Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our First Drouin Birds Survey

On Thursday last week, The Friends of Drouin's Trees conducted their first bird surveys of Drouin.

Bird numbers and species are a good bio-indicator. When bird surveys are done for a given area at regular intervals, changes in bird populations can be tracked. This can provide an indication of the health of an ecosystem.

Population changes in species can help focus some conservation efforts. Bird species at risk can be identified and when the data is compared to similar surveys of nearby areas, or even nationally or globally, analyses by experts can determine the risk of survival for individual species.

Apart from all that, doing a bird survey is pretty enjoyable as all participants discovered on Thursday.

The Friends of Drouin's Trees surveys last week covered eleven areas in and around Drouin …
Thornells Reserve, 'Golden Whistler Reserve', Amberly Estate Woodland Conservation Reserve, McNeilly Wetlands, Balmoral Park, Civic Park, Old Drouin Nature Reserve, Summerhill Wetlands, Bellbird Park & Wetlands, Alex Goudie Reserve, Elizabeth Cl Urban Woodland & Crystal Waters.

Golden Whistler Reserve - between the Drouin golf course and the freeway.
Each area was 'surveyed' for around 20mins. Two groups of surveyors were involved each with at least one experienced birdwatcher present.

McNeilly Wetlands
Highlights were probably the sighting of Dusky Woodswallows at Amberly Estate and a Long-billed Corella at Alex Goudie Reserve. Woodswallows are seldom seen so close to an urban area and the Long-billed Corella, now recorded several times is an indication this species is expanding its range, similar to the Little Corella that we now have in large flocks.

Long-billed Corella at Alex Goudie - thanks for the image Jack, a good record.

A pair of Dusky Woodswallows were ticked at Amberly Estate.

Other interesting observations included Rainbow Lorikeets inspecting nesting hollows and Australasian Grebes with babies – both seemingly out of season activities

The results of our survey will be recorded with Birds Australia. The next round of Drouin bird surveys will be conducted in October when the Spring migrants are arriving.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

On The Turn

The traditional four seasons – 3 months each of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – is really a hand me down from English or European conditions. Professor Tim Entwisle, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, suggests that in Australia, particularly down south, we have 5 seasons:
'Sprinter', an early Spring during August and September.
'Sprummer', an early Summer during October and November.
Summer, a long Summer from December to March.
Autumn, April and May.
Winter, June and July.

Professor Entwisle bases his seasons on his observations of the patterns of flowering times particularly of native species in Australia.

Regardless of the Entwisle theory of seasons, it would seem that things are on the turn at last and we are beginning to see wonderful changes of colour in the foliage of the exotic species in the streets and gardens of Drouin.
Pin Oak on the corner of Hope and Young St

Take a moment as you rush in for your next coffee

Golden Elm at the Civic Centre

Many European species like the Plane trees (Platanus sp), over my back fence are beginning to lose their leaves – the daily cleaning up of which is a small price to pay for their beautiful shade during Summer.

We native/indigenous species enthusiasts need not despair however as many endemic shrubs and trees prefer to flower during Autumn and Winter, adding their own colours to Nature's palette – many acacias, eucalypts and grevilleas, correas, croweas, hakeas, etc.

An Unknown Flowering Gum at Alex Goudie Reserve

Autumn nectar diet for birds and bees

Correas are beginning to flower in many garden beds

Autumn and Winter here in Victoria is not colourless if only we open our eyes.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Acronyms! Never use acronyms in your headings my English Lit instructor use to advise. That was a long time ago though.

Last Friday, Judy, (Friends of Drouin's Trees) presented a powerpoint on The Significant Trees of Drouin project to the Field Nats (Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists Club) at Newborough. The next day we hosted some of the group for a visit to a few of Drouin's beautiful places.

The club were very gracious and effusive in their praise for Judy's delivery and slide show and on Saturday they complimented our group for the tremendous job done so far and wished us all the best for the tasks ahead.

Here are some pictures from the excursion …
 (Click on images for a larger view or right click and open in a new window)
The Elizabeth Cl 'urban woodland'
The Crystal Waters bird line up was well timed
At the Bhutan Cypress avenue in McNeilly Rd
'Trees provide shade' thankfully. Lunch in Civic Park
Alex Goudie Park and 'Snake Gully'
The whole exercise might be the beginning of a continuing relationship. The LVFNC have agreed to help out with our Drouin birds monitoring surveys that we plan to commence next month. Their expertise will be most welcome.