We had a great day out yesterday, when some EGBOCA's came down from the east and joined a few of the Heyfield mob for some bird watching on our patch - a mixed species day.
We met up at Maffra, and after introductions and putting some faces to some email names, we headed out to John and Marg's place at Coongulla.
There is a small patch of bush beside the house that winds around the edge of the lake and it seems to act as a magnet to the birds. J & M's bird list for this spot is impressive. As we got started we almost needed earplugs to drown out the noise coming from the Musk Lorikeets as they worked the blossom in the big eucalypts. Heaps of little birds of various persuasion were darting through too.
It was great to see that a few species were considering nesting too. This Galah was checking out a hole in a large Red Gum.
I'm not sure what actually goes on in this situation, but I reckon I've noticed on the golf course that the hollows and nest boxes are selected early by particular pairs and they seem to guard their favourite hole for quite some weeks before actually occupying it.
Chris was kept busy recording the sightings as we headed back to the house for a cuppa and as we passed under the resident Whistling Kite's nest tree, it was as though they were recording their sighting of us.
We headed in to Heyfield next to have a look at the wetlands. Always a nice spot to take visitors, because if the birds are a little scarce like yesterday, the nature of the project and the information centre itself can provide enough interest to occupy some time.
The usual few duck and waterhen species were about, and the tree plantations were well occupied with various Thornbills, Wrens, Fantails and Honeyeaters. The wetlands are right on the edge of town and I'm always impressed with the number of 'bush birds' that I see in this spot.
After a late lunch a small group of us headed back up the highway and I led them into a patch of bush at Swallow Lagoon, a spot where Duncan and I do some regular surveying. The light was terrible by now, the forecast rain-band was approaching so we didn't linger long. We were just inside the gate, more or less at our first survey point and the place was alive with little bush birds. Ken was recording here and I think he had a list well into the teens in perhaps half an hour.
A particular delight was to see the little Spotted Pardalote, the jewel of the bush, gleaning the foliage of the eucalypts for a meal. A delightful way to finish a delightful day. Thanks EGBOCA's for your very pleasant company.