Tag Archives: Newport Lakes

Beginners outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

24 November 2018
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 62
Photographs by Eleanor Dilley
Rufous Fantail - Eleanor Dilley
Rufous Fantail – bird of the day

Moderate temperatures and light winds provided excellent conditions for the 37 members attending this outing. The Newport Lakes Reserve was looking very good with lots of eucalypts flowering and plenty of water in the ponds. Soon after leaving the carpark a small water hole on the left had attracted a male Rufous Whistler which moved around in a small bush alongside it.

Rufous Whistler male - Eleanor Dilley
Rufous Whistler, male

Red Wattlebirds, New Holland Honeyeaters and a few White-plumed Honeyeaters were dominant in the tree canopy.

White-plumed Honeyeater - Eleanor Dilley
White-plumed Honeyeater

From the amphitheatre several Dusky Moorhens were seen, some shepherding very small chicks away from the admiring crowd. Australian Reed-Warblers were singing lustily around the edge of the lakes and could occasionally be seen.

Dusky Moorhen with chicks - Eleanor Dilley
Dusky Moorhen with chicks

Near the bridge a pair of Spotted Pardalotes had a nest between some rocks and members enjoyed excellent views of them. On crossing the stepping stones a pair of Black Swans had four young cygnets learning to feed themselves. On the dead trees further up the lake a male Australasian Darter was drying his wings along with a Great and a Little Black Cormorant.

Black Swan cygnets - Eleanor Dilley
Black Swan cygnets

Several Superb Fairy-wrens were seen foraging in the undergrowth beside the lake. On heading towards the arboretum ‘bird of the day’ was spotted – a Rufous Fantail!  This was a most unusual sighting for a suburban park in November. The bird stayed around for 10 to 15 minutes, enabling everyone to have a good look at its beautiful plumage.

During lunch a bird call for the morning produced 38 species. Some members voiced their delight at the large total number of individual birds actually seen. Most of the group then drove down Maddox Road to the shore, where it was high tide. Unfortunately a serious pollution event had contaminated the Paisley-Challis Wetlands with an oily chemical, seriously degrading the habitat.

White-faced Heron - Eleanor Dilley
White-faced Heron

With the aid of booms the pollutant had been prevented from entering the bay, so the birds there seemed unaffected. Pied and Little Pied Cormorants were resting on partially submerged tyres whilst lots of Silver Gulls along with a few Black-winged Stilts and a lone White-faced Heron were on the shore.

Red-kneed Dotterel - Eleanor Dilley
Red-kneed Dotterel

A Red-kneed Dotterel and a Common Greenshank were also located amongst rocks on shore. Members then took the track through the wetlands to Jawbones Reserve and were rewarded with some great sightings. These included several Blue-billed Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks, Grey and Chestnut Teal, Royal Spoonbills and Hoary-headed Grebes.

Blue-billed Duck - Eleanor Dilley
Blue-billed Duck
Pink-eared Ducks - Eleanor Dilley
Pink-eared Ducks

A few Whiskered Terns showed off their flying skills, swooping down to the water’s surface to grab whatever morsel was on the surface. Little Grassbirds were calling lustily from the reeds, but were very hard to see.

Whiskered Tern - Eleanor Dilley
Whiskered Tern

At the turning point of the walk a large number of Pied Cormorants were displaying their very white breasts in contrast to the Little Pied Cormorants, some of which looked decidedly grubby.

Pied Cormorants Royal Spoonbill - Eleanor Dilley
Pied Cormorants watched by a Royal Spoonbill

A Great Crested Grebe was spotted nearby, raising excitement levels as we retraced our steps to the car park. A final look was taken on the shore where the tide was lower than it had been when we set out. Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints could now be seen foraging in the mud close to the bird hide.

Sharp-tailed Sandpipers Red-necked Stint - Eleanor Dilley
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stint

Forty-four species were recorded for the afternoon session, which produced a combined total of 62 for the day. Once again, many thanks go to Eleanor Dilley for taking all the splendid photographs in the Report.

