Wednesday, 2 August 2017

170802_Raymond Island

Twelve Heyfield Birdwatchers gathered at the Island side of the ferry and met with Robert Wright who guided us around some of the parts of the island he knows and loves so well. Our walk before morning tea was along the boardwalk from the ferry to the point where we had great excitement watching 50 or so Burranan Dolphins and several Australian Pied Oystercatchers. Then back via A'Beckett Park, a private house with Nankeen Night-Herons in their backyard and three Tawny Frogmouths. No-one spotted the TFs so Robert's Cherry Ripes were safe. After a cuppa we drove a short way to see a pair of Gang-gang Cockatoos then on to the old school site where we walked through the bush to Lake King. No Hardheads or Great-crested Grebes in the rafts of Hoary-headed Grebes so Robert's Cherry Ripes were still safe. We ate lunch seated by a paddock filled with Eastern Yellow Robins, Superb Fairy-wrens and nest-material-gathering Spotted Pardalotes with Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos calling in the distance. We then walked around the Raymond Island Flora Reserve and then drove to the jetty at the end of Gravelly Point Road. The lake was flat as. Plenty of jellies in the water but no Hardheads, GCG or seahorses. Finally we headed back to the ferry via the north side of the island. The weather was about perfect with hardly any wind. Many thanks to Robert for a great day. Jim did win a Cherry Ripe for spotting the fourth Tawny Frogmouth before the rest of us. 53 species in all. A great day.

Koala Phascolartos cinereus
One of several seen during our visit.

Burranan Dolphin Tursiops australis
Robert commented that he often saw small groups of three or four. We saw at least 50! All in one pod. Sometimes all pretty close together and then spread out over 4-500 metres.

Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus
We had hoped to boat to Crescent Island and view the colony of breeding Peicans and see them in their breeding flush. The boat trip was a no-goer but we did have one pelican in breeding flush greet us as we drove off the ferry and started our walk.

Pacific Gull Larus pacificus
Two birds here. The first two images are the same bird. Yes, it does have a fish hook apparently caught in feathers but was behaving normally. It has the features of a second year bird. The second bird looks a bit older with more white starting on the front of the head but is still a second year bird.

Chestnut Teal Anas castanea

Common Bronzewing, males Phaps chalcoptera

Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

170705_Heart Morass, Sale

Despite a record breaking cold start to the week, today, Wednesday, dawned warm [10*C] and windless. Eight HBWers gathered at the Morass and walked for an hour or more from the "front gate" before a cuppa when Gary Howard arrived and gave us great information about Field and Game and the efforts they have made and plan for the rehabilitation of the old farms they have been able to acquire.

The day was beautiful walking through very old red gums and wattles and even a tree that botanists have been  unable to identify. After morning tea, we drove further in and walked again on the banks of the Latrobe River. Val's White-bellied Sea-eagles appeared right on cue. We also saw Whistling and Black-shouldered Kites, Swamp Harriers, Wedge-tailed Eagles and even a Peregrine Falcon flew past [twice]. Forty-three species all in. It was an excellent day. Thank you to Val.

Here are photos of the very amenable WBSE.

White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

170607_Latrobe River, Wirilda Environment Park

Peter met Marg, Heather, Bev, Val and Ross at Maccas in Morwell on a crisp winter's day and they headed off under a cloudless sky to a small track on the side of the Latrobe River on the Traralgon-Tyers Road where they started birding. Jack joined them a little later. There was not a breath of wind so spotting those LBJs was relatively easy. Highlights of 38 species were ...

Wedge-tailed Eagles, Satin Bowerbird, Australian King-Parrot, loads of Eastern Spinebills, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater,White-eared and White-naped Honeyeaters, Whipbirds, both Pards, heaps of Pied Currawongs, ravens, robins, finches, fantails. The lowlight was a Common Blackbird!

Onwards to Wirilda Environmental Park via the lookout on the Walhalla Road in Tyers where six of the seven lunched [Jack thought it was only morning tea and ended up a little peckish!] in the presence of an Olive Whistler and walked along the Tyers River for a short way then up the 400-metre Red Gum Track and back to the cars. Highlights of 24 species were the OW, Lewin's Honeyeater, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Gerygone and Varied Sitella!

All in all, 47 species and a great day. Thank you Peter.  We left at about 2pm with dark clouds looming!
Eastern Spinebill
Australian King Parrot
Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Pied Currawong
Satin Bowerbird
Superb Fairy-wren
White-browed Scrubwren
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

170503_Mitchell River Pumping Station, Den of Nargun

A cool to warm, sunny day saw thirteen Heyfield Birders walking the riverside track upstream from the Pumping Station at Glenaladale and then, after lunch, a walk around the Den of Nargun. Highlights of the 36 species for the day included Wonga Pigeon (heard), Lewin's Honeyeater, a Spotted Quail-thrush at DoN, a gathering of Brown Thornbills, Silvereyes, White-browed Scrubwrens and Red-browed Finches and a discussion of a) the differences between Pied and Grey Currawongs and b) the index of the new Australian Bird Guide.

