Blue-faced HE
Blue-faced Honeyeater by David Ong

This page reports on outings and events of 2012. All BirdLife Australia members are eligible to attend outings and camps.

Bookings are required if you wish to come on the Kingfisher Cruise.

Bush Stone Curlew
Bush Stone Curlew (K Stockwell)

This page contains reports on outings of the BirdLife Echuca District.

It can be assumed that birds like Galah, Magpie, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Superb Blue Wren, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, Starling, House Sparrow, Crimson Rosella (yellow form), Red-rumped Parrot, Wood Duck, Kookaburra, Long-billed Corella, Grey Shrike Thrush, Black Duck, Maned Duck, White-plumed Honeyeater, Red Wattle Bird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Welcome Swallow, Australian Raven, Little Raven, Brown Treecreeper, White-throated Treecreeper, Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon), Crested Pigeon, Magpie Lark, House Sparrow, Blackbird and Willie Wagtail were observed on most or all outings. Hence they are probably not listed.

Reports on outings are included in Branch newsletters.

Copyright of all photographs on this site remains with the photographers.

 

List of birds which have been observed in northern Victoria and/or southern Riverina (excluding rarities).

Emu
Ostrich

Stubble Quail
Brown Quail
Magpie Goose
Plumed Whistling Duck
Musk Duck
Black Swan
Australian Shelduck
Australian Wood Duck
Pink-eared Duck
Australasian Shoveler
Grey Teal
Chestnut Teal
Mallard (introduced)
Pacific Black Duck
Hardhead
Blue-billed Duck
Australasian Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe
Great-crested Grebe
Rock Dove (introduced)
Spotted Dove (Introduced)
Common Bronzewing
Crested Pigeon
Diamond Dove
Peaceful Dove
Tawny Frogmouth
Spotted Nightjar
Australian Owlet Nightjar
White-throated Needletail
Fork-tailed Swift
Australasian Darter
Little Pied Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
Pied Cormorant
Australian Pelican
Australasian Bittern
Australian Little Bittern
White-necked Heron
Eastern Great Egret
Intermediate Egret
Cattle Egret
White-faced Heron
Little Egret
Nankeen Night Heron
Glossy Ibis
Australian White Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis
Royal Spoonbill
Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Black-shouldered Kite
Square-tailed Kite
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Whistling Kite
Black Kite
Brown Goshawk

Collared Sparrowhawk
Spotted Harrier
Swamp Harrier
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Little Eagle
Nankeen Kestrel
Brown Falcon
Australian Hobby
Black Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Brolga
Purple Swamphen
Lewin's Rail
Buff-banded Rail
Baillons Crake
Australian Spotted Crake
Spotless Crake
Black-tailed Native Hen
Dusky Moorhen
Eurasian Coot
Australian Bustard
Bush Stone-curlew
Black-winged Stilt
Red-necked Avocet
Banded Stilt
Red-capped Plover
Double-banded Plover
Inland Dotterel
Black-fronted Dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterel
Banded Lapwing
Masked Lapwing
Plains-wanderer
Australian Painted Snipe
Latham's Snipe
Common Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Red-necked Stint
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Painted Button-quail
Red-chested Button-quail
Australian Pratincole
Caspian Tern
Whiskered Tern
Silver Gull

Galah
Long-billed Corella
Little Corella
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Cockatiel
Rainbow Lorikeet
Musk Lorikeet
Little Lorikeet
Purple-crowned Lorikeet
Superb Parrot
Crimson Rosella (yellow form)
Crimson Rosella
Eastern Rosella
Australian (Mallee) Ringneck
Blue Bonnet
Swift Parrot
Red-rumped Parrot
Budgerigar
Blue-winged Parrot
Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo
Pallid Cuckoo
Brush Cuckoo
Black-eared Cuckoo
Shining Bronze Cuckoo
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Barking Owl
Southern Boobook
Barn Owl
Azure Kingfisher
Laughing Kookaburra
Red-backed Kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher
Rainbow Bee-eater
Dollarbird
White-throated Tree-creeper
Brown Tree-creeper
Superb Fairy-wren
White-winged Fairy-wren
Variegated Fairy-wren
Southern Emu-wren
White-browed Scrubwren
Shy Heathwren
Speckled Warbler
Weebill
Western Gerygone
White-throated Gerygone
Striated Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Inland Thornbill
Southern Whiteface

Spotted Pardalote
Striated Pardalote
Eastern Spinebill
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Singing Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Purple-gaped Honeyeater
Fuscous Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater
Noisy Miner
Yellow-throated Miner
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Little Wattlebird
Red Wattlebird
Crimson Chat
Orange Chat
White-fronted Chat
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
Crescent Honeyeater
Black-chinned Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater
White-naped honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Noisy friarbird
Little Friarbird
Striped Honeyeater
Painted Honeyeater

Grey-crowned Babbler
White-browed Babbler
Chestnut-crowned Babbler
Spotted Quail-thrush
Varied Sittella
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
White-winged Triller
Crested Shrike-tit
Gilbert's Whistler
Golden Whistler
Rufous Whistler
Grey Shrike-thrush
Crested Bellbird
Olive-backed Oriole
White-
breasted Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow
White-
browed Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow
Grey Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird
Australian Magpie
Pied Currawong
Grey Currawong
Grey Fantail
Willie Wagtail
Australian Raven
Little Raven
Leaden Flycatcher
Restless Flycatcher
White-winged Chough
Jacky Winter
Scarlet Robin
Red-capped Robin
Flame Robin
Rose Robin
Hooded Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Southern Scrub-robin
Horsfield's Bushlark
Eurasian Skylark
Golden-headed Cisticola
Australian Reed-Warbler
Little Grassbird
Rufous Songlark
Brown Songlark
Silvereye
White-backed Swallow
Welcome Swallow
Fairy Martin
Tree Martin
Common Blackbird
Common Starling
Common Myna
Mistletoebird
Zebra Finch
Red-browed Finch
Diamond Firetail
House Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Australasian Pipit
European Goldfinch

 

 

 

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Outing Reports

lorikeet
Musk Lorikeet by Murray Chambers


Reports of outings and camps

Once announced, we try to run all outings, but, in case of last minute changes, please check here (or phone the leader) for meeting places and dates a few days beforehand and before travelling a long distance. Please try to arrive about 10 minutes prior to the advertised time, e.g. 8.50am for a 9am departure. If you are running late, try ringing the mobile phone number listed in the latest newsletter (Plains-wanderer). The latest newsletter can be downloaded by clicking the newsletter button at the top of this page.

2015 Outing Reports

Early morning in Banyula Forest, Echuca
On the second Saturday of January 2015, eight members met outside the Echuca Moama Visitor Information Centre where Michele, one of our members who grew up in the wetland, showed photos of the area and showed us a copy of a booklet that she had helped produce about an area of the wetland known as Shinbone Alley. Alas, rain, the collapse of bridges and a flowing creek prevented us from reaching Shinbone Alley but we were able to slip and slide along nearby tracks.
Birds observed were 'normal suspects' such as Magpie, Magpie Lark, Noisy Miner, Galah, Long-billed Corella, Superb Fairy-wren, Kookaburra, Grey Teal, Black Duck, Wood Duck and Little Black Cormorant. After an hour or two, members retreated to a nearby bakery for coffee and cakes.

