Merri BirdWatch report - November 2023

4th February 2024
By Ann McGregor

Fifty-five observers spotted a total of eighty bird species across the ten Merri BirdWatch sites in November. galgi ngarrk, near Craigieburn, continues to shine as a diverse birding hotspot, with 44 species. bababi djinanang in Fawkner wasn’t far behind, with 39 species.

Female Wood Duck, Chenonetta jubata, photograph, Peter Mollison

Birds seen at all ten sites were Pacific Black Duck, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red Wattlebird, Magpie and Common Myna. Apart from these ubiquitous species, it is good to see that some small ‘bush birds’ are now widespread in the restored Merri corridor bushland vegetation: White-browed Scrubwrens were recorded at eight sites; Brown Thornbills at six sites; and Grey Fantail at five sites. galgi ngarrk’s native grassland and riparian vegetation was alive with bush birds, including 14 superb fairy-wrens, 9 Yellow-rumped Thornbills, and 12 Red-browed Finches.

A pair of Chestnut Teals, Anas castanea, photograph, Peter Mollison

The White Ibis count at Coburg Lake is still high: over 150 birds. They were also seen at five other sites, with a combined total count of 211, which made them the most numerous species of the surveys. Rainbow Lorikeets came in second, with 174 counted, followed by Noisy Miners (138) and Red Wattlebirds (135).

In November, we see species that breed in our region after wintering in warmer climates: species such as Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian Reed-warbler, Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, Brown Songlark, Rufous Songlark, Sacred Kingfisher, White-winged Triller, Pallid and Fantailed Cuckoo.
A peak time for birding along the Merri!

Willie Wag-tail, Rhipidura leucophrys, photograph, Peter Mollison

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