Tag Archives: White-eared Honeyeater

Weekdays Outing to Lysterfield Lake Park

4 July 2022

Photographs by Steve Hoptroff

Grey Butcherbird

Skies were blue and the air was calm so conditions for birding looked very favourable as 13 people met in the car park near the start of the Lake Circuit Track. Our leader was Rob Grosvenor who had visited the area many times over the past years. He could advise on likely locations for the different species.

White-eared Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Initial walking was northerly in the bush. It was cold – see the weather conditions – and birds
were not overactive though Grey Fantails maneuvered acrobatically for insects near the tree
canopies. Spotted Pardalotes called unseen and the honeyeaters observed were the White-eared, Eastern Spinebill, Red Wattlebird and that so-familiar Noisy Miner. No blossom was seen.

Grey Shrike-thrush

Superb Fairy-wrens were active at the edges of the track and Red-browed Finches seemed to accompany Brown Thornbills foraging while Silvereyes moved about in small flocks. Good sightings of Golden Whistlers brought smiles to the observers. Around the lake waterbirds predominated. Musk Duck males were making the splashing display which seems to be visible over quite a distance.

Musk Duck, male

The females/ immature males were taking no apparent notice but formed small groups or couples at a distance. Eurasian Coots were the most numerous but were travelling to different spots around the lake so not always obvious.

Masked Lapwing

On the shore there were Masked Lapwing, Australian Wood Duck and Purple Swamphen with Dusky Moorhen and Pacific Black Duck dividing their time between shore and water. Grebes were mostly the Hoary-headed species in flocks and Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants rested on the marker buoys.

Hoary-headed Grebe

The only raptor observed was a Swamp Harrier and the only parrots were Rainbow Lorikeets, Crimson Rosellas and brief views of an Eastern Rosella. No cockatoos were detected.

Swamp Harrier
Crimson Rosella

The highlight for many of us was the observation of Common Bronzewing near the park entrance and the subsequent sighting of a male Brush Bronzewing as we descended
the hill towards the cars.

Common Bronzewing, male

By walk’s end we recorded 42 species (later adjusted to 43 with the addition of a pair of Black Swans). Our heartfelt thanks to Rob for sharing his knowledge of the area.
Diane Tweeddale coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekday outings

Beginners outing to The Briars

28 May 2022

Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers

Species Count: 47

The 23 members gathered near the Visitor Centre were pleased to see a variety of birds before starting the Sanctuary walk. These included Eastern Rosella, Grey Butcherbird, Masked Lapwing, Purple Swamphen and King Parrot.

Masked Lapwing. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Purple Swamphen. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Soon after starting off along the boardwalk a Great Egret was spotted preening in a nearby dead tree, thus providing a good opportunity for photographers. From the first hide a pair of Black Swans and a Yellow-billed Spoonbill were found on the water. 

Great Egret. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Yellow-billed Spoonbill. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Continuing along the boardwalk a number of bushbirds showed themselves, including Superb Fairy-wrens, Silvereyes, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and two Golden Whistlers. From the large hide there were great views of another Yellow-billed Spoonbill as it foraged for food close to the window. A White-faced Heron flew in, landing nearby, and a pair of Pacific Black Ducks swam nonchalantly across the field of view. 

White-faced Heron. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Black-fronted Dotterel. Photo by Alan Veevers

On leaving the hide some of the first group were fortunate to see a male Mistletoebird fly overhead, while those who lingered in the hide saw a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels fly in. Continuing along the boardwalk a Swamp Wallaby was seen feeding beside the track whilst more Superb Fairy-wrens busied themselves finding food. A White-eared Honeyeater showed itself as it foraged in the outer foliage of a flowering eucalyptus tree. 

Swamp Wallaby. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A flock of Little Corellas was seen, and heard, flying past the lookout overlooking the wetlands. As we walked along the high part of the track, Noisy Miners and Rainbow Lorikeets were the dominant species, though a pair of Long-billed Corellas and some Galahs were seen in a distant tree. A pair of Australian Pelicans flying gracefully in formation overhead were a delight to see. On the descent towards the creek New Holland Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails and Dusky Moorhens were sighted.

At lunch, back in the picnic area, the sun appeared and highlighted the colourful plumage of the many Crested Pigeons that foraged underfoot. Most of the members stayed for the afternoon walk up the hill towards the old homestead. Species seen here included Australian Wood Ducks, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Spotted Doves and lots more Crested Pigeons. The heritage chickens and pigs were admired along with the vast plantings of heritage fruit and vegetable species.  A distant raptor created a lot of interest and, after examining photographs, it was positively identified as a Brown Goshawk.

