On Saturday I joined Bass Coast Birdwatchers for an amble through parts of the the Sale Common and other nearby wetlands. The weather was near perfect, unlike the water level which was very high due to recent rainfalls. With all mudflats and shallow banks completely inundated, the water bird numbers were very low but it didn’t seem to stop this irrepressible group from having a wonderful day.
The few locals who joined in for the day had to refrain continually from referring to A B Paterson’s poem Last Week, ‘…should have been there last week they said, There were flocks of ‘em there last week’!
We had some discussion for a time on why there were several ‘rafts’ of Eurasian Coots drifting by and it was suggested that the near continuous call of the Whistling Kites overhead may have had something to do with it – safety in numbers.
The Sale Common is blessed with the presence of some ancient River Red Gums, all full of inviting hollows for a suite of wildlife. In particular we ticked Rainbow Lorikeets, Striated Pardalotes and Galahs, all using or guarding their choice of nesting abode.
Sale Botanic Gardens was the venue for lunch with the Peacocks and a catch up chat and review of species seen.
The two lakes in Sale, Guthridge and Guyatt, also had high water levels but the Freckled Ducks were still in residence under the willows on Lake Guthridge. The gardens around these lakes are excellent habitat for miscellaneous honeyeaters, blue wrens, Red-browed Finches, and thornbills.
A short drive to Marlay Point to round off the day ended up producing one of the highlights, a flock of Pink-eared Ducks – estimated to be several hundred – on a roadside farmer’s dam.
Great weather, great people, great fun – pity about the birds!