Monday, May 10, 2010

Heyfield Birdwatchers - May, 2010

G'day Birdwatchers,
Yesterday we met in Sale and headed south to the Giffard Flora Reserve, a favourite piece of bush, (of mine - one of the perks of being the organiser!).

We turned in off the highway, after a U-turn, and started getting little bush birds down the fence line right away, White-fronted Chats, Scarlet Robins, etc. At the first stop we headed down a short track for a bit and part of our group became engrossed in trying to identify several birds in the canopy. You can see the concentration on their faces ...

... well, from the other side you could.

Various Thornbills, Whistlers and Honeyeaters was the score here. Oh, and the first orchid for the season, a Mosquito.

We moved on and had a cuppa, and got more or less the same birds before heading further south toward Jack Smith Lake. We turned on to the McGauran's Beach Rd and drove slowly down toward the beach, checking the fenceline in particular for more Robins. There were sheep in the paddocks, some with the odd lamb in attendance and consequently a few Wedge-tailed Eagles were perched atop some of the old dry trees.

John G had organised for us to enter a piece of private property along here, and the back paddocks went down toward the boundary of the Jack Smith Lake Reserve. The fence lines were loaded with White-fronted Chats and several pairs of the beautiful Flame Robin.

This little Robin is variously described as sedentary, dispersive and migratory, so take your pick. Some birds are thought to cross Bass Strait from Tasmania each season and considering our location, it seems reasonable to suspect we might have been seeing some Tassie migrants.

Like all Robins, the Flames gather their meals of insects and larvae by the perch-and-pounce technique, so we frequently encountered them 'posing' on a stump or on top of a thistle, etc, but they do tend to find the fence wires make excellent viewing platforms.

Lunch stop was the 'car park' at the end of the track inside the reserve, where we found a beaut spot out of the wind between the dunes and the Banksias.

Jack Smith Lake is a reserve jointly managed by the Field and Game mob, Parks Victoria, and probably others, so in season ducks can be shot! Some people like to complain about unethical birdwatchers - luring birds with playback birdcall tapes, etc - so you can imagine how most of us felt when we came across some cut-out duck shapes in the shallows ...

and directly opposite, just a few metres away tucked into the rush beds ...

Now, I reckon that is a bit one sided, but I'm probably biased. After picking up the rubbish, including a few cartridge cases, we headed back to the cars.

Many of the Banksias were attracting Wattlebirds and a few other Honeyeaters, including the ever present New Holland.

I talked the group into looking in at another small reserve on the way home. After eventually finding the gate in, we had a short wander around and saw enough to warrant further detailed inspection of the Darriman Bushland Reserve in the near future.

After saying our goodbyes and being invited to Peach Flat for next month's event, (thanks Michelle and Rod), we wended our various ways homeward.


  1. Hi Gouldiae
    I am with you - decoys left out to attract unwary Mountain Ducks to their death is not a nice thought.

    Nice Flame Robins.

  2. Little boys and big guns. Freud knew!

  3. I wonder how many decoys get shot.

    Such a red in the flame robin! Beautiful bird.