Sunday, July 17, 2011

Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary

Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary is a re-vegetated urban bush and wetland located just 8kms from the Perth CBD on the Swan River in the suburb of Bayswater. It’s at 31°55'37"S 115°55'37"E in case you are interested in checking it out.

Yesterday morning Birds Australia WA group organised an excursion there. I went along and volunteered to write it up. Here’s my report for the next issue of WA Bird Notes which is the newsletter for WA Birds Australia members.

Spending a glorious winter’s morning at this Bayswater bush and wetland area rewarded fifteen birders with some interesting sightings. The highlight was a group of White-naped Honeyeaters feeding in the flowering eucalypts surrounding the western border of the lake. This was the first recording of the White-naped at this site. All up five species of honeyeater were seen, the others being the Brown, Singing, White-cheeked and New Holland. The vantage point of the bird hide over the wetland provided some excellent views of Pink-eared Ducks. We saw five species of ducks altogether. Setting up nesting boxes has been successful in attracting five duck species to breed in the area. The white plastic nesting boxes themselves are quite ugly, but the ducks are not bothered, so that’s the main thing.

Eric Singleton Bird Reserve is adjacent to the Swan River and has been extensively revegetated. It encompasses a variety of habitats: bush, fresh water wetland and estuarine river. All up we saw a total of 45 species. Other interesting sightings were a Richard’s Pipit, a Black-fronted Dotterel, a Little Grassbird and a distant view of an Osprey, nesting on the top of a mast across the river, near the Ascot racecourse.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Story of the baby bobtail lizard

We have about two or three regular adult bobtail lizards that move between us and the neighbouring houses, where there is still enough bush and cover for them to survive. They have been around for several years in our suburban Perth garden and I've photographed them before. Bobtails hibernate during the winter and appear again in spring and I presume we are seeing the same adults each year. Sadly, last spring I found a dead adult bobtail in our garden. But later at least two remaining ones were around again. Bobtails face a number of threats: drowning in swimming pools, getting hit by cars and now there is a type of bobtail influenza that is infecting them.

So it was a wonderful surprise to find this little "bobby" which is which proves that they are breeding in surburbia. He seems to be alone and has grown a bit over the last few weeks and is now about 13 cm long with striking markings. As the weather is starting to cool now this one will probably crawl under a pile of leaves and sleep out the winter. Hopefully we see him again in spring.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Little pied cormorant and glossy ibis

To add to the list I posted recently of birds seen at the fast drying out Lake Gwelup...two more I saw last week were the little pied cormorant and the glossy ibis, both less frequent visitors.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The striated pardalote is mostly heard but not seen

(Photo copyright Wayne Eddy, reproduced with permission)

We hear the striated pardalote quite often, especially in spring, but they rarely come down from the neighbour's huge eucalypts, where they hang out. For such a tiny bird (11cm) and they have a very loud call, which you can hear via an MP3 recording on the Birds in Backyards site.

Striated pardalotes nest in tree hollows, mostly, like this one in a paperbark at Lake Gwelup. Wayne Eddy of The Friends of Lake Gwelup took this fantastic photo of the bird outside the nest hole.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brown honeyeaters in the garden

These birds come into the bird bath most days. They are tiny little things, about 12mm from head to tail and have a beautiful song.

Friday, December 31, 2010

More birds at Lake Gwelup

Today I spotted a few more birds to add to Tuesday's list at Lake Gwelup:

a pair of black fronted plovers
welcome swallows
pink eared ducks
Australian shelduck
Swamp harrier

The pink eared ducks are quite rare on this lake and they were mightily disturbed by the harrier passing overhead.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lake Gwelup drying out...birds gathering

Lake Gwelup never used to dry out in the summer, but has done now for the last few years. This means that before the dry, birds gather there and the number of species seen is impressive. Over December 28-9 2010 I have spotted 34 species:

Pacific black duck
Grey teal
Wood duck
Australasian shoveler
Eurasian coot
Black swan
Purple swamp hen
Australasian grebe
Yellow spoonbill
Black winged stilt
White ibis
Straw necked ibis
Great egret
White faced heron
Reed warbler
Laughing turtledove
Spotted turtledove
Western gerygone
Twenty eight
Rainbow lorikeet
Short billed Corella
Rainbow bee-eater
Sacred kingfisher
Red wattlebird
Singing honeyeater
Brown honeyeater
Yellow rumped thornbill
Magpie lark
Grey butcherbird
Willie wagtail
Rufous whistler
Striated pardalote
Silver eye