I said a while ago that birds would be on the agenda again when I got some quality birding under my belt. Well, here goes. Peter and I wanted to check out the Heart Morass as part of the shorebird counting that’s been going on, so we took off the other day with rain threatening. It did rain too, during the day, but we were lucky and seemed to time everything right. While we were walking it was fine, and when we were driving it was raining. Our first good sighting was at the turnoff into the morass at the Swing Bridge, there was a Sacred Kingfisher perched on a vent pipe, and it wasn’t long before Peter found the nest hole in a tree stump by the river. At the morass there was water everywhere, what a change from twelve months ago when it was as dry as dust. We walked through clouds of damselflies as we hiked down river, no shorebirds though, but plenty of Wood Duck and Black Swans, and a Sea Eagle in the distance. We’d expected to see Greenshanks, but after hiking for about four kilometres without luck we turned back with the next site in mind.
We had to do our checking there with the scope as it’s private property, and this time we did at least see four Greenshank, but no smaller waders that had been there two or three weeks ago. With our job for the day finished and a grand total of four birds for the count form, it was still only a bit after noon, so we pointed the vehicle towards Marley Point to check out the tern situation on the breakwater. We were hoping for a variety, but since the lakes have been flushed with fresh water, tern numbers have dropped. There were only Crested Terns on the wall, but one was a juvenile with handsome plumage.
Back into the vehicle with a cold ale calling to us from the refrigerator at home, but when we got to the main intersection, and despite my aching right hip, I said to Peter, “Would you like to go to Victoria Lagoon” “Yes please” was his answer, so instead of turning left we hung a right and took off for Holland’s Landing. Victoria Lagoon can be a hotspot when conditions are right, and I’d been wanting to get over there for a while but just hadn’t had the chance.
Off the bitumen and down the short dirt track to the water’s edge, and “What the heck have we got” Out and up with the bins, and we were looking at around a thousand Banded Stilts, what a sight. Obviously the food supply had kicked in, and somehow the stilts came to hear of it and arrived en masse. There were about a hundred Black-winged Stilts scattered through them, and in the distance about seventy Pelicans and several thousand Silver Gulls were loafing on the shore. Half a dozen Greenshank out in the shallows in the middle too, but how about those bandeds, quality birding indeed!
Well folks, as Peter Cundall says on the tv gardening show, “That’s yer bloomin lot”, for now anyway, cos I’ve been over at Heyfield photographing dragonflies and that’ll be the next one. PS. the cold ale was very nice.