Sept 2018 bird survey

The first Black-winged Stilts have appeared after their winter absence on the edge of the drainage basin above the south-east corner of the Saltwater Lake. Lots of male superb Fairy-wrens are now in their breeding plumage.

By Andrew McCutcheon & Rob Youl, 3 Sept 2018

Weather: mostly fine with a light south wind later in the morning, temp 10C-15C. Entire survey route completed, start time 0900, finish 1315

Brown Quail Galah 
Black Swan    3+4DLittle Corella 
Australian Shelduck Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 
Australian Wood Duck Rainbow Lorikeet25+ 
Pink-eared Duck Musk Lorikeet  
Australasian Shoveler Little Lorikeet  
Grey Teal  Purple-crowned Lorikeet 
Chestnut Teal 29Eastern Rosella 
Pacific Black Duck1Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo 
Hardhead3Fan-tailed Cuckoo 
Australasian Grebe2Sacred Kingfisher 
Hoary-headed Grebe      6Superb Fairy-wren 30+ 7 blue
   Rock Dove  White-browed Scrubwren7
   Spotted Turtle-Dove16Brown Thornbill 
   Crested Pigeon5Spotted Pardalote 
Darter Striated Pardalote 
Little Pied Cormorant  Yellow-faced Honeyeater 
Great Cormorant*4White-plumed Honeyeater 70+ *2
Little Black Cormorant*2Noisy Miner6
Pied Cormorant*2Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater 
Australian Pelican*3Little Wattlebird(*1)
White-necked Heron  Red Wattlebird 60*4
Eastern Great Egret1New Holland Honeyeater 45+
Cattle Egret White-naped Honeyeater2
White-faced Heron  Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike 
Nankeen Night-Heron White-winged Triller 
Australian White Ibis Golden Whistler  
Straw-necked Ibis Grey Shrike-thrush 
Royal Spoonbill Grey Butcherbird 
Yellow-billed Spoonbill Australian Magpie(*1)
Black-shouldered Kite Pied Currawong 
Little Eagle Grey fantail 
Nankeen Kestrel Willie Wagtail8
Brown Falcon Little Raven3
Australian Hobby Magpie-lark8
Peregrine Falcon Flame Robin 
Purple Swamphen3Rose Robin 
Buff-banded Rail    Golden-headed Cisticola 
Baillon’s Crake    Australian Reed-Warbler 
Black-tailed Native-hen    Little Grassbird 
Dusky Moorhen16Silvereye 
Eurasian Coot 25Welcome Swallow40+ 
Black-winged Stilt 7Fairy Martin2
Black-fronted Dotterel*2Common Blackbird14
Red-kneed Dotterel Common Starling130+
Masked Lapwing  4Common Myna10
Latham’s Snipe Red-browed Finch 
   Painted Button-quail House Sparrow55+
Crested Tern*1Australasian Pipit 
Pacific Gull European Greenfinch2
Silver Gull130 *80+European Goldfinch 

No. Bird Species – Wetland dependent & Raptors 19  Land based  22, Total 41 species

Other animals: One Red Fox briefly seen in the saltwater lagoon area on the south side of the Saltwater Lake. One Brush-tailed Possum. Common Froglets heard in dam and wetlands near the Friend’s Compound.

* seen at/along Yarra River only.

Note: For species seen in large numbers, or for which accurate counting was difficult the number seen is rounded off to the nearest of tens or fives followed by a +.

D- Denotes dependent young plus number of separate broods. 

Habitat: Similar to last month water levels of both large lakes are very high, but wetland bird populations of most species are very low, except for Chestnut Teal, Purple Swamphens and Dusky Moorhens which are present at average numbers.  

Noisy Miners are now regularly present along the eastern edge of the park abutting Todd Road. Six birds were recorded today with other honeyeaters, including White-plumed Honeyeaters and Red Wattlebirds still foraging nearby without being driven off. 

A Red Fox was briefly seen running away between Saltwater Lagoons 2 and 3. Foxes are a significant threat to the waterbirds, especially when they are breeding. This fox could well be the reason for the loss of two cygnets (one in May, followed by another in June) from the original six that first appeared in late March.

Interesting/notable sightings: 

  • The Painted Button-quail first seen in the park on 12 June is still present although we were unable to find it today. The bird (or number of birds?) has extended it range over a much larger area mostly on the north side of the Large Freshwater Lake, leaving lots of fresh Circular shallow scrapes as evidence. 
  • Two White-naped Honeyeaters, one being pursued by a New Holland Honeyeater, were seen in the vegetation around the dam.