Trip Report - French Island (VIC.)

Subject: Trip Report - French Island (VIC.)
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 10:22:18 +1100
A brief account of a Friends of French Island (Western Port) trip last 
Saturday 14 January.

Our main aim for the day was to determine whether Fairy Terns were 
breeding on the southern side of the island (none detected) but as is 
always the case a number of other birds were seen during the day.

Highlights were 7 raptors in the spotting scope view over Tortoise Head 
(comprising Swamp Harrier, Whistling Kite and Brown Falcon).  We could 
only guess why the high point of Tortoise Head was so attractive to the 
birds but maybe the large nesting colony of shearwaters had drawn them in.

We also had great views of 49 Eastern Curlews, a possible Whimbrel, 
Red-capped plover and Red-necked Stints plus a lone Caspian Tern at 
Tortoise Head.

The islands saltmarshes are in superb condition after the good summer 
rains and we saw plenty of evidence of old swan nests here and there. Cape 
Barren Geese were also seen at a number of the islands farm dams and also 
the Tortoise Head saltmarsh reminding us how reliable the island is for 
this species (after Phillip Island).

The paddocks and coastal habitats were good for Little Grassbirds, Pipits 
and the odd Skylark.

As with our last our friends day it finished with another sighting of an 
adult White-bellied Sea-eagle over the Tankerton Jetty ...

I recommend a day trip (or longer) to French Island as it is a great 
birding location.

Martin O'Brien

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