Olive Whistlers, Grey Goshawks and a lot of fun

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Olive Whistlers, Grey Goshawks and a lot of fun
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:44:32 +1100
Hi all,

I am finding that a Victorian Big Year is a good way to add some spice to
birding, especially a casual big year where my only target is my own total
from a previous year. Back in 2010 I saw 304 species in Victoria which is
not a high total considering that the state list, without all vagrants, is
somewhere near 450.

The trip to Portland for a pelagic was a perfect opportunity to add four
more species plus, with any luck, a couple of pelagic species. On Friday
night before I left for Portland my 2013 Victorian list was on 318 and I
had a "possible" list of 4 land birds I could find on the weekend.

The Gull-billed Terns were still at the WTP on Saturday morning, flying
over the gate into the Western Lagoons and I found my first Forest Ravens
for the weekend on the road into Triplet Falls where I was told Olive
Whistlers hang out. They don’t, well not on the last Saturday of the school
holidays when all that is there are heaps of screaming kids, yelling
parents and giggling tourists. Sigh.

I finally found Olive Whistlers on the Livingstone’s Island nature trail at
Nelson, west of Portland. I walked in and they were calling all around me
and two finally showed themselves in the tangle of tea-tree along the
track. I then heard them regularly along the road as I drove back out to

Only one bird now, the Grey Goshawk, and all I could do was look and hope
as I drove back to Melbourne. I must have been looking too hard because I
suddenly saw a sign saying “Mount Gambier 405 km”! Mt Gambier is 180º the
wrong way if you want to get to Melbourne from Portland. I stopped at an
intersection and consulted the map. Hmmm, not too bad, this little side
road I had stopped at, Caledonian Hill Rd, would take me about 3 km and
drop me on the correct road. I threw the map book in the back and as I did
I heard corellas yelling and screaming above me. I looked up and the
screams were because – they were being chased by a Grey Goshawk. Lost?
Lost? Who was lost? I just needed to be at that particular corner at that
particular instant so I could tick off my last needed bird for the weekend.

I finished the weekend with 4 new sea birds and 4 land birds for my year
list and a huge smile. Birding is such fun, and the SMILE comes back every
time I think of that fun Portland pelagic weekend, Thanks Chris for
organising the pelagic and of course thanks to Ruth and Paul for finding
the Cape Gannet.



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