I went birdwalking yesterday. It was quite good and has made me want to add a “critters” page to my House section with the birds, insects and spiders that I see around my house. Stay tuned . . .
Anyway, I’d seen an article in my local paper that the local Birdlife group was hosting a half day walk at a nearby wetlands so found a friend to come with me (being a bit shy) and just showed up. I was expecting a group of general public, led by someone from the Birdlife group. Nope, it was actually about 20 people from the club, and just two visitors – us! They were all avid birdwatchers with binoculars and expensive cameras with massive telephoto lenses and we were completely unprepared. Luckily the group leader lent us a spare pair of binoculars. The entire group was lovely and made us feel really welcome, pointing out birds to us, sharing information and tips on how to the get the most out of the tour and generally being friendly.
The birds we saw (in a two hour leisurely walk within 1km of reasonably high density housing estates) were:
Grey Teal (I’ve probably seen these before but never knew what they were called, other than “ducks”)
Little Pied Cormorant
White Faced Heron
Brown Goshawk (possibly – he went by very fast, but apparently too big to be a Hobby, . . which we may have seen earlier)
Dusky Moorhen (I’ve probably seen these before but never really distinguished them from the Swamphens)
Eurasian Coot (I’ve seen these heaps of times but never knew what they were called)
Silver Gull (seagull)
Crested Tern (I recognised the wing shape as a Tern, but would never have known it was a Crested Tern)
Some kind of dove (didn’t look close enough to see if it was a Laughing Dove or a Common Bronzewing)
Striated Pardalote (a tiny bird I’ve never seen before)
Brown Honeyeater (an incredibly tiny bird that I could just make out through the branches)
White Cheeked Honeyeater
Rufous Whistler (I’ve never even heard of these before but saw both a male and a female today)
Magpie Lark (Mudlark)
Pipit (a little land bird that loves open spaces like sports fields. One of the guys was especially excited to get a photo of one of these. I hadn’t heard of them before!)
Tree Martin (another little bird, similar to a swallow, that I hadn’t heard of)
Some kind of Swallow (possibly a Welcome Swallow?) (something that I could identify as “Swallow-ish”, but I wouldn’t have had a clue about what type)
Something similar to a silvereye, . . . but I didn’t hear what they called it.
I knew a lot of the species already, or could at least identify the rough type of bird it was, but some were entirely new to me. It very useful having a bunch of experts around who could just tell you what anything was straight away! I think the next step is to be able to identify the calls, so I know what I’m looking for when I hear something in the trees!