A week in Anglesea

Subject: A week in Anglesea
From: clarkstephen <>
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001 18:01:57 +1100
G'day all

Just back from a week in Anglesea (surf coast, sw Victoria) and thought
you might like to know about some of the birds I saw and places I
visited.  First, many thanks to all who provided info on the best
birding spots in the area.  I used much of it and visited some spots I
wouldn't find on my own.

The town area is quite good with a lovely wetland along the Anglesea
River.  It's been developed well with lots of bridges and board walks.
We stayed at a caravan park which backed onto the river.

The town area:

Blue-winged Parrot - frequently seen in the wetland.
White-winged Triller - the only one seen druing the week was a female on
the western side of the river.
Australian King-Parrot - several roosted in the caravan park each night.

Gang-gang Cockatoo - always nice to see them
White-throated Needletail - dozens over the town before and after a
thunder storm on Friday
Nankeen Night-Heron - one flew along the river.
Very few introduced species 
 a Blackbird or two and a Spotted Turtle
Dove were all I saw.  That's right - no Sparrows or Starling

Anglesea Heath - covering the hills at the back of town and surrounding
the large open-cut coal mine:  Crescent, White-eared, New Holland,
White-naped and Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Scarlet, Pink and Eastern
Yellow Robin, Southern Emu-wren, Striated Fieldwren, 100's of
White-throated Needletails after the storm.  This area is highly
recommended although the weather was hot and birds were scarse.  In
spring it must be excellent.  One drawback is the state of the tracks.
Most are severely rutted due to their use by trail bikes.  I met with
several groups of these noisy monsters, mostly on tracks clearly marked
as closed to vehicle traffic.  Apparently this heathland is good for
Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters but I didn't see
them.  Anglesea Heath joins seamlessly with the Angahook-Lorne State

Angahook-Lorne State Park:  A nice mixture of heathland, dry and wet
forest covering the hills behind Aireys Inlet and Lorne.  Several good
birding areas but all were relatively quiet due to the heat.  Distillery
Creek Picnic Area - Pied and Grey Currawongs, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Common
Bronzewing, Red-browed Finch.  Erskine Falls - Crescent Honeyeater and
Bassian Thrush.  Blanket Leaf Picnic Area - Australian King-Parrot,
Crescent Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater.

Point Addis - a few km east of Anglesea:  I managed to get here just
after 0700 with only one other car in the carpark and saw several Rufous
Bristlebirds in the open.  Blue-winged Parrots were present and a pair
of White-throated Needletails were almost too high to be seen without
binoculars.  Hundreds of Short-tailed Shearwaters were flying in a
narrow band from east to west.  The undoubted highlight here was a
magnificent Grey (White) Goshawk that perched close by in a tree for a
couple of minutes.  The best view I've had of this species.  I don't
understand how natural selection has managed to produce a pure white
bird that catches it's prey by stealth and surprise.

Ironbark Basin reserve is a lovely patch of Euc. tricarpa just at the
Point Addis turnoff:  Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Scarlet Robin,
Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo, Peregrine Falcon and Varied Sittella were the
best birds here.

Aireys Inlet:  I visited the lighthouse area twice for Bristlebirds
without success.  The reward, however, was a pair of Fork-tailed Swifts
playing Battle of Britain with Tree Martins around the lighthouse
itself.  It looked like they were practicing their maneuvers on the poor
Martins.  Just at the turnoff to the lighthouse is an excellent small
swamp.  No crakes or rails as far as I could see but I flushed several
Latham's Snipe.  Other species included Chestnut Teal, a Horsfield's
Bronze-Cuckoo, Little Wattlebirds and a Nankeen Night-Heron.  Another
good spot is the water treatment works behing Aireys Inlet.  Present
were Grey and Chestnut Teals, Pacific Black Ducks, a Musk Duck and some
Australian Shelducks, Hoary-headed Grebes (totally tame and coming
within a few meters), Blue-winged Parrots, Dusky Woodswallows and a
Brush Bronzewing.

Geelong - I ventured as far as Geelong because Margaret Cameron told me
the mythical Spotless Crake was to be seen from the hide at Belmont
Common.  Sure enough - with the help of Gordon McCarthy (Geelong Field
Nats) - I saw one with minutes and had several excellent views over the
next hour or so.  A lifer for me!  Gordon also showed me the Baillon's
Crake swamp nearby and we managed to see three individuals at least.
Other birds here included Little Grassbird, White-fronted Chat, Latham's
Snipe (easy viewing), Black-fronted Dotterel, Golden-headed Cisticola
and Red-browed Finch.

The nearby Balyang Sanctuary held lots of Grey and Chestnut Teal, a few
Night-Herons, Great and Little Black Cormorants, a couple of Pelicans, a
Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Reed-Warblers.

Cape Otway lighthouse area had Bristlebirds calling from the dense
heathland and a few White-throated Needletails whizzing around.

Finally, Melba Gully (near Lavers Hill) had a couple of Forest Ravens.

All in all a most enjoyable week's birding and I recommend the area to
you all..


Steve Clark
Hamilton, Victoria

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