This midwinter survey was cold and wet for most of the morning…like the last survey in May…and there was even more water around, making it unsuitable for OBPs and very wet for walking.
Unfortunately also, the paddock where we had seen 180 Blue-winged Parrots last time had been trampled and eaten by cattle, greatly damaging their food source and foliage used for protection. So this time only one Blue-winged parrot was seen later, fleetingly, at Tait Point.
However the lush vegetation and large areas of water had attracted scores of other birds, so there was lots for us to see.
The highlight at Baensch’s Lane was the little field birds, with Golden-headed Cisticolas on display, and lots of calls and brief sightings of Little Grassbirds and Striated Fieldwrens.
The iPhone app. was very useful for identification. We also had a good view of a Brown Goshawk sitting for a long time on a levee bank.
We nearly didn’t go to Hospital Swamp Lane as there was more rain when we had morning tea in the car park at Baensch’s Lane. However we were reassured after consulting the radar on the iPhone, and at Hospital Swamp the weather improved.
The highlight there was a pair of handsome Olive-backed Orioles being followed by a pair of Grey-shrike thrushes from tree to tree in front of us.
Finally, when arriving at Tait Point, the sun shone and gave us a glorious view over the water and a very pleasant lunch time. Finally we saw lots of parrots but of the ‘wrong’ species. We decided that, with Lake Murtnagurt being so close, we must make a quick visit before finishing. Though no parrots of any sort were to be seen, there were large numbers of White-faced Herons and Chestnut Teal.
Overall, 54 birds were identified.
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.