Friday, 4 December 2015

Birdlife Australia: Challenge Count

The Challenge Count occurs on the first weekend [inc Friday and Monday] in December when each Birdlife branch across Australia chooses a point and birds, within 40 kms of that point, every bird they can over any 24 hour period within that 4 days.

Heyfield Birdoes Bev, Deidre and Jack, with help from BLEG Eaglepoint gentlewoman Denise, chose today, Friday, and did sites in the west of the circle with the centre of Nicholson.

Our first site was Hollands Landing. We saw 55 species of bird including Nankeen Kestrel, Swamp Harrier, hundreds of swans, teal, stilts, whiskered tern, Charlie the Hollands Landing Striated Fieldwren, Caspians, Corms, Pelis, gulls, lots of Shelducks, multitudes of Red Wattlebirds, did I mention swans galore, egrets, spoonies, lapwings, sharpies, rosellas, noisy miners, pards, magpies and larks, BFCS, grey fans, pipits etc etc. On our way out to the Bengworden Road I spied a Spotted Harrier so full race stop and some ordinary photos but enough, upon perusal at lunchtime, to ID a Spotted Harrier. Black fingers, grey bird, red [perhaps nankeen] leading upper edge of the wing. Yes. Life tick for three of the party. Thumbs up.

Grey bird
Red leading edge on upper wing
Black fingers
After Hollands Landing we birded Swindells Road [Pied Currawong], Wattle Point [lunch and two Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos plus a distant Wedge-tailed Eagle (Bev)], Pattersons Swamp and Waddy Point [Red-capped Plover x 1]. Storm Point [not much, Common Bronzewing] and the corner of Waddy Point Road and Wattle Point Road [where we said goodbye to Denise and spotted two Wedge-tailed Eagles (Denise)]. By this time it was 3.30-ish so we headed home.

On the Bengworden Road near Deighton's Creek a harrier put up. Another instant full race stop and out with bins and cameras as it was a Spotted Harrier again -- perhaps and probably the same one we had spotted [!!] earlier just a few kilometres away. This bird thought we were the ants pants and did two flyovers for us before working its way east. Wow. ID is easy when they are this close.

Magic. f8/t2000 and be there!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Heyfield Birdoes -- Heyfield Wetlands, Emus and Northpoint

Ten Heyfield Birdoes had a great time on their Christmas outing at Heyfield Wetlands [52 species] then, after a cuppa at Bulldog Junction, a short 4WD jaunt to Beaver Meadows off the Ben Cruachan Road, followed by lunch at Northpoint.

At Beaver Meadows we saw the birding highlight of the day. Six Emus in a paddock became intrigued by our presence and quietly, but warily, approached the vehicles whose occupants had quietly alighted and were working their bins and cameras overtime.

The person highlight of the day was Gouldiae visiting from the valley and the gastronomic highlight was a superb lunch at John and Marg's with everyone pitching in with drinks, salads and meat [for the BBQ].

Overall we saw 60 species of bird. Despite John and Marg not being able to schedule a visit from "their" Channel-billed Cuckoos and the "relatively" resident Pacific Koel [yes, that is its name at the moment and one is currently in Sale in a tree by Deidre's house -- lucky her], they farewelled us with a multitude of Musk Lorikeets in the Silky Oaks, a family of Australian Wood Ducks resting in the grass near the front gate and a male Common Bronzewing sitting on a nest at their front gate. With the gorgeous weather for the day, it doesn't get any better than that.

Musk Lorikeet in the Silky Oak

Mr and Mrs A W Duck with the six kids
Mr C Bronzewing on nesting duties