27 May 2023
Leaders: Hazel and Alan Veevers
Species count: 56
This month the Beginners were very fortunate with the weather, having a beautiful sunny day at Braeside Park. Three Cattle Egrets were feeding just outside the Southern Entrance and a Buff-banded Rail was seen crossing the track just inside the gate. Above the carpark a pair of Little Eagles, both in the dark morph, were seen circling high overhead and they were soon joined by a lone Swamp Harrier.
A female Common Bronzewing was resting beneath a nearby bush whilst an Eastern Rosella and several Rainbow Lorikeets were also spotted close to the cars. Unfortunately, there were also lots of Noisy Miners close by (and throughout the park) which no doubt reduced the number of small bushbirds willing to show themselves. Purple Swamphens were also in abundance, both in and out of the water.
Walking anticlockwise around the wetlands a variety of Duck species were seen. The most unusual of these being Freckled, Blue-billed and Pink-eared. Apparently, word of the Freckled Ducks had spread amongst other birders, and we met several people who were eager to find and photograph them. We were happy to be of assistance.
A Little Pied Cormorant struggling to eat an enormous fish caused some amusement! Eurasian Coots and Dusky Moorhens were plentiful but there was only single sightings of Great Egret, Australasian Darter and White-faced Heron.
Several Golden-headed Cisticolas kept popping up and down on a large expanse of tall grass, causing much frustration to some of the photographers. After the morning walk most of the members drove to the Northern Entrance and had lunch near the Visitor Centre. The Heathland Trail was the route for the afternoon walk, where rabbits appeared to be in plague proportions, outnumbering the bird species. Alongside the ponds there were fewer noisy Miners and hence more bushbirds to be seen. These included Yellow-faced and White-plumed Honeyeaters, Superb Fairy-wrens and Grey Fantails.
At the conclusion of a most enjoyable excursion the total number of species recorded was 56.
Thanks to Eleanor Dilley and Steve Hoptroff for providing the excellent photographs.