In perfect birding weather, Margaret Lacey showed us her favourite birding spots in beautiful Coogoorah Park.
We were pleasantly surprised to reach a total of 51 species. Two of them were new, and several rarely seen by one of our party who lives next door! We started in the marshy areas near the car park with several Great Cormorants sitting in a nearby dead tree looking quite unconcerned by our party of 13 birdwatchers. The highlight here was several secretive Latham’s Snipe darting around in their distinctive zigzagging flight, defying us to actually get a good look.
Across the bridge Margaret showed us a small pond with one resident Hoary-headed Grebe, plus many ducks.
However, for may of us, it was a skulking plain brown Little Grassbird which was our focus of interest, as it obligingly hopped around grasses on the opposite bank. Many of us had heard its mournful call at marshy areas but had never seen it, as it is another very secretive bird. In the marshy area nearby were our two main Dotterels, with the Red-kneed being a new bird for several of the group.
The Black-fronted, with its distinctive markings on its front, proved to be almost invisible with its back turned, which of course it did most of the time.
The walk back through the treed areas gave us many more species including a pair of scuttling Satin Bowerbirds, several parrots, and calling cuckoos and a Sacred Kingfisher. As we moved over to the picnic area for morning tea we disturbed a nursery of immature Wood Ducks who looked as if they were being minded by three Black Ducks, as there was a group of adult Wood Ducks quite a distance away on the grass.
Wood Duck nursery
When leaving for our cars a large flock of 32 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike flew over…a most unusual sight.
We then drove around the other side near Coalmine Road. We all had very good sightings of a pair of Satin Flycatchers which appeared to be building a nest, and a Dusky Woodswallow nest.
Female Satin Flycatcher
Male Satin Flycatcher
I was the only one to glimpse a Crested Shrike-tit with its unmistakeable black and white head, as it briefly landed. White-naped Honeyeaters, Silvereyes and total of 20 species were identified in this area, and we were pleased to add four new species to our main list.
One bird species which continuously called in both areas was the ever delightful Rufous Whistler. As we were leaving a large brown raptor flew off before we had time to identify it. Fortunately Alison and Phil saw it over their car round the corner, and were able to identify it as a Brown Falcon. It was a most memorable morning, and great to know that such good birding can be found on our doorstep.
The next bird walk will be in February next year, apart from the combined flower and bird walk at the Christmas barbecue in December.
Below are all the birds identified:
Pacific Black Duck
All photos by Margaret Lacey except the Wood Ducks nursery
Fri 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Social Evening. Matthew Russell, Park Ranger
Sat 9:30am - 2:30pm
Get to Know our Tracks. Currawong Falls Circuit
Sun 9:30am - 11:00am
Friends of Allen Noble Sanctuary
Mon 9:30am - 11:00am
Sat 10:00am - 1:30pm
Combined Friends of Eastern Otways / ANGAIR end of year BBQ