Wednesday, 5 June 2019

190605_Marlay Point to Sale and all avian points in between

Armed with multiple layers of clothing, beanies and gloves, nine of us gathered at Marlay Point in a biting south wind. We all enjoyed and photographed the 8-10 Little Terns resting on the pylons with dozens of Crested Terns. A few Musk Duck were also spotted plus 25+ other species. 

Apart from a Nankeen Kestrel on the fence, crawling along Frawley Rd was a bit fruitless but the view of Lake Kakydra brought forth large numbers of White-headed Stilts and Red-necked Avocets. The large dam on Hearthall Road treated us to a Swamp Harrier and a Whistling Kite working up the hundreds of Grey Teal present. Pretty soon, the Kite was enjoying lunch on a nearby fencepost.

We checked the paddocks around Talbots Lane for Blue-winged Parrots (spotted last week) and Dotterels but no luck. The Dotterel paddock has been cultivated since last year.

Onto the old, closed bridge on Freshwater Hole Road where we spotted a few White-fronted Chats and European Goldfinch in the paddocks. At the river, we were stunned by a massive tight raft of European Coots drifting along. The initial estimate was 1,000 but a bit of maths at home (JG) showed the raft to be about 40m by 20m or 800 square metres. Given the density in the photo, the count is probably at least 3000; that is only 4 per square metre and it looks denser than that.

Frozen by now, we adjourned into town for lunch to Lake Guyatt where there are hundreds of Grey Teal and Freckled Duck. We were too cold to count them! 

A personal detour on the way home along the Back Maffra Rd wetlands in Sale showed large numbers of Grey Teal, dozens of Chestnut Teal plus four Pink-Eared Ducks (it pays to scan these large mobs carefully) plus a few Red-kneed Dotterels.

All up, about 45 species for the day; worth freezing our butts off.

Report by John Gwyther.

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