Muscovy Duck, Lameroo

Muscovy Duck nesting at Lake Roberts, Lameroo

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

Over the coming few weeks I will intersperse my usual sightings around home with a series of trip reports when we went to visit family in Sydney in June earlier this year. I’ve been both busy and unwell so these reports are a little overdue. Never mind; I’m much better now and getting back into adding regular postings here.

On the first day of our trip we drove from home in Murray Bridge to Lameroo in eastern South Australia. We stopped for a cuppa and morning tea at Lake Roberts on the eastern edge of Lameroo, a farming community in the Murray Mallee region. I always like stopping here as you never know what birds are around.

This time I observed a Muscovy Duck near the edge of the lake and it seems it was sitting on a nest (see photo above). This is an introduced species in Australia and there are only a few feral populations away from farmyards. It is commonly kept on farms and in backyards as pets and are edible and are sometimes kept as meat birds. You can find out more about keeping them as pets by clicking here.

Australasian Grebe, Lake Roberts, Lameroo

Australasian Grebe, Lameroo, South Australia

Australasian Grebe, Lameroo, South Australia

Road trip to Sydney, May 2010

On the first morning of our recent road trip to Sydney we stopped at Lameroo near the eastern border of South Australia, just over an hour’s travel from our home in Murray Bridge. We briefly stopped for morning tea and to change drivers. Our favourite stopping point in this delightful country town is at Lake Roberts on the eastern edge of town. This is an artificial lake and is next to the golf course. The picnic grounds also incorporate a small caravan park.

Over a number of visits here in recent years I have recorded some interesting bird sightings. One can usually record several of the mallee species, such as various honeyeaters. The lake usually contains a reasonable level of water and this attracts a range of water-birds too.  On this occasion there was a solitary Australasian Grebe in breeding plumage (photo above).

This species of grebe can be found throughout Australia, including Tasmania, wherever there are suitable conditions. They can be found on small farm dams, small lakes and ponds, larger bodies of fresh water such as wetlands and sometimes on larger reservoirs and rivers. Although this individual was in breeding plumage, I didn’t have the time to investigate if there was a nest nearby. If there was, it was probably located in the reeds at the southern end of the lake.

Lake Roberts, Lameroo, South Australia

Lake Roberts, Lameroo, South Australia

Species list (each bird listed is linked to another article for further reading):

Black-tailed Native-hen

Lake Roberts, Lameroo, eastern South Australia

Lake Roberts, Lameroo, eastern South Australia

On the way home from my trip to Pinnaroo in eastern South Australia last Friday I called in on the artificial lake at Lameroo. Lake Roberts is next to the caravan park and golf course on the eastern edge of town. We’ve often stopped there for lunch or morning tea on our way to the eastern states.

This lake is an average birding spot and one of the few places to observe water birds for many miles in every direction. The Murray mallee region has very few places where there is open water. I only stayed for a few minutes but still managed a nice list of birds.

  • Australian Wood Duck: about 15-20 feeding on the lawn around the lake
  • Little Pied Cormorant: one sitting on an exposed log
  • Masked Lapwing: at least 6 feeding on the grass along the water’s edge
  • Little Raven: calling from the nearby golf course
  • Galah: several flying overhead
  • Australian Magpie: several in trees in caravan park
  • Red Wattlebird: feeding in trees near picnic tables
  • Magpie Lark: 2 seen feeding along the edge of the water
  • Welcome Swallow: about 12 sitting on the power lines in the main street
  • Rock Dove: many seen flying near the wheat silos (the tall white structures in the photo above)
  • Black-tailed Native-hen: 1 feeding on the grass

The most notable species was a solitary Black-tailed Native-hen. This bantam sized bird moves around very readily,  and large numbers will suddenly appear in an area after rain or floods or in response to changing seasonal conditions. They can then disappear just as quickly. To find a solitary bird is unusual.

They are found throughout Australia where conditions suit them, usually near water, either permanent or ephemeral bodies of water. They can breed rapidly in response to good conditions and sometimes number in the hundreds  (or even thousands) in a small area.

Despite being very common, and I’ve often seen them in large numbers, I don’t yet have a photo of this species. Click here to see photos and more information about them.