Friday, 20 September 2013


Pacific Black Duck, taken by Jim Smart

I hadn't been to Trin Warren Tam-Boore since March, so I thought it was time for another visit.  This artificial wetlands in Melbourne's magnificent Royal Park, so close to the city centre, is usually a pleasant spot to spend some time.  I was there for just 45 minutes.  The weather was cloudy and far from perfect, yet I managed to record 28 species.  That's not bad.

I had actually made a fleeting visit to this spot the week before, and heard a Horsfield Bronze-Cuckoo.  He was sitting high in a leafless deciduous tree, but despite the bare branches, he still took some finding.  I don't believe I've ever seen a bronze-cuckoo in Royal Park before.  My records for this site are not extensive, but I did live in Parkville for ten years, so I have strolled through the area many times.

On this visit, I was delighted to hear him again.  I also heard a Little Grassbird, which is not unusual for this site.  And I heard a Grey Shrike-thrush, which is called by some, rather unkindly, a 'GST.'  Why should such a glorious songster get a nickname with political overtones?

The other birds I saw were all predictable.  My favourite bird, the Willie Wagtail, is always present here.  So are our common gallinules (coots, swamphens and moorhens).  The reliable ducks are Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck and Chestnut Teal.  (There is a rather optimisitc illustration of a Blue-billed Duck next to the 'bird hide' but I doubt the water is ever deep enough here for this species.)  There are usually feral and Crested Pigeons, as well as Spotted Doves, and always Silver Gulls.  Common Blackbirds are just that, as are Magpie-Larks and Superb Fairy-wrens.  Welcome Swallows are guaranteed.

The most common honeyeater is the White-plumed, followed closely by Red Wattlebirds.  New Holland Honeyeaters are prolific too, as are Noisy Miners.  Little Wattlebirds are not quite so reliable.

I walked around the pond on the other side of the road and here I saw an Eastern Great Egret foraging at the edge of the water.  There were also Red-browed Finches and White-browed Scrubwrens. 

Altogether, a very pleasant forty-five minutes.

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