6 March 2023
Leader: Rob Grosvenor
With the weather largely cleared after Sunday night’s rain a group of 18 midweek birders assembled at the end of Hallam Valley Road. The wetland here is currently undergoing improvement works. The link below provides extra detail on the need for these works for those interested.
F10290 Hallam Valley Wetland Renewal – Aqua Metro Pty Ltd
Such works clearly involve some disturbance to the nature of the site. The water levels were lower than normal with plenty of exposed mud. Despite this, and the presence of ongoing works and machinery, the morning provided some excellent bird watching.
Early highlights included quite a large flock of Rainbow Lorikeets, Brown Goshawk, Black-fronted Dotterel, Peregrine Falcon, and quite a bit of activity in the grassland to the North of the path.
Identification here was a matter of patience and many pairs of eyes. Golden-headed Cisticola, Silvereyes, and a single Australian Reed-Warbler were noted. As we progressed through the wetland the air began to fill with White-faced Herons and a couple of White-necked Herons also got in on the act.
The lower water levels and exposed mudflats seemed to be offering feeding opportunities not normally present here. Ducks and waterhens were few and far between with Masked Lapwings seeming more numerous.
Heading up to the edge of the Main Hallam Drain we noticed the lifeless bodies of some Eels that had succumbed to the pump out of water.
Taking a short detour toward the Freeway in the South-East corner, the Blackberry and grassy verges along this area provided habitat for New Holland Honeyeaters, European Goldfinch, White-browed Scrubwrens, and Superb Fairy-wrens.
Up near the pond at the end, a group of 20 Red-browed Finch were seen. Retracing our steps and continuing to the South-West the small lake just over the main drain yielded Little Black Cormorant, Australasian Darter, Pelican, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis and more White-faced Herons.
Royal Spoonbills were also recorded in this area and some Yellow-billed were seen flying over. The ponds on the North side of this section had somewhat more water in them and held small flocks of Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Dusky Moorhen and Purple Swamphen.
Through to the South-West corner and during the return walk to the main gate we picked up Welcome Swallows, White-plumed Honeyeaters, Noisy Miners, Grey Butcherbird and Wood Duck.
A dead rat being attended by several species of fly and some European Wasps brought home the gruesome face of nature at work (photos by Maarten Grabandt below).
Two late stay Fairy Martins were spotted hawking near the entrance as we went through the Bird list. Bird Data for the day can be found via the link below: https://birdata.birdlife.org.au/survey?id=9154624&h=8df0b5c5
Many thanks to Robert Grosvenor for leading on the day and helping us achieve a very good total of 49 species.
Photos kindly provided by Maarten Grabandt, Clancy Benson and Marilyn Ellis.
Weekdays Outing Coordinator: Phillip West