Tag Archives: Murrindindi Reserve

Weekdays outing to Murrindindi Scenic Reserve

2 August 2022

The Murrindindi Reserve is about 70 km north of Melbourne, east of the Melba Hwy and just south of the Yea River. The reserve covers the lower reaches of the Murrindindi River which flows through Mountain Ash Forest. Unfortunately, the 2009 wild fires destroyed a large part of the reserve but the area visited on the day was spared destruction and minor damage, now replaced with regrowth creating a different habitat for fauna and flora.

The day was cold, with sunshine at times, but no wind that was forecast. With over 80 bird species listed for the reserve. A challenge awaited.

At our meeting point near Devlins Bridge, two species of Mistletoe were in flower, attracting an Eastern Spinebill and several Silvereyes. A Pied Currawong was eyeing off the small birds. Proceeding to the reserve we passed a hay distributing trunk which attracted both Little and Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Galah. Didn’t seem to worry the sheep also feeding on the hay.

Our next stop was a parking area near the suspension bridge. Toilets and picnic tables available. Leaving the vehicles and walking across the bridge, we took the track heading upstream along the eastern side of the river. Grey-shrike Thrush and Superb Lyrebird calling. A Swamp Wallaby was startled while feeding along the track and hastily left our view. A few parties of Brown Thornbill were feeding in the regrowth. A brief sighting of a Bassian Thrush as it flew across the track caused some discussion as its identity. Small flocks of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo passed overhead. Those in our party that had cameras tried to obtain opportunities for photographing an up-turned cockatoo ripping the bark from a eucalypt. On returning across the river and along the road to the vehicles for lunch, both White-throated Treecreeper and Eastern Yellow Robin were calling.

Lunch in the Sun and a “Bird Call” resulted in 25 species listed. After lunch we drove to the Wilhelmina Falls car park, and crossing the river headed towards the falls viewing area. Unfortunately, the regrowth after the fires obscured the view. Although away from the noise of the river, no calls could be heard. The only sighting was a Blackbird taking the total for the day to 26 bird species. Even with the small number seen, all attended enjoyed and for some it was a new area for them.

Graeme Hosken, Leader.

Weekday outing to Murrindindi Reserve

12 April 2016

Murrindindi River - Diane Tweeddale
Murrindindi River. Photo by Diane Tweeddale

The middle part of the drive up from the suburbs was challenging with heavy rain but the 19 who arrived were relieved to find it much drier over the ranges. Graeme Hosken was leader and we drove in convoy to the Suspension Bridge Day Area. The walk beside the Murrindindi River added White-eared Honeyeaters and Long-billed Corellas to the Little Corellas, Red Wattlebirds, Olive-backed Oriole and Crimson Rosellas among others at the meeting car park.

corella Grey fantail combination
Long-billed Corella (left). Grey Fantail (right). Photos by Berenice Pearcy

Calls, as always in forests, outnumbered bird sightings and Grey Butcherbird, White-throated Treecreeper and Grey Shrike-thrush were first heard and later glimpsed or, more fortunately, clearly seen. Walking was easy beside the river on well-made tracks and the provision of camp sites with associated toilet blocks made for very comfortable birdwatching. The trees have not yet attained great height and the 2009 dead skeletons still rise high where they are not losing branches or falling. The only downside of walking beside any swiftly flowing river, of course, is the river noise which makes listening for bird calls very challenging though visible Grey Fantails compensated. Thornbill identification continued to challenge but finally Brown and Buff-rumped were confidently added to the list after some debate.

scrubwren honeyeater combination
White-browed Scrubwren (left). White-eared Honeyeater (right). Photos by Berenice Pearcy

Honeyeaters were not plentiful with Red Wattlebirds, White-eared Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills dominating. Some apparent spinebill calls were reassessed as probably the Eastern Smooth Frog as they lasted much longer. The other honeyeater species were not recorded by many but some of the group were able to add Yellow-faced, New Holland and White-naped Honeyeaters to the list. Next stop was the SEC picnic area where Superb Fairy-wrens finally cast off their shyness and came into view at the clearing edges.

Superb Fairy-wren eclipse male- Berenice Pearcy
Superb Fairy-wren eclips male. Photo by Berenice Pearcy

Here also was seen White-throated Treecreeper which had been recorded mostly as calls. After lunch most of the group continued their walk to the top of Wilhemina Falls but this proved quite difficult with a steep and pebble-slippery track.

At the top of Wilhemina Falls - Graeme Hosken
At the top of Wilhemina Falls. Photo by Graeme Hosken

Birds were disappointingly few with no additional species and a couple who had walked the lower river track were able to add Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos to the list. Animal traces were scratchings in dry ground, which may have been by wallabies or lyrebirds plus scats – macropods (probably wallabies), wombats, rabbits and echidna (rather flattened). The several severed claws of crayfish along one section of the track were evidence of predation. When birdcall was taken just after 3 pm we were all delighted to realise the final group tally was 41 species.

Birders on the track - Diane Tweeddale
Birders on the track. Photo by Diane Tweeddale

We thanked Graeme enthusiastically for taking us through this post-fires regenerating area. Birds and animals are present after the 2009 extreme fires and following the area’s recovery will continue to be fascinating.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings