Tag Archives: Blackburn Lake Sanctuary

April Education Report

On Wednesday 6 April, Janet Hand spoke to 25 members of the Doncaster & Templestowe Historical Society about the different species of birds that can be found in Manningham. The open fire was welcome on this wet evening.

On Saturday 9th April Geoff Deason and Jenny Frohlich assisted with the bird survey of the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. Twenty-nine species were seen within the sanctuary.

On Wednesday 13th April twelve ladies from the Mercy Boronia Hostel met our members at the recently refurnished Blackburn Lake Education Centre.

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They were given a brief history of the area by Peter Dempsey (Blackburn Lake Committee) and then a PowerPoint presentation on the different style of nests that birds build. It was then their turn to construct a birds nest with coconut fibre and line it with cotton wool. The ladies were then given morning tea and a short walk in the Sanctuary before leaving by bus at midday. Thank you to the helpers on the day – Peter Dempsey, Gay Gallagher, Jenny Frohlich and Janet Hand.

nests image

The following day Janet Hand visited the Heidelberg Pre-school and spoke to the 4year old group about backyard birds. They were given a short PowerPoint and shown some birds from our skins collection. As they have a treed area, they already had a good knowledge of the local species that rest and nest nearby.

Pat Bingham led a group from the Hawthorn U3A on a walk on Friday 15 April. They visited the Karkarook Park in Heatherton. Seventeen people attended, including an American birdo, and they saw 27 species. These included a female Blue-billed Duck, Red-browed Finches, 60 Long-billed Corellas and a Black-fronted Dotterel. A Pacific Gull was seen here – an unusual visitor to inland waters, as well as a very active Copperhead snake. Perhaps the warm weather brought out this late sighting.

On Saturday 23 April, the Friends of Blackburn Lake Creeklands conducted their biannual survey. This survey was led by Pat Bingham and Ian Moodie and produced 29 species. The most interesting being ‘lots of’ (more than six) Australian King-Parrots, Musk Lorikeets and Tawny Frogmouths. Four Cattle Egret and three Gang-gang Cockatoos flew overhead. The usual female Golden Whistler was found in the same tree as on other Autumn surveys. For the first time in four years an Australian Wood Duck was added to the list. Twenty five people attended this survey and were divided into two groups. Thanks Pat and Ian.

Janet Hand, BirdLife Melbourne Education Co-ordinator

Weekdays outing to Blackburn Lake Sanctuary

9 December 2014

Inlet of Blackburn Lake. Photographer: Diane Tweeddale
Inlet of Blackburn Lake. Photographer: Diane Tweeddale

A grey morning did not deter a crowd of 35 from assembling in the car park. Nominal leader was Diane Tweeddale but the brunt of the work fell to Geoff Deason whose considerable experience was successfully and gratefully called upon. Situated in the eastern suburbs and surrounded by houses there was not much expectation of an interesting or extensive list. However, despite many Noisy Miners near the car park and a large population of breeding Red Wattlebirds throughout the park, there were 39 species recorded today during a short walk of 3 ½ hours.

The first highlight was an obligingly close Musk Lorikeet which allowed everyone to study its markings. Pacific Black and Australian Wood Duck plus Chestnut Teal joined Eurasian Coots and Dusky Moorhens as the waterbirds. White-browed Scrubwrens, Brown Thornbills and Superb Fairy-wrens occupied the lower storey while Spotted Pardalotes and Striated Thornbills foraged in the flowering canopies. A large nest resolved into that of a furry Brushtail Possum and stick nests of magpies or ravens were even higher. Long-necked Tortoises were scared off by the commotion of a couple of mating Pacific Black Ducks but some tortoise sightings were obtained as Welcome Swallows swooped and dipped to drink. A Nankeen Night-Heron was flushed and flew but it landed and many obtained distant views. Then another highlight was a second Night-Heron close to one of the bridges. As we watched it was shaking and eating its prey which was initially thought to be a frog but was large and elongated and identified as an eel.

Nankeen Night-Heron eating its prey. Photographer: Danika Sanderson
Nankeen Night-Heron eating its prey. Photographer: Danika Sanderson

We had almost given up on Frogmouths when a pair was pointed out not far from the visitor centre. And then there were two more observed on the opposite side of the tree – four in all! The photographers were busy. Returning to lunch some needed to leave but most stayed to enjoy pre-Xmas nibbles before dispersing for the year.

Part of the group at lunch. Photographer: Diane Tweeddale
Part of the group at lunch. Photographer: Diane Tweeddale

Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings