On Sunday 20th May Werribee Wagtails & PLEG hosted a bird walk in Pinkerton Forest, Mulla Mulla Woodland & Eynesbury Forest; led by Geraldine Kelly. These sites are not usually open to the public & are home to a large variety of woodland birds. About 127 bird species have been recorded at Pinkerton & about 150 at Eynesbury to date.
The day was cold & dismal but we still saw many woodland birds. Highlights were several Pink-eared Ducks on the Pinkerton Dam & several rare & endangered Freckled Ducks on the Treatment Lagoon. Unfortunately no Diamond Firetails but we saw many Zebra Finches in Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link. We even saw a large snake skin in the grass near the shed, no doubt sloughed off by one of the resident Brown Snakes (there are at least two)
The mob of Kangaroos that live in Mulla Mulla Grassland watched us from a distance. There appeared to be about thirty Kangaroos
We were lucky to observe a spectacular aerial display between the two local pairs of Wedge-tailed Eagles. One pair maintains a territory along the Werribee River & paddocks west of the river, where they nest every couple of years. The other pair maintains a territory in Pinkerton Forest, Mulla Mulla Grassland, the Western Water farmland east of the Treatment Lagoon, the Boral paddock & Mt Cottrell. They regularly meet on the border between their respective territories where the four birds perform a stately aerobatic dance, circling & swooping toward each other. The shearing shed & adjacent track seems to form the border, as this is where they perform their manoeuvres. These balletic dogfights seem more symbolic than physical as they never seem to make actual contact. There are a couple of trees in the disputed area in which they often perch, overlooking the track & shed. Sometimes both pairs perch in separate trees, glaring at each other from their respective trees. Actual physical combat seems to be avoided. They seem to build a new nest every few years. Yet another pair has its territory in nearby Eynesbury Forest, where they also nest.
Unfortunately a large old Koala was found dead near the Pinkerton Dam, large enough to be initially mistaken for a Wombat! It is sad to observe its demise as we have been seeing this Koala fairly regularly for the last year or so. The manner of its death is not known although it was suggested by some that perhaps it may have been taken by a fox. We saw a young Koala a year or so ago but not since, so it appears the old Koala may have been the only resident Koala in Pinkerton. A sad & lonely life!
Ebird checklists for the day’s survey
Pinkerton 35 species
Western Water Treatment Plant 11 species
Bushs Paddock (Mulla Mulla Woodland) 17 species
Eynesbury Forest 40 species
Pink-eared Ducks on Pinkerton Dam
Kangaroos in Mulla Mulla Grassland
Snake skin in Pinkerton Forest
Dead Koala in Pinkerton Forest