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  Guided birding tours in the Greater Melbourne region

 
     
 

Extended Tours around Victoria.

For anyone who has a little more time these tour itineraries provide an excellent way to enhance and expand the birding experience with a range of species not found in the Greater Melbourne region. In doing so we also see some of the hidden nuggets and well kept secrets that are tucked away in the wilds of Victoria. And there are plenty. Visit the far south-west of the state with its relatively undisturbed pockets of forest, heath and lonely, windswept coastline. Or travel through the mallee regions of the Victoria's north-west and track down the skulkers within. Swing across to the Northern Plains, or over to the box-ironbark forests of Central Victoria for brilliant spring birding.  At the other end of the state is the Far East with its patches of temperate rainforest, peaceful waterways and overall feeling of wilderness. 
In addition to the daytime ramblings we also step out at night where an alternate world emerges, that of nocturnal mammals, reptiles, frogs and of course nightbirds. This is our chance to see wildlife that would not be encountered during the day - where you're never really sure what's going to be out and about!!
 
Choose your tour from the following options or simply combine two or three for an extended trip away. Further discounts apply for combination tours.  Come on tour with us and experience more than just the birds!
 
 

Far South-west Victoria

 

A four day, three night excursion to the forests, heaths and coastline of the far south-western reaches of the state to try and find one of Victoria's most magnificent birds, race graptogyne of the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.   This is a species commonly found throughout the northern part of the continent, but in south-eastern Australia is restricted to a small and threatened population straddling the Victorian-South Australian border.   We will endeavour to find this beautiful species as it sails over the forest uttering its brassy and evocative wail, as well as some other hard-to-find species such as Bush Stone-Curlew, Masked Owl, Barking Owl, Powerful Owl, Rufous Bristlebird, Beautiful Firetail, Shy Hylacola, Brown Skua, Southern Emu-Wren, Forest Raven, Sanderling, Hooded Plover, Satin Bowerbird, Grey Goshawk and Azure Kingfisher.

Possible rarities that occur from time to time in the area include Elegant Parrot, Orange-bellied Parrot, Cape Gannet, Grey-headed Albatross, Southern Fulmar and Hutton's Shearwater.
 

Day One.   Leaving Melbourne, we will travel out west of the Grampians, birding en route.   A spotlighting excursion in the evening will see us attempt to locate Bush Stone-Curlew, Barking Owl and any other nocturnal birds that may be about.

Day Two  Here we will traverse a vast area of Brown Stringybark forest interspersed with expanses of floristically diverse heathland in an attempt to locate Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo. Other birds here include Shy Hylacola, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Square-tailed Kite(spring-summer), Black-chinned Honeyeater, Diamond Firetail and Southern Whiteface.   In the afternoon we will head south to Dergholm State Forest, and then on to Casterton if we still haven't found the Red-tails .

Day Three.   We will explore the beautiful Glenelg National Park in the morning and look for Azure Kingfisher, Masked Owl, Powerful Owl, Forest Raven, Olive Whistler and Long-billed Corella. In the afternoon we'll reach the coast and hope to see Brown Skua, Black-faced Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Rufous Bristlebird and Beautiful Firetail around the Portland area.   If conditions are favourable and there is a stiff onshore wind we will try for a bit of seabird-watching off Cape Nelson to pick up albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels.

Day Four.   We will commence our journey back to Melbourne, travelling along the magnificent Great Ocean Road and stopping en route for Sanderling, Hooded Plover, Southern Emu-wren, Striated Fieldwren, Crescent Honeyeater, Blue-winged Parrot, Grey Goshawk and Satin Bowerbird.

Tour concludes in Melbourne.
 
The cost for the four days is AU$1792 per person twin-share or double. Single supplement will apply. Please note there is a two person minimum required for booking.
 
 

 

The Mighty Mallee

 

A five day, four night excursion through the wilderness areas in the far north-west of the state to experience the beauty and serenity of Victoria's mallee woodlands, as well as track down some of the special birds of this region.

We will visit the Little Desert National Park, Wyperfeld National Park, Murray-Sunset National Park and of course the world-famous Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.  

Birds we can expect to see include Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Mulga Parrot, Blue Bonnet, Regent Parrot, Splendid Fairy-Wren, Chestnut Quail-Thrush, Gilbert's Whistler, Redthroat, Yellow-plumed and Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Shy Heathwren, Hooded Robin and Slender-billed Thornbill amongst others.   However the star attractions of this area are undoubtedly the skulkers of the mallee, and we will be doubling our efforts to locate Mallee Emu-wren, Striated Grasswren, Red-lored Whistler, Malleefowl and Black-eared Miner.

