Tag Archives: Weekday Outing

Weekdays outing to Merri Creek

30 March 2016
Photographs by Marilyn Ellis (BirdLife Member)

Trucks and occasional drizzle challenged the drivers as 28 people assembled for the walk. The rain never really materialised as Elsmaree Baxter led us near the site of the former Pentridge prison (now a residential development). Initial expectations were low as a couple of hundred feral pigeons and a crowd of Silver Gulls filled the ground by the car park. Clearly people were ignoring the signs exhorting them not to feed birds. Things improved as we watched and recorded Pacific Black and Australian Wood Ducks, Chestnut Teal and a lone Hardhead. Other waterbirds included Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants.

Little Pied Cormorant - Marilyn Ellis
Little Pied Cormorant

Then on the weir we found a female Australasian Darter not far from a Black Swan on a nest which had incorporated lots of plastic litter.

Female Australasian Darter
Australasian Darter (female)

The swan was tagged and later we watched at least one untagged swan (the mate?) grazing on the clipped grass beside the creek.

Banded Black Swan (female) on nest of litter - Marilyn Ellis
Banded Black Swan (female) on nest of litter

The usual triumvirate of Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen and Eurasian Coot were common and at least one individual each of Australasian and Hoary–headed Grebe was diving near the banks.

Dusky Moorhen - Marilyn Ellis
Dusky Moorhen

Today registered no egrets but both Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis were present and at least one White-faced Heron kept a wary eye on our group.

Australian White Ibis - Marilyn Ellis
Australian White Ibis

Walking on added bush birds to the list of waterbirds. Red Wattlebirds were common and Welcome Swallows dipped over the lake surface and soared above the canopy. White-plumed Honeyeaters were the most common of the smaller honeyeaters but later sightings added Eastern Spinebill, New Holland Honeyeater and, unwantedly, Noisy Miner.

Musk Lorikeet - Marilyn Ellis
Musk Lorikeet

Parrots were dominated by Rainbow Lorikeets, with a few Little Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Musk Lorikeets and Red-rumped Parrots.

Male Red-rumped Parrot - Marilyn Ellis
Red-rumped Parrot (male)

Some flowering eucalypts lined the nearby streets and the parrots and miners foraged in them enthusiastically. Further along the track we encountered a “purple patch” where a mixed feeding flock of Silvereyes, Brown Thornbills, Grey Fantails and Spotted Pardalotes kept everyone on their toes. A single female Golden Whistler proved elusive for many.

Female Golden Whistler - Marilyn Ellis
Golden Whistler

Turning back for lunch was a relief as a seat looked like a very good idea. An interim birdcall brought the species total first to 48 and then to 50 with a couple of late additions. Hmm, what would we see in the post-lunch walk? Not many more as it turned out but it was quality, not quantity when three Tawny Frogmouths were detected in a eucalypt.

two Tawny Frogmouths - Marilyn Ellis
Two Tawny Frogmouths

The final bird list totalled 53 species. There were visitors among us and we hope that today will have whetted the appetites of those from Melbourne for bird watching. Certainly we all thanked Elsmaree whole-heartedly for introducing us to a part of Melbourne few of us suspected existed.

Tawny Frogmouth - Marilyn Ellis
Tawny Frogmouth

 

Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings

Weekdays outing to Reef Island

2 March 2016
Reef Island beyond the swans
Reef Island beyond the swans. Photograph by Diane Tweeddale

The forecast of a day of 30o did not deter 23 bird watchers from meeting. Our leader was Bill Ramsay whose timing ensured that a falling tide allowed us to walk out along the causeway to the island almost dry shod. The car park sounded with calls of wattlebird and raven while Black Swans paddled by in small groups, apparently unfazed by the early morning salt water exercising of horses from the near horse farms. The beach north of the car park was noteworthy for the crowd of about 100 Masked Lapwings which vastly outnumbered the few Silver Gulls.

