14 February 2023
Leader: Phillip West
Our first Midweek outing for 2023 saw 16 birders gather at Badger Weir Picnic Ground in glorious sunshine. With the temperature in the high teens and heading for the low twenties it promised to be a very comfortable interlude amongst the majestic Mountain Ash and the local Avian community. The Picnic area provided a very pleasing background of birdsong, and we were able to identify many of these before actually seeing them. Plenty of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, some Crimson Rosella, an Eastern Spinebill, a small flock of Silvereyes, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and a Pied Currawong.
After welcoming some new faces, we commenced our walk by making for the Lyrebird Track. On the way out of the picnic area, we spotted our first Australian Magpie foraging in the grass. Suddenly 3 Crimson Rosellas flew down onto the path quite near us presenting good opportunities for close-up views.
We crossed the creek and stopped for a while as we noticed the sound of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos overhead. One was seen and then we were able to establish that there were 3 birds flying over. More Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were spotted in the understory ahead of us, so we paused here to listen and watch. One bird call in particular eluded identification and although it was only heard by some of us, it proved rather frustrating and unfortunately never got resolved. This was something of a harbinger for the 800-metre trek along the Lyrebird Track …lots of sounds and not much vision!! We were able to add Brown Thornbill, White-browed Scrubwren and Red Wattlebird to the list, but sadly no Lyrebird. However, it was difficult to ignore the beauty of this walk. The contrast of light and shadow, the various shades of green and brown, the sight of basking Skinks, and the gentle sound of the creek all combined to please the eye.
Right at the end of this part of the walk, just where the track joins up with the gravel road to the weir, there was a lot of bird activity. Although they were mostly Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Silvereyes and Brown Thornbills, we also found a Grey Fantail. We went on down to the weir without much new apart from the call of a Striated Pardalote. However, on the way back along the gravel road, Robert Grosvenor cleverly relocated some Rufous Fantails that we had seen in the vicinity on the previous week’s recce. Excellent views were obtained by the whole group and as luck would have it an Eastern Whipbird was spotted lurking in the shadows just where the Fantails were busily flitting. Thankfully a few members managed to get sight of this often elusive species. At this point I should say that we were hearing White-throated Treecreepers on a regular basis, and it wasn’t long before somebody spotted one. Just a little further back toward the picnic ground we located a family of Superb Fairy-wrens and in the wooded area nearby we got some nice views of a White-throated Treecreeper.
The walk back to the picnic ground was punctuated by the now common sound of Silvereyes and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters. However, keen ears in the group were able to pick up the call of the Spotted Pardalote that was working the upper canopy somewhere nearby and the clinking call of the Grey Currawong. With a more open canopy along the road, we got sight of a single Sulphur-crested Cockatoo on several occasions. Perhaps the same bird initially heard at the picnic ground.
A post-lunch amble around the picnic ground yielded more of the common species of the day plus one Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, giving a somewhat satisfactory total of 20 species for the outing.
Photos kindly provided by Marilyn Ellis.
Bird Data for the day can be found via the links below: