Thursday, 1 October 2015

Heyfield Birdoes -- Den of Nargun and Mitchell River Pumping Station

Four birders met on the corner of Beverley's and Dargo Roads and were graced with a beautiful day of glorious sun and little wind.

Our first stop was just down the road at Iguana Creek at the Angus McMillan Memorial. Just a few species there [6] so we moved on to the Den of Nargun carpark and walked down to the lookout platform above the Mitchell River. The view was just superb in the morning sun. The track is mostly hemmed in by dogwood and tea-tree so you don't get a good view of much outside the "tunnel" you are walking in but we could hear Fantailed Cuckoos, Superb Fairy-wrens, Pied Currawongs, Silvereyes, Golden Whistlers, Spotted Pardalotes, Magpies, Shrike-thrushes and Fantails. Sixteen species in all.

After morning tea, the last birding stop of the day was the Mitchell River Pumping Station, last visited by Heyfield Birdoes about 2 years ago when a Peregrine Falcon made an appearance! After morning tea/lunch, we walked [sauntered is more like it] about one kilometre along the road following the bank of the river. Highlights of the 31 species we saw included a Lewin's Honeyeater, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, a Noisy Friarbird AND a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles.  The wedgies hung around the area the whole time we were there. At one point, on our way back to the cars, one was seen to be chased over the river by a very, very agitated mob of three magpies because the wedgie had an immature magpie in it's talons!! The harassment was fierce and the bird dropped its prey into the river. The potential meal did not move at all thus must have been killed by the wedgie during "pickup"! Not a successful take-away meal! We also saw a medium sized raptor circling above us, almost directly into the sun, so plenty of images were taken but computer-enhanced identification has proved non-definitive. I suspect that of the choice of three species it could be [for its size] -- Little Eagle, Brown Goshawk and Swamp Harrier -- BG is the ID. What do you think? {Edit: thank you for input. 100% for Brown Goshawk}

A short side trip to the orchid heaven by the railway line at Fernbank showed some early promise [so the floral experts informed me] and, after a coffee at Wa-de-lock in Stratford, we split up for home after a great day.

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
Noisy Friarbird
The unidentified raptor

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