The beach section of the walk to Reef Island
The beach section of the walk to Reef Island. Photograph by Margaret Bosworth

We concentrated on the beach but the adjacent heathy grassland sounded occasionally to calls of Superb Fairy-wren, Australian Raven and Striated Fieldwren. A young Black-shouldered Kite perched distantly on a dead tree and a male and female White-fronted Chat foraged at the upper end of the beach. Walking was variable and more challenging when we reached the rockier sections. The vegetation was interesting with sea grass draping the lower sections of the mangroves and salt bushes. Near the causeway Black Swans congregated, at least 100 of them in the shallows. Distant views of a pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers and a solitary Eastern Curlew took some work.

Heading out along the causeway - Bosworth
Heading out along the causeway. Photograph by Margaret Bosworth

As we reached promising areas we added Little Pied, Little Black and Pied Cormorants with list highlights of Great Egret, Royal Spoonbill and Pacific Gull. Then we reached areas of shallow ponds and waders. Scopes up again! Double-banded Plover, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint came first and then Red-capped Plover and Curlew Sandpiper were added later.

Pacific Gull
Pacific Gull. Photograph by Margaret Bosworth

Much discussion occurred over the identification of a godwit but eventually the bird changed position and a confident call of ‘Bar-tailed Godwit’ rang out. Out to the end where we were delighted by a flock of about 20 Pacific Golden Plovers (a few in traces of breeding plumage) and about 20 Ruddy Turnstones with a solitary Grey-tailed Tattler perched on a rock at water’s edge.

Lunchbreak
Lunchbreak. Photograph by Diane Tweeddale

Lunch seated on driftwood or seagrass drifts was a welcome relaxation and then the party divided into the northern ‘rockhoppers’ and the southern ‘gentle walkers’. The former did not add more species but the ‘gentlefolks’ succeeded in locating a previously elusive Red-capped Plover definitively. Not an addition to the group list but personally satisfying to those who’d missed it before. A welcome cool breeze rose about 1pm and fanned hot brows on the return walk. Back at the cars a few departed but most stayed on for bird call where a gratifying total of 45 species was recorded. Not only the total but the composition was much appreciated and we thanked Bill for his work and preparation which went into this successful day.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays outings

Weekdays outing to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

16 February 2016
Azolla and floating island
Azolla and floating island

Sporadic rain did not deter 18 people assembling near Gate H. Newcomers joined long-term members being led by David Plant as Bell Miners called in the surrounding trees. Early arrivals were met by a young Willie Wagtail confidently foraging nearby. The water levels in all lakes had plummeted since the rains stopped over the previous six weeks or more. The gardens do not receive tap water but are wholly watered by purified road run-off. No run-off, no water. When the rain does fall, the surrounding gutters flow into a series of ponds where pollutants are removed or sequestered by vegetation, often on floating islands. Partially cleaned water is then pumped up to Guilfoyle’s ‘Volcano’ where the final purification proceeds (via more floating islands of vegetation) before it is gravity-fed down to the garden beds where it is distributed where needed by means of a computer-controlled system.

Floating islands on Guilfoyle's Floating islands on Guilfoyle's "Volcano"
Floating islands on Guilfoyle’s ‘Volcano’

Today the lack of recent rain meant that lake levels were about a meter below normal and birds were walking on mud rather than paddling on water. Another problem is the proliferation of Azolla, a water plant whose dense surface growth blocks all light from deeper-growing vegetation.

Floating island and Azolla
Floating island and Azolla

Still, the gardens hosted numerous Silver Gulls, Pacific Black Ducks, Eurasian Coots and Purple Swamphens. There were fewer Dusky Moorhens, which included several well-grown young, and one male Chestnut Teal foraged close to a stripy youngster. Each of the three Black Swans seen was banded on the neck for identification during the ongoing research on breeding patterns. David mentioned that a population of foxes lived among the rockery and had effectively eliminated cats from the gardens, resulting in much less overall predation on the garden wildlife. Several original trees were pointed out, among them a Melaleuca liniariifolia and a swamp gum or ‘kanuka’. Cushiony green lawns are planted with kikuyu which needs no water and resists the wear of heavy traffic.

Azolla
Azolla and a couple of Eurasian Coots and a Dusky Moorhen

Only a couple of other individual waterbirds were recorded – Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants, a Hardhead seen by only a few and a pair of Grey Teal seen by all. A highlight was at least one Nankeen Night-Heron initially in flight then later by a lake. Bush birds were not numerous. White-browed Scrubwrens and Brown Thornbills were heard, Red and Little Wattlebirds were occasionally seen and many had a fleeting glimpse of an Eastern Spinebill. Little Ravens and Australian Magpies called and a Magpie-lark was initially heard before being seen. A still slightly fuzzy young magpie beside an adult elicited ‘Aaww’ all round.