 

Day One We travel west from Melbourne, birding en route before arriving at the Little Desert Nature Lodge which is just south of Nhill for two nights. In the late afternoon we will have time for a bit of a look around, hopefully picking up some of the local species such as Southern Scrub-Robin or Mallee Ringneck.

Day Two We will have a full day to look around the Little Desert National Park, a huge reserve consisting of mallee, banksia heath and stringybark woodlands. Here we hope to connect with the main avian attraction of the park, the shy and elusive Malleefowl. With a bit of good fortune there may be pair actively working one of their huge nest mounds which we can observe from a distance. Other birds we're likely to come across include Variegated Fairy-Wren, Gilbert's Whistler, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Little Corella, Crested Bellbird, White-browed Babbler, Inland Thornbill and Slender-billed Thornbill.   There is also a slight chance of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo in the areas dominated by Brown Stringybark trees.

Day Three We will leave first thing in the morning and head to Wyperfeld National Park where a search along the Discovery Walk will hopefully deliver Regent Parrot, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, White-fronted Honeyeater, Chestnut Quail-Thrush, Southern Scrub-Robin and Redthroat.

In the afternoon we will drive a little further north to the Pink Lakes section of the Murray-Sunset National Park and have a look for two special birds - the Mallee Emu-Wren and Striated Grasswren.   These two skulking wrens inhabit the dense clumps of Triodia spinifex grass found around the vicinity of Pink Lakes and provide quite a challenge.

Day Four

On Day Four we will arrive early at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and start birding immediately along the Old Calder Hwy and Nowingi Track.   If we missed the emu-wren and grasswren at Pink Lakes we have another chance here.   Also here we should pick up Striped Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Splendid Fairy-Wren, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Mulga Parrot and there is also another opportunity for Malleefowl.   If there have been good rains in the months prior to our visit we have a good chance of seeing   nomads such as Crimson Chat, Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Black Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater or even Scarlet-chested Parrot.

Furthermore, if Lake Hattah has water in it we may see Freckled Duck, Red-necked Avocet, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black-tailed Native-Hen, Grey Teal, Black-winged Stilt, Red-kneed Dotterel, Pink-eared Duck and Glossy Ibis, to name a few.

Day Five Today we will head back to Melbourne, stopping at a few places on the way such as Lake Tyrrell which is a dry salt lake with samphire and saltbush margins and a known haunt for Rufous Fieldwren, White-winged Fairy-Wren, Black-faced Woodswallow and the gorgeous Orange Chat.

Return to Melbourne where tour concludes.

 
The cost for the five days is AU$2240 per person twin-share or double. Single supplement will apply. Please note there is a two person minimum required for booking.
 
Far East Gippsland Wilderness

 

A six day, five night tour that takes in the beautiful wilderness of the far east of Victoria, where we visit such places as Mallacoota, Gipsy Point and Croajingalong National Park with its stands of temperate rainforest, coastal woodland and coastal heathland.  The birds that are special to this region includ  Target species here include Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Ground Parrot, Masked Owl, Sooty Owl, Pilotbird, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Striated Heron, Eastern Koel, Black Bittern, Topknot Pigeon, White-headed Pigeon, Figbird, Wonga Pigeon and Azure Kingfisher.   Summer migrants include Black-faced Monarch, Rufous Fantail, White-throated Gerygone, Rose Robin, Leaden Flycatcher, Cicadabird, White-throated Needletail and Channel-billed Cuckoo.   

We will base ourselves in Mallacoota and go out each day on excursions in search of the region's specialties.   These trips include the drive to Howe Flat to look for Eastern Bristlebird, Genoa Peak for Glossy Black Cockatoo, Shipwreck Creek for Ground Parrot and Southern Emu-Wren, and a river cruise on the Genoa River, hoping for Striated Heron or the elusive Black Bittern in the thick vegetation along the margins of the waterways.   Spotlighting outings in the evening can be arranged to look for Masked, Sooty and Powerful Owls, White-throated Nightjar and Tawny Frogmouth.


Depart for Melbourne early morning on Day 6, stopping en route at Cape Conran to look for Ground Parrot if needed.  Tour concludes in Melbourne.
 

The cost for the six days is AU$2688 per person twin-share or double. Single supplement will apply. Please note there is a two person minimum required for booking.

 
   
 
South Gippsland Roaming  

A three day, two night tour of South Gippsland visiting the forests, headlands and windswept ocean beaches of the region plus the premier birding sites held within.

 

Day One .  We will travel to the World-famous Penguin Parade at Phillip Island as well as visit significant wader roosts whilst on the island where we should see Whimbrel, Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Hooded Plover. Kelp Gull, Cape Barren Goose and Black-faced Cormorant are also specialties relatively easily found on the island. If the seas are rough and the wind is blowing onshore we will have a good chance of seeing seabirds from some of the rocky headlands along the south coast of the island.

Day Two .  From Phillip Island we will head south-east along the coast, stopping at various locations including Cape Liptrap Coastal Park and Shallow Inlet Marine Park. Along this route we visit estuaries, wetlands and heathlands, and hope to connect with species such as Pacific Golden Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Brush Bronzewing, Blue-winged Parrot, Olive Whistler, Southern Emu-Wren, Beautiful Firetail, Bassian Thrush and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Again there is always the opportunity for seawatching from the headlands where we may see Shy Albatross, Fairy Prion, Fluttering & Hutton's Shearwaters and White-fronted Tern.

We will then drive inland and up into the forests of the Great Dividing Range to our accommodation.

Day Three .   After a leisurely breakfast we will head toward Morwell National Park, an area of tall Mountain Ash forest interspersed with small rainforest patches.   Here we should connect with some of the birds typical of this habitat, such as Brown Gerygone, Black-faced Monarch, Red-browed Treecreeper, Golden Whistler, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Satin Flycatcher, Rose, Flame & Pink Robins, Large-billed Scrubwren, Wonga Pigeon and Australian King Parrot.   Just before lunchtime we'll head toward Bunyip State Park, and travel through the heathy woodlands and tall forests of this vast area.  Here we'll be looking for Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Scarlet Robin, Eastern Whipbird, Lewin's Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater and Dusky Woodswallow.

Whilst here we will take the opportunity to stay after dark for a while to spotlight for some of the park's famous nightbirds. With a bit of luck we may connect with White-throated Nightjar, Powerful Owl, Southern Boobook, Tawny Frogmouth and perhaps even the elusive Sooty Owl.

 
At the end of the day we'll head back to Melbourne where the tour concludes.
 
The cost for the 3 days is AU$1344 per person twin-share or double. Single supplement will apply. Please note there is a two person minimum required for booking.
 
 

Central Victorian Woodlands

 

This 3 day, 2 night tour takes in the box-ironbark woodlands and mallee habitats of central Victoria.   These regions have their own special birds, as well as a mix of birds from the wetter forests in the south and the drier woodland and mallee of the north-west.   We will visit and explore areas such as the Greater Bendigo National Park, Terrick-Terrick National Park, Kooyora State Park and the many reserves in the Heathcote area.   Birds we will be looking out for include Painted Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Spotted Quail-Thrush, Swift Parrot, Gilbert's Whistler, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Inland Thornbill, Southern Scrub-robin, Noisy Friarbird, Speckled Warbler, Western Gerygone and perhaps hardest of all, the increasingly rare Regent Honeyeater.

Day One . Leaving Melbourne we travel toward Heathcote, birding en route.   We should see birds like Long-billed Corella, Crested Pigeon, Crimson Rosella and Whistling Kite along the way, whilst in the Heathcote area we hope to connect with Black-chinned Honeyeater, Speckled Warbler, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Spotted Quail-thrush, Leaden Flycatcher, Scarlet Robin, Eastern Spinebill, Brown Treecreeper, Varied Sitella and hopefully the exceedingly shy Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.   Moving north we visit several reserves along the way and with some good fortune may see Olive-backed Oriole, Painted Honeyeater, White-winged Triller, Brown Songlark, Little Lorikeet, Dollarbird, Sacred Kingfisher and Diamond Firetail.  

Day Two .   We will set out across the Northern Plains of Victoria with their remnant native grasslands and the wooded granite outcrops of Terrick Terrick National Park and Kooyora State Park.   Through the grasslands we hope to see Australasian Pipit, Brown Songlark, Zebra Finch, Banded Lapwing and Spotted Harrier.   At Terrick Terrick NP there should be a good mix of drier woodland species such as Southern Whiteface, Hooded Robin, Red-capped Robin, Mallee Ringneck, White-browed Babbler, White-browed Woodswallow, Gilbert's Whistler, Painted Button-Quail and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill. A Grey Falcon was seen in the district recently so it will be worth keeping an eye out.

From there we continue west to the Wychitella district to look for Southern Scrub-robin, Crested Bellbird and perhaps White-fronted Honeyeater.

Day Three . We will bird the Greater Bendigo National Park, a huge area of box-ironbark woodland and mallee heaths that contains some special birds not found closer to Melbourne. We'll be looking for Shy Hylacola, Black-eared Cuckoo, Variegated Fairy-wren, Black Honeyeater, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Inland Thornbill, Rainbow Bee-eater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Grey Currawong, Western Gerygone, Purple-gaped Honeyeater and Spotted Nightjar.

 

Return to Melbourne in the evening where tour concludes.
 
The cost for the 3 days is AU$1344 per person twin-share or double. Single supplement will apply. Please note there is a two person minimum required for booking