With Warranwood local Steven as my guest we headed out to Bunyip State Park this evening to roll the dice Sooty Owl style.I've been exceedingly fortunate with this species in 2011 and was again brimming with confidence as we careened headlong into the bush. And so it came to pass that once again the Gods of all things Owliness deigned it appropriate to bestow upon us this most cherished of all owls what belong to the genus Tyto, the resplendently smouldering Sooty!!A fine adult with fresh prey consisting of a still writhing Common Ringtail Possum was duly observed after not too long a search, and all parties were overjoyed. We even celebrated with a cup of tea and a Tim Tam. Not to be outdone, a Shining Bronze-cuckoo called once from off somewhere in the dark, as did several Southern Boobook, which was a fitting end to another successful SootySearch!!
11th October, 2011
Spotlighting again was the order of the evening, and Colin, Celia, Kate & Alex from Melbourne were really just hoping to witness some of the generally abundant nocturnal wildlife that can be seen at Bunyip State Park. And it really didn't disappoint. Not long after arriving we had a beautiful Southern Boobook fly along beside the vehicle and land on a roadside post, offering wonderful views. This was the only Boobook we saw or heard that night, and to not actually hear a boobook there is something I've never experienced before in all the spotlighting visits I've made to Bunyip SP. Anyway, moving on we were lucky enough to see Common Wombat, Swamp Wallaby, 2 Tawny Frogmouth, Common Brushtail Possum and Eastern Grey Kangaroo.At around 10pm we also heard the rather odd sound of a possibly very lonely or equally confused Superb Lyrebird in full voice!
12th October, 2011
Not 7 hours had passed since the spotlighting of the night before and yet here were Colin & Celia, as keen as ever to get out and into the birds.We had a day planned in the drier forests and mallee woodlands of central Victoria, and as we left Melbourne behind the day looked like a corker.Near Heathcote in a nice patch of woodland we saw a good selection of birds including Speckled Warbler, White-browed Woodswallow, Scarlet Robin and both Restless and Leaden Flycatcher, the latter a stunning male bird who was very nearly prey to a hunting Collared Sparrowhawk.North of Bendigo in the box-ironbark and mallee woodlands of the Greater Bendigo National Park the joint was jumping and we had some brilliant birds over the course of the afternoon. Best of these included a Black Falcon cruising over the forest, both Wedge-tailed & Little Eagle, a beautiful female Painted Button-quail, Variegated Fairy-wren, Purple-gaped, Yellow-plumed, White-fronted, Fuscous, Tawny-crowned, Black-chinned, White-plumed & Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Inland Thornbill, Western Gerygone, Shy Heathwren, Crested Bellbird, Gilbert's Whistler and Red-capped & Hooded Robins. Driving home we passed three Barn Owl ,all unfortunately road-kill victims, and near Mt Macedon a lone Gang-gang Cockatoo flew high over the freeway, a great end to a fine day's birding.
15th October, 2011
A half day tour to none other than that bird and birder magnet the Western Treatment Plant turned up some nice little birdies this morning.Steven from Williamstown accompanied by his father Geoff from Lincolnshire enjoyed a nice selection of Australian waders including Banded Lapwing, Red-kneed and Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-capped Plover, Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet and Pectoral, Wood & Marsh Sandpiper. Several Sharp-tailed Sandpiper had also recently ended their migration here, the adults still looking great in the remnants of breeding plumage and the juveniles awash with peachy-rufous coloration around the upper body. Also about the plant was a single Arctic Jaeger just offshore, a lovely pair of Brolga, seven Baillon's Crake on one pond and a nice flock of over 50 Eastern Cattle Egret. A most enjoyable morning.