Email:Susan Myers '
On the weekend Stuart Dashper & myself participated in the Challenge Count
(organised by BOCA) in a team of seven headed by Graham Hoskins in the area
around Yan Yean & Broadford. Graham has been doing this for 20-odd years,
and has some very interesting records for the area in question. Anyway, we
had a very enjoyable day clocking up 126 spp for an area of 15 sq km less
than 50 km from the Melbourne CBD. Of particular note were a couple of
White-throated Gerygones nesting at Sunday Creek as was a Satin Flycatcher,
a pair of Leaden Flycatchers were observed a matter of a few metres away
from the Satin. A pair of Peregrine Falcons in full form seen at a disused
quarry near Broadford, where they regularly nest.
We were allowed to enter the catchment area of Yan Yean which is normally
off limits to the public. The bush itself is nothing startling, of most
interest was the incredibly low water level and the incredibly high number
of Hardheads. We estimated a total of 5000+ birds along with 1000+ Eurasian
Coots, a few 100 Musk Ducks, a few dozen Black Swans and one or two Aust
Shovellers, Blue-billed Ducks & Great Crested Grebes plus a beautiful
White-bellied Sea-eagle (with nest) amongst other things.
Also, near Mount Piper in roadside vegetation a single dark morph of race
robusta of White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, 4 pairs of Hooded Robins (I wonder
how many of these remain within the 50km radius of Melbourne), White-winged
Trillers, Speckled Warblers (same as for HRobin), lots Jacky Winters, &c.
The amount of birdlife in the remnant roadside veg. impressed upon me yet
again the importance of protecting these small areas. Also of note was the
fact that we didn't see a single Restless Flycatcher in seemingly ideal
habitat, in fact I haven't seen many at all recently. Has anybody else
noticed this or have I just been unlucky (they're such fab birds, I'd hate
them to become any scarcer)?