Chiltern trip report - Oct 05

Subject: Chiltern trip report - Oct 05
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005 15:30:54 +1000

A brief report for a week away at Chiltern (23 Sept. to 2 Oct. 2005).

The trip aim was mainly to experience the Chiltern National park flower display resulting from good regional rains and hence the best season in many years for the woodlands and forest in this part of Victoria.  If you love wildflowers now is a good time to go.  Still in bud was much of the Chocolate Lilies and nearly all of the Wedge-pea (Gompholobium spp.)

The forest understorey is covered with either the yellow and red pea (Dillwynia species) or the Hedge Wattle (Acacia paradoxa) in brilliant yellow and there were hundreds of Caladenia, Diurus and other orchids on view as well.

There is little flowering of the Mugga Ironbark or Red Box but this hasn't stopped the Noisy Friarbirds and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters which were the most common birds along with Fuscous Honeyeaters, Weebills and Grey Fantails.  Not many thornbills and we couldn't detect the usual Hooded Robins or any of the red robins this trip.

The weather was generally warm enough though to make the flowers open and goannas to come out from their winter break.  It also brought out the Brown Snakes for a bit of basking.

The outlining wetland sections of the park (Chiltern Valley Dams 1 and 2, Barambogie Block) were quite full after good regional rains and this meant the waterbird diversity wasn't as high as usual but still good for breeding birds with Sacred Ibis nesting at most sites.  Hardhead, Shoveler and Musk Duck were observed plus the usual Black Duck and Grey Teal.  We recorded a leucistic Black Duck on private property near Chiltern Valley Dam no. 1 and could hear the calls of begging young birds coming from tree hollows and small islands at some of the wetlands.

A day trip to Goombargana Hill near Walbundrie NSW with the Albury Field Naturalists rewarded us with three Falcons (Brown, Little and Black) plus breeding Red-capped Robins and Speckled Warblers were highlights.

Other trips were to near Rutherglen and west of Springhurst where we recorded Apostlebirds and Grey-crowned Babbler's plus numerous Broughton's Pea (Swainsona procumbens) in roadside flooded ditches.

Always worth visiting Victoria's north-east.

Martin O'Brien
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