5th February, 2009 - Today I went on a sortie to my favorite haunts around my patch (The City of Hobsons Bay) and turned up some nice birds. Highlights included close to 200 Short-tailed Shearwaters offshore from Seaholme and Williamstown, 5 Nankeen Night-herons at Newport Lakes Reserve, Lewin's Rail and Spotless Crake at Cheetham Wetlands and Truganina Park respectively, a Latham's Snipe flushed from under a tree in a grassland area (on passage??), Musk and Little Lorikeets, a very early record of Swift Parrot in the evening heard calling as it flew high over Newport Lakes Reserve, and finally small groups of Zebra Finch were recorded in three separate areas throughout the municipality, which is pretty much quite unusual. 90 species for the day.
15th February, 2009 - I dragged birding buddies Andrew and Chris very early this morning to the Brisbane Ranges National Park, and the first spot we stopped at produced the goods. We very quickly had 2 singing Speckled Warblers, a male Satin Flycatcher, 4-5 White-browed Woodswallow, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Sacred Kingfisher and Red-browed Finch. Nearby on Lower Stony Creek Reservoir were rafts of Blue-billed Duck, several Great Crested Grebe and Musk Duck, plus Grey Teal, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck and Australian Shelduck. The rest of the morning was fairly quiet, with highlights being Scarlet Robin, Buff-rumpedThornbill and an unusual record of several Spotted Pardalotes feeding vigorously on the ground on prey items, the nature of which couldn't be determined.
16th February, 2009 - Briefly, in news today 2 Fairy Penguins were seen off Pt Gellibrand, Williamstown. These are the first I have seen there since August 2008.
22nd February, 2009 - Left very early this morning for Pt Addis on the Surf Coast, then headed back north to Breamlea, Western Treatment Plant (WTP) and a brief stop at the You Yangs. Bird highlights were many and varied due to the variety of habitats visited. At Pt Addis and nearby Ironbark Basin highlights were Shy Albatross, Arctic Jaeger, 2 Australian Owlet-nightjar calling at first light, a RufousBristlebird heard in dense coastal scrub, Pied Currawong and White-throated Treecreeper. At Breamlea I saw 3 Blue-winged Parrots, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and several Red-necked Stint on the beach. The resident Hooded Plovers were nowhere to be seen. Driving north on the new Geelong bypass saw a single Peregrine atop a power pylon. At Western Treatment Plant best birds were a variety of tern species with Little, Fairy, Common, White-winged Black, Whiskered and Crested being seen. Other corkers here were Stubble and Brown Quail, Double-banded Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Cape Barren Goose. The You Yangs yielded Scarlet Robin, Diamond Firetail, Zebra Finch, White-winged Chough, Dusky Woodswallow and a calling Brush Bronzewing. 128 species for the day.
26th February, 2009 - Today I managed to sneak down to WTP in an attempt to see the Eastern Yellow Wagtail that had turned up there a few days prior. This is a major rarity in Victoria so it had already been massively twitched. I met Chris, Andrew, Dean and Mark there plus some other unidentified birders and we found the bird in no time. It was a nice adult in close to full breeding plumage, with intense bright yellow underparts. However it was extremely furtive, so close or prolonged views were out of the question. Also caught up with the Hudsonian Godwit again. Another great wader seen was a cool little Pectoral Sandpiper with lovely orange legs and orange bill-base. Other highlights included three species of lorikeet - Little, Purple-crowned and Musk, plus Australian Spotted Crake, Sooty Oystercatcher, Black-fronted Dotterel and Australian Hobby. What started out as a quick visit blew out to half a day, and the grand total ended up being 100 species!!!!!!!