Good Birding in Southern VIC Feb 2001

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Subject: Good Birding in Southern VIC Feb 2001
From: "Vella" <>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 10:17:37 -0000

Just came back from spending 2 weeks in Melbourne. Though this was a work trip, I managed to get a couple of afternoons and a full weekend of birding down there. Lawrie Conole kindly showed me around Geelong, Queenscliff, Torquay and Werribee last Saturday (24th February), producing some fantastic birds with Lawrie's local knowledge of these areas. I also visited the Altona wetlands and Melbourne Botanical gardens on Thursday and Friday, 22nd and 23rd February) and the Port Campbell area and the Otway ranges on Sunday 25th February.

Some of the places visited and birds seen included:

Melbourne Botanic Gardensatleast 4 Song Thrush seen on the lawns of the gardens (seen often with the Blackbirds) and lots of tame White-browed Scrub-wrens along the paths. I picked up a post card there stating that some people want to get rid of the Fruit bats there. I hope not, as they are part of the scene. Saw another Song Thrush in the Williamstown Botanical Gardens, not far from where I stayed.

Cherry Lake, Altona – 3 species of Lorikeets feeding together – Musk, Purple-crowned and Little Lorikeets. Hundreds of Musk Lorikeets are around in Melbourne at the moment.

Altona Coastal Park – a Musk Duck (displaying) a few Greenshanks, Pacific Gulls, several Striated Fieldwrens, White-fronted Chats and a unidentified Button-quail seen upon dusk (possibly either Little or Red-chested) flushed form the long grass beside the wetlands.

Werribee Treatment Complex – a pair of Brolgas, an Australian Hobby, 2 Black-tailed Native-hens, a flock of about 50 Red-necked Avocets, Pied Stilts, loads of other waterfowl (including Australian Shelducks, Pink-eared Ducks, Australasian Shovelers, Hardheads etc). There were also some Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Greenshanks amongst the resident waders.

Belmont Common swamp – 3 Spotless Crakes as well as one each of Australian Crake and Buff-banded Rail and about 6 Latham’s Snipe.

Geelong area – a Great-crested Grebe, 4 male and 2 female Blue-billed Ducks, a few Australasian Shovelers and my "much-wanted" Tree Sparrow being a new tick for me in the streets of Geelong (thanks for your patience Lawrie). Saw also 2 Immature Banded Stilts, Red-necked Avocet, Pacific Heron and Little Egrets at the saltworks at Point Henry).

Torquay – a pair of Hooded Plovers, Red-capped Plover and an Australian Fur Seal on the rocks at Bancoora Beach. At Ironbark Basin near Pt Addis, Lawrie pointed out a subspecies of the Brown-headed Honeyeater slightly different to those on the east coast and we also saw a Grey Currawong (a darker bird compared to the ones I have seen in the Blue Mountains in NSW).

Point Lonsdale (near Queenscliff) – great to see both Spiny-cheeked and Singing Honeyeaters so close to the ocean. We also saw a Brown Goshawk and more Pacifc Gulls here.

Otway Ranges (includes Triplet Falls) – Gang-gang Cockatoos, Scarlet Robins, a male Olive Whistler, Crescent Honeyeaters, Forest Ravens, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos, King Parrots and 4-6 Blue-winged Parrots perched in small dead trees in agricultural land, beside the roadside on the road to Triplet Falls. Some beautiful cool-temperate rainforest was experienced on the walk to Triplet Falls.

Port Campbell NP – few Albatrosses (too far away from the coast to identify), rafts of Short-tailed Shearwaters, atleast 4 Rufous Bristlebirds (easy to see in the heath, near the car parks at the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge), Striated Fieldwrens and Southern Emuwrens amongst the many Singing Honeyeaters about.

I very much admired the views of the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, London Bridge etc from the various lookouts at Port Campbell, and felt that the 7-hour return drive from Melbourne was really worth it.

I must also say that there are some great restaurants down in Melbourne, and many of my weeknights was spent in several of these places!.

I would look forward for another return visit in future.

Edwin Vella

Sydney, NSW

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