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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Woodlands Visit 22/08/2014

I had arranged to meet a fellow birder (Alison) at the cemetery carpark, arriving there at 9.45am with my father. Alison had some wish list birds to target, and as we got out of the car there was a beautiful Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike to greet us. 
Firstly i wanted to check on the new Tawny Frogmouth nest (thanks to Richard Arnold) which was exactly where I was told it should be, a nice bird sitting on the nest, this nest does look a lot more suitable and stable than the last 2 years efforts. 
    Tawny Frogmouth

So from the nest we started to walk west, seeing things like Yellow, Striated, Brown and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Striated and Spotted Pardalotes, Australian Magpie, White-Winged Chough and Superb Fairywren.
Alison's first target species was Brown Goshawk which we were able to track down in the planted pine trees along the Geriatric Hospital road calling loudly to each other so am assuming this will be this years nesting site, also here we got great views of a male Collared Sparrowhawk swooping around the area ( Alison's 2nd Lifer). 
Magpie-larks were heard calling from the opposite side of the road, Crimson and Eastern Rosellas were vocal as was the Rainbow Lorikeets, and a Austalian Hobby was seen gliding between the trees. We saw our first Dark morph Little Eagle ( Alison's 3rd Lifer) along the opened area.
We then headed back towards the dam, hoping to find any signs of Robins but wasn't that much around, the dam as usual was birdless (wasn't really surprising though) except for a few Australian Wood Ducks. A few bush birds were around the dam with Red Wattlebird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and a large flock of Varied Sittella . We then headed to the path heading south, as we hit the path, there were many birds of prey about with a light morph and dark morph Little Eagle were seen gliding around together, a Brown Goshawk flying quickly across the path, a Whistling Kite and Brown Falcon tried in vain to attack the dark Wedge-tailed Eagle ( even got the wedgie to turn upside down and show his talons). 
Bush birds along here included Striated and Spotted Pardalote, Tree Martin ( Alison's 4th Lifer), Welcome Swallow, and a pair of Flame Robins who were very obliging for some photos. 
    Flame Robin

Also along these trees I heard and saw an Olive-backed Oriole as well as many calling Grey Shrike-thrush. 
We then headed east again along the back paddock fence, not much bird activity here either, many many Tree Martins and very vocal Striated Pardalotes. 
We got to the back paddock gate which we were able to enter (thanks parks Vic), as we got inside the gate Rufous Whistler was calling (early spring arrival) and as we got to the first dead gum there was a beautiful male Red-rumped Parrot.
    Red-rumped Parrot

We followed this track it was surprisingly bird friendly today. Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Tree Martin and Striated Pardalotes were flitting between the dead trees and was able to get great views of all 3. 
    Tree Martin

We got to the first junction which was also bird friendly, with a large group of Weebill ( Alison's 5th Lifer) and a male Golden Whistler which was very chattery. 
    Golden Whistler

Not much else was of any interest in the next few km's I was hoping to find a Speckled Warbler in its normal spot but today we did fail on that one.... We headed to the large dam on the south east corner to see waterbirds, on leaving the back paddock we came across a flock of Red-browed Finch.
    Red-browed Finch

 It was the first time I had heard or seen dirt bikes in this area so am assuming they would have scared most birds away as the were right down on the waters edge, but birds still on the dam were Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Grey and Chestnut Teal, Hoary-headed Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, Black-fronted Dotterel, Eurasian Coot and Golden-headed Cisticola. 

We then walked the perimetre fence of the back paddock to the north towards Gellibrand Hill, it's was pretty strenuous walking up the hill from this direction with not much reward, did get good views of the dispersive feeders with Silvereye, Striated Pardalote, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Weebill, Crimson Rosella and Golden Whistler all very vocal in the trees on the south hill of Gellibrand Hill. 
We showed Alison the awesome 360* views from the top of the hill and today being a beautifully clear day we could see Kinglake to the north, Dandenongs to the east, Melbourne to the south east and even was able to see cargo ships out in Port Philip Bay. 
On leaving Gellibrand Hill, we were able to see Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Common Myna, Common Starling and Yellow-rumped Thornbills. On the walk down towards the car, not much bird activity but did get views of Grey Shrike-thrush and Golden Whistler. Alison's main target today was Red-capped Robin and as of yet we had no luck, my last spot for them was along the track from the back paddock gate to the carpark, along this track I have known there to be a Male and female Red-capped that frequently moves from east to west along this path. With some luck we were able to find the male and female along here. The male was seen first and Alison ( 6th Lifer and good day) was able to get some shots as it sat nicely on the wire fencing of the cemetery. A few seconds later the female Robin jumped up onto the fence and showed well for us. A totally exciting day out again at Woodlands with a massive 60 species seen in just over 4 hours ( a lot of distance travelled with at least 12kms covered) but well worth the pain to be rewarded with such a beautiful list of birds. The link below show you the days birds.
Happy birding 

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