Lake Murdeduke

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Lake Murdeduke
From: "Sean Dooley" <>
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 23:33:22 +1000
On Saturday I found myself on the Orange-bellied Parrot survey at Lake Murdeduke near Winchelsea, about half-way between Geelong and Colac in Western Victoria.
OBPs have never been recorded here, but there had been reports of large flocks of Neophemas in the area recently and as OBPs have been on the whole, mysteriously absent from their previous mainland wintering haunts, they have to be somewhere.
Needless to say I did not have any luck with Orange-bellied Parrot, but I did see over 130 Blue-winged Parrots in two large flocks. One flock seen feeding in the short saltmarsh/grasses along the Southern edge of Lake Murdeduke itself included a group of 26 feeding along the actual shore line. Wind or wave action had left piles of tiny shells covering much of the mudflat left by the retreating lake waters. The Blue-wingeds seemed to be feeding amongst this jetsam. Perhaps there were seeds trapped amongst the shell debris, the only time I could see what a bird was feeding on was when one held a straw of something in its beak.
I'm pretty sure they weren't feeding on the actual shells themselves but who knows, maybe this was nature's equivalent of a caged budgie's nice bit of cuttlefish. Whatever the food source, it was a most remarkable sight seeing these gorgeous parrots lined up on the shore line alongside Red-necked Stints and Red-capped Plovers.
Other good birds on the lake were Great-crested Grebe, Blue-billed Duck, and to top things off beautifully three Brolgas flew in metres above my head, trumpeting as they landed and began feeding along the shore.
On the way back to Melbourne I made a brief stop to the Point Wilson Road in a vain attempt to actually see an OBP. I did, however, see three Stubble Quail in the same area as reported by Jacqui Sheperd the next day. Perhaps an influx of this species may be on the way down here?
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