Crusoe Reservoir
O
ur February 2015 outing was to Crusoe Reservoir and Number 7 Reservoir, Kangaroo Flat. Leader Ken Dredge believes that participants had a great day out despite quite a steady burst of rain for the first half hour. It cleared to alternating sunshine and cloud.
Twenty people attended the outing, including some members of the Friends of Crusoe, some BirdLife members from Melbourne and two prospective members.

The bird life was quite obliging, with a very credible 71 species recorded, even though some “regulars” failed to show themselves. For example, an Owlet Nightjar was missing from its regular hollow.
Nesting Great-crested Grebes seemed to have abandoned their nest but were seen at the other end of the reservoir.
After spending the morning at Crusoe Reservoir, after lunch the group moved on to the nearby Number 7 Reservoir.

World Wetlands Day events
O
n 14th and 15th February, several members attended events in the Kerang area organised by North Central Catchment Management Authority to celebrate World Wetlands Day (which was, in fact, earlier in the month). Wetland ecologist Matt Herring was guest speaker at a celebratory dinner. ”Breakfast With The Birds” was at Lake Murphy.

Wetland Surveys
by Simon Starr
On Sat 7th March I and four other observers conducted surveys of Lake Murphy, Lake Elizabeth and Round Lake. The main purpose was to count any rare or threatened species, plus any breeding activity. Given the time constraints, it was only possible to get rough counts of commoner species.

Lake Murphy
Water levels in the swamp were fairly high. Bird density out on the water was not particularly high. Birds were widespread across the wetland and species diversity was high. The survey was completed within three hours. In that time there were no large-scale movements of birds from one area to another, so we are confident that numbers of threatened species counted were a minimum. 29 Freckled Duck were observed, as well as 54 Blue-billed Duck. Most of these birds were present in the middle part of the lake whilst we were there. Nearly every Victorian duck species was present, except for Plumed Whistling Duck. Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck and Pink-eared Duck were in the highest numbers. Smaller numbers of Maned Duck, Shoveler, Hardhead, Chestnut Teal, Musk Duck and Shelduck were present. Also of note were a pair of White-bellied Sea-eagle, 30 plus Spoonbills, most of which were Royals and some large rafts of Hoary-headed Grebes.

Lake Elizabeth
Again water levels were fairly high, but there were shallow edges and small numbers of shorebirds present including Red-capped Plovers and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Bird density on the water was very high but species diversity was lower than at Lake Murphy. The scene at the lake was an incredible vista of thousands of waterbirds. Over 1,000 Black Swans were spread across the water, calling to each other. Amongst them were a few thousand Coots, probably five Coots for every Swan. The next most abundant species was Pink-eared Duck with large flocks spread widely. Grey Teal (were common). There were small numbers of Hoary-headed Grebe, Shelduck, Shoveler and Musk Duck. No Freckled Duck or Blue-billed Duck were observed.

Round Lake
This smaller lake was jam packed with birds as it often is. 205 Blue-billed Duck were counted as well as 14 Freckled Duck.

Survey results were forwarded to BirdLife Victoria’s Conservation Committee, some government Ministers and appropriate public servants. Round Lake, Kow Swamp & Reedy Lake were closed to shooters. Ed.

Perricoota Road outing
On a sunny autumn day (12th April 2015), 59 bird species (60 if a robin we could not positively identify is included) were observed during an outing along Perricoota Road.

After meeting at Moama Lions Park where Blue-faced Honeyeaters were observed, our first stop was the Moama Botanic Gardens. The five members who attended were pleased with the range of species observed in the gardens, the only place where we observed White Ibis and Singing Honeyeater.

Next area to be visited was two lakes on a private housing estate between Moama and Rich River Golf Club. Birds observed here included lots of Eurasian Coot, Little Pied Cormorant, Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamp Hen, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe and Hoary-headed Grebe.

After a stop at the lake of a housing estate opposite the golf club, we moved on to the Five Mile. A good range of birds was observed here but some birds often observed here were not sighted. Unfortunately sealed car parks, toilet blocks and mounds of soil (for mountain bike riders) have replaced the habitat where Diamond Firetails once lived.

From the Five Mile we moved into Benarca Forest. We had lunch by the Murray River and then birded on and around a large riverside sandhill. KS

Early in May, there were outings on three consecutive days plus a pizza night in the Kanyapella-Barmah area. Kanyapella is a locality between Echuca and Barmah.

Lower Goulburn National Park (Stewarts Bridge Road section)
On Sunday 3rd May, 22 members birded in a section of Lower Goulburn National Park between the Murray River and Stewarts Bridge Road Kanyapella (Lower Moira). Highlight was observing a male Gilberts Whistler. Some observers saw an Olive-backed Oriole in River Bend caravan park.

Barmah outing
On Monday 4th May, 21 members attended an outing into the Barmah Forest.

At the first stop ~ alongside Madowla Park, Stewarts Bridge Road ~ 27 bird species were observed.

Next stops were in Barmah Town (where Blue-faced Honeyeaters were observed), alongside Broken Creek and Baxters Pit. After looking at n array of waterbirds in Baxters Pit, a member saw a pair of Superb Parrots zoom past. Some members then located a few parrots in nearby trees. Suddenly, a flock of 25 Superb Parrots flew out of the trees and zoomed over our heads.
After this, we drove to Lyles Road for lunch. As we ate, several Superb Parrots were heard and seen in the roadside trees around us.
From Lyles Road, we drove along Trickey’s Track through Barmah Forest to the Barmah Lakes picnic ground. After birding around the picnic ground 24 of us boarded the MV Kingfisher for a birding cruise on the Murray River through a perched section called The Narrows. A highlight of the cruise was observing a pair of Azure Kingfishers fluttering about a log.

After this we drove to a nearby riverside vineyard for a pizza night. After returning to a nearby caravan park, several campers heard the calls of a pair of Powerful Owls.

Kanyapella Basin outing
On Tuesday 5th May, 21 members attended an outing that included visiting Boundary Track (near Stewarts Bridge), Kanyapella Basin and Wyuna River Reserve. Birding was difficult because of strong cold wind and showers.

Exactly 100 bird species were observed from the evening of 2nd May to the evening of 5th May. Not included in the tally were Hooded Robin (observed by one member) and Owlet Nightjar (heard by two members).

Deniliquin outing
On 24th May, 14 birders attended our Deniliquin outing (plus two other Deniliquin members who greeted us at the start). Places visited included Island Sanctuary, Deniliquin sewage farm, Deniliquin tip, Warring Gardens and the Deniliquin precinct of Murray Valley Regional Park. Led by Deniliquin member Tom Wheller, the group observed 74 bird species, including Plumed Whistling Duck, Freckled Duck, Shelduck, Shoveler, Tawny Frogmouth, Little Eagle, Black Falcon, Superb Parrot, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit, Red-capped Robin and Flame Robin. Most of the "usual suspects" (more common birds of the area) were observed. A brochure on birding spots of Deniliquin can be downloaded from this web site. Several other bird species were observed in the vicinity by some members prior to the outing or later in the day (viz. Emu, White-winged Chough and Darter).

Bird conservation in Angola
On 18th June, South African birder Michael Mills gave a presentation in Bendigo library about bird conservation in Angola. In particular, Michael outlined three bird conservation projects with which he has been heavily involved.
A two-page report appears in the August 2015 edition of Plains-wanderer.

