Tag Archives: Beginners Outing

Beginners Outing to Pound Bend

26 November 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 50

Thirty-two members gathered in glorious sunshine at Pound Bend Carpark and were greeted by lots of birds, both heard and seen, in the surrounding area. A variety of parrots were feeding on the grass, including Little and Long-billed Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs, as well as  Australian Wood Ducks with chicks. 

Little Corella. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Long-billed Corellas. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Wood Duck and chicks. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Setting off along the riverside track it was interesting to see the Yarra in full spate after the recent heavy rains. There were many highlights along the track such as an Eastern Yellow Robin sitting on a nest close to the path. It seemed very vulnerable as there were Pied Currawongs, looking threatening, nearby.

Eastern Yellow Robin on nest. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Eastern Yellow Robins. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

A pair of Common Bronzewings came into view walking along the track ahead of us with their wings shining in the sunlight. Seemingly oblivious to our presence they sauntered on, eventually taking wing and disappearing into the bush. Gang-gang Cockatoos and King parrots were among the more unusual birds spotted near the end of the riverside track. 

Male Bronzewing following female. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
White-faced Heron on nest. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A short circuit walk away from the river was unproductive. However, on regaining the riverside track, a White-faced Heron was spotted standing on its nest in a tall Manna Gum on a small island in the river. Further along, a Laughing Kookaburra was perched, manipulating a large frog in its beak. It quickly flew to a nest hollow, presumably to feed its mate and/or its chicks.

Laughing Kookaburra. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Sacred Kingfisher. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Just before the end of the walk a Sacred Kingfisher was heard and eventually located on a fallen tree in the river.  No Cormorants or Darters were seen, maybe because the river was flowing so rapidly that it would have been hard for them to feed. Many of the expected bush birds were heard but not many were so readily seen. Olive-backed Oriole, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Shining Bronze-Cuckoo came into the latter category. Good views of Superb Fairy-wren and White-browed Scrubwren were obtained by a section of the group in the right place at the right time.

Superb Fairy-wren, female. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
White-browed Scrubwren. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

After lunch a short walk was taken to the tunnel exit which was a dramatic sight with water gushing through very fast.  No further birds were seen to add to the morning’s total of 50 species. It had been an enjoyable walk in ideal conditions, particularly so for a few members for whom it was their first visit.

Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for, once again, supplying the excellent photographs.

Beginners Outing to Hawkestowe Park

24 September 2022

Species count: 62

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Seventeen members gathered at Le Page Homestead carpark and enjoyed watching the many birds which were around. One person recorded 24 species before the walk even started! The deciduous trees, bare of leaves, enabled small birds such as Striated Pardalotes to be seen and photographed.

Striated Pardalote. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Purple Swamphens. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

At the lake just below the homestead a pair of Purple Swamphens on a nest were busy feeding 2 very young chicks. On the larger pond were, Eurasian Coots, Grey Teal, Australian Wood Ducks, and a pair of Australasian Grebes. Near the parterre garden several small birds were foraging, including Red-browed Finches, Grey Fantails and Superb Fairy-wrens.

Red-browed Finch. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Superb Fairy-wren. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Members then took the Wonga Walk Track, alongside the river, and saw several new species including Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Musk Lorikeet and Long-billed Corella.

Long-billed Corella. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Musk Lorikeet. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Lunch was eaten back near the carpark after which most of the group drove the short distance to Morang Wetlands. There was a lot of water in the lakes and a good variety of birds. A lone Black-fronted Dotterel was feeding on the shore and several Australian Reed-Warblers could be heard but not seen.

Blue-billed Duck. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Black-fronted Dotterel. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A pair of Blue-billed Ducks, Hardheads, Grey and Chestnut Teal were on the water along with Great and Little Pied Cormorants. Fairy Martins and Welcome Swallows were skimming over the surface feeding on insects. On the ridge track Dusky Woodswallows were seen, and Bell Miners were heard.

Dusky Woodswallow. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Great Cormorant

Unfortunately, the pair of rare (for this site) Square-tailed Kites, which had been seen on the recce just three days earlier, did not appear. Photos from the recce are included here so that those who return to try and find them can look out for the diagnostic patterns shown on the upper and lower sides of the wings.

Recce photos of Square-tailed Kites by Steve Hoptroff

However, a gratifying total of 62 species was recorded for the day and everyone agreed that it had been a most enjoyable excursion. Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for providing the above excellent photographs.

