24 November 2018
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 62
Photographs by Eleanor Dilley
Moderate temperatures and light winds provided excellent conditions for the 37 members attending this outing. The Newport Lakes Reserve was looking very good with lots of eucalypts flowering and plenty of water in the ponds. Soon after leaving the carpark a small water hole on the left had attracted a male Rufous Whistler which moved around in a small bush alongside it.
Red Wattlebirds, New Holland Honeyeaters and a few White-plumed Honeyeaters were dominant in the tree canopy.
From the amphitheatre several Dusky Moorhens were seen, some shepherding very small chicks away from the admiring crowd. Australian Reed-Warblers were singing lustily around the edge of the lakes and could occasionally be seen.
Near the bridge a pair of Spotted Pardalotes had a nest between some rocks and members enjoyed excellent views of them. On crossing the stepping stones a pair of Black Swans had four young cygnets learning to feed themselves. On the dead trees further up the lake a male Australasian Darter was drying his wings along with a Great and a Little Black Cormorant.
Several Superb Fairy-wrens were seen foraging in the undergrowth beside the lake. On heading towards the arboretum ‘bird of the day’ was spotted – a Rufous Fantail! This was a most unusual sighting for a suburban park in November. The bird stayed around for 10 to 15 minutes, enabling everyone to have a good look at its beautiful plumage.
During lunch a bird call for the morning produced 38 species. Some members voiced their delight at the large total number of individual birds actually seen. Most of the group then drove down Maddox Road to the shore, where it was high tide. Unfortunately a serious pollution event had contaminated the Paisley-Challis Wetlands with an oily chemical, seriously degrading the habitat.
With the aid of booms the pollutant had been prevented from entering the bay, so the birds there seemed unaffected. Pied and Little Pied Cormorants were resting on partially submerged tyres whilst lots of Silver Gulls along with a few Black-winged Stilts and a lone White-faced Heron were on the shore.
A Red-kneed Dotterel and a Common Greenshank were also located amongst rocks on shore. Members then took the track through the wetlands to Jawbones Reserve and were rewarded with some great sightings. These included several Blue-billed Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks, Grey and Chestnut Teal, Royal Spoonbills and Hoary-headed Grebes.
A few Whiskered Terns showed off their flying skills, swooping down to the water’s surface to grab whatever morsel was on the surface. Little Grassbirds were calling lustily from the reeds, but were very hard to see.
At the turning point of the walk a large number of Pied Cormorants were displaying their very white breasts in contrast to the Little Pied Cormorants, some of which looked decidedly grubby.
A Great Crested Grebe was spotted nearby, raising excitement levels as we retraced our steps to the car park. A final look was taken on the shore where the tide was lower than it had been when we set out. Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints could now be seen foraging in the mud close to the bird hide.
Forty-four species were recorded for the afternoon session, which produced a combined total of 62 for the day. Once again, many thanks go to Eleanor Dilley for taking all the splendid photographs in the Report.
View the complete bird list for the day: BM Nov 2019 Bird List Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve