CEMETERY BEND, GUNBOWER ISLAND STATE FOREST, VICTORIA. (nearest town is
Cohuna) 5 February 1999; 1330 hrs. About 38C, bright sunshine, no
cloud, calm. 35 45'13"S 144 18'28"E.
Walking out from the shade into the sun, I noticed on the ground the
shadow of a large bird crossing the sun. I looked up to see an adult
BLACK-BREASTED BUZZARD about 80-100m up, looping lazily along the
Victorian side of the Murray River, east to west.
DESCRIPTION: Large raptor, almost Wedge-tailed Eagle size. Long wings
slightly swept back - front-on profile a squashed M, with slighly curled
up fingers like serifs. Prominent white windows at base of primaries.
Outer primaries black. Leading edge of wing brownish; trailing edge
grey. No barring or streaks. Black head, neck and breast in V shape;
pale feet, pale vent area. Slate-grey squared short tail.
This was the first BBB I've ever seen in Victoria, and a magnificent
specimen it was too.
Other highlights of 8 days at Gunbower Island and Cohuna included
Dollarbird (#2 footy oval, Cohuna), Diamond Dove (Cemetery Bend),
Gilbert's Whistler (study site #GU3 on the island), Red-chested
Button-quail (study site #GU2 on the island), Blue-faced Honeyeater
(Cohuna shops), Red-capped & Scarlet Robins together (study site #GU1 on
Black Box/River Red Gum ecotone on the island). On the way home, 2
Brolgas beside the Murray Valley Highway about 35km west of Echuca,
foraging in irrigation overflow near the road.
Text files with slightly more detail available on request (direct to me
please - not the Birding-Aus list).
Pascoe Vale South, Victoria
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