We visited Westgate Park near Port Melbourne to look for the wayward Diamond Dove and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters that had been reported there recently. Apparently three more Diamond Doves have been reported at Werribee Open Range Zoo recently, so that may indicate that the Westgate Park bird was not an escapee, but a genuine wild bird from northern Victoria.
On arriving at the park, we noticed that the salt water pond was low – however we did see a pair of Black-fronted Dotterel working one of the mudflats. White-plumed Honeyeaters were plentiful, as were House Sparrows and Superb Fairy-wrens. A couple of Red Wattlebirds were present in the carpark (surprisingly we saw very few of these). Also near the carpark were a pair of Little Wattlebirds – normally seen at the back of the park.
We took our normal route around the park – between the salt water pond and the fresh water pond, heading west. The fresh water pond was almost empty – to the point that some of the pools left were coloured bright pink from algal blooms. Very few waterbirds were seen – another pair of dotterel, a pair of Black Ducks, a few Chestnut Teal, Purple Swamphens and the like. At the windmill what stood out was the large number of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters – a bird we normally see in ones or twos at the most. The Spinys were easily the second most common honeyeater after the White-plumed.
We followed the path to the south of the windmall, heading under the bridge towards the river. The Diamond Dove had been seen in open spaces, so we reasoned that this path could be productive. Besides, Ruth wanted to see the pedestrian and bicycle punt that operates across the river. As we crossed under the bridge, we saw a male Collared Sparrowhawk flying to the north east – a first for this park for us. We saw several Spotted Doves and Crested Pigeons, but unfortunately no Diamond Dove. On heading back from the river, we saw a larger Sparrowhawk, presumably the female, flying off to the south.
Back at the windmill, we had a good look for the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater but no luck. We found a pleasant spot with a bench that we sat at for about half an hour, watching the birds bathe in one of the pools. Plenty more White-plumed Honeyeaters, several European Goldfinch and just one Greenfinch.
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