Some of the group
Some of the group

The final bird count was 33 species, continuing a trend of loss of the garden’s birds. David had shared with us his enthusiasm and encyclopaedic knowledge of the garden’s history and treasures and we thanked him wholeheartedly.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings; all photographs by Diane Tweeddale

Weekdays Outing to Karkarook, Heatherton

2 December 2015
Contributor: Diane Tweeddale; photographs by Marilyn Ellis

The weather was breezy, fine and clear as we met in the car park. A crowd of 28 took up the challenge to list more than the 40 species seen on a recent recce. Noisy Miners and Australian Magpies dominated the car park area and the latter were clearly used to picnics as at least 30 Magpies, mostly immature, warbled and squabbled around us at lunchtime. We set off around the main lake where the high water level precluded any sightings of rails or crakes with Eurasian Coots (including young) the most numerous species. At the eastern end of the lake a small flock of Silver Gulls rested, a more pleasing sight than the rafts of thousands which had been present, dominating the avifauna, a few years ago. Australian Reed-Warblers were vocal but mostly stayed unseen within the reed beds while Superb Fairy-wrens called and flew near us frequently.

Superb Fairy-wren male - Marilyn Ellis
Superb Fairy-wren, male

Little Grassbirds called plaintively and one was even glimpsed briefly by a couple of walkers. Not far from the bird hide a couple of Red-browed Finches fed on dock seeds. The hide had been senselessly vandalised with glass cracked in one of the display cases. A cormorant on a buoy caused much debate with ‘stained Little Pied’ finally giving way to ‘immature Great Cormorant’. The only other cormorant was one Little Black Cormorant on one of the minor western ponds. Another debate was occasioned by some teal with the final resolution: two Grey Teal with a female Chestnut Teal beside them. Back to the shelter for lunch with lists of over 30 species. The only raptor seen had been a passing Swamp Harrier while cockatoos were absent though Eastern Rosellas plus Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets were recorded. Honeyeaters were White-plumed Honeyeaters and Noisy Miners plus Little and Red Wattlebirds. One Little Raven flew over, making surprisingly good progress despite a complete absence of tail feathers – and thereby hangs a tale?

Pacific Black Duch - Marilyn Elllis
Pacific Black Duck

A few needed to depart after lunch but most stayed to walk around the western chain of ponds beside Warrigal Road. Here the list of waterbirds increased and highlights were Freckled Duck, male and female Australasian Shoveler and then Hoary-headed Grebe (with young) after we had begun to think the day would be ‘grebeless’. Several glimpsed a flushed Latham’s Snipe and everyone admired the solitary Great Egret.

Great Egret - Marilyn Ellis
Great Egret

Two more species not present on the recce but seen today on the mud of these ponds were Black-fronted and Red-kneed Dotterel. A couple of Black-winged Stilts also foraged in the shallows. Here litter traps clean the gross pollution from the incoming storm water and then reed beds remove chemicals and oils to purify the water before it’s sent on to the bay. Not bad for an area that started as swamp, was converted to sand mines and then made into a park (revegetated twice due to losing the initial plants to fire) with paths and facilities. The bird list of 50 species is a tribute to the character of this small area bounded by busy major roads on the north and west and overflown by aircraft from Moorabbin airport to the south-east.

Diane Tweeddale, leader

Weekday Outing to Bailieston area

17 November 2015

IMG_4058

An ‘interesting’ day for weather as it had originally been predicted to reach 26o but that had been increased to 31o as the day approached. We experienced initially mild and breezy weather with blue skies and light clouds which warmed as the day progressed. Thirteen assembled at Nagambie, taking advantage of early arrival to indulge in coffee and small cakes from the local bakery. Our leader was Graeme Hosken and initially we simply birded from lakeside, first looking from the east bank in the town then driving round to a further vantage point. Numerous House Sparrows and Feral Pigeons live in the town. Highlights here were 3-4 distant Yellow-billed Spoonbills and a Nankeen Night-Heron by the bank. Silver Gulls were numerous and ducks included Australian Wood and Pacific Black. Eurasian Coots vastly outnumbered the few Purple Swamphens and the very few Dusky Moorhens observed today while Australian Reed-Warblers were active and vocal among the reeds. Non-birding sightings were tortoises sunning on logs.

