Bellarine Peninsula, Vic
jenny spry <>
Mon, 16 Jan 2012 17:09:33 +1100
On a beautiful Sunday 15th the decision was made to do a loop drive down
the Bellarine Peninsula to check out the local wetlands. Our first stop was
Lake Lorne to look for Freckled Ducks again. They were there but mostly
hidden on the islands. To make up for it though there were some
Black-fronted Dotterels running around on the edge of the lake.
The next stop was 13th Beach, down past Barwon Heads. Here we found that
the tide was way out and a small group of stints and sharpies were feeding
on the sand beside the rocks. Just past the path onto the beach we found a
pair of Hooded Plover (or Dotterel depending on the list you are reading
these days) with one immature bird that was almost independent from its
parents. It was my first immature hoody and they are subtly beautiful with
their soft grey colouring and shaded head.
Scanning the ocean produced only one gannet and a few gulls but the sun was
out and the wind gentle so it almost tempted me to sit down and contemplate
the ocean. But that would get me covered in sand. I am not too keen on
sandy beaches. If I had done the design work we would have green lawn grass
right to the high tide waters edge.
Next stop was Hospital Swamp and here we found our first “massed bird
event” for the day. Along with Greenshanks, Marsh Sandpipers, Sharpies,
stints, a single snipe and a few spoonbills there were at least 150
Red-kneed Dotterels. They were feeding in a shallow inlet just before the
car park at the end of the road and made for a magical sight. I wonder if
they were all born at the swamp or does one of them put up a flag saying,
“Red-kneed gathering here this weekend”, and then everyone converges from
across the peninsula?
>From there we headed back down the very busy Barwon Heads to Geelong Rd and
found our second massed bird event. We pulled off the road on the
none-too-wide shoulder and saw thousands of Banded Stilts resting on the
shallow verge of Lake Coonewarre. Another truly magic sight, and well worth
a visit if you are down that way, but I would suggest doing it early as the
heat haze made them hard to see through binoculars.
The final wetland area we checked was the southern edge of Swan Bay and
this provided our third and final massed bird event for the day. On the
sandbanks between the Queenscliffe Lonsdale Yacht Club and the boat ramp
there were at least 150 Bar-tailed Godwits.
As we drove we collected sundry birds for our day list and I got home with
71 species on my list.
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