Big Day Out: Boort
On 4th July, a dozen of us met in Boort. During the course of the day, 70 bird species were observed. We were surprised to observbe several Black-faced Wood-swallows as this species is usually found in warmer climes during Winter and is rarely observed at salt lakes in the Boort area.

Tour of Bush Stone-curlew Project sites
On 9th August, 14 of us visited places in the Lockwood area where exclosures have been constructed to help protect the Bush Stone-curlew. Following the tour, members had lunch at Happy Jacks Reserve, after which some members visited Crusoe Reservoir.

Rushworth area
On 12th September, nine birders visited bushland areas to the south of Rushworth, including Bailieston Historic Features Reserve and Mount Black. As well as the usual (common) suspects, birds observed included Brown Goshawk, Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, White-eared Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Fuscous Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, White-browed Babbler, Varied Sittella, Golden WShistler, Rufous Whistler, Dusky Woodswallow, Restless Flycatcher, Scarlet Robin, Hooded Robin and Eastern Yellow Robin. Although no wetland areas were visited, the total number of species observed was close to 50.

 

 

2014 Outing Reports

Note: the January outing and a Februaruy outing to Crusoe Reservoir were cancelled owing to extrememly hot weather (total fire bans).

World Wetlands Day 2014: Hird Swamp
About 80 people attended “Breakfast with the birds” in Hird Swamp from 7am on 2nd February 2014. Organised by the North Central CMA, the breakfast was cancelled as it was a day of Total Fire Ban. However, the CMA arranged for a coach to ferry attendees into (and out of) the wetland.  Environmental water had been delivered to the swamp, attracting thousands of water birds. Over 50 species of birds were observed over a period of about three hours.

Cockatoo Lagoon and Torrumbarry
On the second Saturday of March, a handful of members surveyed birdlife on and alongside Cockatoo Lagoon and, after a lunch break at Torrumbarry Weir, visited a wetland area adjacent to the National Channel road. 58 bird species were observed. Bird of the day was Diamond Firetail. After bird call, some members continued on to Hird Swamp. A White-breasted Sea-eagle was one of the birds observed at Hird Swamp.

Epsom
Our April 2014 outing was to the Epsom waste water treatment facility (sewage ponds). We were met at the facility by an employee of Coliban Water. In order to visit the facility, members must now undergo an induction course, give notice of any intended visit and be accompanied by a Coliban Water staffer. 56 bird species were observed, including Blue-billed Duck, Freckled Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Shoveler, Chestnut teal, Hardhead, Musk Lorikeet, New Holland Honeyeater, Golden-headed Cisticola, Zebra Finch, a feral goose and most of the "usual suspects".

Much time was spent trying to identify what appeared to be an uncommon bird species that turned out to be ... a Starling!
After spending a few hours at the ponds, members visited the Whipstick Forest (Notley Picnic Ground) for lunch.

Three day outings in the Balranald area
Early in May 2014, 39 members attended at least one of our three consecutive day outings in the Balranald area. Because of rain on several days preceding our outings, most roads in the nearfby Yanga National Park were closed and our leader was forced to cokmpletely change the itinerary. Despite this, we were able to visit some great bird-watching sites, including Ben Scott Memorial Bird Trail, Yanga Lake, Lake Paika Station,
the area around Yanga Woolshed, bushland adjoining the Balranald Caravan Park, wetlands along a disused section of the Sturt Highway, Uara Creek (Waugorah Road) and Balranald Weir.It was a blessing that we all stayed in the Balranald Caravan Park as we were able to meet together there for bird call and a BBQ. On the Monday evening we enjoyed a terrific dinner at "the Billabong" Restaurant. 110 bird species were observed over the three days, including lots of Emu, huge numbers of Pelican, Freckled Duck, Hardhead, our species of Cormorant, ten raptor species, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, Major Mitchells Pink COckatoo, Blue Bonnet, White-winged Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Western gerygone, three tthornbill species, Southern Whiteface, nine Honeyeater species (including Striped Honeyeater), Apostlebird and Diamond Firetail (as well as the "usual suspects"). We raised a donation to assist with revegetyation and restoration work at Lake Paika Station. May 2014.

Big Day Out: Boort
On the second Saturday of August, our 'big dahy out' was to the Boort area. Led by Boort local Malcolm Cousland, 15 members attended and 82 bird species were observed.

Malcolm writes:
“The weather was very good and a good number of birds were sighted. The highlight for me was the bush birding at the south end of Woolshed Swamp. We stopped there for morning tea and, as the sun came out, so too did the birds: thornbills, pardalotes (Spotted Pardalote was an unusual sighting for this swamp) and a male Rufous Whistler.“

Greg Licence writes: “At one spot we were spoilt with a range of bird species all within 300m of where we had a cuppa. One highlight was a Spotted Pardalote that entertained us then a Striated Pardalote that came in even closer.  I could only get pics of the latter but this may bring back a few good memories for those involved in the day.“

The group was about to leave when they heard the "yahoo" call of the Grey-crowned Babblers. So they stayed a while longer in the vain hope of seeing same. After lunch the group went to the Salt Lake (where there were White-winged Fairy-wrens) and then on to Bartletts Swamp (where there were about 15 Freckled Ducks).

Axedale
On 13th September 2014, Marlene Lyell led an outing in the Axedale area. 18 members (including four members of other BirdLife branches) attended and 82 bird species were observed.

After meeting at Axedale, we car-pooled and spent over half an hour in nearby Longlea Forest. At least 14 species were observed in the forest, including Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Grey Butcherbird, Brown-headed Honeyeater and White-eared Honeyeater (as well as some of the “usual suspects”).

From there we drove to the former Arakoon Resort. In its heyday there was a waterslide, mini-golf course and other facilities. But the lake there (a former open cut gold mine?) usually provides good birding. Birds on the lake included Red-kneed Dotterel, Australasian Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Hoary-headed Grebe, Hardhead, Blue-billed Duck and Black Duck.

Next birding spot was alongside the Campaspe River at Axedale (see photo above) where most of us enjoyed morning tea.
We then drove east to Old Bendigo Road and spent time at the edge of Lake Eppaloch. Birds observed here included Pelican, Darter, Great Cormorant, Tree Martin, Fairy Martin, Yellow-billed Spoonbill and Wedge-tailed Eagle. This was our lunch spot.

Later in the afternoon, we drove north to Rocky Crossing. Compared to our previous visit, relatively few birds were observed here and we only managed to add two species to our daily total.

Whroo and Baileston
On the second Saturday of October 2014, 12 members met in Rushworth. First stop was a dam south of the town. Although a few birds were observed, it was not the most promising of starts. Second stop was at the Whroo historic site. After a while here, we headed south to a site that local birder Greg Buzza has found good in the past, a block of the Bailieston Historic features Reserve. greg led us into a V-shaped valley lined with ancient , multi-stemmed Grass Trees. It was here that we observed a Spotted Quail-thrush. The 50th bird for the outing, a tree Martin, flew overhead. After bird call, some participants visited nearby Mount Black where they observed, amongst other birds, a Speckled Warbler.

Cohuna
On the second Saturday of November 2014, Betty and Graeme Waterson, led eight observers around the Cohuna area.
First stop was a wetland on the Wilson family’s property between Island Road and Gunbower Creek. Birds observed on the property included Australian Shelduck, Royal and Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Spotted Crake, Black-tailed Native-=hen, Red-necked Avocet, Red-capped Plover, Red-kneed Dotterel, White-fronted Chat and Little Grassbird.