Crested Pigeon. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Tawny Frogmouths. Photo by Alan Veevers

On returning to the carpark a few members decided to revisit the first section of the wetlands walk and, following a tip-off from a Ranger, found 3 Tawny Frogmouths high up in a tree near the first hide.

A total of 47 species were recorded for the day which was deemed to be excellent for the time of year.

Thanks once again to Eleanor Dilley who provided all but two of the above photos and also for those used to verify the Brown Goshawk sighting.

Beginners’ Outing to Lysterfield Park

23 April 2022

Leader: Robert Grosvenor

Number of species: 40

Thirty one birders arrived at Lysterfield Park for the Beginners’ outing on a sunny, calm day, perfect for birding.  While in the carpark, we were assailed by numerous Rainbow Lorikeets and Little Ravens, and then the familiar call of Gang Gangs announced their presence.  This was followed by fleeting views of Crimson and Eastern Rosellas.

Gang-gang Cockatoos. Photo by Kathie Thomas
Beginners’ group. Photo by Kathie Thomas

At the start of the walk around the lake it was very quiet with nothing flying or calling apart from a lone Red Wattlebird.  Fortunately things improved further along the track and while stopped to see an Eastern Rosella, we added Superb Fairy Wrens, a small flock of Red-browed Finches, a Brown Thornbill and a lovely Eastern Spinebill which came in very close giving good views.  Just a short distance ahead we luckily found a pair of well camouflaged Tawny Frogmouths, one of which was in the classical Tawny pose.

Superb Fairy-wren. Photo by Kathie Thomas
Tawny Frogmouth. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A diversion off the established track led us to a jetty on the lake where we saw Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants.  Both male and female Musk Ducks were also seen here together with a flotilla of Eurasian Coots.

Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants. Photo by Kathie Thomas
Musk Duck, female. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

The lack of flowering trees and shrubs contributed to the dearth of Honeyeaters but we managed to obtain good looks at a White-eared Honeyeater.  Another diversion down to the water’s edge added Silver Gulls and very good views of a Spotted Pardalote.

White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Brush Bronzewing. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

This was followed by one of the highlights of the walk – seeing a Brush Bronzewing drinking from a puddle in the middle of the track.  With the sun behind them it gave all the photographers an excellent shot.  Despite the bush looking in fine condition birds were still scarce and apart from a couple of Eastern Spinebills and a Grey Fantail there was little to see.

Reaching the dam wall we saw Welcome Swallows over the water, more Musk Ducks and Cormorants, Masked Lapwings, Magpie Larks, Wood Ducks on the grassland and a Common Bronzewing.  

Musk Duck, male. Photo by Steve Hoptroff
Little Eagle and Australian Magpie. Photo by Steve Hoptroff

This was followed by another highlight when a Little Eagle was spotted being harassed by two Magpies. This pale morph Little Eagle provided us all with excellent views sit circled overhead, continuously chased by the Magpies. Walking along the lake’s edge saw us pick up a pair of Pacific Black Ducks, Purple Swamphens, more Cormorants and Silver Gulls.

Little Eagle. Photo by Eleanor Dilley
Australasian Swamphen. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

After lunch, a short walk along Logans Track resulted in a Crested Pigeon and at least three Eastern Yellow Robins being added to the list.  Returning to the carpark we found another pair of Tawny Frogmouths in a tree very close to where we had lunch.

A total of forty species for the day was a fair result considering the time of year and because it was such a lovely day there were large numbers of bike riders and walkers all along the track, ensuring the birds were staying further into the bush, making birding that much more difficult.



Weekdays outing to Phillip Island

1-2 October 2019

Black Swan cygnets - Bevan Hood
Black Swan cygnets. Photo by Bevan Hood

The group numbered 16 when we assembled by the information centre on Tuesday at 13.00 in calm sunny weather, perfect for birdwatching.

Group with Phillip Island bridge in background - Katmun Loh.JPG
Group with Phillip Island Bridge in the background. Photo by Katmun Loh

Our leaders were Sally and Derek Whitehead, keen birders who live on the island. They were very familiar with the Cape Barren Goose population but those visiting from the Melbourne branch were very interested to see the recovery of this once-threatened species. Almost to plague proportions according to some disgruntled land owners.

