Tag Archives: Trin-Warren-Tam-Boore

Weekdays outing to Royal Park – Trin-Warren-Tam-Boore

10 February 2020

The car park birding kept people on their toes as our party assembled under the leadership of Elsmaree Baxter. Clouds dripped a little drizzly moisture but the day remained fine if muggy. The usual car park suspects were present – Common Mynas and Starlings, Red Wattlebirds and Superb Fairy-wrens used the trees and bushes while the occasional Australian White Ibis and Rainbow Lorikeet flew over. The nearby sports oval held at least ten Magpie-larks plus a couple of Australian Magpies and several Crested Pigeons, while a couple of very high-flying Welcome Swallows were only confirmed after considerable study. An unexpected sight was an adult Nankeen Night-Heron flying into a roost west of Oak Road across from the car park. Despite subsequent searching we were unable to locate its roost.

The western lake was designated “Grebe City” when almost every bird seen was an Australasian Grebe, though a couple were Hoary-headed. The usual discussion about the identity of brown teal ensued till the final decision was “Chestnut Teal, mostly juveniles or males in eclipse plumage”. A pair of young Eurasian Coot begged noisily from an uninterested adult. As we circled the lake we noted New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters in the trees. House Sparrows were present near the northern end of the walk and were welcomed by those who no longer had populations near their home area. Though a careful watch was kept, no Eurasian Tree Sparrows were seen, this species has been in steeper decline for several years.

The eastern lake showed only a couple of ducks as a large part of the lake was netted against birds to allow the weeds to establish well. The nets were clearly welcomed by Willie Wagtail and Superb Fairy-wren which were running after insects across the nets’ top. Back to the cars for a prompt lunch which enabled those with afternoon appointments to say goodbye. The walk along the section between the railway line and the industrial complex of CSL needs care and attention to the cyclists along the Capital City Trail section. In the past there was a population of small birds in the bush by the rail line but electricity maintenance has pruned away the bush to such an extent that there is no shelter and no birds. The only raptor sighting today was a Brown Goshawk glimpsed by a couple of people so the lack of the small birds for prey reduces the predator population too.

The afternoon walk yielded only one extra species, a Little Wattlebird near the gardens on the western side of the west lake. Bird call gave a total of 40 species. The result for a small manufactured water purification area was eye-opening and we thanked Elsmaree enthusiastically for introducing many and reacquainting the rest of us with this surprisingly well-populated urban area.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

 

Weekdays outing to Trin-Warren-Tam-Boore (Royal Park, Parkville)

8 August 2018
All photographs by Bevan Hood, member
White-plumed Honeyeater - Bevan Hood
White-plumed Honeyeater

The skies were grey and the wind cold as 17 assembled in the car park. But the rain wasn’t more than the lightest sprinkle and everyone was dressed for the weather. Jane Moseley, our leader, was recovering from a broken arm and was assisted by Pat Bingham. Never let a physical challenge stop a bird watcher. As often, the car park birding was very productive and Silver Gull (probably courtesy of the stormy weather), Crested Pigeon, Superb Fairy-wren and New Holland and White-plumed Honeyeaters were common.

Crested Pigeon - Bevan Hood
Crested Pigeon

The sports grounds yielded large flocks of Rock Doves and House Sparrows with a few Australian Magpies and Magpie-larks. Australian White Ibis flew overhead and then keen eyes noticed another species – a Black-shouldered Kite –flying near and hovering above. Across the road and into the western side where Little Wattlebirds foraged in flowering gardens and drank and bathed in a rain gutter.

Black-shouldered Kite - Bevan Hood
Black-shouldered Kite

A couple of Galahs called as they flew over and a female Golden Whistler challenged many to locate her in the thickness of a tree canopy. The lake showed Australian Grebe (diving as is their wont) plus Eurasian Coot with a few Pacific Black Ducks and rather more Hardheads. Little Grassbird called forlornly from the bank but only a couple witnessed a bird flying from shelter to shelter.

Hardhead male - Bevan Hood
Hardhead, male

Purple Swamphen contrasted with Dusky Moorhen in size and colouring while Grey and Chestnut Teal were compared for their detail. Musk Lorikeet flew past swiftly and we were left contrasting their calls, flight and appearance with those of the more numerous Rainbow Lorikeets. A noisy panic among the smaller birds accompanied the appearance on an Australian Hobby, which, however, did not stay for long. We moved toward the oval again, noting the swooping flight of Welcome Swallows in the calmer conditions and then trying to identify an unfamiliar bird.

