Good birding at Edithvale Wetlands, SE of Melbourne

To: "BIRDING-AUS" <>, "Andrew Silcocks" <>
Subject: Good birding at Edithvale Wetlands, SE of Melbourne
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 22:45:57 +1100
On Thursday 20 December, Andrew Silcocks and I made the mistake of conducting our regular monthly survey of the birds at the Edithvale Wetlands. This is a Ramsar site managed by Melbourne Water embedded deep in the suburbs just 27 km from the CBD (see Melway Map 93). It was a mistake because we chose a bad weather day. We experienced torrential rain and thunder storms. Thus we spent much time sheltering in the hide. We started a little later than usual at 9.30 a.m. but at 2.00 p.m., our usual finishing time, we hadn't even completed the southern part, the fenced area south of Edithvale Road. I had to go so left Andrew to complete the count by himself. Due to rain interruptions and the need to retrace steps he didn't finish till 8.30 pm. But the good conditions, i.e. plenty of water and extended time, meant more birds than usual were seen. And as the summer advances and the swamp dries out, it should get better, especially for the waders. The hide will be open at least from 2-4.00 pm, hopefully from 1-5.00 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday until the ephemeral swamp dries. On Wednesday 16 January there will be a twilight opening from 6.45 to 8.00 p.m.

The highlights on this count, 70 species in total, included 3 LITTLE BITTERNS, 2 calling males heard and a female seen. We think they bred last year and because up to 3 calling males have been around but not consistently heard for at least the last two months, think they are breeding again this year. AUSTRALASIAN BITTERNS regularly winter here and occasionally we see one in summer but on this occasion there were 4. We had 1 Baillon's, 3 Spotless & 4 Australasian Crakes, 1 Glossy Ibis, White-necked Heron, Cattle & Great Egret, 2 Nankeen Night Herons, 14 Royal & 3 Yellow-billed Spoonbills, a Magpie Goose, Musk & Blue-billed Ducks, and nearly 100 Whiskered Terns. Wader numbers are building; 5 species (120 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers). Swamp Harriers have bred, 1 of 2 pairs have reared 3 young. And Andrew added a species to the list for the site with our first ever Rufous Songlark.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136


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