Monday, October 12, 2009

Heyfield Birdwatchers - October '09

G’day All,
Yesterday was the October excursion for the Heyfield Birdwatchers. Just before N&J and I met up with the others, we ducked into Lake Guyatt to see what might be present. Three Clamorous Reed Warblers were working the reed beds in front of us and an Egret strolled imperiously by.

We met the group and welcomed Jane, Wayne and Barry to our fold. Hope you had a good day folks. Our numbers were improved further when the Sale Field Naturalists joined our ranks for the morning session. We set off from Sale in a convoy of 11 vehicles.

The Giffard Flora Reserve was the first port of call, an old favourite of mine and we weren’t to be disappointed this time either. The bird list included White-naped and White-eared Honeyeaters, Dusky Woodswallows, Gan-gang and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, White-winged Triller and this accommodating Grey Fantail upon the nest in the middle of a clump of Kangaroo Thorn …

Grey Fantail

While the birdos had their eyes to the tree tops, the field nats found plenty on the ground. Among the orchids, the Wax-lips were in flower, including the occasional all white one.

Wax-lip orchid

During a cuppa, we had plenty of discussion as the two groups endeavoured to explain, identify, etc their particular species of bird or plant. Great fun and very rewarding!

We then ‘convoyed’ down to Jack Smith Lake where I’d hoped to sight some Blue-winged Parrots, but we either were not looking in the right place at the right time, or perhaps their migratory pattern meant they’d moved on. Red-capped Dotterells, White-fronted Chats, Richard’s Pipit, Skylarks and Shellduck were some of the species we did spot, and a few of the group got to see their first Calamanthus or Striated Fieldwren.

White-fronted Chat - a previous photo at JSLake

After lunch, the field nats invited us to accompany them to a particular spot in Holey Plains State Park where the very scarce Wellington Mint Bush was in flower. On the way, we were briefly ‘held up’ by the sighting of 25+ young Australian Shelduck on a farmer’s dam beside the road. This was an interesting sighting as there seemed to be two clutches of slightly different ages. We only spotted one adult bird, so we’re wondering if they were a creche of 2 or more separate breedings.

Baby Australian Shelduck
We'd also disturbed a pair of Black Swans from the same small dam, but they eventually circled back and settled on the water.

Black Swan circling

We caught up with the others at the designated spot in Holey Plains, and Norma gave us a run down on the effort being made to protect the mint Prostanthera Galbraithiae. (You may like to glance at an earlier entry on this rather scarce and vulnerable plant). While we were examining the mint population, we came across a healthy Duck orchid that got the cameras clicking away.

The much photographed Duck orchid

It was mid afternoon by now, and an approaching storm helped to make our minds up about heading home. It was a wonderful day spent in great company – might do it again one day!


  1. G'day Gouldiae!

    Love this White-fronted Chat photo. Beautiful composition and background colors as well as excellent sharpness of the bird.

    Best regards

  2. G'day Nickolay,
    Praise indeed from you, thanks. Just got lucky. It was back in late August and I think the nest might have been nearby. The bird didn't want to venture far from that particular spot, whereas yesterday, they took off and would disappear into the distance.