On Friday 21 July, Pat Bingham lead 15 members from the Hawthorn U3A on their monthly bird walk. This month the venue was Rigby’s (Dandenong Creek Wetlands) where they saw 31 species. They saw a Swamp Harrier, Flame Robins (including three lovely males) and 50+ Red-browed Finches. The pondages were very full and overflowing, so there were very few wading birds but they did see two White-faced Herons squabbling in a tree adjacent to Dandenong Creek, very close to a tree where they have previously nested. Are they planning to nest there again?
Thanks Pat and thank you Sue Wilson (U3A Hawthorn) for your photos.
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 46
The 42 members who attended the Woodlands excursion were lucky to see more water in the creek than had been seen for some time. Also, the vegetation looked healthier than in past years, presumably due to the recent rains.
This no doubt contributed to the large number of small bush birds seen, especially Superb Fairy-wrens and Red-browed Finches.
An early highlight of the morning walk was the sighting of both male and female Flame and Scarlet Robins in the same area close to the track.
Throughout the walk parrots were plentiful, especially Red-rumped Parrots apparently investigating the numerous nesting hollows available in the wonderful old River Red Gums.
A few Long-billed Corellas were spotted resting high in a tree, amongst many Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, with Galahs feeding in the grass below.
Whistling Kites and a Brown Goshawk were the only two raptor species seen. Up near the homestead several more Flame Robins were seen along the fence lines with Yellow-rumped Thornbills close by.
On the return track to the car park another hotspot was found with a Fan-tailed Cuckoo, more Flame Robins and a male Mistletoebird, which was seen by the lucky few.
After lunch most of the group drove to the section of the Park near the old Aboriginal Cemetery for a second walk. Heading towards the Sanatorium Lake a few extra species were recorded, including Grey Currawong and Crimson Rosella.
The only waterbirds seen on the lake were a pair of Australasian Grebes.
Inside the feral-proofed Back Paddock, Dave and Dorothy Jenkins kindly helped to track down a pair of Red-capped Robins, providing members with the highlight of the day.
A few Scarlet and Flame Robins were also seen in this area.
We had achieved our objective of finding three of the red Robin species, with the Red-capped Robin once again being a feature of the Woodlands visit. A total of 46 species was recorded on a most enjoyable and rewarding day.
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 57
Twenty-six members gathered on a sunny morning at the Ibis carpark where Noisy Miners certainly lived up to their name. They were the dominant species in that area, chasing away any other bush bird that dared to enter their territory. A Little Eagle circling overhead provided an exciting diversion as the group were just about to set off down the main drive towards the wetlands. It was not easy to identify for certain until a long-range photograph (attached) was examined on the camera.
The old dead trees, scattered amongst the lush live ones, enabled good views to be had of Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets as they investigated the many available nesting hollows.
A few Crested Pigeons appeared, feeding in the grasslands alongside the track. Another raptor was seen but, after much discussion, it was decided that it was, again, a dark morph Little Eagle.
Walking round the wetlands in an anticlockwise direction, a hotspot was found by a shallow muddy pool.
Here were Golden-headed Cisticolas, female Flame Robins, Red-browed Finches and numerous Superb Fairy-wrens. It took a further hour-and-a-half before a male Flame Robin was spotted by a sharp-eyed observer!
There was a plentiful supply of Ducks to be seen on the main ponds, where the water levels were encouragingly high. Highlights were Blue-billed Ducks, Australasian Shovelers, Hardheads and a relatively large number of Pink-eared Ducks.
Little Pied, Little Black and Great Cormorants, together with White-faced Herons, Australian White Ibis and Australasian Darters were also present.
At the edge of the wetlands a flock of Silvereyes perched on low bushes created a beautiful sight as the sun shone on their feathers. Members then returned to the Ibis carpark for lunch.
A short afternoon walk began at the Visitor Centre and explored the mixed bushland in the vicinity. The first sighting, much to everyone’s delight, was a pair of Tawny Frogmouths resting in typical fashion on a low branch of a nearby tree.
Continuing along the Heathland Trail, both Grey and Chestnut Teal accompanied by Dusky Moorhens were seen in a small pond. A final productive area, amongst River Red Gums, was encountered before we made our way back to the cars. This yielded Golden Whistler, White-browed Scrubwren, White-plumed Honeyeater and a very colourful flock of Spotted Pardalotes.
After the bird count, it was agreed that it had been a very rewarding day with 57 species recorded.