Wednesday, August 20, 2014

McNeilly Park Wetlands ...

… are located in Jacksons View estate on the northern outskirts of Drouin, between the town and the freeway.

This award winning wetland landscape design is beginning to come of age. I’ve only just discovered this delightful spot only 2km from home. For my second walk around the tracks and trails today, I took the camera.

Like most wetlands the usual suite of waterbirds were in residence – Wood Ducks, Chestnut Teal, Purple Swamphens, Eurasian Coots, Australasian Grebes, etc.

The pathways and boardwalks are well constructed and wide. Plenty of room for passing and overtaking. At the northern end a well set up playground will, I feel certain, be much appreciated by the grandchildren on their next visit to pop and nans!

Thinking the locality a bit too closely settled, I was a bit surprised to come across a pair of Richard’s Pipits.

A small flock of Tree Martins were collecting nest material from the side of the pathways and disappearing into the distance. I didn’t quite have time to track down their favoured tree, suffice to say there are several remnant large old eucs with ideal hollows. The half dozen mature trees remaining are I believe the endangered Strzelecki Gum.

I spotted a Black-shouldered Kite fly into one of the gums in the distance and was surprised to see it disappear into the foliage rather than sit on an exposed branch to better scan the ground for prey. I worked my way closer and eventually found the reason.

All good stuff except … perhaps the dominant bird species was the Common/Indian Mynah. I wonder would Baw Baw Shire be amenable to a trapping program?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Some More 'Top End' Finches ...

… this time from Jack.

Jack is a ‘Heyfield Birdo’ who at present is somewhere in the Northern Territory. Early today he had the temerity to send me a few shots of some finches he’d seen, “… knowing your fascination with finches …”.

His report …
"I took all of these within 20 minutes yesterday morning, just north of
Katherine by a pool in a tiny, nameless creek about 20 metres from the
car. Other species seen included ...

Crimson Finch, Double-barred Finch, Gouldian Finch black and red morph and
tens of juveniles, probably 100 in total, Long-tailed Finch red-billed
form (hecki), Banded Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Restless
Flycatcher, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Hooded Parrot, Silver-crowned
Friarbird, Red-rumped Parrot, Little Friarbird, Peaceful Dove, Masked
Finch, Rainbow Bee-eater. Yesterday we saw Striated Pardalote,
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, White-winged Triller, Brown Honeyeater.

We got there about 7am and the birds came in about 7.30 and stayed for at
least 45 minutes. Just magic."
Crimson Finch - like to nest in the pandanus and cane grass.

Masked Finch - builds a grass nest at ground level.

Double-barred Finch or 'Owl Face' - nomadic but nearly always near water.

Gouldian Finch, (Red Headed) - 75% blacks, 25% reds, some rare yellows.

Long-tailed Finch - very sociable species.

Gouldian, (Black Head) - hollow nester.

Just magic indeed Jack, BTW, what’s the temperature like – NO, don’t tell me!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Obituary - The Great Barrier Reef?

I came across this link to an excellent interactive page on the Guardian Australia website that details the history and the likely future of The Great Barrier Reef. Worth a read!