Saturday, December 19, 2009

Birding at Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Situated in the centre of Melbourne's CBD, the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) offers a good retreat for birders with easy access by public transport (also within Melbourne's free City Circle Shuttle bus). Attracted by variety of natural habitats, many species of birds have chosen the garden as their home to escape from the city's concrete jungles. Especially, the well maintained ornamental lake and its surroundings host a large number of water birds.

Birds in this garden are very much used to the presence of human and can be photographed easily. During my first visit on a late spring day, I could see 21 species and photographed 15 species with my 55-250mm lens. I was so thrilled as it was the first time I could photograph seven new species in a single day.

During my walk through eucalyptus (gum trees) forests and woodlands, I heard a very distinctive, sweet and bell-like 'tink' sound from different directions at regular intervals. It was really hard to trace-out the source of the sound and it took some time to locate some olive-green birds. And, it took further time to confirm that they are the ones making such musical sound. A search on Internet helped to identify them as Bell Miners, an endemic species of South East Australia, with a very interesting colony life style and food supply conservation.

As I walked, I could hear some noise coming from a thickly wooded area. A pair of White-browed Scrubwrens, another new species for me, were there and photographing them was a real challenge as they hide in thick and dark under-growths, and moved swiftly. Had to use flash to capture this shot.

Very active Willie Wagtails roam around the lawns of the garden and hardly give pose for photos.

Lakes in RBG are the ideal places to watch many waterbird species such as Dusky Moorhens, Coots, Purple Swamphens, Pacific Black Ducks, Black Swans, and Cormorants.

Some of the birds I saw, but missed/ignored to take photos are:
  1. Common Starlings,
  2. Common Mynas,
  3. Blackbirds,
  4. Spotted doves,
  5. Little Black Cormorant, and
  6. Little Wattlebirds.
According to Bird Observation & Conservation Australia (BOCA), birds such as Chestnut Teal, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Little Pied Cormorant, Nankeen Night-Heron, Brown Thornbill, White-plumed Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Little Raven, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow and House Sparrow are also common in RBG. In addition, Australian Wood Duck, Hoary-headed Grebe, Rock Dove, Australasian Darter, White-faced Heron, Australian Hobby, Red-rumped Parrot, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill, Pied Currawong, Australian Reed-Warbler and Song Thrush too have been sighted in RBG.

Some scenes of RBG

Some details of the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG), Melbourne are as follows:

Entrance Fee: Free!

Open Hours:
07:30 hrs - 20:30 hrs (November - March)
07:30 hrs - 17:30 hrs (May - August)
07:30 hrs - 18:00 hrs (April, September & October)

Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, VIC 3141

Access by public transport:
From Flinder's street railway station take tram numbered 3, 5, 8, 16, 64 or 67 towards the shrine of remembrance along St. Kilda road. Get down at the Domain road interchange (a good landmark is the close proximity of shrine of remembrance). Walk towards the shrine of remembrance and behind the shrine of remembrance is the visitor centre of Royal Botanic Garden.

The shrine of remembrance

Website URL:

See also:
My other pages of Melbourne are:

No comments:

Post a Comment