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A Beginners day at Woodlands Historic Park

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.

 

Eastern Rosella at Launch
Eastern Rosella at Launch
Crested Shriketit
Crested Shriketit
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Brown-headed Honeyeater
Eastern Grey Kangaroo: Male. Not to be meddled with.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo: Male. Not to be meddled with.
Red-capped Robin
Red-capped Robin
Up close and personal.
Up close and personal.
Red-capped Robin
Red-capped Robin
he was happy to hunt on the ground around our group
he was happy to hunt on the ground around our group
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Back to Grey Box Forest: Hello Jacky

I’ve said before that I enjoy the company of Jacky Winter.

We were at Eynesbury today on a bird count day.    Found time to find several Jacky Winter.   They were most co-operative, and I’ve put them here in a gallery as it gives a chance to view them in the carousel.  Click on one image and you’ll be able to show through the set.
Enjoy. Jacky and I did.

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A Band of Banded Stilts. Evening in the sunshine

I wonder what the collective noun for Stilts is?    Decided that it might be, in this case with Banded Stilts,  well, Band of.

So we spent an evening with a Band of Brothers. On one of the ponds at the T Section at the Treatment Plant we found the Band working very quickly through the water. I settled down in the grass on the water’s edge and was able to have them feed up quite close, and without being distressed at my presence.

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WTP Jan 2016

Check out Mark’s view of a day at WTP

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Western Treatment Plant. Werribee.

Nestled on the coast, off the town of Werribee lies a birds paradise. The Water treatment plant of Victoria is a haven for many a wildlife species and has become a listed wetlands of significant international importance. I recently had the opportunity to visit and take photos(see me flickr). From a photographic point of view the light on the day was not great, a little overcast and bland with a touch of smoke wafting across the strait from the fires in Tasmania.

“For birders this place is the ducks guts”

Ducks in formation Ducks in formation

Been standing in the corner
Studying the lights
The dreaming of escape
Will keep you up at night

Away with me
We don’t need words
Close your eyes and see
We’ll be birds
Flying free
Holding on in the mystery

~  Birds by Coldplay

 Life abounds.

The ecology here…

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Overcast day around Lake Borrie at the Western Treatment Plant

DJ's Birds as Poetry

Every so often inspite of the weather we decide to go see what is happening at the Treatment Plant. On a good day with sunshine it can be exceptional, and as someone said, “a Magic Place”

And although the light never moved even  fraction toward, acceptable, we did manage to find a few interesting moments among the grey.

Some Stints and Plovers were working enthusiastically on the mudbar from a low tide and seemed just about oblivious to our presence.  I’d forgotten to take down something to kneel on in the mud and so my old knees were fair complaining. Mr An Onymous was starting to worry he might have to haul me off the beach.

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Dust Dancing

DJ's Birds as Poetry

Had the pleasure of the company of Edaurdo and Maria from Chile, on a day at the Western Treatment Plant. Of course on their list was Brolga.  And despite some good sightings the past few weeks, of course, we failed to find any at all during the day.

On the way out as the sun was slowly sinking in the west, as it apparently does regularly, we spotted a pair on a paddock that has been ploughed over by the Farm team.   With a light breeze to pickup the dust, and a softly setting sunlight, the stage was well prepared for a  touch of the prancing and dancing that these awesome birds are capable of.

Hard not to take lots of frames, and here is a short selection,  I’ve also made a slide show gallery that animates it a little.

Great way to end a day.

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