To: "Birding Australia" <>
From: "Chris Coleborn" <>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 19:57:36 +1100
G'day All,

Over the last few weeks I and some mates were able to do some intensive birding in Nth Victoria. In spite of the severe drought and its obvious debilitating effect upon the native fauna and flora, not to mention the local agricultural and supporting industries, bird species and numbers were reasonably good. It was most enjoyable to get out and see them.

Alone and in groups, organized and when the mood struck, several of us tramped the swamps, patrolled the rivers and creeks, scanned the vast canopy of the open country skies of the area, as well as the extensive open plainsland. We enjoyed the tang of the Callitris Cyprus Pine Forests as we walked through them and found the shade of the Black, Grey and Yellow Box woodlands pleasant on the hot days of summer. The area is a complex of diverse habitat and this reflects the diversity of the bird species. We went by day and by night and amassed a good number of birds.

Some of the highlights for our tripping were BLUE BILLED DUCK, GREAT CRESTED GREBE, good numbers of NANKEEN NIGHT HERON, ROYAL IBIS & GLOSSY IBIS were around the swamps and lakes. Skulking in the rushes and reeds were a couple of LITTLE BITTERN, and about 20 AUSTRALASIAN BITTERN, not forgetting the occasional BAILLON'S CRAKE, SPOTLESS AND AUSTRALIAN SPOTTED CRAKES that would venture out now and then onto muddy flats. There was the usual diversity of raptors, including WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE, SPOTTED HARRIER, BROWN & COLLARED SPARROWHAWK, AUSTRALIAN HOBBY & PEREGRINE & BLACK FALCONS. A lone SQUARE-TAILED KITE was a picture of grace and beauty, as it soared overhead. It is always a delight to see a family or two of BROLGA out on the plain, and BUSH STONE-CURLEW in the woodlands. Some ordinary waders such as BLACK-KNEED & BLACK-FRONTED DOTTERELS, SHARP-TAILED, COMMON GREENSHANK, MARSH & CURLEW SANDPIPERS, PIED & BLACK-FRONTED STILTS, RED-NECKED AVOCETS & RED-NECKED STINTS were in the swamps and lakes, adding to the liveliness of the swamps and lakes. Along the Murray River, BARKING OWL was heard and in the sharp, early morning sunlight, or in the soft coloured hues of the gloaming, an AZURE KINGFISHER would flash by the observer. LATHAM'S SNIPE could be flushed from the grassy verges of the swamplands. A single PAINTED SNIPE was seen among the flooded lignum and grassy banks of Hird Swamp, and their dry-land counterpart in so many ways, PLAINS-WANDERS were to be seen at night on the plains, together with LITTLE BUTTON-QUAIL & the odd STUBBLE QUAIL. A PLAINS-WANDERER was found on a nest. Hundreds of BANDED LAPWING and a scattering of AUSTRALIAN PRATINCOLE were also observed. Around the samphire, apart from the usual resident birds, such as the dainty and beautiful WHITE-WINGED FAIRY-WREN, numbers of ORANGE CHATS made their presence known, flying from among the bushes to sit on the top of them in the morning light, the males shining like molten gold. A couple of BLUE-WINGED PARROTS were also enjoyed. In the open, grassy forests and granite outcrops of the area, PAINTED & BLACK HONEYEATERS & DIAMOND DOVE were reported and the resident PAINTED BUTTON-QUAIL, SOUTHERN WHITE-FACE & DIAMOND FIRETAIL were to be enjoyed, as well as the AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK. Not to be overlooked, quietly sitting on a suitable branch of the woodland, were EASTERN YELLOW, RED-CAPPED & HOODED ROBINS, and the bold JACKY WINTER with his restless tail. They would have to compete at times with a RESTLESS FLYCATCHER or two. Other Bushbirds that brought the forest alive with their calls, movement and colour included GREY, WHITE-BROWED & CHESTNUT-CROWNED BABBLERS, BLACK-CHINNED HONEYEATER, EASTERN CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT & GILBERT'S WHISTLERS. There was the odd OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE & PALLID CUCKOO and a fair number of HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO to be seen too. The DOLLARBIRD has been conspicuous by its absence this year, and while RAINBOW BEE-EATERS are back, they still have not recovered from the large number that died several years ago when, one afternoon, the temperature dropped by about twenty degrees in less than a half hour. A few WHITE-BROWED WOODSWALLOW, MASKED AND BLACK-FACED joined LARGER NUMBERS OF DUSKY AND WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOWS in the area, and some WHITE-BROWED bred. About 26 species were observed breeding. Around the sandy ridges and banks of the pits and lakes of the area, WHITE-BACKED SWALLOWS displayed with the grace that is their own. Cocky male BROWN SONGLARKS flittered to fence posts and dead isolated trees on the plains, as did the SINGING BUSHLARK & RICHARD'S PIPIT. It was disconcerting to discover for the first time some COMMON MYNA in our neck of the woods. We have followed their slow but sure encroachment to the north, and now they have finally arrived, though the two seen died of lead poisoning.

It can be very hot and dry in North Victoria in summer, but the birding can be excellent too.

Many of the above birds are associated with the TERRICK TERRICK National Park and its surrounds. A Friends of Terrick Terrick National Park group has now been formed to help protect, investigate and promote this little gem of a park.

A comprehensive list of the species seen over the last few weeks in Northern Victoria is below. I reckon I missed a few that should have been included on the list, but they don't come to mind at the moment.

I trust all will have a safe and satisfying New Year, and will have the opportunity to get out and enjoy the unique fauna and flora that makes up our country.


Chris Coleborn


Emu, Stubble Quail, Blue-billed Duck, Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, ink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Australian Pelican, White-faced Heron , White-necked Heron, Great Egret, Nankeen Night Heron, Little Bittern, Australasian Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black-shouldered Kite, Square-tailed Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Spotted Harrier, Swamp Harrier, Brown Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle, Brown Falcon, Australian Hobby, Black Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Brolga, Buff-banded Rail, Baillon's Crake, Australian Spotted Crake, Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, Black-tailed Native-hen Eurasian Coot, Little Button-quail, Painted Button-quail, Plains-wanderer, Latham's Snipe, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Australian Painted Snipe, Bush Stone-curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Red-capped Plover, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-kneed Dotterel, Banded Lapwing, Masked Lapwing, Australian Pratincole, Silver Gull, Caspian Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Rock Dove, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Diamond Dove, Peaceful Dove, Galah, Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cockatiel, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Crimson (Yellow) Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Australian Ringneck, Red-rumped Parrot, Pallid Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo, Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Azure Kingfisher

Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, Brown Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, White-winged Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, White-browed Scrubwren, Weebill, Western Gerygone, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Singing Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Painted Honeyeater, White-fronted Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater, Orange Chat, White-fronted Chat, Jacky Winter, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, White-browed Babbler, Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Crested Shrike-tit, Gilbert's Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, Olive-backed Oriole, White-breasted Woodswallow, Masked Woodswallow, White-browed Woodswallow, Black-faced Woodswallow, Dusky Woodswallow, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Australian Raven, Little Raven, White-winged Chough, Singing Bushlark, Skylark, Australian (Richard's) Pipit, House Sparrow, Zebra Finch, Red-browed Finch, Diamond Firetail, European Goldfinch, Mistletoebird, White-backed Swallow, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Fairy Martin, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Little Grassbird, Rufous Songlark, Brown Songlark, Golden-headed Cisticola, Silvereye, Common Blackbird, Common Starling, Common Myna.


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