View the complete bird list for the day: BM Nov 2019 Bird List Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve




Beginners Outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

27 January 2018
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 60
Chestnut Teal - Roger Needham
Chestnut Teal. Photo by Roger Needham

Despite the forecast for a hot and humid day, 37 members attended the January Beginners excursion. Many small birds were seen in the car park area, including surprisingly high numbers of Superb Fairy-wrens and Willie Wagtails. Soon after the walk started, a Royal Spoonbill was spotted circling high overhead. Whilst watching it, a Brown Goshawk appeared on the scene apparently inspecting the larger bird.

Dollarbird - Roger Needham
Dollarbird. Photo by Roger Needham

There was great excitement when a Dollarbird (seen two weeks earlier on the recce.) was spotted perched on the top of a tall dead tree-trunk rising from the water. It stayed in place for many minutes, enabling everyone to have a really good look.

Dollarbird - Eleanor Dilley
Dollarbird. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A Little Black Cormorant and several Little Pied Cormorants were resting lower down in the same group of dead trees. One Little Pied Cormorant went fishing and caught and ate a decent sized one!

Little Pied Cormorant eating fish Newport Lakes 2018 01 27 800x500 M Serong

Little Pied Cormorant eating fish Newport Lakes - M Serong
Little Pied Cormorant feeding. Photos by Merrilyn Serong
0065 little pied cormorant eating fish newport lakes 2018 01 27 800x500 m serong
Little Pied Cormorant eating fish. Photo by Merrilyn Serong.

Continuing down-hill to the water level track enabled good views to be had of Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes, as well as young Eurasian Coots begging for food from their parents.

Hoary-headed Grebes Newport Lakes - M Serong
Hoary-headed Grebes. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

There were very few ducks on the lake which may be attributed to the presence of some large carp which are known to nibble on the feet of ducks.

Young Eurasian Coot - Eleanor Dilley
Young Eurasian Coot. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A welcome lunch was enjoyed in a convenient shaded picnic shelter near the car park. A bird call tallied 34 species for the morning at the lakes.

About 20 members stayed on to drive down Maddox Road to the shore for the afternoon session. The tide was rather high and no small waders were initially seen. However, several Common Greenshanks were observed as they foraged at the edge of the shore. A large group of Black Swans and Australian Pelicans were disturbed into flight by a very low-flying microlight aircraft.

Blue-billed Duck male Jawbone Res - M Serong
Blue-billed Duck. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

Nothing much was seen from the track across the salt marsh but walking around the first lake in Jawbone Reserve revealed a remarkable number of species. Included were Great-crested Grebe, Blue-billed Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Shoveler and Musk Duck.

Great Crested Grebe Jawbone Res - M Serong
Great-crested Grebe. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

Several Royal Spoonbills on a small island still had their breeding head plumes on display.

Royal Spoonbill - Eleanor Dilley
Royal Spoonbill. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

They were accompanied by both Chestnut and Grey Teal, mostly resting with their heads tucked under a wing.

Further into the reserve, many different birds were seen resting at the edge of an island in one of the lakes.

Black-winged Stilt - Roger Needham
Black-winged Stilt. Photo by Roger Needham

These included Black-winged Stilts, Pink-eared Ducks and several Pied Cormorants along with their smaller relatives.

Pied Cormorant - Eleanor Dilley
Pied Cormorant. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Whilst watching the roosting birds, a White-faced Heron flew gracefully overhead as if to remind us it was time to turn for home.

Returning towards Maddox Road a flock of Yellow-rumped Thornbills were seen in low bushes. Surprisingly these were the only thornbills seen on the excursion.

White-faced Heron Jawbone Res - M Serong
White-faced Heron. Photo by Merrilyn Serong

Back at the shore the tide had receded, leaving more mud banks available for the waders. Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers were on the distant sand-banks, and a small flock of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers with a lone Red-kneed Dotterel were in the drainage channel.

Little Pied Cormorant - Eleanor Dilley
Little Pied Cormorant. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

46 species were recorded for the afternoon, with a combined total of 60 for the day. Although it had been hot and humid, everyone felt they had enjoyed some excellent sightings, with ‘Bird of the Day’ clearly awarded to the Dollarbird.

View full bird listing: BM Jan 2018 Bird List Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

Beginners Outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

24 October 2015
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Forty members gathered at Newport Lakes Reserve in perfect weather conditions and watched numerous birds in the car park, including a female Rufous Whistler, Silvereyes and Rainbow Lorikeets. Many of the eucalypts in the reserve were flowering, where the dominant birds were Red Wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters.

From left to right: Rainbow Lorikeet, photo by Merilyn Serong; Canary? Photo by Ron Garrett; Whistling Kite, photo by E. Dilley
From left to right: Rainbow Lorikeet, photo by Merrilyn Serong; Canary? Photo by Ron Garrett; Whistling Kite, photo by Eleanor Dilley

On the lake a male Australasian Darter was perched alongside Great, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants. A small white bird flew across the water and perched near to the group causing much excitement, but after careful consideration it was reluctantly concluded that it was an aviary escape, probably a Canary! Some members saw a Sacred Kingfisher and others a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, but everyone saw and heard an Australian Reed-Warbler perched on a tall reed singing beautifully for a considerable time (view the video):

Whistling Kite and Collared Sparrowhawk were the only raptors. Fifty-one species were recorded for Newport Lakes.

From left to right: Australian Reed Warbler, Shining Bronze Cuckoo. Photos by Ron Garrett
From left to right: Australian Reed-Warbler, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo. Photos by Ron Garrett

Most of the group then drove down Maddox Street to the shore for lunch. It was high tide which limited the number of waders to be seen at the beach, though Black Swans, Australian Pelicans and gulls were plentiful. A walk through Jawbone Reserve was most productive, with good views of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Red-kneed Dotterels, Black-winged Stilts, Hardheads and numerous other ducks, of which Blue-billed were the most unusual. A Buff-banded Rail and a swimming snake added to the interest. Several Royal Spoonbills were displaying their spectacular breeding ‘hairstyles’ and the many cormorants were in splendid plumage. A pair of White-fronted Chats was seen towards the end of the walk.

From left to right: Hardhead, Chestnut Teal and Royal Spoonbill. Photos by Merilyn Serong
From left to right: Hardhead, Chestnut Teal and Royal Spoonbill. Photos by Merrilyn Serong

A few members returned for a second look at the shore and were rewarded with a great view of a Caspian Tern perched on the breakwater, being mobbed by Silver Gulls, as well as a flock of Bar-tailed Godwits in the distance. Fifty-eight species were recorded for Jawbone with a magnificent 76 species for the day.

See the bird list: BM Oct 2015 Bird List Newport Lakes & Jawbone Reserve

Beginners outing to Newport Lakes and Jawbone Reserve

25 october 2014; leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species count: 71

The weather was overcast but with little wind, giving good conditions for the forty-two members who met at Newport Lakes. Flocks of small bush birds such as Red-browed Finches and Superb Fairy-wrens were plentiful along the edges of the tracks. A Nankeen Night-Heron was perched by the creek at the Amphitheatre whilst two young Red Wattlebirds being fed in their nest provided another highlight. A male Australasian Darter standing on a rock near the stepping stones was much admired and further along three Cormorant species; Great, Little Black and Little Pied were all perched on the same old stag, providing good comparisons. Inevitably, with such a large group, some species were not seen by everyone. For example, those near the front had a clear view of a Rufous Whistler while those at the back saw a Collared Sparrowhawk and a Sacred Kingfisher. A total of 47 species was recorded during the morning walk around the lakes.

Most of the group then drove down Maddox Street to the Bay, where lunch was taken beside the recently refurbished hide. Scopes proved useful in identifying five distant Gull-billed Terns and also for enabling close-up views of Common Greenshank and Royal Spoonbill. Many other waterbirds were seen from this excellent picnic spot, including several hundred roosting Whiskered Terns. The afternoon walk took us from the lunch spot into Jawbone Reserve using the coastal cycle/walking track. There were good sightings of waders such as Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-kneed Dotterels in the salt marshes and numerous ducks on the deeper ponds. Several male Blue-billed Ducks as well as Great-crested Grebes were in full breeding plumage. Another interesting sighting was of European Greenfinch eating seeds from an aquatic plant on a small wetland beside the path.

This was a most productive and enjoyable day with an overall total of 71 species, from 47 at Newport Lakes and 55 at Jawbone Reserve and beach.