On Sunday 24th November I tagged along on a Bird Observers Club (Melbourne
branch) outing to the Baillieston District, an area of Box-Ironbark forest
west of Nagambie in central Victoria. To get there, take Vickers Rd out
of Nagambie (BP servo on corner) and
follow the signs to Baillieston (2 right turns). About 3 kms after the second
right turn, stop and park on the left when you see a white house with rusty
bits in the roof on your right.
The surrounding forest (opposite the house) has many goodies.
It is a reliable spot for Western Gerygone in the warmer months
although they were (are?) not common - we had good views of one but
heard only a few others. Other birds seen include Crested Pigeon, White-
throated and Brown Treecreeper, Weebil, Buff-rumped and Brown Thornbill,
Superb Fairy Wren, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon
(observed in a spectacular stoop on the latter), Rufous Whistler
(very common), Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, Scarlet/Red-capped/Hooded Robin,
Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Tree & Fairy Martin, Dusky Woodswallow,
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Olive-backed Oriole, Jack Winter,
Richard's Pipit, White-browed Babbler, Crimson & Eastern Rosella and
Common Starling. Honeyeaters were very scarce as the ironbarks
(Eucalyptus tricarpa down here) flower around May-July. An estimated 10,000
Noisy Friarbirds were in the area when they last flowered!
There have been recent records of Painted HE's in
the area on a mistletoe infested ridge but we were unlucky on the day and
dipped. Also of interest honeyeater-wise, is the sporadic occurence of
Black HE's in the area when things are dry inland i.e. definitely not this
year. In a favourable year (to Vic birders) they arrive in October and are
gone by the end of November. Records kept by the leader of the outing, Fred
Smith, reveal they have visited the area 3 years in the last 20 (3 droughts?).
There are also occasional records of Regent HE's in the area during the
Ironbark flowering period.
.---. .----------- Mark Bennett
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