Beginners’ outing to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

27 August 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 57

A fine weather forecast no doubt helped in attracting 46 members to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens for the August Beginners Outing. It was misty as the group assembled at Stringybark Carpark, seeing Superb Fairy Wrens and Grey Shrike Thrushes whilst listening to the trilling call of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo. As the walk began the Cuckoo was spotted close to the track, but the poor light made it hard to distinguish its colours. Soon afterwards several other species were sighted, including Eastern Rosellas and Brown Thornbills and, some distance away, a large Koala was found reclining in the fork of a tall tree. 

A female Flame Robin provided fleeting glimpses as she flew up to perch briefly on the new boundary fence before returning to forage in the grass. An Eastern Yellow Robin was sighted high up in a tree and this proved to be the first of many of this species seen on the day. As members left the wooded area the mist cleared, and the rest of the day was bright and sunny. A Brown Goshawk was circling overhead in the clear blue sky, and, to the delight of the watchers, it was soon joined by an impressive Little Eagle.

Spotted Pardalote. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australasian Shoveler. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

Just before reaching the wetlands a small flock of Spotted Pardalotes were observed feeding low down in small trees, giving excellent views.  On the first pond there appeared to be only Pacific Black Ducks, but then a lone Australasian Shoveler was seen at the far side of the water. There was a greater variety of birds on the second pond, including Chestnut Teal, Dusky Moorhen and both Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes. On the way back towards the carpark there were lots of Swamp Wallabies showing themselves and, as if not to be outdone, a large flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos appeared flying overhead. Fortunately, a few of them landed in a nearby tree thus providing a longer and much closer view of them. A Grey Butcherbird was heard many times before it showed itself to some of the group.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

It was pleasing to see that there were very few Noisy Miners in the park, the result being that there was a greater variety of honeyeaters than on many of our recent excursions. New Holland Honeyeaters were the most common but there were also White-eared, White-plumed, White-naped and Yellow-faced, as well as Eastern Spinebills.

New Holland Honeyeater. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

After lunch most of the members drove the short distance to the Australian Garden Carpark and, as they approached, Bell Miners could be heard beside the road. Shirley (one of our members and also a Friend of C.B.Gardens) gave some information on the gardens and pointed out some spectacular flowering plants as she led a walk to the far end of the gardens. Highlights included Little Pied Cormorants, more New Holland Honeyeaters, and a family of Pacific Black Ducks with a dozen very small ducklings. 

Pacific Black Duck with chicks. Photo by Alan Veevers

Some of the group were fortunate to see a young Southern Brown Bandicoot foraging near a picnic table, seemingly oblivious to human observers.

Southern Brown Bandicoot. Photo by Alan Veevers
Little Pied Cormorant. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

A grand total of 57 bird species was recorded on what was a most enjoyable and productive excursion. Thanks to our two photographers for the day, Steve Hoptroff and Alan Veevers, who, despite the early mist, managed to produce some excellent photographs to illustrate the Report. Also, thanks to Shirley Smith for leading the afternoon walk in the Australian Garden.

Beginners’ Outing to Jells Park

23 July 2022

Leader: Robert Grosvenor

Number of species: 45

Ten intrepid birders braved the cold and wet of mid-winter Melbourne to attend the beginners outing at Jells Park. When we first arrived the usual cacophony of squawking Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and squealing Rainbow Lorikeets was replaced with an eerie silence. This didn’t last long, as both of the above-mentioned birds soon made their present felt, along with numerous Noisy Miners.

Nankeen Night-Heron. Photo by Loh Katmun
Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Heading off on the walk, a Striated Pardalote was heard but could not be seen.  Then the bird of the day was found, a resting Nankeen Night Heron.  We also had excellent views of a Grey Butcherbird in this area before heading off again.  We then entered the domain of the Spotted Pardalote with numerous pairs seen along the next 500 or so metres, along with Grey Fantails and Brown Thornbills.

Spotted Pardalote. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

We continued to the bird hide where we saw a good range of waterbirds, highlighted by a male Blue-billed Duck, but also including the usual suspects: Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Australasian Darter, Dusky Moorhen, Australasian Swamphen, Eurasian Coot and Australasian Grebe. Being a relatively small contingent, everybody was able to obtain good views of all the birds.

