Barney Enders <>
Tue, 9 May 2017 02:40:55 +0000
I spent a couple of days last week checking out the swamps and lakes around
Stanhope, Rushworth and Corop Vic. taking photos and spent Tuesday afternoon
West side of Lake Cooper to have the sun behind me and arrived back before
sunrise Wed. to do the East side.
Although nowhere near the birdlife there now compared with a few weeks
before Duck Opening.
I counted 36 Freckled Ducks on the Tuesday and 85 on Wed. along with
thousands of Coots and still well over a thousand Pink-eared and Grey Teal.
Over 300 Shelducks on the South End which left in mobs of 30-40 heading
South to feed at about an hour before Sunset, only a few Shovelers scattered
through the mobs
sitting on the ridges in the water.
There were no Hardheads seen compared to the 20 to 30,000 that were observed
there by locals a few weeks before Duck Opening but they only stayed a few
Still many Red-kneed Dotterels with fledglings and Black-winged Stilts with
young plus a small flock of Avocets, lots of Sharp-tailed sandpipers
scattered along the shallows
with dozens of Red-capped Plovers on the Western edges.
No Pelicans seen and the Brolgas were on a swamp a few km away.
The two pair of resident Black-shouldered Kites are still there, one pair on
the town end and the other pair up where the creek comes in from Gayners
Swamp. these Kites have
nested here for many years successfully rearing young each year and several
Nankeen Kestrels along the roads around the lake.
A dozen Whistling Kites and four Swamp Harriers patrolling the lake edge
some feeding on a dead swan on the Western side.
Not many White-fronted Chats left as the Brown Falcons feed on them but
observed early in the morning 26 Golden-headed Cisticola along the road
between the channel and the
grape vines with a family in the Lignum Bushes at the South end, plus dozens
of Stubble Quail on the road as the Sun came up.
A hard lake to observe as the South West bank is on private property and has
to be walked and the South East end was still too wet to drive along.
As the sun rose further I drove the Western side through the plantation,
being the first to drive this track since the 4 to 5 inches of rain the week
Some Gums were flowering and many Honeyeaters and Wattlebirds present but I
was more interested in the dozens of Flame Robins that had arrived and were
flying from the Gums
and Boxthorns ,out into the clear stubble paddocks to feed on insects. (
Flocks of Magpie-larks and several Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike plus families
of Fairy-wrens and Yellow-rumped Thornbills
were also out in the paddocks feeding )
This area has always been known for the amount of Brown Falcons that live in
the district and I counted 16 feeding on the Robins, they would sit on the
fence posts and wait till the
robins were 2 to 3 hundred mts from the trees flitting around on the ground
catching insects and they had no trouble catching them as they tried to make
it back to the safety of
the tree line.
I saw more coloured cock birds caught than hens, and as I left a Goshawk
joined the fun.
These Robins were most likely passing through to their winter homes coming
out of the hills when the cold weather set in.
The most I saw in one spot was 7 sitting together on a barbwire on the top
of a fence down the road towards the hw. in front of the hayshed
The high ridge on the Western side of the lake has been formed over
thousands of years from dust blowing out of the lake bed when dry and when I
walked out into the paddocks to
take photos I found it is a very loose soil and the rain had washed soil
into the thousands of mouse holes that had been dug in the stubble,
virtually wiping them out, although a few
had been dug out again the cold weather will soon stop them breeding.
As I drove out a Wedge-tailed Eagle flew over the hill towards the lake,
they have nested a couple of Km from the lake for many years and the
White-bellied Sea-Eagle mentioned in a report a
few weeks ago nests in the timbered swamp only a few km to the North-east of
An interesting couple of days observing the area but I was more interested
in the fate of the Freckled Ducks that I have been photographing each year
since they arrived in the area during
the big dry up North in 2013.
More on this later.
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- Lake Cooper,
Barney Enders <=
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