Given the morning off by our respective spouses, birdo mate Andy and I made for the hills to one of the premier birding locations within easy reach of the city of Melbourne, none other than the mighty Bunyip State Park.
A very warm day was forecast ( it ended up reaching around 33 degrees Celsius from memory) and I was hoping for amongst other things some late-staying needletails.
This time of year is always interesting for birds with the crossover of seasons and migration times resulting in a nice mix of birds, some departing, some arriving. Today on the departing side we had two Rose Robin, small numbers of migrating Dusky Woodswallow heading east, the odd Rufous Whistler, and best of all four of the hoped-for White-throated Needletail seen late in the morning soaring on a thermal. These birds were hanging around pretty late in the year, possibly due to a recent lack of serious southerly cold fronts with accompanying winds to aide and abet their departure, but no doubt would leave fairly soon.
On the arrivals front we had Crescent Honeyeater back in good number throughout the heathy forest areas, lots of Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeater, although these were not so much 'arriving' as tavelling through on passage from other areas. The other main highlight of the morning was a single Swift Parrot that was heard as it hurtled past low over the canopy, remaining frustatingly unseen. This bird was a fairly fresh arrival from Tasmania and the breeding grounds.
So all in all a great morning's birding through some beautiful country, a lot of which, although brutally scoured by the bushfires of Feb '09, has regenerated well and is attracting hordes of Spotted and Striated Pardalote, Striated Thornbill and unusually for the park Buff-rumped Thornbill. Areas that have been opened up by the fires have created suitable though temporary habitat for this species which was seen in little parties in several locations.