On our October Bird Walk at Lake Connewarre we hoped to see some migratory waders. However, despite perfect still and sunny weather, there were few water birds of any sort to be seen. We think this was because there were few suitable mud flats for waders.
This was due to recent rainfall, plus extra water draining into the lake from new housing developments which are being built on nearby flood plains.
Fortunately a swampy area beside the car park at Hospital Swamp revealed several regular water bird species, including two large and handsome white birds, a Royal Spoonbill and a Great Egret. Margaret Lacey took the most delightful photo of a Black-fronted Dotterel which was also pottering there.
Over the open water we saw a large flock of Whiskered Terns fluttering back and forth, plus several Swamp Harriers hunting for prey. Land birds were more plentiful and most admired were two cuckoos calling loudly: a Horsefield’s Bronze-Cuckoo and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo.
Horsefield’s Bronze-cuckoo singing above (taken by our newest recruit Denby Taylor)
Horsefield’s Bronze-cuckoo clearly showing the broken breast bars which help differentiate it from the Shining Bronze-cuckoo
The larger, but plainer Fan-tailed cuckoo
Another loud call came from several Australian Reed Warblers, although they were very hard to see. Graham Pizzey in his bird guide describes these birds as ’the outstanding singer of the summer reed beds’.
Australian Reed Warbler
The soft, but penetrating and mournful call of the Little Grassbirds was also evident, but none was seen. The most common honeyeater was the White-plumed Honeyeater, a welcome change from our ubiquitous New Hollands.
With parrots it was the Red-rumped Parrots which were the most abundant. We had morning tea and lunch at the high lookout at Tait Point, with almost no water birds to be seen on the wide expanse of water. In between these refreshment stops we followed a path around the lake and were most surprised to find ourselves back at the end of the peninsula where we had been: beside Hospital Swamp.
A Spotted Pardalote almost hiding his spots
The day’s species total was a pleasing 44.