Tag Archives: Yarra Bend Park

Weekdays Outing to Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield

12 August 2019
Photographs by Kat Mun Loh

The group numbered 20, of whom two were international visitors, from the UK and Canada, and another couple were visitors from the support group Regenerate. Elsmaree Baxter led and all were grateful that the weather, though very cold, was dry. The ground was still wet and muddy with plenty of large puddles after several days of rain so care was needed when walking. Early arrivals were treated to a flock of 20 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos flying overhead and some later arrivals counted the last bird while it perched in a bare tree. Other car park species included the inevitable Noisy Miners plus a few Australian Wood Ducks, Eastern Rosellas, Red-rumped Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets plus a pair of Magpie-larks. Overhead flew a Great Cormorant and then, to the alarm calls from many species, a slender-winged Australian Hobby.

Superb Fairy-wren - male - Kat Mun Loh
Superb Fairy-wren, male

We walked past the golf course, noting a White-faced Heron patrolling near a green, apparently unfazed by the driving practice going on at the far end of the range. The grass was covered with yellow golf balls which must presumably be collected mechanically. Turning back into the bush section we noted the calls of Pied Currawong and Little Raven and watched Corellas flying near exercising dogs, presumably Long-billed Corellas as only this species had been seen from the start.

the group - Kat Mun Loh
The group walking

We headed back towards the Yarra which was flowing strong and high. A highlight here was a female Australasian Darter perched on a snag near a couple of Pacific Black Ducks. Some in the front of the group saw a robin which was another highlight – it was a female Scarlet Robin. The visitors were smiling and listing more and more.

Australasian Darter -female - Kat Mun Loh
Australasian Darter

A Dusky Moorhen swam near but did not try to fight the very strong river current. An Eastern Spinebill called but was only seen by one or two while Red Wattlebirds were heard at intervals. Superb Fairy-wrens’ calls were identified to the visitors but sightings were few and a “little brown job” was initially misidentified as a thornbill but on closer inspection was a White-browed Scrubwren being unexpectedly obvious on a low bare branch. Another good sighting, though often brief, was a calling Spotted Pardalote, much admired. One observer’s wish was granted when a clear close view of a Laughing Kookaburra was obtained as up till then she had only heard or briefly glimpsed this iconic Australian.

Laughing Kookaburra - Kat Mun Loh
Laughing Kookaburra

We were heading toward the boathouse when a sharp pair of eyes penetrated the great camouflage of a pair of Tawny Frogmouths huddled closely together against the cold. A great sighting for everyone.

Tawny Frogmouths - Kat Mun Loh
First glimpse of a pair of Tawny Frogmouths
Tawny Frogmouth - Kat Mun Loh
Tawny Frogmouth

Back to the shelter near the car park for lunch where we were checked out by Noisy Miners which made the most of every slight food spill. Wood ducks were still foraging on the near grass and were joined peaceably by a lone Crested Pigeon. At intervals some heard a distant call of an Olive-backed Oriole which was then picked up by all during a quiet pause in our chatter. However no sighting was obtained despite careful peering upwards. Unfortunately Elsmaree had to terminate her walk at lunchtime so she joined those finishing then because of fatigue or prior engagement. We thanked her wholeheartedly for all her preparation and wished her well.

Pat Bingham led the smaller remaining group around the Macfarlane Burnet circuit where the only addition to the species list was an overhead V of Straw-necked Ibis which brought the total of species to 48. We thanked Pat for the additional walk with its terrain and information boards.

Diane Tweeddale, Coordinator BirdLife Melbourne weekdays outings

Weekdays Outing to Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield

6 July 2015

When I left home at 9.20am to go to this outing it was overcast, cold and raining lightly. By the time I got to the Eastern Freeway the rain became heavier and the speed of the car windscreen wiper blades had to be increased to continuous. About three kilometres further on, the rain started bucketing down and the wiper blades were switched to fast. Coming off the Freeway at Chandler Hwy the rain began to ease and as I approached the meeting place at Yarra Bend Park it was only raining very lightly. When I arrived at the car park at 9.40am, our leader Elsmarie Baxter, was there with seven others all sheltering under their umbrellas. By 10am the rain had stopped and there were now thirteen birders present, so we set out on the walk.

We walked towards the boat sheds on the Yarra River and while crossing an oval we saw Red-rumped parrots, Crested Pigeons and Masked Lapwings on the grass. On the river there was a variety of ducks, several Coots and a lone Silver Gull. We then walked along the riverbank trail under the footbridge and found Grey Fantail, New-Holland Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Grey Shrike-thrush and Brown Thornbill. Further along we found Laughing Kookaburra, King Parrots and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. When we reached the golf club area we veered right and to return to the car park via roads and ovals. On the way back we saw Eastern Rosella, Grey Butcherbird, and Musk Lorikeet.

Lunch was a short drive further into the Park past the golf club where we had a sheltered picnic area with seats and tables. While having lunch we were visited by a Grey Butcherbird, Whistling Kite, Welcome Swallow and Grey Currawong. After lunch we walked along another river track which went under the Eastern Freeway to Dights Falls. Along here we had excellent views of King Parrots in full sunshine and two Tawny Frogmouths. Bell Miners were heard and we had a brief glimpse of a Hobby speeding across the river. There was also a Brush-tailed Possum and a Koala along this section of the walk. At Dights falls we saw Australian Grebe in the river and in the newly planted revegetation area there were Superb Fairy-wren, White-plumed Honeyeater, White-browed Scrubwren and Eastern Spinebill. We then returned back to the cars for birdcall.

I have not mentioned Rainbow Lorikeet and Noisy Miner at the various places because they were noisily calling everywhere we went. Total number of bird species for the day was forty-five. We did not have any rain at all during the five hours between 10am and 3pm. Many thanks to Elsmarie for a very productive winter outing and her remarkable control of the weather.

Contributor: Geoff Russell