There was a howling wind and sideways rain. It was hovering around the 7 degree Celsius mark.Not good for birding related activities you'd think.We chatted about canceling the day but decided against it, not wanting to be pussies and all.
So we ventured out and into an area where bleak is given a new meaning - the Western Treatment Plant in the depths of winter. We being myself of course and my guest for the morning Rupert from the UK.
As usual the WTP delivered a huge shot of bird diversity to the system in a short period of time. First off the bat was a small group of Flame Robin along a fenceline, two males glowing forth fluorescently even in the dull conditions. Next was a large flock of Double-banded Plover, about 80 in total, chilled out at their high-tide roost, with smaller numbers of Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpiper feeding nearby. We saw 2 separate Buff-banded Rail which was real nice, and 5 Whiskered Tern which is kind of unseasonal. A Brolga here, some Banded Lapwing there, and 18 Australasian Grebe in various ponds was a high count for the plant. Used to be that this species was a real rarity here.
Anyway we tallied a count of 76 species for the morning and managed to stay unfrozen, no small miracle I hasten to add.
20th August, 2020 Northern Victoria
It's getting harder to find new birds for my most loyal of clients, one David Richardson, so I sought to cast the net further as it were, and travel with him to a few locations in northern Victoria where I was sure we would find some tasty species.
It was a pretty cold and miserable day as we set off, but there were patches of sunlight here and there so it wasn't too bad.
Driving a few back roads once we were past Bendigo we picked up a few singing Little Friarbird along the Loddon River, a pair of Pied Butcherbird, and a small party of Southern Whiteface, both of which were lifers for David.
East of Borung we chanced upon a pair of Blue Bonnet, a parrot which I had hoped for today and another new bird for the big fellow. Around the Dingwall area we noted a small group of Black-faced Woodswallow, nice, and at Boort there was a pair of Black Falcon over the town and a fly-by Blue-faced Honeyeater. Unfortunately David didn't see the BFHE and it ended up being the only one for the day. Bummer.
Anyway we had more birds to get so we pressed on, finally making it to Goschen Bushland Reserve. Here there wasn't a lot and bird activity was low due to the cold wind whistling across the plains. However we saw several Yellow-throated Miner, another newie for Dave, plus White-browed Babbler, Variegated Fairy-wren, a singing Rufous Songlark and a fly-by Peregrine.
His hunger for new birds not satisfied, his thirst for lifers yet to be slaked, David made me try harder, and I did, finding a party of White-winged Fairy-wren in the saltbush margins of a desolate-looking LakeTutchewop that languished under leaden skies. A real corker, the male showed exceptionally well for us. Also there was a lost-looking trio of Red-necked Avocet.
On our way back we stopped in at ReedyLake near Kerang, immediately hearing White-breasted Woodswallow as we alighted from the vehicle. There were nine wheeling about overhead in the end, beautiful birds and yet another life bird for David.
As we fueled up for the trip home the heavens finally opened up, and we endured a long, wet and dark journey back to Melbournetown. But it was worth it for the birds we'd seen and the magnificent countryside that looked so invigorated after all the recent rain.
25th August, 2010The Great Ocean Road.
Melbourne has definitely experienced one of its coldest and wettest winters in over ten years, in fact it has been more like your traditional Melbourne winter we used to have when I was a kid.Today did not buck the trend one iota, and it was touch and go as to whether we would set off given the forecast. However nothing ventured nothing gained as they say, so I picked up my clients for the day and we set off toward the Great Ocean Road. Vicki and Paul were a really lovely couple from Texas who incidentally had never seen an albatross, so we stopped in at sure-fire location and soon enough were watching several White-capped and Black-browed Albatross coursing over the waves just offshore.
Also present were a handful of Black-faced Cormorant.Vicki and Paul were rapt and thus the day got off to a flier.
We trickled our way along the coast, picking up some nice birds along the way such as Eastern Curlew, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Caspian Tern. Just before ApolloBay we quite fortuitously happened upon a small pod of Southern Right Whales just offshore. Magnificent animals, they swam slowly along, lazily slapping a fin here or a fluke there. Just on the beach in front of us was a pair of Hooded Plover, a nice diversion once the whales had moved on.
Wending our way down into the OtwayRanges the weather gradually took on more sinister proportions and we found ourselves in high winds and driving rain. However in a lull we found a sheltered gully in a small patch of wet forest with ancient temperate rainforest along a stream. Here out of the wind it was sublime, with the wet forest various shades of verdant green and nothing but the sound of the burbling stream and the wind high overhead in the canopies of the towering eucalypts. The birds were good too and we managed to see an Olive Whistler, Bassian Thrush and a flock of Striated Thornbill.
Reaching the coast again we stopped at the Twelve Apostles and finally Loch Ard Gorge for a bit of scenery, where we were fortunate to be able to find a very confiding Rufous Bristelbird that sang beautifully for us, before the rain slammed down again.Taking our cue we started the long trip back to town, catching Forest Raven Long-billed Corella, Satin Bowerbird and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo on the way.
My thanks to Vicki & Paul for a lovely day and great company.