Cape Barren Goose Bevan Hood
Cape Barren Goose. Photo by Bevan Hood

Cape Barren Goose goslings- Bevan Hood
Cape Barren Goose goslings. Photo by Bevan Hood

The geese were quiet but that cannot be said of the numerous Masked Lapwings. These noisy neighbours appreciate the mowed grasses and clearly you were not an islander if your block didn’t boast a pair, preferably breeding. Meanwhile the sky was filled with skeins and small groups of Ibis, mainly Straw-necked though there were a few Australian White.

Straw-necked Ibis - Bevan Hood.jpg
Straw-necked Ibis. Photo by Bevan Hood

Our first location was the Newhaven jetty where both Silver Gulls and Pacific Gulls were observed, the latter mostly immatures in their mottled brown plumage and looking somewhat scruffy.

Silver Gull - Bevan Hood
Silver Gull. Photo by Bevan Hood

Pacific Gull immature - Bevan Hood
Pacific Gull, immature. Photo by Bevan Hood

The area also hosted Black Swans and Australian Pelicans while cormorants included Little Pied, Pied and Little Black.

Black Swan - AustnPelican - Royal Spoonbill - Bevan Hood
Black Swan, Australian Pelican and Royal Spoonbill. Photo by Bevan Hood

 

Out to sea an Australian Gannet was briefly viewed and then confirmed as it plunged after fish. Around the houses ringing the jetty area we also noted Welcome Swallows, Galahs, Australian Magpies and Wattlebirds, Red and Little.

Australian Pelican - Katmun Loh
Australian Pelican. Photo by Katmun Loh

Australian Pelican - Bevan Hood - 2
Australian Pelican. Photo by Bevan Hood

Australian Pelican - Bevan Hood
Australian Pelican. Photo by Bevan Hood

Then it was across to Fisher’s Wetlands, Newhaven, where there were ducks, Chestnut Teal, Australian Wood Ducks, Australasian Shovelers and Australian Shelducks.

Australasian Shoveler - Katmun Loh
Australasian Shoveler. Photo by Katmun Loh

Australian Shelduck f and m - Katmun Loh
Australian Shelduck, male and female. Photo by Katmun Loh

 

Both Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes were present while Black-winged Stilts foraged on the far side of the water.

Musk Duck female - Katmun Loh
Musk Duck, female. Photo by Katmun Loh

A Royal Spoonbill shared a roosting islet with swans and pelicans and a Whiskered Tern fluttered and dipped near them. From the bush we could hear a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo calling while a Swamp Harrier and then a Brown Falcon started our raptor count for the visit.

Brown Falcon - Katmun Loh
Brown Falcon. Photo by Katmun Loh

Black-shouldered Kite - Bevan Hood
Black-shouldered Kite. Photo by Bevan Hood

The birding is usually excellent at Fisher’s Wetland and today was no exception. The bush was home to Yellow-rumped and Brown Thornbills plus White-eared Honeyeaters and Grey Fantails.

White-eared Honeyeater - Katmun Loh
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Katmun Loh

White-eared Honeyeater - Bevan Hood
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Bevan Hood

On checking Rhyll inlet from the cliff top (scopes are recommended for this location) we were able to include several new species. The sand spit hosted Bar-tailed Godwits and Australian Pied Oystercatchers and a Caspian Tern flew past while the highlight here was Whimbrels on the rocks at the cliff base.

Australian Pied Oystercatcher - Katmun Loh
Australian Pied Oystercatcher. Photo by Katmun Loh

We were kept so busy observing and recording that we decided to drive over to the Shearwater estate and complete the day with a bird call there rather than visit the Rhyll yacht club as originally planned.

Galah - Bevan Hood
Galah. Photo by Bevan Hood

The yacht club might have similar results to the Newhaven jetty area while the estate contains central wetlands for water management and is well worth a visit. Yes, there were Little Grassbirds calling and many watchers managed to see an Australian Reed-Warbler as it foraged along the reed base. Highlights here were Fairy Martins collecting mud for nests under a culvert and a pair of Superb Fairy-wrens glowing brilliantly in the late afternoon light as they perched on the reeds.

Superb Fairy-wren male - Katmun Loh
Superb Fairy-wren, male. Photo by Katmun Loh

We called the list and were gratified to number 68 species for the afternoon. Thanks to Sally and Derek.

Next morning we assembled at 08.30 without two of our number who were only available for the Tuesday. The first stop was the Oswin Roberts Reserve on Harbison Rd, Rhyll, another excellent birding location.

