26 May 2018
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 45
A fine weather forecast and Woodlands’ reputation as a red robin hotspot enticed 42 members to attend this month’s excursion. Setting off along the creek from the Somerton Road car park lots of Superb Fairy-wrens were seen foraging on the ground, the first of many located in this section of the Park.
Parrots were plentiful throughout the day with the numerous nest hollows in the magnificent ancient River Red Gums providing first class accommodation. Red-rumped Parrots were of particular interest to the Beginners with the males’ brilliant plumage gleaming in the sunshine.
Several small flocks of Weebills were seen in eucalypts alongside the creek, though these were harder for the newer beginners to identify.
Also in good numbers, but difficult to see, were Striated Pardalotes, perhaps staking their claim to small yet desirable holes in the trees. There were not as many Spotted Pardalotes evident, mostly being heard, though rarely seen, near to the creek.
A few Long-billed Corellas were feeding on the ground whilst others were canoodling high in the trees. No raptors were seen on the morning walk. Possibly, the regular low-flying aircraft provided a major reason for their absence.
Upon reaching the Woodlands Homestead members were delighted to see a pair of Flame Robins on a fence between two horse paddocks.
Returning towards the carpark a large flock of Red-browed Finch was seen, and three lucky stragglers saw a pair of Scarlet Robins, albeit some distance from the track.
After lunch most of the group drove round the perimeter to the area close to the Aboriginal Cemetery for an afternoon walk. Heading towards the disused reservoir several additional species were seen, including Golden Whistler, Crimson Rosella and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.
As members watched a pair of Australasian Grebes on the water a Spotless Crake suddenly shot out from the nearside reeds and appeared to run on the surface of the lake in its rush to reach the denser reeds on the opposite side. Its red legs flashing in the sunlight provided a key identification feature. Sadly it was too speedy for anyone to take a photograph.
Meanwhile the only raptors for the day, a pair of Whistling Kites, were circling overhead. Members then walked back along the outside of the Back Paddock fence (which was closed to the public) and saw several more small bush birds, including another pair of Scarlet Robins, White-throated Treecreepers and Yellow-rumped Thornbills.
No further red robins were seen on the track back to the cars – a sad decline in their numbers having taken place over the past few years from the days when many pairs could reliably be found. Despite this, members felt they had enjoyed some unusual sightings amidst the ancient trees of the Park. A total of 45 species was recorded for the day.
View the full bird list: BM May 2018 Bird List Woodlands Historic Park