Wednesday, 1 May 2019

190501_Welshpool and Big Dog Island


An even dozen of us gathered at Welshpool to conduct a Birds on Farms
<>  survey at Gary Wallis' Hedley Farm and Big Dog Island<> ; some others of you may recall our visit there last May. Gary signed up for this program earlier this year and asked us to conduct the surveys, so we did.

A cool-ish day that threatened rain, but it stayed dry - and we became warm later in our thermal underlayers (worn in preparation for it being wet and windy) as the temperature climbed into the 20s.

We had four survey areas of two hectares each to spend 20 minutes in each observing. The first area was medium density Banksia forest (BOF survey list<> ) where the highlight was 15 Nankeen Night-herons that flew out of the area into a big dead tree nearby. Despite the cloud cover, the lighting was great. Alas, I'd left my camera in the car to concentrate on ensuring the survey ranaccording to the rules. In a show of colour solidarity, a Nankeen Kestrel flew low over the top of them.

The second area was a low grass and small bush area with a couple of drainage channels, fenced off for regeneration. The highlight here was a pair of Striated Fieldwrens (BOF list<> ).

A late morning tea at the third; more fenced off regeneration area (BOF list<> ). Not a lot of birds in the area but plenty outside of them. The BOF rules limit in-site counting to birds interacting with the area, not just flying or moving about outside of it. Nearby, we had quite a good sighting of a dozen or so Blue-winged Parrots and several Brush Bronzewings.

The last area was a hike down to the point of land for a stand of ti-tree and other medium-sized scrub. Not a lot of birds there (BOF list<> ) but we did surprise a mob of kangaroos. One got spooked and waded across a 100m, waist-deep stretch of water to a mud-bank, straight across that and another 200m swim to the other side.

Lots of water birds and waders though; of course, at 2-300m away, hard to see in detail. Never mind, we had a beautiful view of the northern hills of Wilsons Promontory. A Swamp Harrier was the last sighting as we ate a very late lunch. 


Val, Jack and Ross headed further west to the Toora Bird Hide. It had started to rain as we arrived but quickly stopped and the sun came out and the mangroves and mud flats were bathed in the light that delights a photographer. Although we saw only 13 species here, another three were added to the day list.

A big day with 52 species.

Next month's outing may well be a 500m boat trip from Sperm Whale Head for a day (or even overnight if interested) to Rotomah Island <>.

Birds in BoF Areas (20)

Nankeen Night-Heron, Nankeen Kestrel, Crimson Rosella, Grey Fantail, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, Superb Fairy-wren, White-eared Honeyeater, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Little Raven, Grey Teal, Grey Shrike-thrush, Striated Fieldwren, Australian Magpie, Eurasian Skylark, Brush Bronzewing, Eastern Rosella, Blue-winged Parrot, White-browed Scrubwren, Superb Fairy-wren.

Additional birds outside BoF Areas (32)

Australian White Ibis, 
Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Australian Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Chestnut Teal, Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon, Eastern Rosella, Blue-winged Parrot, Welcome Swallow, Willie Wagtail, Grey Shrike-thrush, Magpie-lark, Australasian Pipit, Cattle Egret, Silver Gull, Pacific Gull, Australian Pelican, Black Swan, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Sooty Oystercatcher, Red-necked Stint, Crested Tern, Great Egret, White-faced Heron, Little Corella, Golden Whistler, Australian Raven, Common Blackbird, Common Starling, Common Myna.

Blue-winged Parrot
Eurasian Skylark
Red-necked Stint
Sooty Oystercatcher