Hardhead female - Bevan Hood
Hardhead, female

After several guesses field guides were consulted and an identification which was quite unexpected was noted – the unexpected was undoubtedly The Bird of the Day – a Black-eared Cuckoo. We surmised that the recent gales from the north had brought it down to Melbourne’s latitude. The tall masses of lignin growth would have provided shelter. The cuckoo was a most obliging vagrant, it returned twice further during lunch, coming closer each time and giving everyone excellent close-up views.

Black-eared Cuckoo - Bevan Hood
Black-eared Cuckoo

After that the presence of a Tree Martin over the oval in August was not quite the surprise it would otherwise have been. A few people needed to leave at lunchtime but the majority stayed to walk, adding a Black Swan and a Grey Butcherbird and improved views of Noisy Miner and Spotted Pardalote.

Red-rumped Parrots male and female - Bevan Hood
Red-rumped Parrots, male (upper), female (lower)

The mud nest of a Magpie-lark was spotted high in a tree near the ovals. Avoiding silent, speeding cyclists, we returned to the cars and did the final bird call, listing 47 species for the day. Our enthusiastic thanks went to Jane and her support team for the work which showed several of our number the potential for an area that many had not known about. We decided to finish the day under darkening clouds at 2 pm. This proved a very good decision as 15 minutes later the heaviest, most violent rain for the day arrived.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

Weekday outing to Royal Park (Trin-Warren-Tam-Boore)

19 March 2014

Early weather predictions proved wrong and blue skies, mild temperature and a gentle breeze accompanied 24 bird watchers. Elsmaree Baxter led and the car park list included Little Pied Cormorant and Great Egret flying plus a perched Crested Pigeon. Soon White-plumed Honeyeater and Superb Fairy-wren were added. Water birds included Eurasian Coot (most abundant), Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Little Black Cormorant and Australasian Grebe. Ducks were Grey and Chestnut Teal and Pacific Black Duck.

Male and female Chestnut Teal Photographer: Ron Garrett
Male and female Chestnut Teal; Photographer: Ron Garrett

Though many eyes searched the muddy banks, no crakes or rails were observed. A flowering Eucalyptus maculata contained Red Wattlebird and many Musk Lorikeet.

Red Wattlebird; Photographer Ron Garrett
Red Wattlebird; Photographer Ron Garrett

Then came the call ‘Little Lorikeet’. The tree was determinedly scanned and most were pleased to list this seldom-seen species while several people recorded a lifer. This was Bird of the Day and the tree was renamed the ‘Magic Pudding Tree’ as it just kept on giving. Close by, another infrequent species appeared. House Sparrow had been near the car park but here, on a fence around a construction site beside a freeway, were several Eurasian Tree Sparrow. The distinctions between the two species were discussed and viewed in field guides. The bush around the lake added White-browed Scrubwren, Spotted Dove and New Holland Honeyeater. Welcome Swallow preferred the TWTB wetlands to those on the western side of Oak St and a Fairy Martin joined them at TWTB.

Welcome Swallow; Photographer: Ron Garrett
Welcome Swallow; Photographer: Ron Garrett

After lunch we went uphill to the track beside the railway where the White’s Skink habitat is being enlarged to assist this endangered species. A number of extremely fast cyclists shared the path and the cry of ‘Bike’ was frequent. Some riders were careful and courteous but a rude minority had clearly not embraced the concept of ‘share’. This walk yielded several Red-browed Finch and Silvereye. Spotted Pardalote called as we returned to the cars, finding six ground-foraging Red-rumped Parrot which had arrived during our absence. The bird count was 44 species and as counting ended a Brown Goshawk flew over to demonstrate the frequently experienced ‘significant sighting at bird call’. An inner suburban location with wetlands established to clean road runoff gave a great day’s birding and we thanked Elsmaree for her careful preparation.

The Southern Railway Cutting: a site of particular importance in Melbourne’s geological history

This outing included other points of interest, such as The Southern Railway Cutting.

Photo showing interesting geological layers in the Southern railway cutting; Photographer: Valerie Wachtel
Photo showing interesting geological layers in the Southern Railway Cutting; Photographer: Valerie Wachtel

Cut by hand in 1882, this cutting has been one of the traditional teaching sites for geology in Melbourne over the past 120 years. The cutting displays an old Tertiary lava flow of the Older Volcanics, which is overlain by the younger Late Tertiary marine sands of the Red Bluff Sands. The lava flow has weathered into soft clay. The Red Bluff Sands are course sandstone containing occasional fossils and were deposited in a shallow marine environment.

Contributor: Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings