Forty members assembled at the East Carpark in pleasant weather conditions and set off to walk clockwise around the lake. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were very vocal and provided easy sightings along with a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets which were peering out of a nest hollow.
A Laughing Kookaburra was perched above the track near the first bend and a pair of Tawny Frogmouths was spotted nearby.
On the lake there were good views of Australasian Darters, Australasian Grebes, Little Pied Cormorants and Black Swans. Nesting on the main island were Royal Spoonbills, Little Black Cormorants and numerous Australian White Ibis.
There was not as many different species of duck as in previous years, with the majority being Australian Wood Ducks and Pacific Black Ducks.
There was a pleasing number of bushbirds seen, such as Superb Fairy-wrens, Red-browed Finches, Magpie-larks and a Spotted Dove. However, ‘bird of the day’ was a female Satin Flycatcher which was in trees near the path and was clearly seen by all the members and was a ‘lifer’ for many of them.
Lunch was eaten near the carpark, where Eastern Rosellas and Galahs flew close by giving good views to all. A short walk was taken in the afternoon towards Shepherds Bush and 4 extra species were added to the list including Pied Currawong and Welcome Swallows.
A creditable total of 49 species was recorded for the day, with lots of really good sightings, especially the uncommon Satin Flycatcher which was the most cooperative bird.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for, once again, providing many excellent photos from which the ones used above were selected.
It was lovely to see 15 hardy souls gather to birdwatch what could have been 100 acres of sodden bush. Quite a few donned their waterproof over pants in anticipation of a wet outing. Mercifully, we had two and a half hours of scudding clouds, a little sunshine and only a few drops of rain. The car park yielded a few species as we waited for everyone to arrive. A couple of Wood Duck, some Welcome Swallow, Magpie-lark, and a flyover Australian White Ibis. Little Raven and Noisy Miners were also present.
We thanked Diane for all her years organising the Midweek outings and welcomed Phillip into the role.
A prior recce of the site had established a few problems with fallen trees and extensive water over some paths. Our route through the woodland was tailored accordingly. After a slow start where sounds dominated, and sightings were restricted to glimpses we were presented with some lovely views of a rather tolerant male Common Bronzewing.
We proceeded past Green Dam and came across both Crimson and Eastern Rosella before being surprised by a beautiful Australian King-parrot.
Rainbow Lorikeets and Noisy Miners were very active around here along with a Pied Currawong and a Laughing Kookaburra.
An Australian White Ibis was seen landing in a nearby garden, and an Australian Magpie was heard. The parrot family though, was keen to make its presence felt with a flyover by 2 Galahs and a fly past by 2 Little Corellas, and just as we got near Brown Dam a flyover of 5 Sulphur Crested Cockatoos one of which presented for a photo.
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike also turned up here, submitting to the photographer’s lens.
Small birds were hard to find, and up to this point we’d managed 1 Brown Thornbill and a heard a few Spotted Pardalotes. We continued along Ridge Track and heard Grey Fantail as well as spotting a secretive Superb Fairy-wren. Bird Corner didn’t turn up much for us at the end of the group, but we did hear a Common Blackbird and a White-throated Treecreeper before descending the Northern Boundary Track.
As we neared Chris’s Track the Red Wattlebirds, which had been evident by their calls, revealed themselves along with a few more Superb Fairy-wrens. A Grey Butcherbird also made a brief appearance here.
Descending to Tadpole Dam more Red Wattlebirds became evident, a Grey Shrike-thrush was calling, and another Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike turned up. The Olive-backed Oriole’s rolling call was heard again by some in the group, but it proved rather elusive. Tea Tree Track provided a brief spell of LBJ activity with 2 groups of Thornbills – Brown working the middle canopy and a flock of Striated up top.
We then headed back to the car park and doing a final check with the lead group we were able to add a few more species to the list…Eastern Yellow Robin, Eastern Spinebill, and Fan-tailed Cuckoo. A quick walk over to the far side of the oval yielded some nice views of Eastern Rosellas and an Australian Magpie fossicking around in the grass. No Water birds apart from the Wood Duck and no Whistlers. On a more positive note, we didn’t record any Common Starlings or Common Mynas.
