Depending on the local and seasonal conditions or what particular bird species are required, we can travel either south-east or south-west of Melbourne to visit a wide array of wetlands, swamps, tidal mudflats and coastal headlands that are utilised by many different waterbirds, shorebirds and seabirds.
White-winged Black Tern, Jan 2010 - Photograph by Chris Tzaros.
Wetlands and swamps fringing
WesternPortBay offer myriad sites where wildfowl, pelicans, herons & egrets, spoonbills & ibis, crakes &rails and cormorants & darters can be found. Tidal influence in many coastal environments creates mudflats and shorelines that in the austral summer attract thousands of wader migrating from breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere. These areas also provide habitat for a large suite of resident & migratory terns, gulls & jaegers and the many resident wading birds that can be found in
Southern Victoria. Examples of these include Eastern Curlew (summer), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (summer), Latham's Snipe (summer), Double-banded Plover (winter), Red-necked Avocet & Banded Stilt (nomadic), Red-kneed Dotterel (nomadic), Pied Oystercatcher, Fairy Tern, Whiskered Tern (summer) and White-fronted Tern (winter).
Coastal headlands and ocean beaches offer the chance of observing different species again, with birds like Hooded Plover, Rufous Bristlebird, Australasian Gannet, Black-faced Cormorant and Kelp Gull. Depending on conditions, pelagic seabirds such as albatross, shearwaters, petrels and terns can sometimes be seen close inshore, and there are many prominent headlands from which to watch for these. Little Penguins are commonly found in southern waters and are world famous at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade.