Location 1 – Jawbone Reserve, Williamstown. A perfect summer morning – cool, bright and still. The birds thought so too, with lots of species on the lake and more out on the tidal flats. A wistful fox gazed longingly at the coots who – clearly with a fine appreciation of the safe amount of water to have between themselves and the predator – stared back cheekily. Right on the near lake shore a small flock of Brown Quail scurried about. 3 grebe species, 8 of ducks, the long-legged crew, Spotted Crake, a couple of Dotterels all paddled about calmly, giving some good photo ops.
“It was good to get out with the group again so soon after the Photography in the Bush conference to consolidate and reflect on things we learnt and heard about. Although we were somewhat challenged by new camera techniques it was such a gorgeous day and the birds were so close and generally unfazed by people which made it very pleasant. Jawbone Reserve is definitely a place I will go back to.
I love pink-eared ducks and it was good to get so close to them, even if they did hide their great bills under their wings. Good to get so close to the Shovelers too.
I can’t believe how many species other people in the group see. I feel like when I go out alone I must miss half the birds that are there. Great to learn from more experienced birders.”
Landbirds were also well represented, highlights including Cisticola and a cooperative Singing Honeyeater. Back on the water the local swan squadron gave impressive low-flying, landing and take-off displays. The ability to get several kilograms of swan body into the air deserves respect, no wonder they have sturdy appetites!
“From 9 o’clock on for the Photo Group day
at the Jawbone Reserve, all were ready
to see ducks and an egret and heron and quail,
using bins and a cam’ra held steady”
As usual Merrilyn managed to conjure up a special bird when a Whimbrel gave her a low pass enabling a very good photo – I don’t know how she does it, must be Zen or something, but my best advice to aspiring photographers is to keep a weather eye on her.
Location 2 was Newport Lakes park. By now the day had warmed up considerably and a leisurely lunch was enjoyed under the picnic shelter. There didn’t seem to be so much energy readily available in the afternoon as we struggled around the lakes – the birds seemed to have a similar feeling and the small number of individuals seen were mostly taking it pretty easy.
“After lunch at the Lakes under shelter at 12
They set out to find frogmouth and swallow
and a swan or a grebe and a moorhen or dove
with a teal and a magpie to follow.”
“Thanks for organizing magnificent weather at such an idyllic location. We enjoyed it so much that we went back again on Sunday morning!”
“The morning was so beautiful I felt like … All was right with the world. Australia was winning the third test and Donald Trump had been impeached
I couldn’t believe how many birds were there. My specials were … The variety of ducks within photographic range (Not like the WTP) and the Fox
My best photo was… The Pink-eared Duck and the Blue-billed duck … because … my best shots of both species
Besides the birds, the thing I liked most was … The toilet and picnic facilities at Newport Lakes
My strongest impression of Newport Lakes was … A nice spot for a picnic
I’m so outraged at being asked to write something that I’m going to … Write a letter of complaint and send it to….. Who do I send it to?”
A very good total of 65 species for the day. Many thanks to Marg Lacey, Merrilyn Serong. Stephen Garth, and Jill and Ian Wilson for contributions to the write-up, much appreciated.