White-faced Heron. Photo by Judi Kercher
Australian White Ibis. Photo by Judi Kercher

Further around the lake we encountered a feeding White-faced Heron, Great and Little Pied Cormorants, Hardheads, a Hoary-headed Grebe, Musk Ducks and of course the resident colony of Australian White Ibis.  Grebes were extremely common on our walk today, particularly the Australasian.

Musk Ducks. Photo by Loh Katmun
Eastern Rosella, male. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

In a grassy paddock we were fortunate to see a small flock of about ten Eastern Rosellas looking resplendent in their multi-coloured plumage. This was the only Rosella species seen but they were at a number of sites along both the morning and afternoon walks and their beauty was always appreciated.

Almost back to the carpark for lunch we at first saw Musk Lorikeets flying over but were then fortunate to find a small number in a tree close to the carpark. Good views were had and it was a first for one of the beginners

We tallied 41 species for the morning walk, which was a respectable total for mid-winter.

Cattle and Cattle Egret. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Chestnut Teal, male. Photo by Judi Kircher

After lunch we went over the bridge and headed north hoping to find some new species to add to our list. It didn’t take long to find some Cattle Egrets in an adjacent cow paddock. This was followed by a large flock of Starlings, a Masked Lapwing and a pair of Chestnut Teal.

As the rain was threatening to increase we called it a day, and retreated to the car park.  The additional four species from the afternoon walk took our tally to 45.

Beginners Outing to Woodlands Historic Park

25 June 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 40

Thirty-three members gathered at the Somerton Road Carpark, appreciating the exceptionally fine winter’s day. High in the magnificent old River Redgums were various parrot species, including Long-billed Corellas, Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets, sunning themselves, while on the grass numerous Superb Fairy-wrens were foraging for insects

Superb Fairy-wren. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Rainbow Lorikeets. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Setting off along the Creekside track Striated Pardalotes were very vocal and good views of them were enjoyed by all the members. A flock of Red-browed Finches was seen beside the path along with many more Superb Fairy-wrens. 

Red-rumped Parrots. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Long-billed Corellas. Photo by Roger Needham

An unusual sighting was that of a Quail-shaped bird which flew low down across the track landing behind a bush. Only the members at the front of the group got a brief glimpse before it scurried off into the undergrowth. After much discussion it could not be decided whether it was a Brown or Stubble Quail or even a Painted Button-quail. Also seen in the area were Yellow Thornbills, New Holland Honeyeaters and an Eastern Spinebill.

Red-browed Finch. Photo by Bevan Hood
Red-browed Finches. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

On leaving the creek-side track and entering the open area beside the horse paddocks, a Brown Falcon was seen and, in the far distance, a Wedge-tailed Eagle. There was also a large flock of Red-rumped Parrots which took off from a grassy patch and landed in the nearby trees. After a brief stop at the Homestead, where House Sparrows mingled with yet more Fairy-wrens, the group followed the track downhill towards the picnic area. On route, a Galah demonstrated its acrobatic ability as it seemed to be preparing a nest hole for future use. Meanwhile, a Nankeen Kestrel whizzed past overhead as did another, more leisurely, Brown Falcon.

Galah. Photo by Roger Needham
Little Eagle. Photo by Roger Needham

After lunch most of the members drove  to the Cemetery Carpark for a short second walk. There were great views of a Little Eagle as it circled overhead which was a delight to the photographers in the group. Not as many Robins were seen as in previous years, possibly because of the huge amount of housing development taking place along the park boundaries.

Scarlet Robin. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Scarlet Robin. Photo by Roger Needham

However, one male Scarlet Robin was found, much to the relief of the leaders! Other birds seen in the woodland included a male Golden Whistler and Striated Thornbills.

A total of 40 birds were recorded on what was a most enjoyable excursion.

Thanks to Eleanor Dilley, Bevan Hood, Steve Hoptroff and Roger Needham for contributing photographs.

Beginners outing to The Briars

28 May 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species Count: 47

The 23 members gathered near the Visitor Centre were pleased to see a variety of birds before starting the Sanctuary walk. These included Eastern Rosella, Grey Butcherbird, Masked Lapwing, Purple Swamphen and King Parrot.

Masked Lapwing. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Purple Swamphen. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Soon after starting off along the boardwalk a Great Egret was spotted preening in a nearby dead tree, thus providing a good opportunity for photographers. From the first hide a pair of Black Swans and a Yellow-billed Spoonbill were found on the water. 

