Last weekend we led our first Birdwatching for Beginners Guided Workshop in the lovely Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Kicking off at around 8.00am, we meet a lovely group of keen and enthusiastic bird lovers in the Sherbrooke Forest car park. Even as we stood around making friends and trying out binoculars (and comparing camera sizes!), we were greeted by the resident locals. Australian King Parrot in their magnificent red and green suits flew overhead and a Lewin’s Honeyeater called from the gully. Above us a pair of Laughing Kookaburra inspected a nest hollow together, before flying in for a closer performance. A great start!
Setting off the forest was now well and truly awake. Each blackwood, wattle, fern tree, and mountain ash seem to be buzzing with birds of all different shapes and sizes. First up, we had a wonderfully close encounter with an Eastern Spinebill who buzzed up close for the entire group to see. Reminder us why they are known as Australia’s answer to the hummingbird, the adult male hovered, trilled, and then perched in the early morning light before zipping back into the scrub.
Next up, we tracked various groups of Brown Thornbill and White-browed Scrubwren through the brush, occasionally looking up to admire a Crimson Rosella or two…or four…or eight! They were absolutely everywhere!
We bathed in the chorus of the morning, admiring the songs of White-throated Treecreeper, Pied Currawong, Silvereye, and Spotted Pardalote. Then, we heard it! The first Superb Lyrebird of the day. Unfortunately it was deep in the gully, too far off the path for us to track down. But the day was still early!
Tracking down towards the creek, we discovered a deceased Southern Brown Bandicoot who appeared to have been killed by either a cat or a fox (bite marks underneath and blood). A bit of a damper on the morning, but a good reminder about the cost our native wildlife continue to pay because of these feral predators.
Along the creek, we chased Crescent Honeyeater up and down and back and forward again, their classic ‘ejik!’ call ringing through the forest. Whilst here we spotted a brilliant flash of golden, white, and black. It was a male Australian Golden Whistler, a brilliant edition to the morning!
As we watched our whistler, suddenly another blob of yellow perched up ahead of us in Silver Wattle. It was an Eastern Yellow Robin – wow!
As the forest opened up, we saw constant streams of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo overhead – a result of the clearing from the terrible storms of 2021. Other larger parrots and cockatoos included Galah, Little Corella, Crimson Rosella, and even a few pairs of Rainbow Lorikeet.
Taking the track back north, we had our first leech attack of the day – luckily no causalities this time.
By now, we had heard 3 or 4 different Superb Lyrebird but hadn’t yet had any luck in spotting any. By chance, we bumped into one of the locals who regularly monitors the birds. After a quick chat, he pointed us in the right direction and very soon our entire group was marvelling a brilliant adult male Superb Lyrebird as he performed his incredible song, dance, and mimicry. Luckily for us, we were able to watch this bird perform, feed, and scratch around a little in the undergrowth for over 10 minutes – an incredible opportunity!
Leaving our Superb Lyrebird, with everyone buzzing with excitement, we slowly tracked back the car park. On the way we saw Grey Shrikethrush, Striated Thornbill, Red Wattlebird, Grey Butcherbird, and several more Eastern Yellow Robin.
Already thinking that we couldn’t get much luckier, we spotted a pair of Tawny Frogmouth! Wow! What an incredible morning we were having!
Back at the car, the team enjoyed coffee, tea, chai lattes and a few Tim Tams as a Gang-gang Cockatoo called from the forest. A sensational morning with a great group of people! We can’t wait for our next Birdwatching for Beginners Workshop!
Treeswift Wildlife & Nature would like to acknowledge and thank the 18x participants who came out with us on this very successful Birdwatching Workshop – we hope to see you again in the future!