We stopped at Taylors Lagoon where Little Black Cormorants and Darters were nesting despite the fact that the lagoon has been infested with Pale Miexican Waterlilly. We also inspected engineering works along Hipwell Road that are enabling environmental water to be delivered into Gunbower Island wetlands. Prior to lunch we visited a rehabilitated area in Cohuna.

After lunch we observed hundreds of Plumed Whistling-duck on a property along Major Road Cohuna. Ian Mayo took the photo shown below.

Next and final stop was Hird Swamp.

Other bird species observed during the outing included Hardhead, Peaceful Dove, Darter, three species of Cormorant, two Heron species, Eastern Great Egret, Cattle Egret, three Ibis species, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-fronted Dotterel, SWhiskered Tern, Sacred Kingfisher, Reed Warbler and Olive-backed Oriole as well as most of “the usual suspects”. Bird count for the outing was 76 species.
A few members later visited Lake Tutchewop and Goschen Reserve whilst a couple of us visited Lake Murphy. Lake Murphy was smothered with thousands of waterbirds. KS

 

 

2013 Outing Reports


A day in the Bendigo Whipstick
On Sunday 11th August, 12 members attended an outing in the Whipstick Forest. First stop was an area that the leaders refer to as "the Crake pond". Several wetland species were observed here, including Spotted Crake. We then spent some time in the Whipstick section of Greater Bendigo National Park before spending the afternoon on the bushland property of the leaders. 67 species were observed during the course of the outing.

Echuca outing
Our July outing had to be abandoned because of cold, wet weather. Members who attended spent the morning drinking coffee and eating cakes in an Echuca bakery.

Wyuna Outing
24 members attended a joint BirdLife Murray Goulburn-BirdLife Echuca District outing to Wyuna on 16th June 2013. Over 50 bird species were observed, icnluding Red-capped Robin, Scarlet Robin, Flame Robin, Jacky Winter and Golden Whistler. The highlight of the day was the sighting of five Cround Cuck---shruke near the corner of Waradgery Road (south) and the Murray Valley Highway.


Ground Cuckoo-shruke near Wyuna (Murray Chambers)

Tuesday 6th May: Deniliquin
On 6th May, we met Tom Wheller and some other local members outside the Deniliquin Visitor Information Centre. For there it was a short drive (or walk) to the Island Sanctuary, a River Red Gum wetland close to the centre of the town.

Because there were over 40 of us, we broke into groups and wandered around in the wetland.

There was much excitement when Kerang member spotted some Superb Parrots sitting in a tree. Those who failed to see these birds were able to view Superb Parrots sitting in a tree just across The Edward, which laps around much of the reserve.

A few members observed Purple-crowned Lorikeets. Many members spent much time observing Darters with young in a nest.
About 35 bird species were observed in the sanctuary, including Little Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, White-faced Heron, Darter, White ibis, Little Eagle, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Little Eagle, White-browed Scrubwren, Eastern Rosella, yellow form of Crimson Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Superb Parrot, Purple-crowed Lorikeet, Spotted Pardalote, Noisy Miner, Little Friarbird, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Red-browed Finch, Grey Shrike-thrush and Pied Butcherbird.

It was then off to the sewage treatment ponds, not an easy logistic task with lots of people and lots of cars. We car pooled before entering the facility. What we observed was stunning. Thousands of Plumed Whistling Ducks, hundreds of Pink-eared Ducks, hundreds of Grey Teal, scores of Black-fronted Dotterels. Amongst them we observed a smattering of the following: Pelican, Black Swan, Shoveler, Freckled Duck, Chestnut Teal, Coot, Masked Lapwing, Blue-billed Duck, Hardhead, Hoary-headed Grebe, lLittle Black Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Masked Lapwing and, outside the entrance, Zebra Finch.

After lunch, we visited a large paddock near the Denilquin airport. Here we observed 17 Banded Lapwing, Magpies and a Flame Robin.
Total for the day was 79 species. Over the three days, 125 species were observed (excluding the wild Ostriches that a member observed en route to Deniliquin).

Note: Newsletter 73 will feature several photographs taken during these outings.

Monday 6th May: Gulpa Island
The second of our three consecutive day outings was in the Gulpa Island precinct of Murray Valley National Park. Once again, we met outside the Mathoura Visitor Information Centre (which opened early for our benefit).

First of all, we crossed Liston Bridge and walked alongside Gulpa Creek just a few hundred metres from our meeting place outside the Mathoura Visitor Information Centre. One couple need not have come to the information centre as we parked our cars outside of their house!
About 40 bird species were observed at this stop. Birds seen here but not recorded the previous day included Crested Pigeon, White-necked Heron, Rufous Whistler and Dusky Moorhen.

From Liston Bridge, we drove north for about 20km to an arboretum established by the Southern Riverina Field Naturalists Club. Birds observed in or near the arboretum included Brown Tree-creeper, White-throated Tree-creeper, Red-capped Robin, Scarlet Robin, Jacky Winter, Diamond Firetail, Varied Sittella, Weebill, Silvereye, Common Bronzewing and a number of thornbill species (Yellow, Chestnut-rumped and Buff-rumped).

After morning tea, it was a short drive to the Walliston Road entrance to Gulpa Island. This is always a good birding spot. There is Box Forest on the higher ground alongside the Cobb Highway and River Red Gum forest to the east at the base of the Cadell Fault Line. The greatest diversity of birds is in the Box. Birds observed here included Hooded Robin, Red-capped Robin, Jacky Winter, Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Restless flycatcher, Red-rumped Parrot and Brown Tree-creeper. Some heard, but could not see, Southern Whiteface.

After a brief stop at a bridge over The Edward, we drove to Langmans Sandhill. Lunch was alongside The Edward. After lunch we walked around the sandhills. Birds observed here included White-bellied Sea-eagle, Common Bronzewing, Red-capped Robin, Azure Kingfisher, White-browed Babbler, Varied Sittella, Dusky Woodswallow, Rufous Whistler, Mistletoebird and Superb Fairy-wren. Several observers reported seeing Variegated Fairy-wren. White-plumed Honeyeaters were observed too, one of the few honeyeaters common in local Red Gum forests.

We then drove back to Gulpa Creek, stopping at a few spots. After bird call, a few participants stopped at a nearby wetland where they observed a good range of birds, including Brown Quail, Grey Teal, Blue-faced honeyeater, Pelican, Little Eagle and Australasian Grebe.
Total for day two was 69 species (excluding the additional species observed after bird call).

That evening we enjoyed dinner together at the Mathoura Bowling Club.

Sunday 5th May: Traverse of Gulpa Island
Early in May, the first of three consecutive day outings was in the Mathoura area, including a traverse of Gulpa Island and a visit to the Reed Beds.

About 60 bird species were observed alongside Gulpa Creek, including Great Egret, Eurasian Coot, Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australasian Grebe, Pelican, White Ibis, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Wedgetailed Eagle, Azure Kingfisher, Yellow Rosella, Common Bronzewing, Jacky Winter, Grey Fantail, Weebill, Striated Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Spotted Pardalote, Crested Shrike-tit, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Silvereye, Red-browed Finch, Pied Currawong and White-throated Treecreeper.

We left the creek and crossed Gulpa Island via Sages Road. Birds observed on the sandhills along Sages Road, but not observed earlier, included Hobby, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon and Pied Butcherbird.

