Trip report - Benalla-Lurg area Victoria

Subject: Trip report - Benalla-Lurg area Victoria
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2012 12:12:16 +1100
A brief report (from a birding point of view!) of the annual Squirrel 
Glider and Brush-tailed Phascogale monitoring weekend just gone here in 
Victoria (24-25 March).

Benalla is in NE Victoria and the Lurg hills area is SE of town about 15 
km out.  It's largely a privately owned landscape with much clearing but 
important remnant vegetation on roadsides, creeksides and fencelines 
remaining.  It is these areas, plus sympathetic landholder allotments and 
properties, where nest boxes have been put up for hollow dependant fauna 
and also where the Regent Honeyeater treeplanting work has been undertaken 
for many years now.

While leading my groups around this area over the weekend we managed to 
see a few birds of interest. 

Highlights were
- Diamond Firetail flock (including juveniles) in Ross Lane not far from a 
Grey-crowned Babbler family in this area
- a Pied Butcherbird heard calling off Wattle Creek Road
- Black-shouldered Kite (a pair flying around in the dusk/twilight), Black 
Kite, Brown Goshawk and a single Black Falcon over the eastern edge of 
Benalla (Regent Honeyeater project nursery area)

The Black Falcon sighting was particularly pleasing as many volunteers on 
the weekend got to see the bird.  Our attention was drawn to a large flock 
of agitated Galahs that had taken flight over our heads.  I realised they 
were reacting to the falcon was which was gliding overhead.

Black Falcons are very rare in this part of Victoria with the most recent 
record being 1993 (Atlas data).  The Black Kite sighting adds to the 
irruption of kites into northern Victoria at the moment.

We may have seen a pair of (threatened) Speckled Warblers on a block in 
Embling Road Lurg.  Two birds were flushed from regrowth woodland on the 
edge of a quiet area on our way to a nest box location ...

It's been an absolutely bumper season for birdlife in the area with all 
sites we visited having calling birds.  Remarkably we also noted running 
creeks and  water in small roadside gutters, another indication of the wet 
summer in this part of Victoria.

To finish off our trip we observed a female Brown Goshawk sitting atop the 
road fencing on the freeway NE of Euroa - with traffic going by at 100k/h!

Link to Regent Honeyeater project nest box weekends -

Martin O'Brien

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