Tag Archives: Coolart Wetlands

Beginners Outing to Coolart Wetlands and Homestead

24 September 2016
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 57

Fine sunny weather greeted the 31 members gathered in the car park at Coolart Wetlands. The outing began by taking the track towards Luxton Lagoon, along which a ‘hot spot’ was soon reached. Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Shining Bronze-Cuckoo were both heard and eventually seen.

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Eastern Yellow Robin. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

An Eastern Yellow Robin was observed feeding chicks in a well-hidden nest and a pair of Red-browed Finches flew to-and-fro across the path carrying nesting material deep into the low bushes. Many other bush birds were found on the approach to Minsmere Hide, including Brown Thornbills, Superb Fairy-wrens and Golden Whistlers.

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Australian White Ibis. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

Great views were had from the two-level hide of Australian White Ibis nesting on nearby log islands in the lagoon. Some nests were still being built and some had two or three eggs in already. Males were proudly presenting their mates with freshly collected sticks and leaves and joining in the squabbling going on between the closely packed birds.

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Australian White Ibis. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Blue-billed Ducks were well spotted in a distant reed bed and Chestnut Teal were seen keeping a close watch on their fluffy youngsters.

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Grey Shrike-thrush. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Although there was plenty of water in the lagoon, the other wetland areas had very little. Consequently, there was not much bird activity in these areas. Lunch was had in the pleasant surroundings of the picnic area, joined by a fearless Grey Shrike-thrush and some rather pushy Australian Magpies.

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Red-capped Plover. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

The afternoon walk followed the woodland track to the beach where Red-capped Plovers were known to have nested. Three adults and three young were located in various parts of the roped area and also at the water’s edge.

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Red-capped Plover. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

A large number of hoof marks showed that the beach was heavily used by horse riders, emphasising the importance of protecting the area around the nest sites. A Little Pied Cormorant took no notice of us as it continued fishing some way offshore.

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King Parrot, female. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Both Red and Little Wattlebirds were evident in the woodlands and two female King Parrots engaged the group, feeding in track-side bushes.

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Little Wattlebird. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A skull in the middle of the track had people guessing its origin, which was later verified (by Merrilyn Serong) to be that of a Koala. Back at the car park our attention was drawn to a Tawny Frogmouth which was hard to see, though everyone remaining managed to get on to it before the final bird call; a fitting finale to the day with a count of 57 species.

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Hardhead, female. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

Despite our searches we had failed to find the Hardheads and Swans known to frequent the Luxton Lagoon. However, Merrilyn found both species after the formal close and provided lovely photographic evidence of what we had missed.

See the full bird list: bm-september-2016-bird-list-coolart

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Hardhead, male. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

Beginners outing to Coolart Wetlands and Homestead

27 September 2014; leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 64

Weather conditions were perfect as 36 members, including several ‘new’ beginners, assembled at Coolart Wetlands. Heading first to the Lagoon, a pleasing number of small bush birds such as Red-browed Finches and Superb Fairy-wrens lined the track. From the Minsmere Hide great activity amongst the two types of nesting Ibis was witnessed at close quarters. All stages from incubation to the feeding of chicks were represented. Also present were several duck species, including Freckled and Blue-billed. The group then took to the wetlands tracks and watched an unconcerned Eastern Great Egret jabbing its beak into the water seeking food. From the Antechinus Hide two pairs of Australasian Shovelers were studied whilst they rested on a log. Descending onto the woodland, a Fan-tailed Cuckoo was heard calling loudly, and as the group tracked it down a large koala was spotted in a fork of a nearby gum tree. The cuckoo was located at the top of a dead tree, affording excellent views for the beginners.

After lunch in the Homestead picnic area, most of the group took the Woodland Walk to the beach where two dolphins were frolicking just offshore. The sharp eyes of Geoff Deason found a well-camouflaged pair of Red-capped Plovers not far away and, approaching cautiously, everyone was able to see them with ease. Other birds were subsequently seen flying close to the waves, including an Australasian Gannet and a Pied Cormorant. On the return walk through the woodlands several more bush bird species were seen as well as a snake and a second koala. As the group returned to the car park across the Homestead’s formal garden, a Wedge-tailed Eagle and a Black-shouldered Kite appeared above as if to provide a rousing finale to a most pleasant and rewarding day on which the species count reached 64.