Greenwood Lakes, Sep 2020

Summary: Pleasant area to visit with a better range of birds than you might expect.

Date of visit: Sep 2, 2020

Greenwood Lakes is a little wildlife haven in Forestdale in the upper regions of Oxley Creek. Apart from reading that it used to be a sand-mining area in yesteryear, I couldn’t find much other information about it before I visited, so I hope this write-up helps someone else!

There wasn’t really anywhere specific to park a car, so I just parked on the road near the corner of Forestdale Drive and Paradise Road and made my way down the paved path into what looked like an unpromising patch of dry bush.

Yellow indicates an opinion of best bird areas, and orange is an area of bird-rich dense bush

Soon enough, however, things got interesting. The path changed to a boardwalk and skirted a reed-filled body of water. Here I saw a Little Black Cormorant standing alertly on a log, a couple of Egrets and ducks, a Little Pied Cormorant flying over, and some Superb Fairywrens.

Continuing on the path revealed a viewing platform (I’d call it a bird hide, but I suppose you could see other animals from there too!). Further round, there is a gate on the left which I took, rather than following the paved path. Following this dirt path there were some Casuarinas and a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo who flew quite close – at one point looking like it was launching itself straight at me!

There was also an intriguing spot of denser bush here with some good bird noises but I couldn’t see much (maybe my patience ran out…), so I kept going further, where the trail opens out into another boardwalk that follows the edge of a bigger, more open (though quite brown…) lake. There is a big rock here with a plaque on it too, and the general feeling is quite lovely.

Not many birds on that water, but a host of Red-Browed Finches pecked on the grassy path once the boardwalk petered out, and here I also spied more Superb Fairywrens – including a male with just a hint of the blue breeding plumage on its head. But it was the finches that were in big numbers (I counted 18 in total for the whole visit!), and they were tame enough to let me get quite close for photos. I actually sat down on the side of the path for a while, and took snaps of them busily foraging on the large stalks of dying grass, enjoying the fact that they were trusting this big ungainly human in their midst.

Noisy Friarbird, Blue-Faced Honeyeater, Bar-Shouldered Dove and Black-Faced Cuckooshrike all made an appearance as I started to saunter back, and at one point a White-Bellied Sea-Eagle sailed overhead.

Retracing my steps back to that intriguing “denser bush” area I had more luck: I found a White-Browed Scrubwren, more Red-Browed Finches, a Scarlet Honeyeater, a friendly Eastern Yellow Robin, and then a Little Shrikethrush! I had not expected to encounter one of these in such a place; I must have got very lucky, actually, because at time of this writing that’s the last one seen on eBird here. A Rufous Fantail also posed for photos and a couple of Silvereyes popped in for a visit too – all very exciting. Finally I spent a bit of time with a Lewin’s Honeyeater sitting on a broken branch that was sticking out from a hoary-barked tree – the bird was seemingly exploring the possibility of food being lodged in the bark, and also looking about curiously.

It was an intense 25 or so minutes of close encounters!

Buoyed by this I decided to explore nearer the corner in the drier forest, seeing a few Red-Backed Fairywrens on the way. Here I saw a Grey Fantail and Scarlet Honeyeaters, and an Olive-Backed Oriole… not bad considering it was now past 11 in the morning.

I had a good experience at Greenwood Lakes. It’s not a huge area, so you might want to either really take your time, or maybe combine it with a picnic or some birding at a nearby hotspot (the Sergeant Dan Stiller Memorial Reserve comes to mind). I found plenty of good birds – 35 species in all, actually, including all three types of Fairywren – so I think it’s worth the visit.

eBird hotspot (153 species)

Nearby hotspots: Warril Parkland, Sergeant Dan Stiller Memorial Reserve

Checklist for this visit (35 species)

Notable/close encounters:

  • Rufous Fantail
  • Little Shrikethrush
  • Eastern Yellow Robin
  • Red-Browed Finch
  • Lewin’s Honeyeater

Pluses and minuses:
+ Very pleasant to visit, quiet, good facilities
+ Good mix of birds for a suburban area (Little Shrikethrush and Rufous Fantail, if you’re lucky…!)
– A little bit out of the way (?)
– Fairly small area
– Fewer water birds than you might want in a placed called “Lakes”

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