Friday, January 3, 2014

A Trip to Parklakes at Bli Bli

Today I went with a couple of friends to Parklakes at Bli Bli. Parklakes is a residential community which has numerous waterways and lagoons around it. Many of them look like they are man made while some are naturally occurring. We were unsure of exactly where to go when we arrived.

When we first arrived we parked at the end of Parklakes Drive and there were a few small dams just off to the left. A few Purple Swamphens and several Tawny Grassbirds were in the long grass around these.

One of the several Tawny Grassbirds

As we made our way back we saw some more waterways and ponds behind the playground/park. This area had a good variety of birds but not the ones we were looking for. The main birds we saw were Golden Whistlers, Red-backed Fairy-wrens, Pacific Black Ducks, Wandering Whistling-Ducks, Dusky Moorhens, Purple Swamphens, Blue faced Honeyeaters, Spangled Drongos just to name a few.

While we were here we met another young guy taking photos also. He was looking for the Little Bittern in particular. After talking with him we all realised that the area that we were in was not the correct area for the snipes, bittern and crakes. There are a few much larger lagoons further down the path towards the northern part of the estate. We stuck with this fellow birder for the majority of the morning. While we were there we saw about ten other people also taking photos, each looking for a few particular species.

All of the following photos were taken in these two larger lagoons.

The only Royal Spoonbill sighted

There were quite a few Baillon's Crakes close to the reeds around the edge of the lagoons. This was the first time I have ever seen them. I was surprised by how small they were. I was expecting them to be about the size of a Buff-banded Rail but they are only half the size! They were quite close to us and were walking out in the open for a reasonable length of time. Usually the are more secretive than this as far as I'm aware.

A Baillon's Crake

This Little Egret stayed in close proximity to the Royal Spoonbill for about two hours. As the Royal Spoonbill was sifting for food with his bill he was stirring up food for the Little Egret.

The Little Egret was regularly seen with one leg laying on the reeds like this

The Little Egret hunting

Another Baillon's Crake

The Baillon's Crake looking for prey

The same Baillon's Crake from above

A Baillon's Crake

Two Little Bitterns were seen several times briefly flying out from the reeds and landing in the reeds a little further down. They didn't come out to the edge of the reeds where they could be viewed for longer periods so we didn't manage to obtain a photograph in the time we spent there. They would fly out about every 20 to 30 minutes and move to a new location within the reeds. I was surprised by the size of them as well actually. This was also a first for me. I had never seen them before today. Hopefully I get another chance in the near future to get back down and capture a photograph of them.

Several Black-fronted Dotterels were seen in the shallow water and muddy areas of the smaller lagoon. The Latham's was seen briefly and a couple of the other birders managed to capture a photograph, but I wasn't one of them.

A Black-fronted Dotterel

The same Black-fronted Dotterel

There were a few flocks of Plumed Whistling-Ducks, approximately 50 in total that were here as well as a few smaller flocks of Pacific Black Ducks.

A pair of Plumed Whistling-Ducks

Plumed Whistling-Ducks

These cormorants were sitting on the light poles of the tennis court near the lagoons. The next light pole over also had a cormorant but a different species.

Little Black Cormorants

Little Pied Cormorant

This Baillon's Crake was not near as approachable as the Baillon's Crakes sighted earlier in the morning. As soon as this one stepped out from the reeds it ran across the water into the closest reeds.

A more secretive Baillon's Crake

There were several Chestnut-breasted Mannikins that were sighted flying about the lagoons and landing at the tops of the reeds.

A Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

On the large oval to the eastern side of the lagoons about seven Australian Pipits could be seen. I would love to come back to this spot to try and photograph some of the other species that were here. Overall a good morning out birding, even though it was so hot, so early in the morning.

More updates and pics coming soon.

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