On May 14, eleven dedicated people set out in cold, showers and wind to the Hospital Swamp wetlands at Lake Connewarre in the hope of seeing an Orange-bellied Parrot (OBP). Unsurprisingly we did not see any but we had a wonderful day with 55 birds identified (full list at end of report).
We have been very excited to learn that the following day two adult OBPs were seen elsewhere at Lake Connewarre.
The highlight for us was seeing over 180 Blue-winged parrots swooping around in flocks, with many periodically landing on an easily observable wire fence so we could study them before they returned to the Beaded Glasswort in the nearby paddocks.
We were most fortunate to have with us Craig Morley, the local OBP organizer, as he was a mine of information on the differences and characteristics of Blue-winged Parrots and OBPs. He also considerably increased our bird list as he made instant identifications of birds which were barely seen or heard.
We were also delighted to see a mass of Black-winged Stilts and Purple Swamphens. Other birds of special interest were two Stubble Quail, four types of raptor, and a glimpse of an Australian Pratincole. Not so pleasant was seeing much evidence of duck shooting. The gunshots were causing flocks of ducks to take off in fright and fly to new locations.
We were also pleased to have Margaret Lacey and her camera with us.
Below are all the birds identified on this walk:
It hasn’t been a very good year for Hooded Plover chicks. So far, along the coast from Point Lonsdale to Point Roadknight, only sixteen fledglings have made it through. Many obstacles to the survival of the chicks remain, with large crowds of people using the beaches, dogs running off-leash, and people walking through the sand dunes. In addition, fox, dog, rat and cat footprints have been found in the vicinity of nests. With the monitoring of the breeding season drawing to a close, there are presently two chicks at Collendina, and egg nests at Breamlea and Black Rock dunes, with one and two eggs.
Birds Australia is conducting an online, public survey in a bid to improve its conservation measures for the Hooded Plover on our coast. To participate, go to Birds Australia website.