Lip Kee, his wife Rachel and son Owen were here on a short holiday from Singapore, and had time to accompany me today on a half-day tour to the dry woodlands of the You Yangs followed by the quick trip down to some coastal habitas around Breamlea.
The You Yangs at first light was lovely as bird activity started to crank up. We had nice views of Varied Sitella, Restless Flycatcher, Jacky Winter, Tawny Frogmouth, Brown Treecreeper and Purple-crowned Lorikeet. We also heard an Australian Owlet-nightjar utter a couple of churrs, as well as a returning migrant Sacred Kingfisher.Moving on to Breamlea Flora & Fauna Reserve near Torquay we soon picked up our main target bird in the form of 3 Hooded Plover on the ocean beach at Point Impossible. These allowed close inspection and several photographs and Lip Kee was suitably stoked. Calling in the nearby sand-dune vegetation were Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater and Fan-tailed Cuckoo, and a little further on a couple of Striated Fieldwren were most obliging in providing numerous photographic opportunities.
A surprising 81 species were tallied for the morning.
11th October, 2010
Today I visited a few sites in the forested ranges east of Melbourne with visiting birder Brin from the UK. Good quality rainforest and wet forest birds were the order of the morning and in perfect sunny conditions we summarily observed specials such as Wonga Pigeon, Brush Bronzewing, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Superb Lyrebird, Satin Bowerbird, Scarlet Honeyeater, Pilotbird, Brown Gerygone, Black-faced Monarch(my earliest ever record for spring), Satin Flycatcher and Rose Robin. Other spring migrants present were Sacred Kingfisher, Olive-backed Oriole and Rufous Whistler.
14th October, 2010
A morning visit to the Brisbane Ranges National Park with Dave Richardson gave us, amongst other things superb views of a pair of Spotted Quail-thrush, Speckled Warbler and Scarlet Robin. There were 5 species of cuckoo present also throughout the southern section of the park, with Pallid, Fan-tailed, Shining-bronze and Horsfield's Bronze all in good number. The fifth species was a Black-eared Cuckoo heard distinctly at Anakie Gorge; however the bird did not reveal its whereabouts. Other very vocal spring migrants consisted of Rufous Whistler, Yellow-faced Honeyeater and Olive-backed Oriole.
17th October, 2010
Tony & Min from Singapore joined me today for an afternoon and evening of birding and spotlighting at the fabulous Bunyip State Park. Diurnal birds seen included Eastern Whipbird, Large-billed Scrubwren, Varied Sitella, Rose Robin, and a beautiful and recently arrived spring migrant in the form of a Rufous Fantail - which was quite a bit earlier than other years. Birds heard were several Superb Lyrebird, Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Pilotbird and Bassian Thrush. After dark nocturnal birds were much in evidence and we had brilliant views of two White-throated Nightjar circling around a clearing just after sunset. Also in this location we heard a Sooty Owl in the distance as well as an Australian Owlet-nightjar and several Southern Boobook.
18th October, 2010
With Tony & Min again as my companions for the morning we visited a few coastal locations to look for Hooded Plover mainly and whatever else was about. At Breamlea we were successful very quickly and had good close views of 3 Hooded Plover on the beach with several Red-necked Stint and Red-capped Plover. Other birds in the area included an Arctic Jaeger just offshore, White-capped and Black-browed Albatross, several newly arrived long-distance marathoners Short-tailed Shearwater, as well as Spiny-cheeked and Singing Honeyeater and Striated Fieldwren.
At Pt Addis we battled powerful winds, with birds reluctant to reveal themselves outside of the dense vegetation and unfortunately only heard Rufous Bristlebird, Southern Emu-wren and Brush Bronzewing. We did see a Caspian Tern and more albatross and shearwater offshore.
21st October, 2010
Target birds for David from Melbourne included Black-faced Monarch, Rose Robin and Brush Cuckoo, so we headed south-east of Melbourne to some good sites for these species like Glen Nayook Nature Reserve and Tarago State Park. Visiting Glen Nayook first thing paid off with good views of a young male Rose Robin, as well as Satin Bowerbird. We heard Brush Bronzewing, Pilotbird and Superb Lyrebird here also. However Tarago State Park was where the real action was. Bird activity was high all along Tarago Rd and we quickly notched up a cracking male Cicadabird, a nesting pair of Sacred Kingfisher, more beautiful Rose Robins, Wonga Pigeon, Brown Gerygone, Satin Flycatcher, lots of Gang-gang Cockatoo and last but not least a superb Black-faced Monarch. A distant Brush Cuckoo was heard only.
23rd October, 2010
A huge day this one where Michael from New Zealand and myself visited a wide range of habitats and locations with a big list of birds to hunt down. Starting on the coast we quickly gathered Rufous Bristlebird, Southern Emu-wren, Hooded Plover, White-bellied Sea-eagle, White-winged Triller and Ruddy Turnstone, with Arctic Jaeger and Black-browed & White-capped Albatross offshore. Moving onto nearby dry woodland sites at the You Yangs Regional Park and Brisbane Ranges National Park turned up a smashing female Spotted Quail-thrush, Rainbow Bee-eater, roosting Tawny Frogmouth, Brown treecreeper, Restless Flycatcher and Scarlet Robin, with both Pallid Cuckoo & Shining Bronze-cuckoo heard. At the Western Treatment Plant things were a little quiet given that a lot of wildfowl and waders are living large in the plethora of inland swamps at the moment. However we did find a fantastic mixed flock of forty or more Fairy Tern and Little Tern with a single White-winged Black Tern also present. Also seen around the traps was the resident pair of Brolga with two chicks in tow and some nice views of Horsfield's Bushlark. Our final destination was the wet forest and cool temperate rainforest of the Toolangi area. Here we managed Pink, Rose and Flame Robin, Red-browed Treecreeper, Olive Whistler, Rufous Fantail, Superb Lyrebird, Collared Sparrowhawk, Crescent Honeyeater and Brush Bronzewing. It was quite a day and our list was a respectable 143 species.