Sunday, 31 October 2010

Jerringot Wetlands

What do you do when it's windy, cold and raining and you don't feel well? Of course, go birding!

In weather conditions like today, the best (and probably only) places to look for birds are in wetlands or the sea so I chose the more protected option and headed for Jerringot Wetlands, between Barwon Heads Road and Barwon Valley Golf Course in Belmont Common, Geelong (see map) and is usually a good spot for a range of waterbirds.

Spring has sprung at Jerringot with many birds nesting or with young. This clutch of Black Swan cygnets were huddled together on what was presumably their original nest site in the middle of the lake.

Black Swan cygnets, Jerringot Wetlands
These two grebe chicks were swimming around by themselves with no adults in sight. I think they are Australasian Grebe but it's difficult to distinguish them from Hoary-headed Grebe at this age.

Australasian Grebe juveniles, Jerringot Wetlands

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lorikeets and Terns at Ricketts Point

Travelling interstate and overseas for work for the last 5 weeks, I have been reading with envy the postings from many Melbourne birdos reporting the various species of terns frequenting the beaches of Beaumaris and Mordialloc.

So, it was with some anticipation that I visited both locations this afternoon on a brief trip to Melbourne. First stop Mordialloc jetty and no luck - plenty of terns but all Crested Tern on both north and south sides of jetty. Better luck at the second stop at Ricketts Point in Beaumaris (access to Ricketts Point is from Beach Road just NW of the intersection with Reserve Road - see map).

There were approx. 200 Crested Tern on and around the rock platform.

Crested Tern, Ricketts Point, Beaumaris
Among the largest group was a single "odd one out" that is either an Arctic Tern or Common Tern. Unfortunately, the mid afternoon sun was not in the best position for viewing or photographing this bird and the whole flock was scared off by a dog before I could try and approach it any closer. In flight, the bird did appear to have the Arctic Tern's distinctive black tips to primaries.

Stop Press 28 Oct:
I've had some offline feedback that it might be a White-fronted Tern - which I now think it is based on the head (minimal dark colour in front of the eye) and wing plumage - happy to be convinced otherwise though :-)

Which Tern? Ricketts Point, Beaumaris
I hung around for another 20 minutes in the hope that the terns would return to the same reef but, alas, no...

On leaving the car park, I heard lorikeets across Beach Road and as there had been a report of a pair of Scaly-breasted Lorikeets earlier in the week, I stopped for a closer investigation. There were at least 10 Rainbow Lorikeets (difficult to count exact numbers as they were in almost continuous movement within and among the Coast Banksia trees).

Rainbow Lorikeet, Ricketts Point, Beaumaris

There was a Scaly-breasted Lorikeet among the Rainbows

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Ricketts Point, Beaumaris
but the bird it spent most time with appeared to be neither a Rainbow or Scaly-breasted, appearing to have hybrid features of both: the blue head but duller than Rainbow and scaly breast as well as back.

Hybrid Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet?
I have not seen this before so any ideas appreciated.

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