News & Updates
Trip Reports Winter 2012
Birding Diary Winter 2012

Trip Reports May 2012
Birding Diary May 2012

Trip reports April 2012
Birding Diary April 2012

Trip Reports February-March 2012
Birding Diary February-March 2012

Trip Reports October 2011
Birding Diary October 2011

Trip Reports September 2011
Birding Diary September 2011

Trip Reports August 2011
Birding Diary August 2011

Trip Reports April 2011
Birding Diary April 2011


  Guided birding tours in the Greater Melbourne region

  Trip Reports February-March 2012

Birding Diary February-March 2012

Long time between posts people, been kinda busy, apologies to anyone that may have been hanging on my next word...

In the last four days on our tours we've seen a plethora of avian gold
nuggets such as Beautiful Firetail, Rainbow Bee-eater, Cicadabird, Flame
Robin, Pilotbird, Spotted Harrier, Black Falcon, Tawny Fro
Short-tailed Shearwater, Brolga, Arctic Jaeger, Purple-crowned
Lorikeet, Barn Owl, Brown Gerygone, Superb Lyrebird, Brush Bronzewing,
Satin Flycatcher, Black-faced Cormorant, Little Eagle, White-winged
Black Tern, Black-tailed Native-hen, Southern Emu-wren, Rufous Fantail,
Gang-gang Cockatoo, Wonga Pigeon, the list goes on. And all these guys
have been seen within the Greater Melbourne region. Since the start of
2011 The Melbourne Birder Tours have yielded over 210 species from a
number of brilliant locations. A cooler than average summer and breeding
success from last year for many species has resulted in continued
optimal birding throughout southern Victoria, and although most birds
aren't singing much, mating or defending territories now, there are
still stacks of species about and finding birds has remained really
exciting and very rewarding.

11th March, 2012

Lots of tours and birds have been undertaken and seen respectively in
recent times, with highlights aplenty, too many to mention really.
However I'll have a crack. I'll even put some of my own photos up,
pathetic as they are but somewhat surprisingly ok given that they're
executed v
ia iPhone/Swarovski 80HD dodgy digiscopery.

Okay so most of the birding has been done at the Western Treatment
Plant which, as ever, never lets one down. As well as the usual
abundance of birds we've had some little gems like Eastern Curlew (a
globally threatened species), Broad-billed Sandpiper, Grey Plover,
Gull-billed Tern, Black Falcon, Spotted Harrier, up to nine Freckled
Duck, White-winged Black Tern gradually taking on some breeding color,
as have several of the Curlew Sandpiper present; truly beautiful birds
in this plumage, an unfortunately dead and substantially dessicated
specimen of a Tasmanian race ocellata Southern Boobook, Banded Lapwing
with several fluffy chicks, Lewin's Rail and Black-faced Cormorant,
which is a rarity in this part of the bay.

From the 16th to the 19th Feb I was on a four day tour around southern & central Victoria with a couple from the Netherlands. 203 species were had including rippers like Magpie Goose, 1000's of Short-tailed & Fluttering
Shearwater including a few Hutton's Shearwater, several groups of Little
Penguin coming ashore on dusk at The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean
Road, Latham's Snipe, Little Lorikeet, Rainbow Bee-eater, Southern
Emu-wren, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren, Superb
Lyrebird, Rufous Bristlebird, Gilbert's Whistler, Pink, Scarlet, Rose
& Red-capped Robins, Beautiful Firetail and Forest Raven to name but
a few.

17th March, 2012 Mud Islands, Port Phillip Bay

Had a brilliant day out on Mud Islands yesterday with Dave Richardson
and the Birdlife Melbourne Photography Group. Leaving Sorrento Pier at
9.30am we were out on the islands in no time flat, and told we'd be
picked up at 3pm, which we duly
Such a beautiful, serene and peaceful place, of course a cracking autumn
day helped, and we were further treated to some wonderful avian
spectacles. Best of which were, in no particular order, an unexpected
but nonetheless very fine Greater Sand Plover that afforded terrific
views, lots of Double-banded Plover, a couple of flocks of Red Knot and a
single Great Knot; a few of the Red Knot had donned significant levels
of breeding plumage and looked crack-a-jack with their brick-red
bellies. Also about the place were good numbers of Australian Pelican
flying over in squadron formation, several Grey Plover, a small number
of Ruddy Turnstone, a single Sooty Oystercatcher and several Australian
Pied Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, several Fairy & Little Tern, 2
Curlew Sandpiper, small parties of Red-necked Stint, single Swamp
Harrier, and an odd-looking gull that generated some debate but was most
likely a juvenile Kelp Gull. On the way back to Sorrento we had close
views of Australasian Gannet and a single Black-faced Cormorant.

23rd March, 2012

A classic autumn day yesterday with buckets of sun and virtually no wind
all day until the late afternoon. With a family of four from Texas in
the US of A as my guests we made an early start at the You Yangs
Regional Park, which produced so
me great
birds in the form of 3 Black-chinned Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit,
Varied Sitella, Restless Flycatcher, a stunning adult Fan-tailed Cuckoo,
3 Diamond Firetail preening in the sun and looking fab and an obliging
pair of Tawny Frogmouth. Raptors were in good numbers too, with Black
falcon, Australian Hobby, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Wedge-tailed
Eagle and Whistling Kite all putting in appearances.
Moving on to
the never-dull Western Treatment Plant we soon picked up a wide variety
of waterbirds and shorebirds, the pick of which was a pair of Freckled
Duck, an immaculate Lewins Rail sauntering out across the track in front
of us, Glossy Ibis, a lone Black-tailed Godwit, and dozen White-winged
Black Tern with ever-increasing levels of black breeding plumage
splashed across their little bodies. Also seen was Australian Spotted
Crake, Banded Lapwing & Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Blue-billed
Duck, a lovely pair of Cape Barren Goose and a nice bunch of snoozing
Double-banded Plover and Red-capped Plover. There was also the spectacle
of dozens of Australasian Gannet, Silver Gull and Crested & Common
Tern in a bit of a feeding frenzy just offshore.
It was a terrific day with some food ol' Texan humour thrown in too.

24th March, 2012

Yet another great day of birding out and about in the wilds of the
Greater Melbourne region - yes there are some wilds, today with my main
man Eric from Virginia, USA and his camera. It was a cold start but with a few sunny breaks the day was not too bad and we had some fantastic
photographic encounters with Rufous Bristlebird, So
Emu-wren, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Purple-crowned Lorikeet,
Scarlet Robin, Nankeen Kestrel, Gang-gang Cockatoo and last but by no
means least amazing close-up shots of Australia's smallest bird the
Weebill. Other birds seen included Hooded & Double-banded Plover, 7 Wedge-tailed Eagl
e (3 at Mt Duneed and 4 at the You Yangs), Tawny Frogmouth, Short-tailed Shearwater, Forest Raven, several flocks of White-naped & Yellow-faced Honeyeater moving through the woodlands near Anglesea on migration, Crested Shrike-tit, Black-fronted Dotterel and 5 rather late White-throated Needletail. 

27th March 2012

A shortish visit to the Western Treatment Plant with Dave from Altona to
look for recently reported Freckled Duck was hugely successful with 7
seen well through the 'scopes on Lake Borrie. Some were even awake.

Also kicking a goal when we
found 37 White-winged Black Tern in a loose flock fluttering and
prancing over the water like big black & white butterflies, as
several now have rapidly increasing levels of alternate plumage. Such
ace birds. Apart from these and a very photogenic Australian Hobby
there was not a lot else about on a surprisingly quiet day here. Few
waders were about of any number, although we did see 4 each of
Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover, but there were no Common, Fairy or
Little Tern, fewer Pink-eared Duck and Grey Teal than recent times, even
Chestnut Teal numbers seemed down. Possibly a response to the opening
of duck-shooting season combined with the lure of more inland flooding?