Bairnsdale Pied Heron Update

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Bairnsdale Pied Heron Update
From: "Sean Dooley" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 23:16:41 +1000
The Pied Heron was still at McLeod's Morass this morning (Tuesday 12th). After being stuck behind a desk for the last two weeks I was finally able to get down to Barinsdale to have a look. It took me over an hour to find the bird which was with a group of around ten White-faced Herons in the northern section of the wetland which also happened to be shallower and more densely vegetated than the open water body in the southern section. It was only seen after it, the other herons and Masked Lapwings flushed when I was about a hundred metres away. I'm not sure if it was me that flushed them as they eventually settled closer to me than where they had started.
There were plenty of other good birds around in the hour and a quarter leading up to my successful sighting with Spotless Crake feeding unconcerned out in the open, White-breasted Sea-Eagle and a Peaceful Dove flying off the entrance track, a bird that I'm not sure is too common in these parts.
On the way back to Melbourne I stopped at Lake Guyatt in Sale where there were at least 130 Freckled Ducks.
Another stop at Tarra-Bulga National Park in the wet forests of South Gippsland got me Pilot Bird, Olive-backed Oriole and Bassian Thrush amongst others.
The absolute highlight for the day was watching a male Superb Lyrebird have a crack at a passing female. As I stood gobsmacked on the track with the birds only five metres from me, she kept feeding ignoring his advances. He didn't do the full tail display but fired off a good five minutes of song at her. Most interesting of the calls was a clear Boobook Owl call interspersed at regular intervals.
It also had another call which at first I thought may have been mimicking Satin Bowerbird, a bird rare in the Strzelecki Ranges but was wondering whether this was what is referred to as its "Long Plik Song". It had a slightly metallic quality and repeated the rhythm with such regular intervals that I wondered whether it has of human inspiration. It actually reminded me of the muted sound of a song on a  car stereo as it drives past. The road is a few hundred metres away as is the picnic ground. An interesting idea- Destin'y Child as performed by Superb Lyrebird.
Pied Heron, Freckled Duck, Pacific Gull, Pilotbird- I don't think those four birds would have appeared on the same day list all that often.
Sean Dooley
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