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-belleid 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.

Friday, 9 December 2016

161207_Sale Lakes and Common_Christmas Social

Fifteen birdos [welcome to Leonie, Sue and Veronica] gathered between Lakes Guthridge and Guyatt in Sale and had a great morning of birding. We slowly walked around Lake Guyatt. Val showed us into the Powder Magazine and we completed our circuit with morning tea and thirty-seven species. Both lakes were full to brimming, the Freckled Duck were all gone, highlights were Latham's Snipe in Flooding Creek, a Pacific Koel calling in the distance and Striated Roulettes.

Part two was a walk to the Rifle Butts from the Cox's Bridge carpark. Two pairs of nesting Olive-backed Orioles held up two sections of the group for ten minutes of observation and use of the scope to really visualise the beauty of these birds. Down at the Rifle Butts and further along at the water trough near the Whistling Kite nests, we saw nesting Yellow-billed Spoonbills, nesting Striated Pardalotes working hard to feed their brood, a Leaden Flycatcher and heard and saw a Fan-tailed Cuckoo and a Shining Bronze-cuckoo. Thirty-two species in all with fifteen additional ones to Part One so 52 altogether.

We then adjourned to a BBQ at the Botanic Gardens and plenty of laughter and story telling and plans for next year both HBW and personal. It was a great day. A big thank you to Ross for the images below.

We decided to miss a January outing so there will be 11 outings next year. Have a healthy Christmas time.

Australian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus australis
Yellow-billed Spoonbills nesting Platalea flaviceps
Leaden Flycatcher, female Myiagra rubecula