32 Species all up was a very satisfactory total for the morning.
Photos kindly provided by Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff.
The day promised fine weather, calm and clear for birdwatching, and it didn’t disappoint. Seventeen started the walk under the leadership of Rosemaree Mclean and Malcolm Brown of The Friends of Braeside Park.
Our interest was high as the morning’s walk was to be through the heathland area which is as yet not publicly accessible. The heathland has formed on low-nutrient sands and our track passed along white sand where tiny insectivorous sundews grew. At the start, Rosemaree’s favourite Tawny Frogmouth, was beautifully cooperative as it sat patiently and photogenically on its tree fork nest.
After the aggressive Noisy Miners in the car park a Tawny was a great sighting. Trees are more spaced and fewer on the heaths so birds are restricted, though we still noted Little Raven and Rainbow Lorikeet while the calls of Grey Butcherbird, Red Wattlebird and Spotted Pardalote reached us as we walked.
A skein of Straw-necked Ibis flew over and a couple of birders were briefly able to glimpse a Brown Goshawk pass above.
The call of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo reached us and a small pond contained a Chestnut Teal – birds took advantage of any resource.
After lunch back at the cars we farewelled Rosemaree and Malcolm with many thanks. A couple of people with afternoon appointments also departed and the remainder arranged to visit the wetlands and bush, walking in 3 groups according to walking ability. This covered a variety of habitats and so the afternoon species list added a range of species.
Waterbirds were present in numbers – Black Swans with fluffy cygnets, male and female Musk Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks in a tree, both Chestnut and Hoary-headed Grebes and Great, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants while Cattle Egrets foraged around the small herd of cattle in the adjacent paddock.
A Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike was first heard then finally seen as it exited the tree canopy.
The walk finished with the separate groups comparing lists and noting the variation with habitat. We recorded 34 species in the heathland and 27 in the bush and wetlands later in the day.
The cumulative total was 50 species, a very pleasing result.
Thirty-three members gathered at the Somerton Road Carpark, appreciating the exceptionally fine winter’s day. High in the magnificent old River Redgums were various parrot species, including Long-billed Corellas, Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets, sunning themselves, while on the grass numerous Superb Fairy-wrens were foraging for insects
Setting off along the Creekside track Striated Pardalotes were very vocal and good views of them were enjoyed by all the members. A flock of Red-browed Finches was seen beside the path along with many more Superb Fairy-wrens.
An unusual sighting was that of a Quail-shaped bird which flew low down across the track landing behind a bush. Only the members at the front of the group got a brief glimpse before it scurried off into the undergrowth. After much discussion it could not be decided whether it was a Brown or Stubble Quail or even a Painted Button-quail. Also seen in the area were Yellow Thornbills, New Holland Honeyeaters and an Eastern Spinebill.
On leaving the creek-side track and entering the open area beside the horse paddocks, a Brown Falcon was seen and, in the far distance, a Wedge-tailed Eagle. There was also a large flock of Red-rumped Parrots which took off from a grassy patch and landed in the nearby trees. After a brief stop at the Homestead, where House Sparrows mingled with yet more Fairy-wrens, the group followed the track downhill towards the picnic area. On route, a Galah demonstrated its acrobatic ability as it seemed to be preparing a nest hole for future use. Meanwhile, a Nankeen Kestrel whizzed past overhead as did another, more leisurely, Brown Falcon.
After lunch most of the members drove to the Cemetery Carpark for a short second walk. There were great views of a Little Eagle as it circled overhead which was a delight to the photographers in the group. Not as many Robins were seen as in previous years, possibly because of the huge amount of housing development taking place along the park boundaries.
However, one male Scarlet Robin was found, much to the relief of the leaders! Other birds seen in the woodland included a male Golden Whistler and Striated Thornbills.
A total of 40 birds were recorded on what was a most enjoyable excursion.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley, Bevan Hood, Steve Hoptroff and Roger Needham for contributing photographs.
A dry day and a suburban location combined to attract 17 birdwatchers to the small car park. Someone had clearly been feeding the pigeons as there was a flock of at least 100 Rock Doves/Feral Pigeons beside the car park. They were accompanied by several Dusky Moorhens, including a couple of immatures without any marked colour.
