Monday, April 13, 2009

Heyfield Birdwatchers April ’09 – Giffard Flora Reserve.

G’day Birdos,
‘twas a calm and foggy morning that developed into a beautiful day, and as it turned out, the company, the flora and avifauna matched the conditions.

Eight of us set off from Sale and headed for the western entrance to the reserve, which eventually I found after just one u-turn! Only a couple of hundred metres down the track I started seeing birds zing across in front of the ute. “This’ll do for starters”, I thought and we pulled up.

Almost immediately we had ticks for Emus, Dusky Woodswallows, Varied Sitellas as well as the usual Striated Thornbills, White-throated Treecreepers, Grey Shrike Thrush and more.

There’d been a shower or two in the days previous and I was hopeful of spotting some orchid leaves in the sandy roadside verges. Duncan and I had visited the place less than 2 weeks prior and had seen nothing much to enthuse us in the flora category.

Val was first to spot the tell-tale flat basal leaves and then as the eyes began to focus correctly we spotted the odd tiny flower. We ticked a Mosquito Orchid, a very tiny Greenhood that was not developed well enough for us to identify, and a Wasp Orchid, (I think). Without our resident human field guide, we struggled a bit – get well soon DF, we’ll have to shoot back down there in a day or so.

After struggling to get photographs of the very tiny flowers in a very low light, we headed for the vehicles and prepared to move on. Before we did so, a strange sighting was recorded in the paddock opposite – Black-fronted Dotterels. To me, it seemed an odd place to see these birds, but that’s what they were. No water, although there was a farm dam or two in the distance, no mud flats, etc, just grazed farmland with some pockets of Bracken. We also ticked a small number of White-fronted Chats and a Lark in the same area.

This time it was back to the cars. But no, look there, a pair of Flame Robins, then a pair of Scarlet Robins, a Jacky Winter and an Eastern Yellow Robin all in quick succession. Quite a little hot spot.

We moved on a little and stopped for a late morning coffee and chat. A quick tally of the score sheet indicated something like 25 species to this stage. A good mornings work. Hardly without getting up from our chairs, we added White-eared and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails, (of course), and again we spotted a Scarlet Robin.

A few of us had other commitments for the afternoon, so we headed back to Lake Guyatt in Sale for lunch. In the bushes and trees around the lake, we scored Yellow Thornbills, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Rufous Whistlers, New Holland Honeyeaters, Blue Wrens, Silvereyes, Red-browed Finches, etc.

On the water and the mud flats – Silver Gulls, Ibis, Black Duck, Wood Duck, Chestnut Teal, Cape Barren Geese, various water hens, and Black-fronted Dotterels, (right where they’re supposed to be!).

I’m sorry for the huge amounts of detail in this write up, and we don’t set out to tick as large a number of birds as we can, but I thought I’d give some idea of the number, (well over 50), and variety of species we can easily see in just a few hours, right on our doorstep. What a wonderful world we live in, if we open our eyes to it.

Thanks all, great day,
Here's some pics from the day.

A few fronts...

... to go with some backs, (see, that was polite wasn't it?).

Mosquito Orchid.

Wasp Orchid, (perhaps?).

Cape Barrens with a feral!


  1. Nice one Gouldiae, glad you had a good day, and a good turn up.

  2. Sounds like a very nice day out and definitely a nice list of birds.

  3. Thanks DF.
    Yes Mick, we just seemed to be seeing birds everywhere we looked - one out of the box.

  4. A great day out! If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em, I say.