Mornington/Greens Bush/Cape Schanck (Vic)

To: "" <>, mike carter <>
Subject: Mornington/Greens Bush/Cape Schanck (Vic)
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Sun, 05 Sep 2004 13:30:00 +1000
A pleasant day' birding on the Mornington Peninsula on Saturday with
Swedish visitors Bernt and Birgit, who were staying at Hastings.

  Following Mike Carter's information, we went to Mornington, arrived
about 10.00 am. The first thing seen was a birder with a telescope at
the cliff-top. He too had read Mike's message. Crested Terns and
White-fronted Terns diving for small fish and catching them too, Silver
Gulls were swimming and dipping from the surface and at least 30 Little
Penguins swimming and diving, usually in groups ranging in number from 6
to 20. Total number probably much higher, because they spend so much
time underwater. A few Pied and Little Black Cormorants also fishing and
the occasional Little Pied Cormorant.
 Three or four immature Pacific Gulls kept flying over the scene but I
don't think I saw any actually try fishing. The calm sea made viewing
conditions excellent. Flocks of Ibis (White and Strawnecked) were
travelling overhead, high up. After an hour or so we moved down to the
pier where humans were pulling in Garfish, sometimes two at once. We
were able to admire the terns (both species) perched on the posts beside
the yacht club berths - good for photography.

  We drove on round the coast - where too much Boneseed weed added its
yellow flowers to the various Wattle species. I glimpsed a pair of
Spoonbills (probably Royal) in Balcombe Creek, but no-one else did. We
drove up Arthur's Seat, and admired the view at the lookout. Birgit
found a Grey Butcherbird, and high up, far out over the farmland were 2
or 3 large birds circling and climbing. I can't say I really had an
identifiable view of them, but on the way they were flying I think they
were probably Wedgetailed Eagles. They rose till they were only specks
against the clouds.

   We moved on to Seawinds for lunch - supervised by a Kookaburra and
some Magpie-Larks.
Some Wood Ducks were grazing near the daffodils and the best bird was an
Eastern Rosella in a pinetree. They are so familiar to Australians that
we forget how spectacular they are - likewise the Crimson Rosellas also
seen here, and along the roads. Along Purves Road on a farm was a
solitary Cattle Egret with some cows.

   Green's Bush at Baldry's Crossing provided excellent birding. The
Creek was flowing very fast after the recent rain and the moss,
maidenhair and treeferns were very green and lush. Along the creek
valley we found Spotted Pardalotes, some very vocal Grey Shrike-Thrushes
(one carrying a caterpillar), a White-throated Tree-creeper, and some
Striated Thornbills- we were very lucky to find their nest. White-browed
Scrubwrens were in the bracken. We also saw Blackbirds, and Galahs
flying overhead. 

  Up the hill and heading back towards the road, we met Yellow Robins,
Grey Fantails,  Shrike-tits, Superb Blue Wrens and WBScrubwrens, more
White-throated Treecreepers and Grey Thrushes, a busy party of
Orange-winged Sittellas, a single female Golden Whistler, a Crested
Shrike-Tit, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, the inevitable Red
Wattlebirds, plus White-naped and White-eared Honeyeaters. And of course
Starlings, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Magpies and Little Ravens. Though
mostly in the Messmate tops, the birds seemed very approachable so
photography was possible- successfully I hope. A total of about 24
species here in pleasant sunny conditions.

   We moved on to Cape Schanck, though without much hope of seeing
seabirds - the wind was too light. However the view was splendid as
usual, and the timber walkway has been repaired. In the carpark a
visitor told us "The whale's still there! But it's moving out to sea
now."  So we hurried to the top of the walkway and were just able to
pick out the spray from its spout, well out to sea. I saw two spouts at
once so there were probably two whales at least. Locals told us they had
also been there on Friday afternoon and that they believed that this was
entirely new for Cape Schanck. I suppose they may have been Southern
Right Whales? Approaching rain sent us back to the car, but a  sunny
break provided a rainbow for the camera.

  A brief stop at Flinders found some handsome adult Pacific Gulls on
the surf beach and a New Holland Honeyeater and some Little Wattlebirds
below the monument.

  In paddocks around the scene there were the usual Ibis flocks,
Magpies, Little Ravens and Noisy Miners.
   We had a very pleasant day - we hope our visitors did too.
Anthea Fleming
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