Part 2. Trip Report - Phillip Island - Melbourne - Alpine Region - Albur

Subject: Part 2. Trip Report - Phillip Island - Melbourne - Alpine Region - Albury - Sydney 3/01/09 - 12/01/09
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Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 16:00:34 +0900

Day 9. 3/01/09 Foster – Ventnor, Phillip Island


Leaving Foster we headed south for Cape Liptrap and Walkerville. We stopped in at Walkerville South where Mum and I saw a pair of Beautiful Firetails in she-oaks behind the old lime-kilns on the beach.

We then drove along the coast to Inverloch, but on the way we went to Bald Hills Nature Reserve where we ran into a bit of trouble.

Mum and I walked to the birdhide where we saw Brown Falcon, Shelduck and heard a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, but on the way back we were stopped in our tracks by an ominous and quite scary snorting and growling just ahead of us. At first Mum asked wether it could be a cow, but then the noise turned into a sort of squealing snorting and we decided it was most likely a Wild Boar. So we began to make our way through some low bushes away from the path. A minute or so in we could see the shelter which marked the start of the walk. As we saw it the squealing sound got louder and the bushes started rustling behind us so we ran for it. We sprinted out of the bushes and reached the car to the bewilderment of my Dad and brother...

After that we drove past Inverloch and eventually reached Phillip Island after being stuck in traffic from the turn-off roundabout to San Remo. The first birding destination on Phillip Island was Fisher’s Wetland. Here I picked up Cape-barren Geese (Lifer). We then drove to Ventnor and set up the tent.

Before the end of the day we went to Swan Lake and The Nobbies. At Swan Lake I counted 74 Cape-barren Geese, Musk Duck, Hoary-headed Grebe and Kelp Gulls. Then at The Nobbies I saw Little Penguin (Lifer, there were a few in burrows), Kelp Gull and Black-faced Cormorant as well as hundreds of Crested Terns and Silver Gulls.


Day 10. 4/01/09 Ventnor, Phillip Island


On Sunday we went to Cape Woolamai after Dad, Elliot and I did some go-karting at the Grand Prix Circuit. On the beach I finally got my target bird – Hooded Plover (Lifer). There were 2 separate pairs. One pair was in a fenced-off area while the other pair were just outside one.

Later in the day Mum, Elliot and I went to Rhyll Inlet. There were a good number of large waders on the mudflats and I saw the following: Common Greenshank 10+, Bar-tailed Godwit 50+, Eastern Curlew 8+, Whimbrel 2+, Red Knot 20+, Sooty Oystercatcher 1, Pied Oystercatcher and a pale morph Brown Falcon.

As everyone has to do we did the Phillip Island ritual – The Penguin Parade. My thought of it were sitting in a huge crowd watching about 50 or so Little Penguins walk along the beach, but it was a lot better. We sat at the ‘posh’ end and didn’t just see penguins. Before the penguins arrived we saw large numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters out to sea, a Peregrine Falcon doing a fly-by and Sooty Oystercatcher which happily fed on the rocks next to the point.

After we had our fair share of Little Penguins we went to Swan Lake again. By this time it was dark and once we reached the boardwalk section we were able to watch hundreds of Short-tailed Shearwaters flying and crawling around their burrows some walked right next to us!


Day 11. 5/01/09 Ventnor, Phillip Island – Best Western, Melbourne CBD


Today was a non-birding day, but we packed up and headed for Melbourne. On the way we had a fantastic lunch at the Diggers Club in Dromana and then dropped off our roof rack and tent at our friends Bill and Shirley’s place.


Day 12. 6/01/09 Best Western, Melbourne CBD


Another non-birding day was spent exploring Melbourne and having another excellent lunch, this time at Fifteen.


Day 13. 7/01/09 Best Western, Melbourne CBD


Wednesday was not a non-birding day… Today Bill Ramsay very kindly offered to show me around the Western Treatment Plant, as long as I opened all the gates!

