Last month we visited Minya Winery at Breamlea, which is always a pleasure, for the scenery a much as the birdlife.
It is situated on a large meander in the Thompson river, and the main building overlooks a delightful billabong with an island in the centre.
We started by looking down at the river bend outside the winery. A Fan-tailed Cuckoo took some identifying as it wasn’t calling, and a lone Black-fronted Dotterel on the river’s edge, were the highlights here.
We then moved into the winery and down to the river. The sight of a carpet of Creeping Monkey Flower Thyridia repens in flower on the river flats took the attention of our botanists, and the birds were briefly ignored. Unfortunately a group of ducks objected to our presence and disappeared around the bend before we were able to identify them. After a time a few intrepid Coots paddled back, but we will never know what else we might have seen! A couple of us spent some time trying to identify an elusive and timid Australasian Reed Warbler skulking in the reeds, and not helping us with its distinctive call.
Finally we crossed the narrow wooden bridge to the island.
A Yellow Spoonbill conveniently landed nearby in a large tree, and stayed for a long time giving us all clear views of its distinctive beak.
We were sorry that there were no birds along the water edges on the opposite bank as we had seen in previous years.
Our final stop was for coffee and cake on the deck of the winery, made and served by the very hospitable Jeff Dans.
All in all, a very delightful way to spend a morning.
After the last birdwalk at Distillery Creek, some of us have been inspired to regularly return and keep looking and listening, especially near the small dam in the car park which is usually a hive of bird activity. The Brown Goshawks and Satin Flycatchers had finished nesting, but the Satin Flycatchers were still very active. Then in mid February we were really excited by two sightings of a Diamond Firetail. This prompted a 'this is rare for this area and season' response from the eBird website.
Below are all the birds identified:
Bluebell Creeper Billardia fusiformis
Originally from Western Australia it was a popular garden plant because it grows vigorously without careful attention. Unfortunately it is those characteristics that make the Bluebell Creeper one of the most devastating environmental weeds. Twining around other plants it quickly forms large colonies smothering any nearby plant. Small plants can be pulled out. Larger plants need to be either sprayed or cut down to ground level and then poisoned..
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.