After lunch, we stopped at Duffy’s Lagoon. Additional birds observed here included Emu, Peaceful Dove, Southern Whiteface, Red-capped Robin, Flame Robin, Hooded Robin and Eastern Rosella.

Afternoon tea was in a picnic ground alongside a bridge over The Edward. Additions to the day list included swhite-browed Scrubwren, White-browed Babblers and Dusky Woodswallow.

The best spot was kept till last. Final stop on day one was the Reed Beds bird hide. Birds observed here included Red-kneed Dotterel, Spotless Crake, Spotless Crake, Buff-banded Rail, Little Grassbird and Reed Warbler.
Total for day one (of three consecutive day outings in the area) was 84 species.

Bendigo area outings
On Saturday 20th April, about 70 BirdLife members attended the first BirdLife Victoria conference in Bendigo. A theme of the conference was Victorian conservation issues and projects. Many attended a dinner that evening; keynote speaker was Gary Oliver who spent a year photographing as many Australian bird species as he could. The following morning, many members took part in outings. The outing destinations were: Epsom, Crusoe Reservoir & Number 7 Park, and Terrick Terrick National Park.

EPSOM
Murray Chambers reports that about 30 BirdLife members attended the outing to Epsom. They apparently had a sensational morning. "Unusual sightings included 3 Freckled Duck, 12 Blue-billed Duck, Noisy Friarbird, Spotted and Spotlesss Crake, Brown Goshawk, Yellow-faced and Black-chinned Honeyeater and a Red-necked Stint (as well as) very close up views of a Little Grassbird in the open - lots of photos taken .
"Also saw a male PEACOCK (of all things) yesterday on my reccy of the area.
"Ian Mayo and I also saw an Oriole there 2 weeks ago.
"(There was) not a large number of waterbirds ... "

CRUSOE RESERVOIR & NUMBER SEVEN PARK
Ken Dredge reports:
"We were fortunate with the weather ~ no rain & ideal birding conditions. I had 13 in the group & all seemed to enjoy the outing. The birds were quite cooperative also, with 70 species spotted. Freckled Duck was still there.
"I really enjoyed the outing in the company of some very good birders. They were quite impressed with the number of honeyeaters seen on the day: 12 species, including Eastern Spinebill.

TERRICK TERRICK NATIONAL PARK
Peter Allan assisted Keith Stockwell in leading 20 BirdLife members (including four youngish relatively new members) to various spots within the forested section of the national park. First stop was the eastern edge of the forest near Echuca-Mologa Road. We then inspected some aboriginal wells near the base of Riegel Rock. After that we climbed Mount Terrick Terrick (Mitiamo Rock) and birded at its base. Lunch was in the picnic ground at the base of the rock. Birds observed near the picnic ground included Red-capped Robin a new bird for one participant), Hooded Robin, Diamond Firetail and Crested Shrike-tit. We then walked around the quarry area and had "bird call". The tally for the outing was 45 species (about 36 in the park and the others en route). Most participants then visited a relatively undisturbed area of vegetation east of the nearby cemetery.

Other bird species observed included Black Falcon, Brown Tree-creeper, Dusky Woodswallow, Australian Ringneck, Red-rumped Parrot, Eastern Rosella, three Whistler species (Gilberts, Golden and Rufous), Dusky Woodswallow, Red Wattlebird (uncommon in the park), Wedge-tailed Eagle, Whistling Kite and Nankeen Kestrel. The usual suspects were sighted (Galah, Kookaburra, two Raven species, Tree Martin, etc). A Black-shouldered Kite was observed en route. Most participants observed several Brown Falcons en route to Mitiamo.

For most participants, it was their first visit to Terrick Terrick National Park. Some observed "new" birds to add to their life-long bird list.

The vegetation at Terricks was under great stress, with many dead shrubs, following many warm months without any significant rainfall. Some shrubs at the base of Mitiamo Rock that survived the recent 14-0year drought have not been able to survive the past fedw months of dryness.

Axedale outing
The weeks prior to our Axedale outing on 17th March were hot and sunny. In marked contrast, the day of our outing was chilly with light showers. Despite this, 14 members joined leader Marlene Lyell for an outing during which we visited (the former) Arakoon Resort, bushland alongside Arakoon, Marlene’s riverside property and Rocky Crossing. Until a few years ago, Arakoon was an adventure park with a waterslide, a mini-golf course, paddle boats and canoes. We observed abandoned facilities. But the lake was covered with waterbirds (including Freckled Duck). A Restless Flycatcher was observed at Rocky Crossing, and a pair of Black Kite glided above the Campaspe River. Despite the conditions, we managed to observe 50 bird species. 

Quarterly surveys
Late in February, four members helped Malcolm Cousland survey five reaches of Gunbower Creek and associated lagoons. The survey information was passed on to DPI Kerang, North Central CMA and Goulburn Murray Water. In view of voluntary contributions, the Australian Government awarded a Caring for Country Grant that has enabled public land to be fenced, preventing cattle accessing the creek. Land that has been illegally cropped by adjoining landholders has been revegetated, pest plant and animal control work has been undertaken and a new weir that allows fish passage has been constructed in place of the old Thompson Weir. Works are now nearing completion. Over 100 bird species have been observed along some of the six reaches that we try to survey quarterly. More helpers are needed in order to spread the work load.

Cohuna area outing
On 9th February, Betty Waterson led an outing to the Cohuna area, including visits to Gunbower National Park, MacDonald Swamp and Lake Murphy. During the outing, 85 bird species were observed, including Freckled Duck, Glossy Ibis, Bush Stone Curlew, Jacky Winter, Nankeen Night Heron and Pink-eared Duck, There were hundreds of Plumed Whistling Duck along Majors Road. Hundreds of Black-tailed Native Hens and hundreds of Eurasian Coots were observed during the outing.

Early morning in Moama
The first outing for 2013 was to the Moama Wetlands (Horseshoe Lagoon Bicentennial Park). It was expected that the outing would end early because of heat. Although temperatures exceeded 40ºC on most of the preceding few days, the morning of our outing was  mild (about 19ºC) and rain set in about noon. 10 birders attended and 60 bird species were observed, 50 species in the Moama Wetlands.

Moama wetlands
MOAMA WETLANDS by K Stockwell
Birds observed in the section shown above included White and Straw-necked Ibis, Grey Teal, Black Duck, lots of Yellow-billed and a few Royal spoonbills, Dusky Moorhen, Nankeen Night Heron, White-necked and White-faced herons and Purple Swamphen. Species observed elsewhere in the wetlands included Blue-faced Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Darter, White-winged Triller, Whistling Kite and Southern Boobook (plus “the usual suspects”).

Several members then visited the Five Mile Reserve where about 30 species were observed, including White-winged Chough, Restless Flycatcher, Pied Butcherbird, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Jacky Winter, Weebill, Rainbow Bee-eater, Diamond Firetail and Spotted Pardalote.

 

2012 Outing Reports

Big Day Out: Lake Boga area
19 members attended an outing to the Lake Boga area on Saturday 13th October 2012. 95 species were observed.