Australian White Ibis passed overhead on their way to the islet in the creek and Silver Gulls perched on the top of the weir.
A quartet of Black Swans paddled about and at intervals one would sit on a nest. Swans believe in recycling as it was clear that much human-derived litter was incorporated in the nest.
Adding to our bird lists were smaller numbers of Common Mynas, Australian Wood Ducks, Chestnut Teal pairs and Little Ravens.
We noted occasional Australian Magpies and Magpie-larks as we set off under the guidance of Elsmaree Baxter, our leader, and kept alert for blossoming eucalypts. The lerps, nectar and blossoms certainly attracted the lorikeets and we recorded both Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets in considerable numbers. Today honeyeaters were limited to Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Miners, both aggressive and fairly large species.
The high point for many people occurred when the call “Tawny Frogmouth” went up. Yes, a sharp-sighted member had found it roosting against a eucalypt trunk. Pied Currawong was first heard and then seen by most while only a few of us heard a brief kookaburra call. Additional water birds were added later in the walk and their recognition was explained to newcomers to birding. Little Black Cormorants flew past and a brief overhead passage of a female Australasian Darter gave a good ID session. Australasian Grebes were finally sighted after a frustrating wait for the pair to surface after repeated dives. A Little Pied Cormorant flew past and then one was seen flying into a lakeside tree. Closer watching revealed an occupied nest, surprisingly difficult to see. Near the bank a couple of White-faced Herons stood watchfully while the only Eurasian Coot of the day occurred late in the walk.
Also late in the walk, Crested Pigeons joined the many Rock Doves and few Spotted Doves on our list. And at the far point of the walk came a second highlight – a Nankeen Night-Heron was perched beside the track. Not a full view but recognizable. No raptors were recorded but they would have been unexpected in heavily built-up suburbia.
At the finish we recorded 33 species and thanked Elsmaree for all her preparation which resulted in finding so many birds in suburbia.
The early weather predictions sounded unfavourable but as the date approached the rain was to fall on either side of the 12thand this certainly encouraged birdwatchers to turn out, be they new to the challenges or long-experienced. Twenty-four gathered in the car park between the archery field and the aero club where other enthusiasts followed their choice. Elsmaree Baxter led our group and commented how the day was less flooded than she had once experienced it, though a small dog of the archery group had to be lifted out of a too-deep wet ditch. Not many birds on the open grounds – the ‘usual suspects’, Australian Magpies, several Magpie-larks and a couple of Crested Pigeons used the grassed areas with visits from Galahs and a solitary Masked Lapwing.
Little Ravens perched on a near tree while Rainbow Lorikeets flew over. We headed into the bush area where the party became a long skein of watchful birdos. Common Bronzewings were a welcome sight and the piercing calls of Grey Currawongs were new for several people and were compared with the Pied calls.
A few Noisy Miners were detected near the edge of the bush and the tinkling calls of Bell Miners sounded round the water’s edges. Tiny calls from tiny birds marked the location of small groups of Silvereyes and Grey Fantails foraging acrobatically high in the foliage. Waterbirds were mostly noted as fly-overs – a Silver Gull, a female Australasian Darter, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibises – while a small pond yielded our only Pacific Black Duck and White-faced Heron.
No raptors were seen though the bill of a Grey Butcherbird looked formidable. By walk’s end we had a bird list for the group totaling 49 species and we thanked Elsmaree for all her preparation which had given such a satisfactory result for a site so close to the city .
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 39
Photographs by Eleanor Dilley
Perfect weather conditions for birdwatching – sunny, little wind and temperatures in the low 20s – greatly added to the enjoyment for the 38 members who attended the outing to Pound Bend.
From the carpark several parrot species were heard calling loudly, at times drowning out the efforts of the leaders to explain things, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were the major culprits! Rainbow Lorikeets were also plentiful, with the bright sun showing up their brilliant colours.
Walking along the river track it was pleasing to see several Eastern Yellow Robins and a pair of White-throated Treecreepers as well as numerous Grey Fantails and Superb Fairy-wrens.