Great Egret. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Yellow-billed Spoonbill. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Continuing along the boardwalk a number of bushbirds showed themselves, including Superb Fairy-wrens, Silvereyes, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and two Golden Whistlers. From the large hide there were great views of another Yellow-billed Spoonbill as it foraged for food close to the window. A White-faced Heron flew in, landing nearby, and a pair of Pacific Black Ducks swam nonchalantly across the field of view. 

White-faced Heron. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Black-fronted Dotterel. Photo by Alan Veevers

On leaving the hide some of the first group were fortunate to see a male Mistletoebird fly overhead, while those who lingered in the hide saw a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels fly in. Continuing along the boardwalk a Swamp Wallaby was seen feeding beside the track whilst more Superb Fairy-wrens busied themselves finding food. A White-eared Honeyeater showed itself as it foraged in the outer foliage of a flowering eucalyptus tree. 

Swamp Wallaby. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A flock of Little Corellas was seen, and heard, flying past the lookout overlooking the wetlands. As we walked along the high part of the track, Noisy Miners and Rainbow Lorikeets were the dominant species, though a pair of Long-billed Corellas and some Galahs were seen in a distant tree. A pair of Australian Pelicans flying gracefully in formation overhead were a delight to see. On the descent towards the creek New Holland Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails and Dusky Moorhens were sighted.

At lunch, back in the picnic area, the sun appeared and highlighted the colourful plumage of the many Crested Pigeons that foraged underfoot. Most of the members stayed for the afternoon walk up the hill towards the old homestead. Species seen here included Australian Wood Ducks, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Spotted Doves and lots more Crested Pigeons. The heritage chickens and pigs were admired along with the vast plantings of heritage fruit and vegetable species.  A distant raptor created a lot of interest and, after examining photographs, it was positively identified as a Brown Goshawk.

Crested Pigeon. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Tawny Frogmouths. Photo by Alan Veevers

On returning to the carpark a few members decided to revisit the first section of the wetlands walk and, following a tip-off from a Ranger, found 3 Tawny Frogmouths high up in a tree near the first hide.

A total of 47 species were recorded for the day which was deemed to be excellent for the time of year.

Thanks once again to Eleanor Dilley who provided all but two of the above photos and also for those used to verify the Brown Goshawk sighting.

Beginners’ Outing to Lysterfield Park

23 April 2022

Leader: Robert Grosvenor

Number of species: 40

Thirty one birders arrived at Lysterfield Park for the Beginners’ outing on a sunny, calm day, perfect for birding.  While in the carpark, we were assailed by numerous Rainbow Lorikeets and Little Ravens, and then the familiar call of Gang Gangs announced their presence.  This was followed by fleeting views of Crimson and Eastern Rosellas.

Gang-gang Cockatoos. Photo by Kathie Thomas
Beginners’ group. Photo by Kathie Thomas

At the start of the walk around the lake it was very quiet with nothing flying or calling apart from a lone Red Wattlebird.  Fortunately things improved further along the track and while stopped to see an Eastern Rosella, we added Superb Fairy Wrens, a small flock of Red-browed Finches, a Brown Thornbill and a lovely Eastern Spinebill which came in very close giving good views.  Just a short distance ahead we luckily found a pair of well camouflaged Tawny Frogmouths, one of which was in the classical Tawny pose.

Superb Fairy-wren. Photo by Kathie Thomas
Tawny Frogmouth. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A diversion off the established track led us to a jetty on the lake where we saw Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants.  Both male and female Musk Ducks were also seen here together with a flotilla of Eurasian Coots.

Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants. Photo by Kathie Thomas
Musk Duck, female. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

The lack of flowering trees and shrubs contributed to the dearth of Honeyeaters but we managed to obtain good looks at a White-eared Honeyeater.  Another diversion down to the water’s edge added Silver Gulls and very good views of a Spotted Pardalote.

White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Brush Bronzewing. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

This was followed by one of the highlights of the walk – seeing a Brush Bronzewing drinking from a puddle in the middle of the track.  With the sun behind them it gave all the photographers an excellent shot.  Despite the bush looking in fine condition birds were still scarce and apart from a couple of Eastern Spinebills and a Grey Fantail there was little to see.

