Peterborough (Vic)

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Peterborough (Vic)
From: "J G KROHN" <>
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 20:48:48 +1000
I had to travel to Port Campbell for work last week, and paid a quick visit to the (closed) mouth of Curdies Inlet, Peterborough, at dawn on Friday.  Peterborough is about 250 km south-west of Melbourne, about 40 km south-eastish of Warrnambool, and the location of a sighting of a Franklin's Gull around this time last year.  No such luck for me, but did get good views of a pair of Hooded Plovers on the ocean beach, about 500 m east of the inlet.  The inlet water level is as low as I've seen it, with only a shallow pool on the south or downstream side of the Great Ocean Road bridge.  There were a few Pelicans cruising in the shallows, and several White Ibis, a Great Egret and Spoonbills of both persuasions foraging along the edges.  The highlight was a Lewins Rail strolling unconcernedly among the tussocks on the side of the dune, on the west side of the inlet.  It seemed quite happy to be well above the waterline, and behaved nowhere near as secretively as I would have expected from this species.  Compared to the Crakes I'm more familiar with, the bill was noticeably long and fine, with a clear forehead rather than a flattish transition from beak to crown.  Other interesting sightings were a pair of Blue-winged Parrots which belted over, quite high up, from west to east, and apparently returned at even higher altitude a few minutes later, and a party of Southern Emu-wrens in the dune scrub next to the road.
The Inlet north of the Great Ocean Road was black with birds, most of those within identification range being Black swans, but there were also gulls, terns, lapwings and ducks.  I would have loved to have a shallow draft boat and the time to drift quietly up the inlet - there were birds as far as the eye, or indeed the binoculars, could see.
    Jack Krohn
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