Scarlet Honeyeaters in Benalla
Ten people attended our last activity for 2017 on Thursday 9 November, and what a lovely day it was. We set off along the walking track from the football oval heading east the old Hume Hwy where we crossed the creek for the return walk. We found several nesting birds. One was a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike on a very flimsy nest high in a red gum. Further on a Noisy Friarbird sat in a much more substantial hanging nest near the road bridge on High Street. Also heard near this bridge was the Scarlet Honeyeater, and after a few minutes the bird was spotted in a red gum tree across the road. We had better views of an Olive-backed Oriole, several Eastern Rosellas, Sacred Kingfisher and a tiny, but beautifully marked Spotted Pardalote. It was surprising to see a flock of White-winged Choughs near the creek and not far from houses. We recorded 32 birds during the walk. The bird list can be viewed HERE
We then drove to a private property near Violet Town to eat our lunch in a lovely shady garden. We watched Red-browed Finches and Superb Fairy-wrens hopping around our feet, and listened to a Rufous Whistler calling nearby. Other birds seen here included several Diamond Firetails, Peaceful Doves and Crimson Rosellas. Property owner Roberta showed us the old saucepan in a shed where the Grey Shrike-thrush makes its nest each year and a nest box for Striated Pardalotes. A pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles soared high overhead, and above them was a lone dark morph Little Eagle. We then enjoyed a walk around the large garden, with many plants in flower. Just before we left a male Scarlet Honeyeater showed itself briefly on a yellow flowering sage bush. Roberta was very pleased to finally see one in her garden.
Scarlet Honeyeaters in Benalla
Photo Richard Gregson, Birdlife Murray Goulburn
A lot of Scarlet Honeyeaters are currently visiting Benalla. These tiny birds are usually found down the east coast of Australia, with few coming into Victoria. This spring they arrived in large numbers, probably sent south by a severe drought further north. If you happen to see a tiny, red-headed bird in your flowering bottlebrush or grevillea, that is the male bird. The female is brown. They have been visiting many gardens in Benalla. For a tiny bird, the male has a loud tinkling call.
If you would like to know more about birds in the Benalla district and would appreciate help in identifying birds, this group could be for you. The program involves mainly morning walks in local habitats rich in a range of bird life such as Reef Hills, Winton Wetland and Benalla Lake. There will also be one or two all day outings to more distant areas such as the Warby Ranges. Bring along a pair of binoculars to gain more value and enjoyment from this activity.
Convenor and contact details
Kathy Costello 5762 5755 Mobile 0447625755
2nd Thursday 9.30am to 12 noon
Semester 1 - March, April and May.
Semester 2 - September, October, November.
Meet at the car park behind the Benalla Senior Citizens Community Centre. Check newsletter for times and details.
Please note that outing arrangements may be altered if pandemic regulations change and are automatically cancelled on days of total fire ban.
If you are new to the birdwatching group, check out Birdwatching - Notes for Participants - you will also find a video link in the notes which may assist you to adjust your binoculars
Developed and maintained by members, this website showcases U3A Benalla & District.
Photographs - acknowledgment to U3A members; Benalla Art Gallery website;
Weebly 'Free' images;Travel Victoria and
State Library of Victoria