Melton Environment Group bird walk in Eynesbury Forest

On Saturday 16th March thirteen people participated in a bird walk at Eynesbury hosted by MEG. The walk around the lake was highlighted as usual by the presence of the resident Freckled Ducks. Five species of ducks were on the lake, fortunately safe here from the guns of shooters as the day marked the beginning of duck hunting season. The Yellow-billed Spoonbill that has been here for some time was unfortunately nowhere to be seen. Eynesbury Ornamental Lake remains a haven for a diverse variety of wetland birds, as well as several turtles.

The ornamental lake has dropped to a low level: the widening mud flats providing feeding ground for Black-fronted Dotterels. Hopefully it will not be allowed to dry out completely as it almost did a year or so again.

The Forest remains very dry. Even the Fragrant Saltbush is dry & withered! The sparse undergrowth is showing the effects of the worsening drought exacerbated by being heavily overgrazed. Several Grey Box trees are in flower, scattered through the Forest.

Raptors are usually a feature of Eynesbury but they were conspicuous by their absence; only one Little Eagle showing itself. Even the now ubiquitous Black Kites were missing. The previous day about 15 Black Kites were seen in nearby Pinkerton Forest so they may have crossed the Werribee to visit the Mt Cottrell area. Several Pardalotes in the canopy high above the track defied identification silhouetted against the sky & offering no calls to assist us. A lone Dusky Woodswallow was in a dead tree near the old brick shearing quarters. These migratory birds will probably be leaving soon for their journey north although a few sometimes over-winter locally.

We saw a total of 30 bird species

Bird species seen were:

Black Duck

Wood Duck

Freckled Duck

Hardhead

Chestnut Teal  Swan

Coot

Swamphen

Moorhen

Australasian Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe

Red-rumped Parrot

Eastern Rosella

White Cockatoo

Long-billed Corella

Purple-crowned Lorikeet

Galah

Common Bronzewing

Crested Pigeon

Black-fronted Dotterel

Masked Lapwing

Little Eagle

Magpie

White-plumed Honeyeater

Little Raven

Brown Treecreeper

Dusky Woodswallow

Willy Wagtail

Tree Martin

House Sparrow

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