We ended up getting 83 species for the day, 9 of which were lifers for me! The best birds for the day would have to have been: a nice Brown Quail that sat right next to the car (Lifer, got great views), Pink-eared Duck (Lifer), male Blue-billed Ducks, Great-crested Grebe (Lifer, 3 on Little River), Baillon’s and Spotted Crakes, 6 Marsh Sandpipers, 2 Banded Lapwings (Lifer), about 15 NB White-winged Black Terns (Lifer), 1 Striated Fieldwren (Lifer) and European Greenfinch (Lifer).

On the way back to Bill’s place we stopped in at Chadstone Flower Power! This was for Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Lifer) and we found 3 of them in the car park almost straight away!


Day 14. 8/01/09 Best Western, Melbourne CBD – Bindaree Flat, Alpine NP (well, close enough)


On Thursday we farewelled Melbourne and Bill and Shirley after picking up the roof rack and tent at their place on the way. We didn’t really know where we were staying that night, but basically we were heading for Craig’s Hut near Mt Buller.

We drove through Eildon, Howqua and some of the Alpine NP, but didn’t make it to Craig’s Hut. We stopped not far from it though at Bindaree Flat on the Howqua River. This section of our trip was mainly for Dad and his 4WDing (which he got his fare share of), but the area we visited was actually very good birding wise. At our campsite I heard 3 species of cuckoo – 3 separate Brush Cuckoos (1 gave great views when I called it up), Shining Bronze-Cuckoo and of course Fan-tailed Cuckoo. Other interesting birds included: female Satin Flycatcher, numerous Gang-gang Cockatoos and a possible Powerful Owl. Basically, a very big bird flew down out of a tree at 9:30pm which looked a lot like a Powerful Owl…


Day 15. 9/01/09 Bindaree Flat, Alpine NP – Splitters Creek, Albury


It had been a very cold night and we awoke to frozen dish clothes and frost covering just about everything! But we managed to thaw the tent and we headed for Splitters Creek, 10km west of Albury.

On the way we stopped at Craig’s Hut and between it and Lake Cobbler I saw a female Spotted Quail-thrush. It was feeding in a small grassy clearing at the start of Cobbler’s Track.

At Lake Cobbler birds consisted of: 2 Hoary-headed Grebes, 2 Little-pied Cormorants, 2 Coots and a lone Straw-necked Ibis flying around and honking. From here we didn’t really stop until Splitters Creek, but on the way we had to drive up some gnarly (as Dad says) hills and navigate around a couple of fallen trees.

Arriving at Splitters Creek and most of the nice usual birds were there to greet us: Red-capped Robin, Little Friarbird, Weebill, Brown Treecreeper and Peaceful Dove.


Day 16. 10/01/09 Splitters Creek, Albury


Saturday saw us relaxing with friends and me seeking out more of the Splitters Creek birds, such as: Western Gerygone, Grey Currawong, Collared Sparrowhawk, Dusky and White-browed Woodswallows, Blue-faced Honeyeaters and hearing Rainbow Bee-Eaters.


Day 17. 11/01/09 Splitters Creek, Albury  


On Sunday Mum was kind enough to drive me down to Chiltern for an hour or two. We decided to just stay at Bartley’s Block and saw most of the old favourites: Red-capped Robin, Yellow-tufted HE, Brown-headed HE, Black-chinned HE, Fuscous HE, White-browed Babbler and Western Gerygone.


Day 18. 12/01/09 Splitters Creek, Albury – Sydney


Day 18 of our trip was that inevitable day – we had to go home. We said our goodbyes, but not without picking up Double-barred Finch, White-bellied Cuckoo Shrike and Jacky Winter first.

Nothing special on the way home and we got back at about 5:30pm.


All in all a fantastic trip and about 225 species and 25 lifers picked up along the way.


Max Breckenridge,

Gladesville, Sydney…



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