Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You Yangs

'Enjoyed some further birding diversity only 30 minutes drive from the Western Treatment Plant by visiting the You Yangs Regional Park on Boxing Day 2012. The You Yangs are a collection of 2-3 granite peaks between Melbourne and Geelong. The surrounding vegetation includes Manna Gum and Yellow Gum. The understorey is sparse. It is more akin to what I associate with "north of the divide" as distinct from the heavily forested gullies and rainforest of the ranges I have tended to frequent. Not surprisingly then the place attracts a nice variation of birds for me to observe!

White-winged choughs
A highlight for me was seeing my first ever chough nest. This was at the nearby Serendip Nature Reserve
The excellent Birds Australia book Where to see birds in Victoria edited by Tim Dolby has a You Yangs chapter written by Russell Woodford. We found the "car park" Tawny frogmouths to which he refers ....

... and also found the "gravel pit on the east side of Great Circle Drive, a little past Kurrajong Ave". Remarkably we picked up the Diamond firetail, Crested shrike-tit and Dusky woodswallow mentioned in his narrative amongst others. The gravel pit had created the effect of a small dam which was particularly popular with the firetails and numerous honeyeater species.

You'll have to take my word that the birds drinking (at left, above) are the aforementioned Diamond firetails. The positioning of the pond didn't allow for proximity to such small birds. Crested shrike-tit is always a good find for me - it can be seen at right. I was once again travelling with Richard whose post of the same trip has some better shots of these birds.

New-Holland honeyeater and Yellow-faced honeyeater enjoying the dam.

White-plumed honeyeaters having their Boxing Day extended-family get together! 
Nearby is the Serendip Sanctuary which is located on the outskirts of the town of Lara. As well as wild birds the sanctuary has enclosures for recovery program birds. These include Brolga, Magpie geese and Australian bustard. I was curious about this captive bustard's posture. Looking up I was not surprised to see a soaring raptor.

Bird on!

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