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On our September bird walk we saw an abundance of birds, particularly water birds, at Blue Lake at Ocean Grove, and Lake Lorne at Drysdale – 42 species in total.



The highlight of the day was a close view of 14 Royal Spoonbills at Blue Lake.

royalspoonbillfemalebluelakeRoyal Spoonbill at Blue Lake

There were even more of them at Lake Lorne, but they were further away. Their breeding plumage was stunning with long white plumes from the back of the head, bright yellow patches above the eye, a patch of red in the middle of the forehead, and cream-yellow wash over the lower neck and upper breast. We could clearly see the stripes right along the bills of the adults.

royalspoonbillmaleRoyal Spoonbill in breeding plumage at Lake Lorne

spoonbillRoyal Spoonbill in breeding plumage

Pelicans and cormorants rested on rafts in the middle of the lake and, mostly invisible, brightly coloured Rainbow Lorikeets frolicked noisily in the high willows.

cormorantsblueCormorants at Blue Lake

rainbowlorikeetblueRainbow Lorikeet

A Dusky Moorhen chased off a couple of much larger Purple Swamphens. One downside was the presence of a male Northern Mallard, a species which has been introduced from Eurasia. There was also a strange duck which we had trouble identifying, and may have been a hybrid of a Mallard and Black Duck, but ‘the jury is still out.’ Mallards interbreed with Black ducks producing hybrids, and eventually may become the dominant species.  In new Zealand they were deliberately introduced in the 1930s and 40s and are now 80 percent of the dabbling duck population. Ref: Fish and Game New Zealand.

mallardblueMallard male

At Lake Lorne, which is much bigger, we were initially disappointed that there were no Freckled Duck, as they are often there in great numbers.

lakelorneLake Lorne

Additionally, many birds were much further away on islands. However there were masses of birds overall. We were welcomed by a large flock of noisy Long-billed Corellas, which are often called ‘Cut-throats’ due to the pink line across the upper breast.

longbilledcorellablueLong-billed Corella

Some ducks, and a pair of swans, had babies bobbing along after them. Particularly of interest were several Blue-billed Ducks, the males with their glorious bright bills, and one displaying by vigorously splashing round with its upright tail.

bluebilledlorneBlue-billed Duck male

Best of all was the sight of over 50 of the very handsome Pink-eared Duck, with their odd square-tipped bills which are used for filter feeding.

pinkearedPink-eared Ducks

Here is a list of all the birds identified:

  1. Maned Duck
  2. Pacific Black Duck
  3. Mallard (Domestic type)
  4. Gray Teal
  5. Chestnut Teal
  6. Hardhead
  7. Australasian Grebe
  8. Hoary-headed Grebe
  9. Spotted Dove
  10. Crested Pigeon
  11. Dusky Moorhen
  12. Eurasian Coot
  13. Australasian Swamphen
  14. Silver Gull
  15. Little Pied Cormorant
  16. Great Cormorant
  17. Little Black Cormorant
  18. Australian Pelican
  19. White-faced Heron
  20. Australian Ibis
  21. Straw-necked Ibis
  22. Royal Spoonbill
  23. Galah
  24. Crimson Rosella
  25. Eastern Rosella
  26. Rainbow Lorikeet
  27. Noisy Miner
  28. Red Wattlebird
  29. White-plumed Honeyeater
  30. New Holland Honeyeater
  31. Gray Butcherbird
  32. Australian Magpie
  33. Pied Currawong
  34. Willie-wagtail
  35. Gray Fantail
  36. Magpie-lark
  37. Little Raven
  38. Little Grassbird
  39. Welcome Swallow

Ellinor Campbell