After our south-west adventures down the Bellarine in August, our September outing took us north-east to Warrandyte State Park.
The Park, established in 1973, comprises 586 hectares of remnant bushland. It includes Anderson’s Creek, located between the two reserves we visited and the site of one of Victoria’s earliest gold discoveries in 1851.
Pound Bend Aboriginal Reserve was created in 1850 to set aside land next to the Yarra River for the Wurundjeri people. But after gold was discovered nearby in 1851, traditional life became impossible.
In 1852 the Wurundjeri were formally relocated from their land, eventually securing a permanent home at Coranderrk, Healesville in 1854. Land in the reserve was then sold and became a cattle pound in the 1860s, the origin of the site’s current name.
From the Pound Bend carpark, we headed upstream along the banks of the river under cloudy but bright conditions. The tall gums around the picnic ground and Yarra’s edge were alive with bird song. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Long-billed Corellas competed with Galahs and Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets in the aerial soundscape, while lower down White-naped, White-eared and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters vied for acoustic dominance.
The trees provided perches for Pacific Black Ducks and Grey Teals, while grassy areas also had Australian Wood Ducks grazing.
In the foliage along the river bank, Eastern Yellow Robins, Brown Thornbills, Golden Whistlers and Silvereyes provided plenty of interest.
Eastern and Crimson Rosellas and Australian King Parrots provided streaks of colour flying through the trees and Laughing Kookaburras, Australian Magpies, Grey Butcherbirds, Fan-tailed Cuckoos and both Pardalotes added their voices to the morning soundtrack.
After about an hour, we came to a large open paddock where Australian Magpies, Magpie Larks and grey kangaroos were feeding. They were joined by a remarkably approachable flock of White-winged Choughs picking through leaf-litter.
We turned away from the river and headed uphill to re-enter the bush on the ridgeline, heading back towards the picnic ground along Tank Track. The day’s highlight was seen along this track – some Striated Thornbills patiently posing for lots of photos.
Not much else was seen on the return leg, perhaps because the wind had picked up and the ridgeline was fairly exposed.
Nearing the carpark, we descended steps leading down to Pound Bend Tunnel – with two Pied Currawongs and a very tame Kookaburra for company. The tunnel was built in 1870 at the point where the Yarra River forms such a large bend that it almost winds back to itself. The aim of the tunnel was to divert the Yarra River, leaving a 5km stretch of the original riverbed exposed to be mined for gold. The tunnel itself is 196 metres long, six metres wide and four metres high and was opened July 1870.
Regrouping after two hours, we then motored the ten minutes to Jumping Creek Reserve, where Jumping Creek flows into the Yarra. The picnic shelter there was perfectly sized for an early lunch for our group of 25 – though, fortunately, shelter was not needed from the weather.
Our post-prandial stroll took us along the Blue Tongue Trail next to the Yarra, then inland to return along the Nature Trail. Sadly, both were fairly quiet – although Laughing Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins and Eastern Spinebills put in appearances.
With 47 species for the day and the weather holding for the time we were out, the group went home very happy. Considerately, the clouds only opened with a hail-and-rain deluge an hour after we left.
Thanks as usual to Peter for keeping the group moving to avoid the storm and to John and Peter for an advance recce to encourage feathered attendance on the day.