Sunday, 31 March 2013


Most people look forward to the Easter break and the opportunities the holiday brings.  I usually lock the door and keep my head down, far from the madding crowd.  However, I am always tempted to go birding on the first of the month, and, as I was thwarted in my attempt to visit Trin Warren Tam-Boore last week, because the car park was full of tradies' cars, I figured if I visited on Easter Monday, I'd have the car park to myself.  And so it proved to be.  The building site was silent:  the car park was mine.

Trin Warren Tam-Boore is an artificial wetland on the far west corner of Royal Park, in Parkville, within the City of Melbourne.  It is a birdy haven, now surrounded by residential development.  As far as I can tell, all the vegetation has been planted.  Even most of the large gum trees appear to me to be species not endemic to Parkville.

Hard to believe this is just a couple of kilometres from Melbourne's CBD

The skies were grey; conditions were not ideal.  As I walked along the path to the wetlands, the smell of a Lemon-scented Gum was more alluring than any hot cross bun.  The wetlands attract all the usual suspects.   The swamphens, moorhens and coots were there in numbers this morning, although I didn't think there was the usual complement of ducks.  I had just three:  Pacific Black Duck and Grey and Chestnut Teal.  There was also a very attractive family of Australasian Grebes, with teenage chicks with stripy heads.  A Willie Wagtail sat, unusually passive, while a New Holland Honeyeater attacked a pair of Little Wattlebirds.  Little Wattlebirds are common in Melbourne, yet I didn't see one in March and I was pleased to get them onto my April list.  A Little Grassbird called once, but I couldn't see it.  Nothing special, but I'd started April off with a list of 23 species.

I decided to call in at Willsmere Billabong on my way home.  I thought I'd be able to add a few bush birds.  With any luck, I might even see a cuckoo or an Azure Kingfisher.

Yarra River, Willsmere Park

I used to see an Azure Kingfisher here regularly, but I haven't seen him for a while.  The problem is that it was a single bird.  He never had the opportunity to breed.  I fear he has gone forever, but I can hope that he is hiding upstream, perhaps having found a mate.

The park was quiet this morning, apart from raucous Rainbow Lorikeets and ubiquitous Noisy Miners.  I managed to add five species to my April list, but one happy bounding labrador ensured that the bronzewing I'd hoped for was not present.  I missed out on my scrubwrens too, normally guaranteed here.  I guess nothing is guaranteed in the birding world.  A pleasant morning, a good start to April.

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