Places visited included Round Lake (where there were over 1000 Eurasian Coot and hundreds of Black Swans), Goschen Bushland Reserve (where we observed Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Black Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater, Blue Bonnet and many other species), Lake Boga, Tresco West Bushland Reserve (where highlights included Hooded Robin, Blue Bonnet and White-winged Triller), Lake Tutchewop (where there were lots of Avocet, Banded Stilt and Black-winged Stilt), Cullen Lake, Lake Bael Bael and The Marshes.

Despite seeing 95 species, some common birds were not observed that day, e.g. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-browed Finch, Dusky Moorhen, Grey Fantail and Wood Duck.

Kamarooka Outing
Upon hearing that Marlene Lyell was unable to lead our Kamarooka outing in September, Ben Goonan was quick at offering to stand in.

The first few stops were in bushland on the eastern side of Epsom-Tennyson Road. We then drove into forest on the western side of the road, stopping near Mulga Dam and at Rush Dam. It was here that we sighted Mistletoe Bird and White-browed Babblers. After having lunch alongside Rush Dam, the group stopped along Campbells Road.

During the course of the outing, 66 species were observed, including Australasian Grebe, Bronzewing, Owlet-Nightjar, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Eastern Rosella, Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Variegated Fairy-wren, Western Gerygone, four species of Thornbill (Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Inland and Chestnut-rumped), Eastern Thornbill, ten species of Honeyeater (including White-eared, Yellow-tufted, Yellow-plumed, White-fronted, Tawny-crowned and Brown-headed), White-browed Babbler, Varied Sittella, Crested Shrike-tit, Crested Bellbird, Grey Butcherbird, Restless Flycatcher, White-winged Chough, four robin species (Red-capped, Eastern Yellow, Hooded and Jacky Winter), Rufous Songlark, Mistletoebird and Diamond Firetail plus the more common birds of the area.

 

Mathoura (Gulpa Island) Outing
Cold, wet weather preceded our outing to the Mathoura area on Saturday 18th August. No doubt the adverse conditions of the previous days deterred many members from attending. Only five attended. Wet vehicular tracks meant we were restricted in the spots we could visit. Sunny skies (and a cool breeze) soon gave way to cloudy conditions.
First stop was an indigenous plant arboretum about 500 metres north of the Walliston Road entrance to Gulpa Island. Birds observed in or near the arboretum included Emu, Singing Honeyeater, Striated Pardalote & Jacky Winter.
We then drove a short distance to the Walliston Road/Gulpa Creek Road entrance. Birds observed here, along the edge of the Cadell Tilt Block, included Brown Tree-creeper, White-winged Chough, Jacky Winter, Varied Sittella, Yellow Thornbill and Yellow-rumped Thornbill.

Next stop, where we had lunch, was Cranes Bridge, at the northern edge of Mathoura. Birds observed here included White-browed Scrub-wren, Noisy Friarbird, Hardhead, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Azure Kingfisher, Little Black Cormorant and Willie Wagtail.

The final stop was the Reed Beds waterbird observatory between Mathoura and Picnic Point. At first, only a Black Duck was sighted. However, as time went by, more and more birds were gradually added to our list: four Swamp Harriers cruised overhead, a Black Swan appeared from behind the rushes, some Superb Fairy Wrens appeared, some Little Grass Birds were heard and then fleetingly seen, a Whistling Kite put in an appearance, a Wedgetailed Eagle was sighted circling high overhead, a Pelican flew over the wetland, a Tree Martin was seen and then a White-necked Heron appeared.

Birds observed near the hide’s car park included White-plumed Honeyeater, Crimson Rosella (yellow form), Grey Shrike-thrush, Jacky Winter and Rufous Whistler. 45 species plus an unidentified raptor (Peregrine Falcon??) were observed during the outing.

 

Cohuna-Gunbower Island Outing
On 20th July, we visited the Cohuna area. Because of rain during preceding days, we could not venture far into the Gunbower Island Forest.

First stop was the wetlands and bushland at the Cohuna end of Gunbower Island Road. We also visited bushland near the Treetops Scout Camp, Taylors Lagoon, an area of Gunbower Island National Park just off the Island Road, and an area alongside Burke’s Bridge.

76 species were observed, including Australasian Grebe, Common Bronzewing, Peaceful Dove, Darter, Pelican, Eastern Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Royal Spoonbill, Swamp Harrier, Little Eagle, Hobby, Azure Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, White-browed Scrubwren, Weebill (nesting), Southern Whiteface, Rufous Whistler, Dusky Woodswallow, Pied Butcherbird, Grey Fantail, Jacky Winter, Silvereye and “usual suspects”.

 

Around Echuca
In mid June, seven members spent the morning birding SSW of Echuca in the Cantwell Road (Millewa) Nature conservation Reserve and an adjoining property owned by well-known farmers’ advocate Richard Anderson.

It was cool and foggy when we started birding in a section of the reserve in which hundreds and hundreds of native shrubs had been planted. At first, only Superb Fairy-wrens seemed to be present. A flock of Zebra Finches put in an appearance.
More species were present in an area of remnant vegetation, including Wedgetailed Eagle, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote and Golden Whistler. We failed to detect the crakes and rails that frequent a small wetland in the reserve.

Several waterbirds were present on wetlands Richard Anderson is developing on his farm. 41 species were observed during the morning session.

Although Richard may have liked us to stay longer, we left for a wetland area along Simmie Road, east of Echuca. 
After having lunch alongside Simmie Road, we walked around a lagoon in bushland alongside the Murray River. 39 species were observed, including Australasian Grebe, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Whistling Kite, Black-fronted Dotterel, the yellow form of Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Azure Kingfisher, Spotted and Striated Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Red-capped Robin, Flame Robin and Silvereye. No one present remembers ever having seen a Yellow-faced Honeyeater so close to Echuca.
All up, 57 species were observed during the outing. Leader was David Ong.

 

Torrumbarry Outing
On 19th May, seven members attended an outing in the Torrumbarry area. First stop was “Sandalwood”, Tuesday Browell’s property at the edge of Richardson’s (Baillieu’s) Lagoon. Much of the property is sandhill and part is an old orange orchard. Tuesday was experiencing a harrowing time from shooters, one of whom had been shooting from her lawn between her dwelling and the lagoon! The Magpie Geese that had resided on the lagoon for the previous 18 months had vanished, as had the Sea-eagles and several other resident bird species.

Nonetheless, birds observed on Tuesday’s property and on the adjoining lagoon included Black Swan, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe, Common Bronzewing, Peaceful Dove, Darter, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Whistling Kite, Little Eagle, Wedgetailed Eagle, Brown Tree-creeper, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Spotted and Striated Pardalote, White-browed Babbler, Varied Sittella, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Fantail, Red-capped Robin and Diamond Firetail.


Baillieu's Lagoon
Photo: David Ong

Tuesday and other local residents are campaigning for the lagoon and public bushland to be upgraded to a nature conservation reserve in which shooting will not be allowed. The bushland on the other side of the lagoon from Tuesday’s property has been fenced off by indigenous (Yorta Yorta) people under the supervision of the local Parks Victoria ranger. Unfortunately a shooter who has been harassing Tuesday is campaigning to have the fence removed and a road constructed through the bushland to end directly opposite Tuesday’s dwelling. Because the fenced bushland has not yet been gazetted by the Victorian government, it appears that the shooter’s campaign will be successful.

After visiting Tuesday’ property, we drove to the reserve in Gunbower for lunch. After lunch we surveyed the McNaught Road reach of Gunbower Creek (where the national Channel meets Splatts Lagoon) to help meet the conditions of a Caring for Country grant.

