Young Naturalists Excursion: Birds at Herdsman Lake

BirdLife Education Office, Rod Smith, met twelve Young Naturalists and their families at Herdsman Lake for an afternoon focussing on birds. Rod began the afternoon with a slide show of birds likely to be seen later in the day. Everyone enjoyed calling out the names of the birds they knew, and having a good guess at those they didn't. We clearly had a few young bird experts among us, who already knew a surprising amount.

The children were then given a pair of binoculars each and taught how to use them, and then we set off for a short walk to see what birds were around the lake. As soon as we got outside we were treated with close-up views of a Rufous Whistler. A few Purple Swamphens patrolled the area and kept an eye on us as we made our way to the lake where we observed Pacific Black Ducks, Blue-billed Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Australasian Grebes, Shelducks, Australian Pelicans, Eurasian Coots and Dusky Moorhens. A Welcome Swallow had made its nest on the Wildlife Centre building and we watched it returning to feed its chicks.

As we walked further down the lake we saw a Swamp Harrier hunting, and the children identified a Glossy Ibis, Little Pied Cormorant, Great Egret, a Hardhead and a Shoveller. We listened to the beautiful song of the Brown Honeyeater on our return to the Wildlife Centre where we wrote up our bird list for the day and thanked Rod and his helper, Frank O'Connor, for kindly volunteering their Sunday afternoon and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with us.

Steve Page