natural vegetation can impact bird species – how the Kinglake fires opened the canopy to birds of prey. The Club donated $50 to BirdLife Melbourne in appreciation of our work.

On the same day – Friday 16 June, Pat Bingham led the Hawthorn U3A monthly Birdwalk to Norton’s Park & Shepherd’s Bush. They had a lovely sunny morning with 17 participants. 27 species were sighted including three Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos chewing up pinecones, a female Scarlet Robin and several Sulphur-crested Cockatoos exploring tree hollows and raucously defending their choices. Then for the lucky late leavers, they had a Peregrine Falcon circling over the car park.

Sue Wilson from the Hawthorn U3A group supplied the following photos.

 

Thank you to all the above people.

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

May 2017 Education activities

On the morning of Wednesday 17 May, BirdLife Melbourne hosted ten ladies and three carers from Mercy Place Boronia at the Education Centre at Blackburn Lake. This hostel is a long time member of BOCA and now BirdLife. The morning started with a PowerPoint entitled ‘Birds in Flight’ about how birds change their shapes as they fly. This was followed by morning tea and a craft activity of making bird mobiles. This annual outing ends with the ladies going for a short walk to the Lake. The weather cleared and it was possible to do this again this year. Janet Hand was assisted by Jenny Frohlich and Gay Gallagher. Thank you ladies.

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On the evening of the same day Gay Gallagher addressed approximately 45 people from the Springvale Garden Club. She spoke about how to attract birds to your garden naturally. Everyone was very happy and rewarded BirdLife Melbourne with a $50 donation.

On Friday 19 May, Pat Bingham led her monthly walk with the members of the Hawthorn U3A. The venue on this occasion was Ricketts Point in Black Rock. She had 14 participants and they saw 27 species. It was a dull but mild morning with calm seas.  Tide was about half-way in so plenty of exposed rock shelves. Best birds were White-necked Heron and Pied Cormorant. Local wildlife rescue personnel were keeping an eye on a Little Pied Cormorant and a Pelican, both with fishing line entanglement, and were hoping to get close enough to capture and free them of the line. One male swan with a black collar and white script (K40) was seen offshore.

On Wednesday 25 May, Graeme Hosken gave a PowerPoint to the ladies of the Vermont South Ladies Probus Club in Forest Hills. His Powerpoint was “Catching up with the illegals” (bird migration) and was very well received by the 50 ladies present. Many commented to Graeme that they had no idea about the movements of our bird migrants and had enjoyed his presentation.

Thank you to everyone who has assisted with our Education Program this month.

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