Birding around Robe SA

Subject: Birding around Robe SA
From: Jack Krohn <>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 21:15:32 +1100

Just a brief report on a few days we spent at Robe last week. We stayed in the SeaVu Caravan park overlooking the town beach - very comfortable. It wasn't really supposed to be a birding holiday but somehow I managed to notice a few things.

Lots of good wetland habitats around the town - lakes, ponds, sewage treatment lagoons and drains (the latter were especially good). I also got out of town to the Woakwine Conservation Park, about 10 km east, and the Little Dip Conservation Park, about 12 km to the south, and we went for a gentle drive one day to the north through Cape Jaffa to Kingston SE.

Highlights included:
Loose squadrons of 20-30 Musk Ducks in the sea near the Cape Jaffa & Kingston jetties; A few pairs each of Australasian Shovelers, Hardheads and Australasian Grebes on the Robe sewage ponds, the only place on the trip we saw any of those three species; Little Egrets present on most shallow waterways including drains, mostly with breeding plumes; Pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles (one perched in a dead tree, the other flying up to join it) about 25 km east of Robe when we were on our way home; Two Australian Spotted Crakes beside a wetland on private property (but visible from the public road!) between Little Dip CP and Nora Creina, about 20 km south of Robe; A couple of Black-tailed Native Hens working along Drain L in the eastern part of Robe; At least a dozen Latham's Snipe foraging in the open in Drain L, either side of the main road into Robe; Other migratory waders including Greenshank, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers;
Only one Oystercatcher, a Sooty, on a sandy beach in Little Dip CP;
About 250 Banded Stilts in a tight flock and at least a dozen Red-necked Avocets on Lake Robe, a saline game reserve about 5 km south of Robe;
At least 7 Red-kneed Dotterels in drain L in town;
A pair of Banded Lapwings with at least four running chicks between Robe and Little Dip CP; Two Fairy Terns foraging over Freshwater Lake and at least 15, along with over 100 Whiskered Terns, foraging within a few metres of shore over Big Dip Lake; at one point one Fairy Tern landed on the water and seemed to pass a small fish it had caught to another Fairy Tern that had landed just before; both birds (which seemed to be in fully adult plumage) took off almost immediately the transfer was complete; A party of Whiskered Terns around the town that spent quite a bit of time foraging offshore from the caravan park - it was unusual to me to see Whiskered Terns choosing to forage in a marine habitat One or two Caspian Terns foraging over shallow lakes and drains in the eastern part of Robe township; Lots of Brush Bronzewings along the tracks in Little Dip Conservation Park - judging by the calls, both Brush and Common Bronzewings were present in Woakwine CP; Rufous Bristlebirds calling strongly in most parts of Little Dip CP, and one bird out in the open on mown grass in Cape Jaffa township;
A pair of Dusky Woodswallows with two flying young in Nora Creina; and
Several Diamond Firetails and plenty of Brown Treecreepers at Wannon Falls Reserve between Hamilton and Coleraine, where we stopped briefly on our way to Robe.

I'm yet to write everything up and complete my Atlas sheets, but if anyone wants any more details please let me know and I'll pass on what I can.


   Jack Krohn


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