Pied Currawong Strepera graculina
Scarlet Robin, male Petroica boodang
White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

170405_Sale, Newry, Kentucky Road and Nicholson Rocks

On a beautiful day, eleven birders [welcome to Keith] gathered at Lake Guthridge and, instead of heading south to test our vehicles on the "worst-that-you-have-ever-seen-it" track into Jack Smith Lake, were guided just 2 kilometres northwest to the Flooding Creek Linear Reserve opposite the Livestock Exchange. Nothing super special in the 28 species we saw there.

Male Galah inspecting potential nest site.
Next stop was a bush block at Newry. Morning tea at the gate then Wedge-tailed Eagles, Brown Goshawk, Nankeen Kestrel and a Whistling Kite complimenting the droves of Scarlet Robins fresh in from the hills plus plenty of immature Crimson Rosellas in their dark, olive green suits and the standout bird, an Australian Owlet-nightjar, was heard.

A quick stop at the yards up Kentucky Road showed some emus and then last stop at the picnic table at the car park at the start of the track to Nicholson Rocks. After lunch a Wedgie again and excellent views of a Yellow-faced Honeyeater and the call of a White-throated Treecreeper. Or was that an Eastern Yellow Robin? Or was that an Eastern Spinebill? Learning with the Morcombe app for the less experienced resulted in the identification of an Eastern Yellow Robin. An excellent day with 46 species in all.

One of three Emus.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Next outing is Wednesday 03 May gathering at the Billabong Roadhouse on the Princes Highway towards Bairnsdale and subsequently a visit to Glenaladale and the Mitchell River.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

170301_Macalister Wetlands Reserve and Bellbird Corner

Eight Heyfield Birders gathered at 9 at the start of a warm/hot day.

Macalister Wetlands Reserve was just about dry in the western water and two small pools getting smaller on the eastern section. Undaunted by the potential lack of water birds, we birded hard. Leah and John had already spotted a juvenile Nankeen Night-heron. A Brown Goshawk flew overhead. It seemed like hundreds of Superb Fairy-wrens flitted about the drying and dried mud providing an escort to three Spotless Crake and two Buff-banded Rails. Jack and John [another John] braved the long grass of the eastern section and flushed five Latham's Snipe for all to see. No snakes. We met Rowan! Jack spotted a Golden-headed Cisticola, a pair of Yellow-billed Spoonbills flew in, a single Satin Bowerbird was seen at a world record height, for the species, in a eucalypt, six Australian King Parrots argued in a tree and a Brown Gerygone was positively identified by two birders. Forty-three species in total. An excellent number for a dry wetland!
Spotless Crake
Black-fronted Dotterel
Buff-banded Rail
Golden-headed Cisticola
Yellow-billed Spoonbill
Brown Goshawk, juvenile, probably female.
After morning tea, we motored just up the road to Bellbird Corner. As we jumped out of the cars, Leah spotted five White-throated Needletails !!! Mega. Duncan Fraser and the committee do a great job keeping the Corner well maintained and have erected a new info board and seat. We then met Duncan leaving from one of his regular sortees looking for anything but especially odonata, had a chat for a few minutes and notified him of the Needletails which were not on the Bellbird Corner Bird List. Highlights here were a Brown Falcon, Sacred Kingfisher and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Twenty-six species in all and a total of fifty-six species seen for the day -- not that anyone is counting.
Eastern Yellow Robin 
White-throated Needletail heading southwest
Lunch was back at the Port of Maffra where we met Jane and had an excellent discussion about all sorts of things. A great day.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

170215_Lakes Entrance Pelagic and Lunch at The Beacons

Commiserations to Jim who missed today's outing due to a personal encounter of his car with a kangaroo near Startford on his way to the rendezvous point at Lakes Entrance. Despite his absence, Jack had still over-catered with the numbers and, as Skipper Pete's boat was licensed for 12 passengers, he walked around to Nancy's place, "The Beacons" at New Works collecting 33 species on the way.

Goodbyes are so hard.
The others cruised to Flanagan Island, did a lap of Rigby Island, landed at the Barrier and walked across to the Southern Ocean, checked out the Entrance and were back at Nancy's for lunch at about noon with ... 33 species under their belt[s]. John and Pam headed off straight away to do a Shorebird 2020 survey at Glasshouse whilst the other initiate, Reuben, stayed for lunch. Highlights of the day were White-bellied Sea-eagle, Musk Duck and Sooty Oystercatchers on the boat and a pair of Eastern Whipbirds in Nancy's back garden after lunch. Following images courtesy of John Hutchison.

Great Cormorant
Sooty Oystercatcher
Musk Duck
Crested Tern
Australian Pied Oystercatcher. Immature left, adult right.
Her two dogs were looking slightly hungry as we watched a family of magpies steal the dog's crunchy food.

Dad [right], mum [centre], the begging youngster on his/her fifth biscuit [left]

The weather was perfect with little breeze, a few clouds and nice, warm sun. Thank you to Nancy for the use of her summer vacation residence.