Reaching the dam wall we saw Welcome Swallows over the water, more Musk Ducks and Cormorants, Masked Lapwings, Magpie Larks, Wood Ducks on the grassland and a Common Bronzewing.  

Musk Duck, male. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Little Eagle and Australian Magpie. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

This was followed by another highlight when a Little Eagle was spotted being harassed by two Magpies. This pale morph Little Eagle provided us all with excellent views sit circled overhead, continuously chased by the Magpies. Walking along the lake’s edge saw us pick up a pair of Pacific Black Ducks, Purple Swamphens, more Cormorants and Silver Gulls.

Little Eagle. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Swamphen. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After lunch, a short walk along Logans Track resulted in a Crested Pigeon and at least three Eastern Yellow Robins being added to the list.  Returning to the carpark we found another pair of Tawny Frogmouths in a tree very close to where we had lunch.

A total of forty species for the day was a fair result considering the time of year and because it was such a lovely day there were large numbers of bike riders and walkers all along the track, ensuring the birds were staying further into the bush, making birding that much more difficult.



Beginners Outing to Braeside Park

26 March 2022
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veeveres
Species count: 56

Thirty members assembled at the Southern Carpark in perfect weather conditions: sunny, light winds and not too hot. Soon after commencing the walk towards the  wetlands, a very well camouflaged Tawny Frogmouth was spotted in one of the gum trees. It gave everyone a good view and posed for many photographs before we moved on. 

Tawny Frogmouth. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Pink-eared Ducks with chicks. Photo by Bevan Hood

On the first pond a pair of Pink-eared Ducks was seen carefully shepherding their eight newly-hatched ducklings from one safe place to another. On the shore were a pair of Masked Plovers which dwarfed a nearby Black-fronted Dotterel, as did three Royal Spoonbills which were feeding in the background. The Dotterel was the first of many to be seen during the morning walk.

Black-fronted Dotterels. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australian White Ibis. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Continuing clockwise around the ponds some Australian White Ibis and many more waterbirds were seen. These included several more of the common Duck species, Australian Pelicans, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants and Australasian Darters. 

Australian Pelicans. Photo by Bevan Hood
Pink-eared Duck, Eurasian Coot and Chestnut Teal. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Little Black Cormorant and Australasian Darter. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Little Pied Cormorant. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

At the far end of the wetlands a Black-shouldered Kite perched on top of a dead tree, leaving it several times for short hunting trips before returning to the roost. On one such occasion it became involved in a fracas with a much larger Brown Goshawk, effectively chasing it away. 

Black-shouldered Kite. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Black-shouldered Kite. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Several bushbirds were also seen in this area, as well as on the return track, including Grey Butcherbird, European Goldfinch, Superb Fairy-wren and Grey Fantail.

Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Bevan Hood
Common Bronzewing. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After lunch most of the members drove to the northern end of Braeside and parked in the Pelican Carpark. A brief visit to the Visitor Centre was made so that the group could see more of the park’s raptors, albeit stuffed, before setting off on the Heathland Trail. A female Common Bronzewing feeding on the path did not seem threatened by our presence and walked across into the sunshine so that her wonderful feathers shone brightly. On reaching the ponds a few more Ducks were seen, along with Purple Swamphens and Long-necked Turtles. An Echidna was rescued from some children who were poking it with a stick, and then more small bushbirds were spotted. Another new species for the afternoon was a Pied Currawong which was heard calling in the distance.

The beautiful weather and abundant birdlife made this a most enjoyable excursion with 56 species recorded on the day.

Thanks to Eleanor Dilley, Steve Hoptroff and Bevan Hood for providing the photographs.

Beginners outing to Yan Yean Reservoir Park

26 February 2022
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers
Species count: 45
All photographs by Eleanor Dilley

Thirty members met near the entrance in pleasant sunny weather conditions.  Starting up at the dam wall several good sightings gave an excellent start to the morning:  a male Musk Duck just offshore; an immature male Australasian Darter on the roof of the small hut; a little Pied Cormorant and a White-faced Heron on the crane on the jetty and a pair of Red-rumped Parrots drinking by the slipway.   

Male Musk Duck
Australasian Darter

Members then drove to the third carpark and began the wetlands walk alongside the water. Dusky Moorhens, Australian Wood Ducks and Chestnut Teals were the predominant species, with Pacific Black Ducks, Australasian Grebes and Purple Swamphens in smaller numbers. 

Pacific Black Ducks
Purple Swamphen

Grey Fantails, Spotted Pardalotes and Brown Thornbills were seen in the taller trees, with Superb Fairy-wrens foraging at the water’s edge. After crossing the road to the fenced wetlands, several Parrot species were seen including Little and Long-billed Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Eastern Rosellas. A bird-scarer was sounding shots from a neighbouring property which no doubt disturbed them, and possibly reduced the number of ducks and waders on these wetlands. A flock of Australasian Grebe with young of various ages were the main waterbirds seen here.

Australasian Grebes with chicks under wings
Wedge-tailed Eagle

A pair of Wedge -tailed Eagles flying overhead caused a lot of interest, as did a lone Red-rumped Parrot well hidden in a tree. On returning to the first wetlands a White-faced Heron was perched on the opposite bank and later a Falcon flew overhead. It was initially thought to be a Peregrine Falcon, but later examination of Eleanor’s photo revealed it to be an Australian Hobby.

Red-rumped Parrot
Nankeen Night-Heron

Lunch was eaten at the top of the hill near the old caretaker’s cottage. There were only 2 Nankeen Night-herons in the nearby Corsican Pine, which was well down on the numbers seen there in previous years. After bird call members drove back to the other end of the park to the Lookout.  Two spotting scopes were set up near the fence, but it was hard to see between the trees.  After some perseverance a Great Crested Grebe was identified as well as a pair of Blue-billed Ducks.

This concluded a satisfying day with 45 species recorded, including 9 Parrot species.

Many thanks to Eleanor Dilley, who provided all the photographs.

Beginners Outing to Point Cook Coastal Reserve

22 January 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers
Species count: 48
Little Eagle. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Twenty six members braved the very hot weather to attend the Point Cook excursion. Whilst assembling at the Beach Picnic Area a Little Eagle circled low overhead providing great views for everyone. Superb Fairy-wrens and Willie Wagtails were the predominant birds as members walked towards the shore. At the beach the only birds which could be clearly seen were dozens of Silver Gulls, with a lone Australian Pelican in the far distance. 

Silver Gull. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Taking the track parallel to the shore, Silvereyes and a Singing Honeyeater were spotted in the bushes and a Nankeen Kestrel flew overhead. On the track back towards the cars a Crested Pigeon obligingly perched on a dead branch while smaller bushbirds were much harder to see.  

Crested Pigeon. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

At the carpark members searched for Yellow Thornbills which proved to be elusive, though seen and heard by a couple of senior spotters. A number of Yellow-rumped Thornbills were, however, clearly seen.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

As we drove to the RAAF Lake carpark it was pleasing to see that the recent heavy rains must have almost filled the lake, as it was still about two-thirds full. Three Australian Shelducks were on the lake and a Masked Plover was roaming the nearside bank. In the distance a White-bellied Sea-Eagle was spotted being determinedly mobbed by Silver Gulls. In the small ponds on the opposite side of the road several species were found, including a family of Australasian Grebes with very small chicks, two of which clambered onto the back of a parent as we watched. Australian Reed Warblers were very vocal, and a few were seen darting in and out of the reeds. Some members, at the rear of the group, saw Zebra Finches and Golden-headed Cisticolas and heard a Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo calling in the distance.

Australasian Grebe, chick(s) under wing. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Australasian Grebe and chicks, one on parent. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Members then drove towards the Homestead area, pausing briefly at the ponds beside the housing estate. Dusky Moorhens and Purple Swamphens were seen on the water and European Goldfinches and House Sparrows were feeding on thistles. On arrival, lunch was eaten in the welcome shade of some old trees beside the carpark. Here, immature Collared Sparrowhawks were very noisy in their demands for food and there were numerous sightings of them as they whizzed past overhead. Members then set off towards the Point at low tide where there were a number of Crested Terns, Pied and Little Pied Cormorants along with many more Silver Gulls. It was disappointing that no migrant waders were seen in this area. Continuing along the shore a Pied Oystercatcher could be seen in the distance, along with scores more Silver Gulls. Walking back inland, towards the carpark, the White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew overhead, giving much closer views this time. On reaching the carpark the young Sparrowhawks were still calling loudly and some members decided to stay behind to have further attempts at photographing them.

Despite the heat it was felt that this had been a successful excursion. 48 species were recorded, and the excellent raptor sightings partly compensated for the absence of waders.