23 July 2022
Leader: Robert Grosvenor
Number of species: 45
Ten intrepid birders braved the cold and wet of mid-winter Melbourne to attend the beginners outing at Jells Park. When we first arrived the usual cacophony of squawking Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and squealing Rainbow Lorikeets was replaced with an eerie silence. This didn’t last long, as both of the above-mentioned birds soon made their present felt, along with numerous Noisy Miners.
Heading off on the walk, a Striated Pardalote was heard but could not be seen. Then the bird of the day was found, a resting Nankeen Night Heron. We also had excellent views of a Grey Butcherbird in this area before heading off again. We then entered the domain of the Spotted Pardalote with numerous pairs seen along the next 500 or so metres, along with Grey Fantails and Brown Thornbills.
We continued to the bird hide where we saw a good range of waterbirds, highlighted by a male Blue-billed Duck, but also including the usual suspects: Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Australasian Darter, Dusky Moorhen, Australasian Swamphen, Eurasian Coot and Australasian Grebe. Being a relatively small contingent, everybody was able to obtain good views of all the birds.
Further around the lake we encountered a feeding White-faced Heron, Great and Little Pied Cormorants, Hardheads, a Hoary-headed Grebe, Musk Ducks and of course the resident colony of Australian White Ibis. Grebes were extremely common on our walk today, particularly the Australasian.
In a grassy paddock we were fortunate to see a small flock of about ten Eastern Rosellas looking resplendent in their multi-coloured plumage. This was the only Rosella species seen but they were at a number of sites along both the morning and afternoon walks and their beauty was always appreciated.
Almost back to the carpark for lunch we at first saw Musk Lorikeets flying over but were then fortunate to find a small number in a tree close to the carpark. Good views were had and it was a first for one of the beginners
We tallied 41 species for the morning walk, which was a respectable total for mid-winter.
After lunch we went over the bridge and headed north hoping to find some new species to add to our list. It didn’t take long to find some Cattle Egrets in an adjacent cow paddock. This was followed by a large flock of Starlings, a Masked Lapwing and a pair of Chestnut Teal.
As the rain was threatening to increase we called it a day, and retreated to the car park. The additional four species from the afternoon walk took our tally to 45.