On Sat and Sunday (13th & 14th) Stuart Dashper, Susan Myers, my wife
Cecilia and I did some camping and bird watching at Warby Ranges State Park
in northern Victoria. We were hoping to see the big three of the
box-ironbark forest: turquoise parrot, swift parrot, and regent HE.
We met up at Ryan's Lookout in Warby Ranges SP where Stuart and Susan had
some turquoise parrots waiting for my wife and I when we arrived. We then
headed south to one of the campgrounds but it was completely fogged in.
Nothing too exciting there except for lots of treecreepers (both brown and
white-throated). The birding was significantly better (and less foggy) in
the adjacent Killawarra forest north of the park. With plenty of ironbark
in flower there was no shortage of honeyeaters. There were huge numbers of
White-plumed HE, fuscus HE, noisy friarbirds, brown-headed HE,
black-chinned HE. We also saw some little friarbirds, white-browed
babblers and hooded robins, but no regent HEs or swift parrots.
The real highlight of the trip was the evening spotlighting journey in
Killawarra forest around the camping area. We only spotlighted for about
one hour but we were very lucky indeed. Stuart made the first sighting,
which he made me promise to mention. It was a rabbit hopping across the
forest floor. Next we came across a very cooperative Boobook owl. This
was quickly followed by an owlet nightjar perched on a stick less than 6 ft
from the car right at eye level. It stayed around long enough that we had
time to pass the light around allowing all a good look (with and without
bins). We then came across a squirrel glider which eventually showed us
its tail (allowing Stuart and Susan to ID it). Probably the most exciting
event of the evening was when Susan did her imitation of a barking owl (no
tapes or mechanical assistance). As I recall she did no more than two or
three calls but a few minutes later a barking owl surprised us and flew
into our lights and perched on a tree just above us. We also came across
several immobile diurnal birds (Kookaburra and wattlebirds) as well as
Ringtail and brushtail possums.
The next days birding in Killawarra was fairly good with highlights
including crested shrike-tit, golden whistler, wedge-tailed eagles, scarlet
robins, speckled warblers, buff-rumped thornbill. Lake Mokoan was very
disappointing with literally nothing on the water of what is a fairly large
lake. There were a few grey teal, the odd pelican, and some wood ducks on
the shore. Only cockatoos occupied the many partially submerged trees, not
a single cormorant or anything else that might be expected on such a lake.
So, an excellent trip including some very pleasant time spent in front of
the camp fire. The above is not a complete species list. If you are
desperate for a complete list please email me.
P. Scott Chandry