Several ducks were on the river, including a pair of Chestnut Teal which is a very unusual sighting in this location. There were also three Little Pied Cormorants, one perched and others feeding in the river.
A Tawny Frogmouth perched close to the track with its beak thrust in the air in camouflage pose was a delight to all, especially the photographers. There were fewer birds to be found after the track left the riverside, heading for the higher, drier ground. Laughing Kookaburra and Magpie Lark were amongst the few species seen there. As the return track approached the river the pleasing sound of small birds could again be heard and Grey Shrike-thrush was added to the list.
Lunch was eaten near the carpark and surprisingly no birds arrived to steal the sandwiches! After birdcall about half the group walked along the river track towards the tunnel and they were delighted to see a magnificent Australasian Darter perched on a log in the river with its deep chestnut breast shining in the sun. Members also enjoyed watching numerous Welcome Swallows flying in and out of the tunnel. A total of 39 species was recorded for the day which was a reasonable tally for this time of year.
Many thanks, once again, to Eleanor Dilley, who provided all the above photographs.
Twenty-three people started walking in misty showers of rain. These soon eased and patches of blue started appearing. Around the car park and near the picnic shelter of the “dragonfly” structure the dominant birds were, unsurprisingly, Noisy Miners and Australian Magpies keeping their attention on the possibility of picnic scraps.
A brief walk along the dragonfly’s tail allowed those who had not visited the park before to appreciate its size and layout and to turn binoculars towards the various lakes. The reed-fringed inlet of the main lake seemed only to host a Eurasian Coot and a Dusky Moorhen but as we crossed the small bridge we heard Australian Reed-Warblers calling and a couple were glimpsed by fortunate watchers.
Birds flying over had added Rainbow Lorikeet, Silver Gull and Little Raven to a list which included Magpie-lark, Galah, Red Wattlebird and Welcome Swallow.
Walking toward the lake we passed by a pair of Australian Wood Duck with 4 “teenaged” young, all well habituated to humans walking near. The walk along the western side of the main lake did not yield many new species though Superb Fairy-wren and Red-browed Firetail were much admired, especially the former with an active blue male and brown female. The high mournful whistles of Little Grassbird proved challenging for many to hear as we passed close to another reed bed. The large untidy nest of a Little Wattlebird was noted in a tree fork in the north-west of the park.
Birds were fewer on the southern side of the park though House Sparrow was added near the horse paddock of the harness club. A relaxed lunch was enjoyed after we returned to the “dragonfly” before we headed off to the western lakes.
This is usually a rewarding area and today did not disappoint. Swans were not seen but Hardhead and Grey and Chestnut Teal were added here. One highlight was the Latham’s Snipe which flushed briefly. An Australian Pelican flew over, very high, while a Nankeen Kestrel hovered far below it.
A Hoary-headed Grebe seemed to be alone but the shape of the small lakes and the vegetation around the edges meant counting birds was challenging. Many considered the highlight of the day was the pair of Freckled Ducks roosting quietly at the reeds’ edge.
Back to the car park and bird call where the total was 46 species, a very creditable total for a small created suburban site with a history as a sand quarry and the practical function as a water purification zone.
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 48
There was a chaotic start to this excursion as the intended carpark was full of baseball players’ cars and the beginners had to find parking spaces in the surrounding streets. However, this was soon forgotten when a pair of Tawny Frogmouths were located in one of their usual trees to the left of the carpark. In overcast conditions the 29 members then walked to the lagoon which was full of water from the recent rains. Pairs of Long-billed Corellas and Red-rumped Parrots, along with numerous Silver Gulls, were perched in the old dead trees on the far side. Two Pink-eared Ducks were seen swimming across the lagoon and then resting on partially submerged logs.
Grey and Chestnut Teals, Pacific Black Ducks, a Eurasian Coot, a Dusky Moorhen and a Hoary-headed Grebe could be seen in the distance. After leaving the lagoon on a track towards the river, Pied Currawongs were noisy and plentiful.
A huge River Red Gum hosted a mixed flock of smaller birds, including a pair of Golden Whistlers, Grey Fantails, Spotted Pardalotes and Brown Thornbills.
