BirdLife runs a number of Beginners days throughout the year, and Hazel and Alan do a super job of finding the right places to explore and go out of their way to make sure that beginners get the best looks at the various birds found on each day out.
So when the Woodlands Historic Park Beginners day came along we were very happy to go along and catch up with friends and to share just a little of our experiences in the park. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to see the park through a different set of eyes. And some 40 pairs of eyes is always going to see so much more than just my poor old eyesight straining through the bushes.
As the weather has been anything but predictable of late, we were also pleased to see some open blue sky as we drove out toward the park, and as the day went on, the warmth came on well. Our flickr friend, Eleanor turned up and that made the day a little bit special.
The first part of the day featured a walk around the upper ends of the Moonee Ponds Creek, which was actually carrying a flow of water following the recent rains. The creek here suffers from losing input water because of the large reservoir at Greenvale, but none the less it still drains from a long way up toward the north. It also is an especially steep fall from the north side of the park to the more southern areas, so the creek dries out through the park very quickly.
A number of small weirs and dams have been used across the creek over the years, and the Chaffey Brothers, built a substantial weir and bridge near the homestead at one stage. But, on a heavy flood year, the foundations gave way and the weir was never repaired.
At first our outward journey seemed a little slow for birds, but eventually things began to pickup, with a Crested Shriktite being a major find, some thornbills, and Galahs and a pair of Eastern Rosellas which let the photographers gain some excellent portraits. A Brown Falcon took to the air on our approach into the open farmland areas, and the usual Sulphur-crested Cockatoos continued to screech at our presence.
We walked around the homestead and then headed back on a middle track above the river, and some spotted a Scarlet Robin. And after much investigation we were able to get quite close to the female and she gave lovely views for those who might not often have the acquaintance of such a fine looking lady.
Lunch time, and bird count and we had 37 species to our list.
On to the BackPaddock area. Mostly to look for Robins.
A trip around the dam area didn’t do much for the enthusiasm, and I managed to add some Brown-headed Honeyeaters, and more Shriketits. A Whistling Kite and a Wedgetailed Eagle made up for small numbers else where. Despite EE and I looking in some of the places that have been quite profitable of late, the robins were not in a cooperative mood.
The group moved toward the BackPaddock, and I spotted a male Red-capped Robin on the inside of the fence, and the group moved to have a look. Eventually we found him, and his lady, and also a few Flame Robins. The male Red-capped Robin performed so wonderfully close to many of the group and hunted quite close to us on the ground. Nice way to end the day.
Thanks to Alan and Hazel and their helpers for such a good day out, and lovely warm weather to add to the warmth of the company.