Common Starling - Bevan Hood
Common Starling. Photo by Bevan Hood

We didn’t need to leave the car park to record Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets, Laughing Kookaburra, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Eastern Rosella and Fairy Martin.

Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike - Katmun Loh
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Photo by Katmun Loh

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike - Bevan Hood
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Photo by Bevan Hood

Eastern Rosella - Bevan Hood
Eastern Rosella. Photo by Bevan Hood

Walking around the short circuit by the car park we had the good fortune to locate and then actually see a calling Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, to watch brilliantly coloured Striated Pardalotes and to encounter a couple of feeding Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos.

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo - Katmun Loh
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo - Katmun Loh
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Photo by Katmun Loh

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo - Bevan Hood
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Photo by Bevan Hood

Fan-tailed Cuckoo proved challenging to locate but most of us were finally able to view the birds. A fortunate group actually observed not one but three Fantail Cuckoos in the same binocular view.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo - Bevan Hood
Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Photo by Bevan Hood

Fan-tailed Cuckoo 2 - Katmun Loh
Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh

Fan-tailed Cuckoo 1 - Katmun Loh
Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Photo by Katmun Loh

Along the track we encountered a couple of Swamp Wallabies while checking the understorey. Then it was time to drive to the Nobbies for seabirds. Here the raptor count increased as we recorded Peregrine Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel and Whistling Kite.

Peregrine Falcon - Katmun Loh
Peregrine Falcon. Photo by Katmun Loh

Many smiles resulted from the glimpses of Little Penguins in their nesting boxes on the side of the hillside as we traversed the board walk. Crowds of tourists and families were taking advantage of the school holidays and beautiful weather. The calm settled conditions for the previous couple of days were not likely to have driven any albatrosses inshore so we were not surprised when none were seen.

It was not a far drive to Swan Lake from the Nobbies and most of us were soon smiling as pairs of Black Swans led their fluffy grey cygnets and a pair of Chestnut Teal boasted seven ducklings.

Black Swan - Bevan Hood
Black Swan. Photo by Bevan Hood

Chestnut Teal - Bevan Hood
Chestnut Teal. Photo by Bevan Hood

There were raptors, Swamp Harriers and Whistling Kites, as we walked the board walk and some of us wondered how many cygnets, ducklings and goslings would make it to adulthood. We decided to have the bird call here and made ourselves comfortable but the usual “bird call calls” rang out with White-browed Scrubwren and Silvereye joining the list at the last minute. The morning’s list totalled 66 species and the cumulative total for the two days was 90 species. It goes almost without saying that we thanked both Sally and Derek whole-heartedly for all their preparation which had gone into such a successful session.

Diane Tweeddale Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

 

Beginners outing to Hawkstowe Park

22 September 2018
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers; Species count: 64

 

White-eared Honeyeater, Hawkstowe Park
White-eared Honeyeater. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Leafless deciduous trees around the carpark by Le Page homestead enabled the assembled 28 members to have very good views of Striated Pardalotes and Yellow Thornbills, which are normally much harder to see when hiding in thick foliage.

Striated Pardalote, Hawkstowe Park
Striated Pardalote. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Setting off along the Wonga Walk in bright sunshine with little wind it was good to see that the ponds near the homestead had been filled with water after several years of being almost empty.

B Hood 1
Striated Pardalotes. Photo by Bevan Hood

Consequently, several wetland species were present including Australasian Grebe and Hardhead.

Australasian Grebe, Hawkstowe Park
Australasian Grebe. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Both Pallid and Fan-tailed Cuckoos could be heard calling in the distance but were not visible. Following the track by the Plenty River it was great to see a variety of small birds, including Eastern Yellow Robins, Brown-headed and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters along with numerous Grey Fantails.

B Hood 2
Hardhead. Photo by Bevan Hood

Two of the birds spotted flying over were White-necked Heron and Australian Pelican.

B Hood 3
Grey Fantail. Photo by Bevan Hood

 

In the distance a Wedge-tailed Eagle could be seen being mobbed by Little Ravens, while in the other direction a pair of Brown Goshawks were being harassed by a Peregrine Falcon.

B Hood 4
Australian Pelican. Photo by Bevan Hood

 

Also, announcing their presence vocally were Pied Currawongs, one of which perched nearby allowing it to be easily viewed.

Little Raven, Hawkstowe Park
Little Raven. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

At the far end of the track by the Plenty river a White-eared Honeyeater obligingly posed on the top of a dead stump while nearby a small flock of Dusky Woodswallows perched in high dead branches.  After that it was up the track skirting below the scout camp, then pausing at a parrot hot spot where Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Galahs and Long-billed Corellas were all found.