Near the river a male Common Bronzewing was perched high on a branch and several White-browed Scrubwrens were seen foraging in shrubs on the riverbank. Returning along the track from the windmill, a few Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were seen and this proved to be the only honeyeater species recorded for the day, apart from the ever present Noisy Miners. Near to the Main Yarra Trail a Gang-gang Cockatoo was heard giving its “creaky gate” call and was soon located and identified as an immature male.
A small flock of Silvereyes fluttered around nearby and more Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were seen in a profusely flowering eucalyptus tree. Magpie-larks could readily be seen and heard on the ground.
On returning to the now empty carpark the members retrieved their vehicles from the surrounding streets and then had lunch beside the oval where they watched a mixed feeding flock of Galahs, Long-billed and Little Corellas. A short walk was then taken along the main trail towards the ‘grotty ponds’.
The sun finally put in a brief appearance, shining onto a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets feeding in a flowering ironbark. Nearby a second pair of Tawny Frogmouths was located and then a pair of Crested Pigeons was seen giving a courtship display.
From the raised level of the track an Australasian Grebe could be seen on the lagoon – an unusual sighting for Banyule Flats. The ‘grotty ponds’ had been cleared of vegetation, so disappointingly there was no sign of any crakes or rails. In a nearby flowering gum a mixed flock of Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets could be seen noisily feeding.
At this point dark clouds were approaching, threatening very heavy rain, and so all the members hurried back to their cars.
A pleasing total of 48 species was recorded for the day which was a good result for mid-winter in mainly dull and overcast conditions.
The morning was cool and grey as 22 birdwatchers assembled in the car park. Our number included a couple of members from Western Australia on their way around a comprehensive tour of the eastern states. Lyn Easton led the walk and “initial suspects” in the car park included Noisy Miners, Australian Magpies, Rainbow Lorikeets and Spotted Doves.
We slowly walked the circuit track, passing the now-dry billabong which did not refill after the recent heavy rains so is now probably a dry dip in the ground for the foreseeable future.
‘Tis the season to – breed – and we recorded a Magpie Lark’s mud nest with 2 well-grown young begging, gape-mouthed, from an adult. An unoccupied Tawny Frogmouth nest looked rather Spartan while a male Rufous Whistler was on incubation or brooding duty on its nest.
Late in the walk a pair of Noisy Miners was determinedly defending their territory from another bird which took some identification as it was unfamiliar to most of the small group of watchers. The ID was sorted out and several people were able to claim a “lifer” – a silent immature Olive-backed Oriole. These have been rarely reported as eating small birds’ nestlings so the miners may have been acting on the principle that no larger bird is to be tolerated.
Both Spotted and Striated Pardalotes were heard but not seen and the parrot list included a quickly flying Australian King-Parrot and a pair of Red-rumped Parrots obligingly perched visibly on a dead tree. The cockatoo list included Galahs and Little Corella.
A trip down to the river bank yielded a Sacred Kingfisher near what appeared to be a small tree hollow on the opposite bank. Platypus sightings were hoped for but didn’t eventuate and Laughing Kookaburra calls sounded derisively.
The only waterbirds recorded were an overflying Little Pied Cormorant, a calling Dusky Moorhen, a foraging Straw-necked Ibis and a Masked Lapwing, while no raptors were noted. The dense understory was alive with Superb Fairy-wrens and several White-browed Scrubwrens were also listed while higher in the trees both Brown and Yellow Thornbills were recorded. Mistletoe grew in several places and a darting Mistletoebird was seen by only a few. Another species seen by some was Red-browed Finch while Eastern Yellow Robin was heard as it gave alarm calls as well as the more familiar call.
The introduced dove was joined by Common Blackbird calls and sighting s of Common Mynas. At lunch we were joined by a young Australian Magpie which didn’t achieve the quantity of food it may have been used to – birdwatchers feel that natural food is healthiest.
With the festive season just around the corner we decided to truncate the day and count our species.
Forty-one species were recorded by the group, a very satisfactory total considering the relatively small area we covered and we thanked Lyn for her preparation which allowed such a successful result.