Scarlet Honeyeaters at Banyule Flats, Heidelberg

Subject: Scarlet Honeyeaters at Banyule Flats, Heidelberg
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 20:35:07 +1000
This afternoon I reached Banyule Flats at 2.00 pm and accidentally met Andrew Fuhrmann. We followed the Main Track east from the Somerset Drive Car-park, checking treetops, and turned right along the Short-cut or Windmill Track, which follows the east bank of the dry Billabong to the Yarra by the Windmill. As we approached the Riverbank small birds became apparent, including Spotted Pardalotes in dead wattle tops. A passing Brown Goshawk flew through the treetops, causing complete silence for a few minutes - then small treetop birds became audible again.

Andrew spotted a beautiful male Scarlet Honeyeater which perched in a dead tree, next to a live Wattle which was full of flowering Grey Mistletoe. It was difficult to identify small birds in silhouette against a grey sky, but Andrew identified Yellow Thornbills, I heard Brown Thornbills, plus the Spotted Pardalotes, and numbers of Silvereyes, newly arrived from Tasmania to judge by their dark chestnut flanks. Many of the Silver Wattles are heavily infested with the mistletoe, which is the only nectar source available in the bush areas. The Scarlet Honeyeaters were flitting about with the Thornbills - my guesstimate was that we saw about six SHs, at least two males.

We then walked on round the Billabong's west side. One male Scarlet perched long enough in a treetop to give me two photos (record shots only). At the elbow of the Billabong Andrew heard another Scarlet HE, but we didn't find it. We did disturb a Kangaroo. We went on for a quick look at the Swamp, where one Swan was sitting on the nest and a pair of Coots appeared to be building their own. Black Ducks, a single pair of Chestnut Teal, Australasian Grebes including some young still with striped heads, Dusky Moorhens, Swamphens, three Masked Lapwings and a pair of Silver Gulls were on or near the water.

Also seen : Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Grey Butcherbirds (heard only), Red Wattlebirds, Spotted Doves, a Blackbird, Grey Currawongs, Magpies and Little Ravens - and a large flock of Crested Pigeons on the oval when I arrived.

 Anthea Fleming

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