Stawell / Grampians birding

To: <>
Subject: Stawell / Grampians birding
From: "David Parker" <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 12:41:18 +1100
Hello all,
Over the Australia Day long weekend Liz and I spent a pleasant time birding around Stawell and the Grampians.
Travelling across on Friday we arrived in the area mid afternoon. Not being the best time for birding we tripped around and visited some of the local attractions. A fortuitous stop was made at Birdswing Antiques and Art at Pomonal. We had stopped in the town to get a drink from the local milk bar and picked up the Birdswing brochure. The business name hinted nature and a visit was decided to be in order. This shop is a great one for anyone looking for antiques or art, but also has its benefits when enquiring about local birding sites and significant sightings of recent times. Local birder Neil Macumber and his wife are the owners of the buisness.
My intention was to get to Lake Fyans on the way to Stawell, however with the conversation had, and the sighting of Diamond Firetail crossing the Pomonal - Halls Gap Road shortly after getting back onto the main road our passage ended up being direct to Stawell.
After tea I headed to the Sewerage Treatment Plant. While Liz enjoys the peace and tranquility of the environment - mention Sewerage and the chair at home has peace and tranquility!
I was able to get about an hours worth of birding in before the light became poor. Open the car door the chorus of calls was encouraging and walking down to the main pond the water was covered with ducks and grebes and at the waters edge with waders. On the water included Aust Shelduck (34), Pink-eared Duck (70+), Musk Duck (14+), Australasion Grebe (2), Hoary-headed Grebe (30+), Hardhead (25+), Blue-billed Duck (20+) and bucket loads of Grey Teal and Pacific Black Duck.
On the waters edge, Banded Stilt and Red-necked Avocet (3 of each), Black-fronted (43+), Red-kneed Dotterel (14+) and individuals of Red-capped Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.
An early start to Saturday saw me in Illawarra State Forest. For two hours I travelled along the main track through the forest, stopping at intervals to birdwatch, starting from the Halls Gap end working back towards Stawell. The weather was calm. This is a great forest block, doiminated by Yellow Box and Yellow Gums. A grassy, sometimes swampy ground layer extends through this western end slowly becoming shrubby towards the eastern (Stawell) end. Birds of note included Black-chinned Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit and an Australian Owlet Nightjar heard calling. The track passes up over a rise. Here I stopped for a wander. Around me a family of White-browed Babblers busily moved about chattering along the way, Brown Treecreeper and Diamond Firetail were also seen. From further up the hill though I could hear the call of the Painted Honeyeater. I hoped back in the car, moved up a short distance and went in search of the bird. Two birds were calling from close by. Inspecting a Box Mistletoe I was able to get good views of a female Painted, hoping around the mistletoe, but not feeding. There was no flower and very little fruit. The second bird was happy to keep me at length and I was unable to get a good view of this bird. Walking back to the car I flushed up a pair of Painted Button-quail.
Further along the track, a small dam provided good birding, including the observation of a male Painted Honeyeater feeding on fruit in Box Mistletoe. The dam also provided a drink to four other species of honeyeater.
On Sunday I headed out to a small area of bushland, situated off the Fyans Creek with Neil Macumber. We positioned ourselves at the end of a dam and watched as the birds came in. In an hour we had observed 34 species of bird come down to drink including six species of honeyeater (White-naped, White-eared, Brown-headed, Yellow-tufted, New-holland, Yellow-faced), Eastern Spinebill also came into the dam and Black-chinned Honeyeater was heard calling. Also at the dam included Red-browed Finch, Diamond Firetail, Rufous Whistler, Eastern Yellow Robin, Bassian Thrush and many others. Above this 34 species others were heard calling from around the dam but were not observed coming down to drink.
Neil and I then dropped briefly into Illawarra State Forest to where I had observed the Painted Honeyeaters. The conditions were very windy, but we still managed to hear a Painted call. At the dam Diamond Firetail were heard calling and around the dam were White-plumed, Yellow-plumed, Fuscous and New-holland Honeyeater. Shortly after 9:00am Neil headed off to open his shop. Not too long after his departure a Painted Honeyeater came in to Mistletoe near the dams edge stopping for a while defore heading off.
There was much more birding done, including  good views of Grey and Rufous Fantail, Eastern Spinebill, Golden Whistler and Cresent Honeyeater at Dellys Dell in the Grampians. But the two sights mentioned above were absolute rippers for the weekend and well worth a visit to anyone looking at heading to the area.
David Parker
Wildlife Extension Officer
Greening Australia - Riverina
ph: 03 5881 3429  mobile: 0428 236 263 
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Stawell / Grampians birding, David Parker <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU