Monday, September 12, 2011

Heyfield Birdwatchers - September 2011

G’day Birdwatchers,
A small but hardy flock of birdos braved the cold winds and showers - some with hail – yesterday, and explored the Flooding Creek track at the Sale Common. Just before we left the meeting point at Lake Guthridge, Jane pointed out the young Swan that seems to have imprinted to a Goose.

There wasn’t much activity at Lake Guyatt as the water was too high, covering all the mud flats. This situation probably suits many of the recreational walkers/joggers/cyclists who seem to think the controlled water level in this lake should be this high at all times, having scant regard or understanding for the needs of waders and other species that enjoy the food source provided by the periodic exposure of the mud flats. We headed around to the Common.

With a little more protection from the winds here, we began seeing some of the resident bush birds – wrens, fantails, honeyeaters, thrushes, thornbills, etc. In the reed beds adjacent to the track there were reed warblers and Little Grassbirds constantly calling. Part of the team spotted a Koala and Ross and I were entertained for some minutes watching a very handsome Imperial White butterfly dash about but refusing to land low enough for a decent photograph.

Next it was a hot cuppa to warm the insides at least, then into the cars and around past the swing bridge to the gate at the Heart Morass beside the Latrobe. (Anyone from the trustees that run this place reading this – surely it’s time to put in some form of access for pedestrians at this point?)

We were confronted with a stunning view in the distance. First there was water in the place – we have had a great start to spring in Gippsland. On the water were thousands of birds. After discussing it for a bit, we decided that there were several flocks/carpets of Eurasian Coots alone that must have totaled MANY thousand! Hundreds and hundreds of Swans, many with cygnets, ducks of several varieties and to complete the scene, circling Swamp Harriers and Whistling Kites that would occasionally dive down into the masses and split them asunder.

The ground was too soft to approach for a closer picture, but the image below is just one SMALL fraction of what we could see in front of us. And, this was just on the edge of the very first part of a very extensive wetland. Who knows what lay beyond?

We stood there and oohed and aahed for a while, and then I noticed we went quiet as I suspect we were each in awe of the grandeur that Mother Nature sometimes throws up to us.

On the way back out, Jane and Shane capped the day off very nicely for us by showing us a Tawny Frogmouth on its nest high up in an old Red Gum. Great finish to a cold but rewarding day for a small bunch of stalwarts!


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