IMG_4053

Our next stops were by Chinamans Bridge followed by Kirwans Bridge – here Sacred Kingfisher was heard and Azure Kingfisher seen. Bush birds included Rufous Whistler and Striated Pardalote and the diminutive mud nest of a Willie Wagtail was admired as it swung precariously on a broken branch. Here was observed a first for the weekday outings, a Dollarbird, the 300th species on our cumulative list. Departing Chinamans Bridge we paused by the culvert where the mud bottle nests of Fairy Martins were being attended occasionally. Not many honeyeaters were recorded today – Red Wattlebird and White-plumed Honeyeater foraged near the water. Raptors were also scarce and a highlight for many was a brief view of a Peregrine Falcon near Kirwans Bridge. A Little Eagle appeared briefly over the road, harassed by a raven.

IMG_4057

We drove on to a bush area where the trees were sparse and the shade limited. Hardy souls headed off after robins and other species, recording Red-capped Robin, White-throated Treecreeper and Shining Bronze-cuckoo. Several birders remained near the cars, to rest with eyes and ears alert, noting Rufous Whistler and assorted small calls, including robin and thornbills. By now we had 69 species listed and some departed. Others diverted to visit the wetlands at the Tahbilk winery where their long day was rewarded by a bird list of 33 species for that area, including White-browed Woodswallow, which took the day’s total to 79 species. Thank you Graeme.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings

Weekday outing to Banyule Flats Reserve

4 November 2015
Tawny Frogmouth with young. Photo by Marilyn Ellis
Tawny Frogmouth with young. Photo by Marilyn Ellis

A warm and humid day did not deter 16 birders and photographers from assembling in the car park. Our leader, Lyn Easton, led us down to the main wetlands where eyes, bins and scope were kept busy. Highlights were Latham Snipes on the mud and the most frequent conversation was the question and answer about their location as they moved around. An Australian Spotted Crake was also seen by a few but was less cooperative than the snipes. It appeared that Buff-banded Rails were not to be on the list but once we reached the grotty pond several were seen on the edge and among the grass, delighting photographers.

Buff-banded Rail. Photo by Marilyn Ellis
Buff-banded Rail. Photo by Marilyn Ellis

Waterbirds included Silver Gulls (using nest boxes), Eurasian Coots and Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes plus Chestnut and Grey Teal and Pacific Black Duck. No swans were seen. Other sightings in this area included Little Corellas, Superb Fairy-wren, Red-rumped Parrots and Welcome Swallows.

Little Corella. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Little Corella. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

Also present were Long-necked Turtles sunning on logs.

Long-necked Turtle. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Long-necked Turtle. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

The walk around the western side of the wetlands didn’t yield much, unless you counted Red Wattlebird, Purple Swamphen and Common Blackbird, though glimpses of White-browed Scrubwrens were had by some. A very recently fledged Little Raven had a conspicuous pink gape.

Raven, juvenile. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Raven, juvenile. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

We walked past the 2005 centenary planting by BOCA which showed good growth over the past decade. Hopefully this will support birds. Back to the car park and lunch in the shade of the trees.

Tawny Frogmouth. Photo by Marilyn Ellis
Tawny Frogmouth. Photo by Marilyn Ellis

The afternoon walk was beside the river towards the power lines and was notable for the number of nesting Tawny Frogmouths observed. Cute little heads watched us from below their parent while the brooding parent sat quietly vigilant.

Tawny Frogmouth with young. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Tawny Frogmouth with young. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

These were not the only breeders – Noisy Miners attended to noisy chicks and Grey Butcherbirds were importuned by brown youngsters. Rainbow Lorikeets appeared at tree holes and thornbill nests were noted in bushes. Sacred Kingfishers were nesting in holes in the river bank close to a female Australasian Darter on a snag drying her wings. After several calls Mistletoebirds perched in clear view to everyone’s delight. No raptors were reported for the day.

