A great weekend birding in Western Port Phillip Bay VIC August 2002 Pt 1

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Subject: A great weekend birding in Western Port Phillip Bay VIC August 2002 Pt 1
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:27:43 +1000

Just arrived back this evening from Melbourne, to share some of my birding highlights for the past (fine weather) weekend. I visited only a few places but it was great to catch up with some birds that I don?t or do not see often in NSW.


PT COOK COASTAL PARK ? 17/8/02 (approx. between noon ? 4 pm)


This was my first ever trip to this great spot quite close to Melbourne CBD (approx. 20km south west) and within the park I observed a number of interesting species near the beach side car park and around the large saline lake close by, such as a Brown Goshawk, 3 Swamp Harriers, several Singing Honeyeaters, Striated Fieldwrens, both Horsfield?s Bronze and Fan-tailed Cuckoos as well as an adult Pacific Gull on the beach.


At the Spectacle Lake, there were 38 Hoary-headed Grebes (not unusual around Melbourne), 9 Blue-billed Ducks (5 males and 4 females), only one Hardhead (female) and a pair of Australasian Shovelers, more Singing Honeyeaters, a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Little Grassbirds, 3 White-fronted Chats (2 males and a female)


A very quick walk and back to the Cheetham Wetlands to the north of the park yielded 9 Brown Quail (flushed from beside the track), another singing Striated Fieldwren, White-fronted Chats, Horsfield?s Bronze-cuckoo, a female/Imm. Flame Robin and a pair of Black-shouldered Kites.


Near the main entrance of the park I flushed a LATHAM?S SNIPE (is this the first return for southern VIC?), saw another female/Imm. Flame Robin along a fence, as well as a Greenfinch feeding on the ground with House Sparrows.  


REEDY LAKE, MOOLAP ? 17/8/02 (5-6:30 pm)


Again another fantastic spot and very close to Geelong (in the south-western part of Port Phillip Bay). This was my second visit here and was thrilled to catch up again with a Brolga. One was seen feeding on the edge of the lake not too far from me. Another time I watched it fly very low over me and just after landing, it was jumping up and down (?dancing?) as they often do. Also seen before the evening here were 4 Australasian Bitterns (a quite reliable place for this species), atleast 10 Pacific Herons, 10 plus Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Striated Fieldwrens, 4 Swamp Harriers and 2 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos were seen flying well low over the swamp and in my direction. I stayed till it got dark and did some squeaking to see what might come in. A Black-shouldered Kite came close in as I started squeaking, than a Barn Owl came and circled over me and briefly landed in a tree and in my spotlight, and then some other thing landed in the grass along a small drain close to my feet which I think was a ?Lewins Rail? which gave one brief call (I know a few of their calls quite well). Lots of frogs were calling as well around the lake which sounded like a Crinia species


REEDY LAKE, MOOLAP ? 18/8/02 (7-7:45 am)


I made another stop at this place the following morning and saw the Brolga again feeding beside the swamp. However this time I flushed upto 8 Australasian Bitterns (4 flushed and seen at the same time from one area and the other four in another part of the lake including great scope views of one beside the reeds), saw no less than 24 Hoary-headed Grebes, 4 Magpie Geese, 24 Hardheads, a Musk Duck (calling), about 20 Pied Stilts, 3 White-fronted Chats and also enjoyed great views (through my scope) of a pair of Horsfield?s Bronze-cuckoos sitting in a small dead tree.
Part Two to follow................
Edwin Vella
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