Some of the 38 species observed along the McNaught Road reach included Darter, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Whistling Kite, Little Eagle, Brown Tree-creeper, Weebill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Pied Butcherbird, Jacky Winter, Flame Robin and Tree Martin. 98 species have now been observed during our surveys along this reach.

 

Grampians outings
For several years, the Echuca group has run three consecutive day outings early in May. Previous bases have included Chiltern, Echuca, Deniliquin, Gunbower and Kerang. This year the base was the Marriott property near Stawell.
The day outings were preceded on the afternoon of Saturday 5th May by a walk around the property. The property features an arboretum of grevilleas and other Australian plants. Some participants camped on the property whilst others chose to stay in Stawell.

The following morning, Sunday 6th May, we drove to Murtoa where we joined BirdLife Horsham for their May outing. About 50 members attended. 79 species were observed during the outing, including Musk Duck, Little Eagle, Painted Button-quail, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Barn Owl, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Scarlet Robin, Varied Sittella, Diamond Firetail and Dusky Woodswallow. But the bird of the outing was a Barking Owl, which allowed everyone to see it up close.

That evening, along with our hosts ~ Wendy and Neil Marriott ~ 30 of us dined together at Ming’s Restaurant in Stawell.
The Monday outing was to Lake Fyans, Halls Gap and Mount William. New birds included Gang Gang Cockatoo.
On Tuesday morning we visited Deep Lead Nature Conservation Reserve and Lake Lonsdale. After lunch we strolled around the Marriott property. Seeing a Southern Boobook was a highlight.
116 bird species were observed during our visit.

 

Easter Camp
Over Easter, about 40 BirdLife members attended a camp on Karen Brisbane’s property near Murchison. Camp organiser was Anne Findlay and leader was David Ap-Thomas. Anne, Don Roberts and Russell Jones of BirdLife Murray Goulburn helped lead most of the outings.

Places visited included Murchison sewage ponds, a private property near Murchison (Hillgrove), Shepparton sewage ponds, Reedy Swamp (Shepparton), Cussen Park (Tatura), and the Rushworth Forest.

A highlight was seeing a group of White-backed Swallows sitting in a dead tree at Reedy Swamp. Reedy Swamp is now part of the Lower Goulburn National Park.


White-backed Swallows
Photo: Murray Chambers

 

Whipstick Outing
On 21st April, 12 members met in Epsom and spent the day birding at the Epsom sewage treatment ponds and in the Whipstick and Kamarooka sections of Greater Bendigo National Park.

Some of the 63 bird species observed at the sewage ponds were Musk Duck, Black Swan, Shelduck, Pink-eared Duck, Peaceful Dove, Black-shouldered Kite, Black-fronted Dotterel, Painted Button-quail, Rainbow Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, Weebill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, Golden Whistler, Grey Currawong, Flame Robin and Red-browed Finch. 

We then drove to an area of bushland off Rifle Range Road. We were disturbed to see that a huge area of bushland along this road had been burnt despite the fact that, in Spring, it was one of the best wildflower areas in Victoria. 
Prior to the day of the outing, leader Murray had spent many hours searching in vain for good birding spots. The Whipstick has, until recently, been renowned for its honeyeaters and bush birds. There were next to no birds at our lunch stop in the Whipstick, so we moved on to Campbells Dam. At the dam, we were greeted by some Interstate birders who were searching for Purple-gaped Honeyeaters. Murray directed them to some possible sites nearby.

We then moved on to Mulga Dam in a vain search for the Swift Parrots that had been seen there a few days earlier.
Amongst the birds observed in the forest were Yellow-faced, White-eared, Yellow-tufted, Yellow-plumed, White-fronted, Brown-headed and Fuscous Honeyeaters.  Other bush birds observed included Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Brown Tree-creeper, Weebill, Yellow Thornbill, Spotted and Striated Pardalote, Golden and Rufous Whistler, Silvereye and Red-browed Finch.

75 bird species were observed during the course of the outing.

 

Mount Buangor Camp
Prior to the Labour Day weekend, 35 BirdLife members, including five Echuca District branch members, attended a camp in Mount Buangor State Park near Beaufort. Well over 100 bird species were observed. A highlight was a visit to Lake Goldsmith on which there were hundreds and hundreds of waterbirds.


An outing to Perricoota Forest
Because Perricoota Forest was closed owing to flooded roads, forestry and engineering works, our 25th March outing was to a number of places off Perricoota Road.

After visiting St Anne’s Winery wetland, lakes in a housing estate near Rich River, a wetland opposite the Perricoota woolshed and a revegetated area alongside the Womboota School of the Arts, the group continued on to “Womboo”, a large mixed farm located between Perricoota Forest and Perricoota Road.

Birds observed on Womboo included White-faced Heron, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Hobby, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Brown Tree-creeper, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Singing Honeyeater, White-fronted Chat, Grey-crowned Babbler, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Restless Flycatcher, White-winged Chough, Jacky Winter, Red-capped Robin and Australasian Pipit.

A highlight was observing a Southern Boobook in a shed at Womboo.


 
Southern Boobook
Photo: Duncan Turnbull

Another highlight was seeing several Banded Lapwings feeding in paddocks being ploughed. The Grey Butcherbird sighting was significant as it is rarely seen in this area. 61 bird species were observed during the outing.

 

Moama Wetlands
On 18th February, 10 members met in Moama and spent the next few hours birding in the Moama Wetlands (Horseshoe Lagoon Bicentennial Park). 45 Species were observed in the wetlands including Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Great Egret, White-faced Heron, Nankeen Night Heron, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Eastern Rosella, yellow form of Crimson Rosella, Azure Kingfisher, Brown Tree-creeper, White-throated Tree-creeper, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike and Red-browed Finch.

We then visited a wetland alongside St. Anne's Winery (24 Lane) where we added Australasian Grebe, Grey Teal, Black Swan, Great Cormorant, White-necked Heron, Black-fronted Dottereland Common Myna to the day's list.

Final stop was the Five Mile (Moama precinct of Murray Valley Regional Park) where we added Peaceful Dove, Whistling Kite, Dollarbird, Striated Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Dusky Woodswallow, Little Friarbird, Jacky Winter and Diamond Firetail to the day's list, making a total of 64 species.

Most of the normal suspects of our area (Galah, Magpie, Magpie Lark, Masked Lapwing, Wood Duck, etc) were observed but we did not sdee Red-rumped Parrot, Sparrow or Starling.

Bird of the outing was probably Diamond Firetail. Several were observed at close range with the sun shining on them.

Diamond Firetail
Diamond Firetail (D. Ong)

Corop Wetlands
The first outing of BirdLife Echuca District since the merger was to the Corop Wetlands in mid January. Nine members attended and 64 bird species were observed. The outing was led by Peter Allan. The weather was fine and sunny but not over-hot.

The first stop was along Bells Road to observe birds on overflow water from Stewarts Lake.The highlight was observing crakes, both Baillons Crake and Spotted Crake.

Baillons CrakespaceSpotted Crake
Baillon's Crake (Photographer: David Ong) Spotted Crake (Photographer: David Ong)

Other birds observed there included Australian Pelican, Black Swan (over 30), Brolga (7), Eurasian Coot (over 400), Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Little Pied Cormorant, White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Australasian Pipit, Swamp Harrier, Sacred Kingfisher (nesting), Welcome Swallow, Magpie Lark, Little Grassbird and Reed Warbler.

