Friday, June 21, 2013

Bellbird Dell

Bellbird Dell is a linear bushland reserve in Melbourne's outer east. It is conveniently located within 100m of the home ground my son's soccer club (Whitehorse United). As the pre-match warm-ups are becoming longer I took the opportunity to spend half an hour checking out the locals!

Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) I do like it when they show their "green bits"!
Rock wall reflections on still water make for an icy appearance
No need for chiropractic work here

Duck's reflecting everywhere 
The above photo as seen on Instagram (upside down to explore the reflection & cropped for the 1:1 format!) 
Budding birders! This is the same pond in August 2003. My kids have grown. I wonder how long a duck lives?
I must say Anas superciliosa sounds a little Harry Potter to me! I did enjoy finding a little magic and charm in this common and readily observed species!

Australian wood-duck (Chenonetta jubata) often graze on land. Hence their other common name Maned Goose. This pair were having a swim in one of the Dell's man made wetlands. Here the male has tired of pond weed and seeks something a little more terrestrial.

"And what kind of beast are you!?" Male Eastern Spinebill.

Eastern spinebill, Red wattlebird and Noisy miner were the predominant honeyeaters. The spinebills were interested in the flowering correa. Correa reflexa is a shrub indigenous to the area. The distribution of these particular plants suggested to me that they were part of a revegetation exercise.

Correa reflexa - sometimes referred to locally as Native fuscia 
Common Bronzewing Phaps chalcoptera Bellbird Dell, 16 June 2013
Not an uncommon pose for Common bronzewing (as they walk away, contemplating flight)
Female Common bronzewing ruffling feathers up in the canopy.
Laughing kookaburra are often seen or heard
The name Bellbird Dell refers to the Bell Miner bird Manorina melanophrys. Once common in eastern Melbourne the sound of bellbirds in the canopy is now not often heard. I have only visited the Dell on 4-5 occasions and have not heard them. They do not appear on the Eremaea bird list for Bellbird Dell. They can still be heard not far away at Koomba Park.

Dog-walkers, cyclists, walkers, joggers ..... birders.
Birders spoilt for choice!
Morning drizzle clearing, Bellbird Dell, Vermont South
A glowing review of Bellbird Dell can be found in this Youtube video by Steven1256 ...

Cutting across the middle of Bellbird Dell is another government-owned linear reserve which had been earmarked for freeway construction (now aborted). It is feared that this land will be opened for residential development without giving due concern to environmental factors.

On one recent Sunday morning the Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve (or see their Facebook page) held a community day "promoting the cause". Here is a newsletter featuring this event and the overwhelming community response.

Looking at this aerial shot, it does not take much imagination to recognise the potential benefit for suburban fauna if those light green areas could be made dark green!

Google Maps screen grab showing the revegetated Bellbird Dell running North-South and the abandoned freeway reserved land running east west. Bell miners still reside in pockets of Koomba Park which can be seen at the right. 
For those interested, follow the links above to find out what action can be taken including lending support to a petition.

Bird On!


  1. That Bronzewing is a beautiful bird. They are all but non-existent in Brisbane, but clearly they remain in the outskirts of Melbourne?

    You are right about the beauty of the Black Duck too - that wing panel must be one of the loveliest colours imaginable!

  2. what a delightful spot to visit; I enjoyed the video too, imagining that I was there ... Glad that councils slip these nature habitats into suburban environs

  3. Hi that Black Duck adn the reflections are wonderful. Video great as well. Have a great weekend. Margaret