Yesterday was one out of the box - magnificent weather, beautiful gardens and 50 species! We did an 'open gardens' day, visiting 4 nearby properties and learning about the efforts made by the owners to attract native birds to the area.
At Peter and Glen's, we saw a variety of nest box installations and learned that several species will sometimes make use of the one nest box. A nest box erected for a target species doesn't always work. A huge box with a large opening designed for a Brushtail Possum was occupied for some time by a tiny Owlet Nightjar.
Barry and Margot's place was a revelation. Right on the edge of town, Barry has planted hundreds of trees and shrubs, most of which had their own dripper water supply from his man made dam/wetlands. The ducks, grebes, Newholland Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills, various Thornbills, Wrens etc that we encountered were a testament to the success of his work.
Mike and Dinny's place is a couple of kilometres from the centre of town and is on the edge of a piece of Ironbark forest. The Box and Ironbark woodlands have largely dissapeared from Gippsland and the piece of Crown Land and the nearby Glenmaggie Flora Reserve are two small remnants in our area. (It was good to note that at all three of these properties so far, indigenous species planting regimes were still being conducted).
We were knocked over by Dinny's species list and the birds we saw, (several nesting), included Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, (at one time they were beside one another collecting nesting material from the branch of a Stringybark), White-naped and Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Wrens, Scrubwrens, Red-brows and the beautiful, scarce, yet here they were in good number and almost tame, Diamond Firetail Finches.
Our final visit was to an old favourite, John and Marg's Northpoint property at nearby Coongulla. After our lunch in a stunning garden setting, J&M took us for a stroll along the clifftop beside the lake, (Glenmaggie). Scarlet Robins, White-plumed Honeyeaters, Jacky Winters etc were added to the list along with the ubiquitous, (I wish), Diamond Firetails. The prize sighting here however was J&M's resident Whistling Kites devouring a recent catch of Redfin from the lake.
I think that we will all remember this outing for some time. I have several images in my head that I'm certain will stay for a long while. Thanks to all involved - just brilliant!
PS: No pictures just yet. I need a bit of time to work on them - filled my card just after lunch - and will post a few over the next few days.