Report on Nth Victoria

To: "Birding Australia" <>
Subject: Report on Nth Victoria
From: "Chris Coleborn" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 12:13:34 +1000
G'day to all,

Over the last couple of weeks I have had opportunity to spend a few odd days
enjoying birdwatching in the area roughly bounded by Echuca and Swan Hill on
the Murray River in Nth Victoria, and inland from the river as far as
Mitiamo and Ultima.

Spring is truly in the air, and the country is responding in every way to
its arrival. To hear the Rainbow Bee-eaters calling as they hawk insects,
often mingling with the calls of Tree and Fairy Martins and at times
White-backed Swallows is very satisfying. The bush has been alive with the
calls of Rufous Songlarks, Rufous and Gilbert's Whistlers, Grey Shrike
Thrushes, but also Jacky Winters and Restless Flycatchers adding
considerable varieties of calls. It has been good to see but especially to
hear again the trilling call of the Western Gerygone. Southern Whiteface
were chasing each other through the understorey bushes and Diamond Firetails
were carrying stems of grasses as they flew through the bush. The more shy
Hooded, Yellow and Red-capped Robins also made their appearance particularly
in the Terricks.

On Lake Cullen, Elizabeth and Bael Bael there is a good selection of Ducks,
including Blue-billed, Musk, Shovelers, Chestnut Teal, Pin-eared and
Hardhead as well as the more common Black Duck, Australian Shelduck and Grey
Teal. Sadly since last duck hunting season the Plumed Whistling Ducks have
not been back to their usual haunts. (Does anyone know the status and range
of these ducks in Victoria?) There are also Great Crested Grebes on the
lakes and thousands of Hoary-headed and Australasian Grebes, Coots and Black
Swans. The marshy edges are alive with Purple Swamphens and Dusky Moorhens.
Large numbers of Black-tailed Native Hens are in the area at present.

There are good numbers of Cormorants and Herons and Spoonbills - many
showing breeding plumage. I particularly appreciate Royal Spoonbills and the
majesty of the White-necked Herons. There have been more Intermediate Egrets
than usual, and good numbers of Cattle Egrets.

 There are also good numbers of raptors around, with Black-shouldered Kites,
White-bellied Sea-Eagles, Spotted Harrier, Collared Sparrowhawk, Little
Eagle, Peregrine Falcon as well as the more common Black and Whistling
Kites, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Kestrel etc. No reports of Grey Falcons of late.

Out on the plains several pairs of Brolga were seen, and the seeing and
listening to the Singing Bushlark and Brown Songlark as they soar is a
delight. Stubble Quail called from the grassy paddocks. An odd Banded Plover
was to be seen too, their haunting call echoing across the grassy plains.

Sadly, waders are down. Lake Tutchewop which in past years has had thousands
of waders on it, including large numbers of Banded Stilts, is almost devoid
of birds. The powers that be have let the lake's salinity reach such a high
level that it is no longer attracting birds - its dead! Previously at this
time of the year it would be alive with birds, including hundreds of
migrating Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Curlew Sandpipers, Red-necked Stints,
Red-necked Avocets, Black-fronted and Red-kneed Dotterel, Marsh Sandpiper
and Common Greenshanks as well as other more uncommon waders such as Ruddy
Turnstones,  Golden Plovers etc. It is a RAMSAR listed site, but it seems it
is only going backwards as a once outstanding migratory stopover. Only small
numbers of waders were to be seen on the other lakes.

With trees flowering there have seen Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeets in
the area, joining the odd Cockatiel, Blue Bonnet  and Ringneck parrots, and
the more common parrots such as the Yellow form of the Crimson Rosella.

Male White-winged Fairy-wrens are displaying on the saltbushes in their
various tones of blue and white, and Variegated  Fairy Wrens were seen in
their usual haunts at Goshen and Lake Boga Reserve. Thornbills were active,
including Chestnut-rumped, Buff-rumped, Yellow-rumped, and Yellow Thornbills
and were most common on the west side of the Terricks. There were also a
good number of honeyeaters, such as Spiny-cheeked, Blue-faced,
Yellow-throated, Singing, Black-chinned and Brown-headed, joining the more
common Red Wattlebird, Noisy and Little Friarbird and Noisy Miner etc.

Grey-crowned Babblers were in their usual place near Koondrook, and the
Chestnut-crowned just north of Barham. Bush-Stone Curlews were reported in
this area too.

At Lake Boga and Goshen White-breasted, Masked and White-browed Woodswallows
were common.

In all a great few days birding.


Chris Coleborn

The complete bird list (160 species) is as follows:

Stubble Quail, Blue-billed Duck, Musk Duck, Black Swan, Australian Shelduck,
Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal,
Chestnut Teal, Pink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed
Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Pied Cormorant,
Little Black Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Australian Pelican, White Faced
Heron, White-necked Heron, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret,
Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed
Spoonbill, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, White-bellied
Sea-Eagle, Spotted Harrier, Swamp Harrier, Brown Goshawk, Collared
Sparrowhawk., Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle, Brown Falcon, Australian
Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Brolga, Purple Swamphen, Dusky
Moorhen, Black-tailed Native-hen, Eurasian Coot, Painted button-quail, Marsh
Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper,
Curlew Sandpiper, Bush Stone-curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Red-necked Avocet,
Red-capped Plover, Black -fronted Dotterel, Red-kneed Dotterel, Banded
Lapwing, Masked Lapwing, Silver Gull, Caspian Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rock
Dove, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Diamond Dove, Galah, Long-billed
Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cockatiel, Musk Lorikeet, Purple-crowned
Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella - yellow form, Eastern Rosella, Australian
Ringneck, Blue Bonnet, Red-rumped Parrot, Pallid Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze
Cuckoo, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater,
White-throated Treecreeper, Brown Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Variegated
Fairy-wren, White-winged Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote,
Weebill, Western Gerygone, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill,
Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Red
Wattlebird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird,
Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Yellow-throated Miner, Singing
Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Brown-headed
Honeyeater, Gilbert's Whistler, White-fronted Chat, Jacky Winter, Red-capped
Robin, Hooded Robin,Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, White-browed
Babbler, Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Varied Sittella, Rufous Whistler, Grey
Shrike-thrush, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Grey Fantail, Willie
Wagtail, Black -faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike,
White-winged Triller, White-breasted Woodswallow, Masked Woodswallow,
White-browed Woodswallow, dusky Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Pied
Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Australian Raven, Little
Raven, White-winged Chough, Singing Bushlark, Richard's Pipit, House
Sparrow, Zebra Finch, Diamond Firetail, European Goldfinch, Mistletoebird,
White-backed Swallow, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Fairy Martin, Clamorous
Reed-Warbler, Little Grassbird, Rufous Songlark, Brown Songlark,
Golden-headed Cisticola, Silvereye, Common Blackbird, Common Starling.

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