Tag Archives: Australian Reed Warbler

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.

Beginners Outing to Point Cook Coastal Reserve

23 January 2021

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers
Species count: 52
Australian Pelican. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After a break of 11 months, 33 members were delighted to be birding with the Beginners once more. Weather conditions were perfect – not too hot and little wind. At Beach Road Carpark several small bush-birds were foraging in the nearby Banksia and Casuarina trees, including Yellow Thornbills and New Holland Honeyeaters, along with numerous Superb Fairy-wrens and Willie Wagtails, and a lonesome Grey Fantail.

Yellow Thornbill. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Grey Fantail. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Down at the beach hundreds of Silver Gulls could be seen and sharp-eyed Geoff Deason found us a Great Crested Grebe far out on the water. Along the coastal track a small flock of Yellow-rumped Thornbills were much admired and then, on the heathland, Golden-headed Cisticolas were heard.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After a while, one of them finally broke cover and perched on a tall plant for all to see before treating us to its vertically up and down flying display. Returning along the fence line some of us saw an Australian Hobby flying over and flushing a large flock of Common Starlings.

Australian Reed Warbler. Photo by Alan Veevers

Members then drove to the small wetlands near the RAAF Lake Carpark. These relatively new ponds provided some good sightings of Australian Reed Warblers and Australasian Grebes.

Australasian Grebe. Photo by Alan Veevers

As everyone was watching these birds a flock of about 15 Zebra Finches flew in, landed on an adjacent bush and fluttered about giving, to everyone’s delight, great views of their colourful plumage.

Zebra Finches. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Most of the Beginners then set off towards the Homestead area, pausing briefly at the wetland by the housing estate. The highlight here was a Royal Spoonbill in one of the ponds, giving a close-up view of its feeding technique.

Royal Spoonbill. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Lunch was taken in the shade of the trees by the carpark and birdcall was interrupted by a Brown Goshawk which landed on a tree branch beside the main drive. Members then walked past the Homestead to the beach where it was lowish tide. A White-faced Heron was quietly feeding whilst several Chestnut Teal were resting on the rocks. 

White-faced Heron. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

On reaching Cook Point, lots of small waders were seen feeding near the sandbanks.  Most of them were Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers along with a few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Several Crested Terns, both adult and immature were resting on the rocks as well as both Pied and Little Pied Cormorants. It was nice just to sit on the sand and watch as several more flocks of waders flew in with impressive aerial precision. A final highlight was the slow flypast of a lone Australian Pelican, heralding the end of the walk.

Migratory waders (mixed). Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Everyone agreed that Point Cook had provided a terrific start to Beginners 2021 and the final birdcall of 52 species was most impressive.

Many thanks go to Eleanor Dilley and Alan Veevers who, between them, provided all 10 photographs in this Report.