Pied Currawong, Hawkstowe Park
Pied Currawong. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

Lunch was eaten back near the homestead after which most of the members drove round to the Morang Wetlands where a reception committee of Eastern Grey Kangaroos awaited. At the pond below the Ridge Track a mixed flock of Fairy Martins and Welcome Swallows circled overhead.

Galah, Hawkstowe Park
Galah. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

A number of species including (pointy-headed) Freckled Ducks, Dusky Moorhens and Chestnut Teal were seen on the water. On gaining the higher track another Pallid Cuckoo was heard, and this time it was eventually traced to its perch in a tall tree.

Freckled Ducks, Hardheads, Eurasian Coots, Chestnut Teal, Hawkst
Freckled (and other) Duck(s). Photo by Eleanor Dilley

 

Soon afterwards a Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo was seen and heard and there was a brief sighting of a female White-winged Triller.  The previously known Wedge-tailed Eagle’s nest could still be seen down in the river gorge but it did not appear to be active so far this season.

Pallid Cuckoo, Hawkstowe Park
Pallid Cuckoo. Photo by Eleanor Dilley

On returning to the cars everyone agreed it had been an excellent day’s birding in perfect weather conditions with some unusual sightings amongst the 64 species recorded.

View complete bird list: BM Sep 2018 Bird List Hawkstowe Park

Weekday outing to Murrindindi Reserve

12 April 2016

Murrindindi River - Diane Tweeddale
Murrindindi River. Photo by Diane Tweeddale

The middle part of the drive up from the suburbs was challenging with heavy rain but the 19 who arrived were relieved to find it much drier over the ranges. Graeme Hosken was leader and we drove in convoy to the Suspension Bridge Day Area. The walk beside the Murrindindi River added White-eared Honeyeaters and Long-billed Corellas to the Little Corellas, Red Wattlebirds, Olive-backed Oriole and Crimson Rosellas among others at the meeting car park.

corella Grey fantail combination
Long-billed Corella (left). Grey Fantail (right). Photos by Berenice Pearcy

Calls, as always in forests, outnumbered bird sightings and Grey Butcherbird, White-throated Treecreeper and Grey Shrike-thrush were first heard and later glimpsed or, more fortunately, clearly seen. Walking was easy beside the river on well-made tracks and the provision of camp sites with associated toilet blocks made for very comfortable birdwatching. The trees have not yet attained great height and the 2009 dead skeletons still rise high where they are not losing branches or falling. The only downside of walking beside any swiftly flowing river, of course, is the river noise which makes listening for bird calls very challenging though visible Grey Fantails compensated. Thornbill identification continued to challenge but finally Brown and Buff-rumped were confidently added to the list after some debate.

scrubwren honeyeater combination
White-browed Scrubwren (left). White-eared Honeyeater (right). Photos by Berenice Pearcy

Honeyeaters were not plentiful with Red Wattlebirds, White-eared Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills dominating. Some apparent spinebill calls were reassessed as probably the Eastern Smooth Frog as they lasted much longer. The other honeyeater species were not recorded by many but some of the group were able to add Yellow-faced, New Holland and White-naped Honeyeaters to the list. Next stop was the SEC picnic area where Superb Fairy-wrens finally cast off their shyness and came into view at the clearing edges.

Superb Fairy-wren eclipse male- Berenice Pearcy
Superb Fairy-wren eclips male. Photo by Berenice Pearcy

Here also was seen White-throated Treecreeper which had been recorded mostly as calls. After lunch most of the group continued their walk to the top of Wilhemina Falls but this proved quite difficult with a steep and pebble-slippery track.

At the top of Wilhemina Falls - Graeme Hosken
At the top of Wilhemina Falls. Photo by Graeme Hosken

Birds were disappointingly few with no additional species and a couple who had walked the lower river track were able to add Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos to the list. Animal traces were scratchings in dry ground, which may have been by wallabies or lyrebirds plus scats – macropods (probably wallabies), wombats, rabbits and echidna (rather flattened). The several severed claws of crayfish along one section of the track were evidence of predation. When birdcall was taken just after 3 pm we were all delighted to realise the final group tally was 41 species.

Birders on the track - Diane Tweeddale
Birders on the track. Photo by Diane Tweeddale

We thanked Graeme enthusiastically for taking us through this post-fires regenerating area. Birds and animals are present after the 2009 extreme fires and following the area’s recovery will continue to be fascinating.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings