GBC Downunder Part 2

To: <>
Subject: GBC Downunder Part 2
From: "Joy Tansey" <>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 14:09:14 +1100
Part 2 of the Gay Birders Club trip to Australia in November.

17/11    Lane Cove National Park was brilliant with 1 adult and a pair of
juvenile Powerful Owl. King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Galah,
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet and Little Corella in 10 minutes
astonished      our english visitors with their noise and colour. Heading
towards Cumberland State Forest we got my first White-throated Needletails
for the season. The surround sound of Bell Miner was one that the English
will not readily forget, and made several attempts to replicate with glasses
and water. A stop by the road at McGraths Hill for Baillons Crake,
Yellow-billed Spoonbill and 10 Glossy Ibis. Wilberforce near Windsor was
hard work for not very good views of Black-tailed Native Hen. Stannix Park
was excellent for White-winged Triller and a beautiful White-throated
Gerygone's  suspended dome nest at head height by the road. We were able to
easily observe these delightful birds entering and leaving the nest. Colo
River provided the endemic Rock Warbler, as well as Variegated Fairy Wren,
Jacky Winter and Gang Gang.

18/11    A pelagic had been organised on the Halicat. In superb conditions
we set out, with the foreigners all hoping for albatross even though it was
late in the season. Wilson's Storm-petrel, White-faced Storm-petrel,
Providence Petrel, Great-   winged Petrel, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua,
Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwater were the highlights. Amusingly,
everyone had been so nervous about seasickness that they took sufficient
drugs to all be asleep for the return journey. On returning to land, the
really keen, and by now refreshed, headed to Centennial Park to see the
abundant  Latham's Snipe. The visit was doubly worthwhile when we also found
a Lewin's Rail in the open, bathing. Other birding highlights for the
english troop were Red Wattlebird, Noisy Miner and Yellow-tailed Black

19/11    The last day in Sydney, and off to Royal National Park for Superb
Lyrebird and Wonga Pigeon. Heading for Barren   Grounds, we stopped at Bulli
Lookout. Topknot Pigeon could be seen flying amongst the tree tops below us.
The highlight though was a pair of Grey Goshawk, one white and one grey
phase. On to Barren Grounds in the hottest part of  the day. The tall
members of the part were able to glimpse an Eastern Bristlebird which
refused to come out to play. Better luck with Southern Emu-wren with
everyone getting good views. Pilotbird was observed in an old mistnet sight,
along with Large-billed Scrubwren. Logrunner, although heard calling was not
obliging. The biggest surprise was for me to discover Johnathon Starks in
the office as the new warden. It was one of those out-of-context moments
with not an OBP to  be seen.

20/11    Fly to Melbourne, finally getting out of Tullamarine after many
dramas involving hire vehicles. Almost two hours behind  schedule, we
eventually get to Werribee WTP for a flying couple of hours ticking off the
main species. Finished off all the ducks with Blue-billed, Musk, Shelduck
and Freckled. Excellent views of a large group of BTNH. Also got Red-necked
Avocet and Banded Stilt. A lot of fun coaxing out a Little Grassbird where
everyone could see it, nearly treading on a         brown snake in the
attempt. On to Airey's Inlet for the night.

21/11    Rufous Bristlebird and Blue-winged Parrot before breakfast, then
off down the Great Ocean Rd taking time out to     be tourists and enjoy the
scenery. Along the way, Sooty Oystercatcher, Pacific Gull, Crescent
Honeyeater and another white phase Goshawk, At Port Campbell National Park
we picked up Black-faced Shag, Striated Fieldwren and Little Penguin. We
spent a fair bit of time doing the telescope/penguin thing with Japanese
children at the 12 Apostles. One overheard conversation went "#*!%*"+"#*
penguin *+*&%#^ so cute */**+&$#" (translate symbols into something
Japanese, 'penguin' and 'so cute' obviously don't translate at all.). At
dusk we stood on the central Loch Ard Gorge headland watching a magnificent
sunset and the Short-tailed Shearwaters coming in to roost. Night spent at

22/11    Before breakfast birds of note were Hooded Plover and Long-billed
Corella.  A trip in to Tower Hill gave everyone close ups of Emu and koala
with a peregrine circling round. On the way in to the Grampians we got
Buff-rumped Thornbill and White-eared Honeyeater as well as more distant but
tickable emu.

23/11    In Halls Gap we picked up Purple-crowned Lorikeet and Common
Bronzewing. At the Balcomies Lookout we got our first red robin with a male
Flame Robin, as well as a female Scarlet Robin. On the drive to Talbot,
somewhere near    Lexton,  we had excellent views of Square-tailed Kite.

 A Saturday night BBQ at a friend's place in Talbot was great with
White-browed Babbler, Fuscous Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater,
Brown-headed Honeyeater all being ticked by the English at the bird bath or
in the yard. Both Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, and Hooded and Yellow
Robins also obliged with their ablutions. Around the property we also picked
up Crested Shrike-tit and Masked Woodswallow. One or two lucky persons got
onto a solitary Diamond Firetail before it disappeared.

24/11    Around Clunes we got Brown Treecreeper, Painted Honeyeater,
Red-capped Robin (male), Black-chinned Honeyeater, Weebill and Southern
Whiteface. We could hear a Crested Bellbird but couldn't track it down. On
to Lake Wendouree at Ballarat where we added Australian Crake and Gt Crested
Grebe to the list. Also getting another Baillons and snipe. Ditchfield Lane
in Ballarat made us work hard for the Satin Flycatcher but a bonus was Brush

25/11    On the last day, I took the half dozen late leavers on an
unsuccesful hunt for Owlet-nightjar and Painted Button-Quail, the only tick
for the morning being Banded Lapwing at Avalon. One solitary birder was the
last to depart at 9.30pm, so we     went out to the You Yangs for the
afternoon. Managed to finish him off on a high with Shining Bronze Cuckoo,
Diamond Firetail, Varied Sitella and finally a Painted Button-quail crossing
the road. As we left the You Yangs heading back for town we also found a
Black Falcon perched in a paddock.

It was an exhausting schedule, but I'd do it again tomorrow. I got a total
of 311 species for my trip. The english GBC, who did Cairns in the week
before Darwin, went home with Oz lists of 376 species. They just couldn't
believe it! Much better than The Gambia, India and the USA in a single trip.

Many thanks to those who provided local knowledge and expertise in the
planning, and/or along the way - the members of birding-aus, Niven McCrie,
Helen O'Donnell, Chris Gladwin, Irene Denton, and anyone else I've omitted.
Particular thanks to Barb Williams who let us all descend on her house at

The next GBC trip to Australia should be interesting to plan - needing to
cover Cape York, West Australia, Lamington, Tasmania and albatross!

Joy Tansey

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