We then drove on to Gaynor Swamp. A similar group of birds was observed here. Additional birds observed at Gaynor Swamp included Great Egret, Wedgetailed Eagle, Red-rumped Parrot and Golden-headed Cisticola.

Other wetlands visited included Lake Cooper and Horseshoe Lake.

The final stop was alongside the Campaspe River south of Rochester and the outing concluded about 2.30pm. Birds observed here included Grey Shrike-thrush, Sacred Kingfisher and Superb Fairy-wren.

Some of the other birds sighted during the day included Spotted Harrier (en route), Dusky Woodswallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Shoveler, Hardhead, Black-tailed Native Hen, Great Cormorant and Black-winged Stilt.

Some Bendigo members led by Murray Chambers then visited the Kamarooka Forest where they observed a number of honeyeaters and bush birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011 Outings

Bendigo Whipstick
Our
outing to the Bendigo Whipstick on 3rd July 2011 was well-attended (15 members) despite overcast and rainy weather. Over 50 species were observed even though it rained non-stop all afternoon. Birds observed included Shy Heathwren, Chestnut Teal, Hardhead, Black Kite, Swamp Harrier, Grey Fantail, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-fronted Dotterel, Musk Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Weebill, a good range of honeyeaters ~ Yellow-faced, White-eared, Fuscous, White-plumed, New Holland, Brown-headed and White-naped ~ plus Noisy Miner and Red Wattlebird, White-browed Babbler, Grey Butcherbird and Red-browed Finch...plus common species of our region (Magpie, Galah, etc).

Elmore area
Our June outing was in the Elmore area. After meeting outside the Elmore railway station, we travelled east to some wetland areas east of Lake Cooper.
Gaynor Swamp was one of several wetland areas visited. We then travelled west to three different bushland areas alongside the Campaspe River. 67 species were observed during the outing.

Four consecutive day outings in May: 148 bird species and 41 observers
On the last Saturday of April, our Branch conducted its quarterly bird surveys along six reaches of Gunbower Creek. There were enough observers to enable us to complete all six surveys by lunchtime. After lunch, went birding on the Patho Plains. One of the spots visited was Timms Lake (north of Terrick Terrick National Park) which contains water for the first time in over twenty years. We observed lots of Avocets on two smaller ephemeral lakes nearby. Several Black-winged Kites were observed in trees alongside Kow Swamp.

The following three days were spent in the Kerang area. On Sunday 1st May we were shown parts of Trust for Nature's Wanderers Plain Reserve by its manager, Eris O'Brien. Over 100 species were observed.

On the Monday, a Kerang member led us to Reedy Lake lake near Kerang where we observed about 49 species before continuing along the Murray Valley Highway to Lake Boga. Two local field naturalist club members led us to some good birding spots at Tresco West and alongside Lake Boga. After lunch we travelled to Goschen Reserve where we were met by two locals, both of whom were also members of the Swan Hill based field naturalists club. Over 100 bird species were observed on the Monday.

The final day of birding, Tuesday 3rd May, was at Kerang Weir and in the Koorangie Nature Conservation Reserve. The Victorian government has just purchased land between Koorangie and Wanderer's Plain, thereby creating a very large area of reserved grassland, woodland and wetlands. At the end of the day, our total stood at 148 bird species for the four days.

Corop Wetlands
On 20th March, seven birders met in Corop. The outing was planned last year prior to the announcement that this day was to be the first Sunday of duck shooting season. Perhaps few attended our outing because members were loath to visit a wetland area on the opening weekend of duck shooting season. Nature Conservation Reserves in which shooting is not permitted were flooded and inaccessible.

When we met in Corop shots rang out in all directions. Many of the waterbirds that had been present in the area the previous week were nowhere to be found. Others were flighty. Fortunately, however,the leader was able gain permission for us to access part of a flooded area on a private property.

En route to the private property, we stopped at a normally dry lake near Corop township. Although it had been good a few days earlier, there was a pair of shooters at work. A second stop also revealed little. But a private lake, on which shooting was banned, was very good. Even here, the birds were very flighty.

Birds observed on the flooded farm included  Brown Quail, Black Swan, Shoveler, Grey Teal, Pink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes, Darter, White-faced Heron, Whistling Kite, Brown Goshawk, Brown Falcon, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Masked Lapwing, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and Pied Butcherbird. After an hour or so on the private property, we made our way to Runnymeade NCR, a box forest, and then to Runnymeade Streamside Reserve.

Other birds observed during the day included Musk Duck, White-necked Heron, Black-shouldered Kite, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Purple Swamphen, Painted Button Quail (at Runnymeade River Reserve), Red-rumped Parrot, Sacred Kingfisher, Brown Tree-creeper, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Butcherbird and Australasian Pipit.

Bushland areas around Moama
In 2010, our planned outing to Perricoota Forest was not possible owing to boggy roads, so we visited some spots around Moama and along Perricoota Road instead.

The visit planned for 2011 was not possible either as authorities had closed the entire forest. Part of the forest was closed because of engineering works and the remainder because of boggy roads and forestry operations. The Moama Wetlands were inaccessible due to flooding and because a tree had fallen, smashing part of the boardwalk.

Instead of Perricoota Forest, we visited several areas of public land that could be accessed from Perricoota Road, including Five Mile Reserve and Benarca Forest (both of which are now parts of Murray Valley Regional Park), lakes near Rich River Golf Club and bushland opposite Perricoota Woolshed. This change of plan turned out to be somewhat of a blessing insofar as 65 bird species were observed, including Hobby, Nankeen Kestrel, Common Bronzewing, Peaceful Dove, Musk Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, Azure and Sacred Kingfishers, Weebill, Singing Honeyeater, Jacky Winter and Dusky Woodswallow.

It was particularly pleasing to observe Diamond Firetail at two of the stops as this species has been in serious decline during the drought.  Both Grey-crowned and White-browed Babblers were observed together in Benarca Forest. 

Gunbower Island
The quarterly surveys we were to do on 25th January were cancelled because of flooding. However, during our Gunbower Island outing we were able to complete several of the quarterly surveys along reaches of Gunbower Creek. Owing to profuse weed growth, a reach alongside Splatts Lagoon could not be surveyed. Apart from that reach, the remaining surveys were done at other times. After lunch, a Gunbower Island resident led us through a section of the new national park alongside her property.

10 members attended and 66 species were observed, including Black Swan, Australasian Grebe, Darter (nesting), Nankeen Night Heron, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Little Black Cormorant (nesting), Black Kite, Hobby, Bronzewing, Peaceful Dove, Azure and Sacred Kingfishers, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated and Brown Tree-creepers, Weebill, Jacky Winter, Red-capped Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, Dusky and White-breasted Woodswallow and Red-browed Finch.

An early summer morning in Moama
Our first outing for 2011 was to be an early morning in the Moama wetlands. However, the wetlands were flooded and a large gum tree had fallen on the elevated wooden boardwalk, smashing a length of it to smithereens. Perhaps because of widespread flooding, only seven members attended.

After some time at the wetlands, we visited various spots around Moama, including Five Mile Reserve, part of Murray Valley Regional Park.

About 45 species were observed, including White-faced Heron, Nankeen Night Heron, White and Straw-necked Ibis, Purple Swamphen, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-

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