Mistletoebird. Photo by Marilyn Ellis
Mistletoebird. Photo by Marilyn Ellis

A call was initially interpreted as a Whistling Kite but Lyn’s extensive experience corrected this. At least one Common Blackbird has been observed mimicking a kite call which it had added to its repertoire. Another challenge for birders is mimicry.

By walk’s end the bird call totalled 61 species and at least one person had notched up two lifers. Our thanks to Lynn were heartfelt and numbers of us are planning return visits.

Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne Weekdays Outings

Weekdays Outing to Mt St Leonard

21 October 2015
Photographer: Merilyn Serong
Photographer: Merilyn Serong

Driving up the Yarra valley from Melbourne we could see the cloud covering the mountains and knew that we had a challenging day’s birding ahead of us. It started with the drive up the gravel track from the St Leonard Road to the meeting point near the start of the summit walk. In the morning the visibility was very restricted. I reflected on the variability of October weather as our previous walk had been cancelled when a total fire ban was announced and now, two weeks later, there had been extensive overnight showers. At the car park we were entertained and kept busy with our cameras by a male Flame Robin attacking his image in the side mirrors and windows of the cars.

Flame Robin, male. Photographer: Nathanael Jerome
Flame Robin, male. Photographer: Nathanael Jerome

Some were lucky enough to see a Superb Lyrebird on the approach to the rendezvous point but most glimpsed one or heard calls including mimicry. Calls were the order of the day as the dense cloud persisted. Sightings included Red Wattlebird and White-eared Honeyeater, Grey Currawong and Grey Fantail, White-browed Scrubwren and a small flock of Silvereyes but the bulk of the birds were identified aurally.

Grey Fantail. Photographer: Nathanael Jerome
Grey Fantail. Photographer: Nathanael Jerome

White-throated Treecreeper and Striated Pardalote, Eastern Whipbird and Eastern Yellow Robin were all heard. The final total was 19 species, almost one for each of the 20 birders attending. The rain intensified and we recognised that continuing would not be productive so we called it a day and thanked Manfred Hennig for leading us under less than ideal conditions.

Flame Robin, female. Photographer: Nathanael Jerome
Flame Robin, female. Photographer: Nathanael Jerome

The rain condensed the clouds and visibility improved for the drive down the mountain. Approaching Healesville we noted Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage plus ducks in a paddock with cattle but regretfully they were well outside our observation area and the total of 19 remained.

Doug, Geoff and Diane. Photographer: Merilyn Serong
Doug, Geoff and Diane. Photographer: Merilyn Serong

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

Gobur Flora & Fauna Reserve

22 September 2015

After warm weather the forecast was for a return to winter and it was certainly much colder. However, the wind was not too strong and the showers of heavy rain some of us encountered driving up held off while we walked and lunched, only showing their power as we drove to the afternoon walk location. A dry day’s walking and 14 pairs of eyes were smiling. Bob Tate was leader and it was to the Gobur Reserve first. Near the cars, a Restless Flycatcher was the highlight but we also recorded Laughing Kookaburra and Australian Raven. Into the forest where there was much fallen timber on the ground and it looked as if there were plenty of habitats for ground-foraging birds, however few were seen. Birds seen were in the shrub understorey or the canopy. They included Brown, Buff-rumped and Striated Thornbill, Grey Fantail and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Adult and immature Crimson Rosellas flew through and a Common Bronzewing did its best to emulate a branch end. Sharp eyes spotted first one and then a second Koala in tree forks. The weather may have been dry but the clouds made colours very difficult to distinguish and there was much discussion over a shaded whistler which finally proved to be a male Rufous Whistler. Calls included those of Spotted Pardalote and Pied Currawong. Breeding season – a Striated Thornbill nest was being attended by food-carrying adults. We must have also been close to nests of Spotted Pardalote and Buff-rumped Thornbill though only the attentively alert adults were seen. A gerygone call had several people debating the species. Those familiar with the species claimed White-throated Gerygone and we regretted the absence of a sighting. Lunch time added Australian Magpie in the opposite paddock and Dusky Woodswallow, Fairy Martin and Welcome Swallow flying about. Brief views were also had of Eastern Spinebill, Eastern Rosella, Willie Wagtail and Yellow-faced Honeyeater. When the walking pauses, the birds come.

Second dam on Frees Road
Second dam on Frees Road. Photo by Diane Tweeddale

After lunch we drove through rain to Frees Road where a couple of farm dams held a suite of waterbirds. Both Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes were present along with a Pacific Black Duck, a Little Pied Cormorant and a few Eurasian Coot but 16 Hardhead dominated. Galahs flew across the opposite hillside and Eastern Grey Kangaroos watched us from a wary distance. We were most impressed by a roo’s standing jump which cleared the paddock fence easily. At Gobur the raptors had been a Brown Goshawk and a Wedge-tailed Eagle and at Frees Road a Nankeen Kestrel flew past. We had listened to the calls of the Grey Shrike-thrush all morning but at Frees Road a bird close to the road gave some their only sighting. The vegetation beside the road had not been cleared and it was here that we saw Brown Treecreepers, an Eastern Yellow Robin and White-plumed Honeyeaters. As bird call was announced an overhead flight of four Little Corellas was seen by some and heard by more.

Walkers in the reserve
Walkers in the reserve. Photo by Diane Tweeddale

By day’s end we had recorded 42 species at Gobur reserve and 36 species along Frees Road. The cumulative total for the day was 55 species, quite a satisfying result, and we thanked Bob for sharing his knowledge with us.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

Weekdays Outing to 100 Acres Flora & Fauna Reserve, Park Orchards

2 September 2015
Crimson Rosella. Photo by Stephen Garth
Crimson Rosella. Photo by Stephen Garth

An early weather forecast had predicted a rainy day but the previous evening saw that emended to ‘late showers’, which proved correct, to the relief of the 32 birdwatchers assembled. Under the leadership of Gina Hopkins we set off towards the north-east, hoping to leave the numerous Noisy Miners behind while enjoying the sight of a pair of Eastern Rosellas inspecting a potential nesting hole in the sports scoreboard.

Silvereye. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Silvereye. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

Onion weed had proliferated in a couple of areas and the terrain quickly became rough underfoot and rather steep, challenging many of us. However we were still able to listen while we concentrated on our footing and Galahs, Little Ravens and Grey Butcherbirds soon joined an initial list of Rainbow Lorikeet , Laughing Kookaburra, Australian Magpie and Australian White Ibis.

Laughing Kookaburra. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Laughing Kookaburra. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

An Olive-backed Oriole called and was eventually seen by many, giving some a lifer.

Olive-backed Oriole. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Olive-backed Oriole. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

Other calls alerted us to Australian Wood Ducks in the trees. After the miners and Red Wattlebirds of the car park our next honeyeaters were the Eastern Spinebill and White-eared Honeyeater. Of course in a forested area calls were reported more than sightings and Spotted Pardalote and Brown and Striated Thornbills were first located by listening. Not so Eastern Yellow Robin which obligingly perched low on a close sapling.

Eastern Yellow Robin. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle
Eastern Yellow Robin. Photo by Kathy Zonnevylle

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Pied Currawongs called loudly while a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike was clearly seen by several and heard by more of us. Other calls were of Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeaters.

Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Stephen Garth
Grey Butcherbird. Photo by Stephen Garth

Repeated loud calls from at least two Fan-tailed Cuckoos allowed a few people partial sightings through foliage.

Grey Shrike-thrush. Photo by Stephen Garth
Grey Shrike-thrush. Photo by Stephen Garth

Traces of birds were not limited to calls and glimpses – torn bark on a sapling showed where a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo had dug for a grub. Rough walking beyond here included a small water crossing but fortunately none of us became truly wet. White Epacris impressa was in flower while the recent rain had brought up many fungi and carpets of mosses. There were areas where little was heard or seen but we pressed on, circling the area and returning for a welcome lunch a little after 1pm.

Golden Whistler. Photo by Stephen Garth
Golden Whistler. Photo by Stephen Garth

The final bird count was 40 species for the group and we thanked Gina for her navigation around the maze of branching tracks.

Laughing Kookaburra. Photo by Stephen Garth
Laughing Kookaburra. Photo by Stephen Garth

Diane Tweeddale, coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings