Iron Range birds for Melbourne John Young

Subject: Iron Range birds for Melbourne John Young
From: Patrick Scully <>
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 20:35:02 +1100
Hello fellow birders,
I was lucky enough to have a trip with Klaus to Iron Range in early
December.  In November I was on a Birdlife Australia day trip to Anglesea
Heath and surrounds led by excellent birder, Tim Bawden and on the trip was
long time Melbourne birder,  John Young.  John mentioned that he'd recently
come back from an extended trip with friends that included Iron Range and
that he'd missed 2 birds, the Northern Scrub-robin and the Yellow-legged
Flycatcher / Flyrobin and the Yellow-billed Kingfisher?

Well the reason that you missed the Northern Scrub-robin was simple and
that was  because the bird that used to hang around Cooks Campground toilet
block and that John had visited several times to stake out has moved.  We
got onto the Northern Scrub-robin on our second day.  We could hear the
bird calling in the early morning and then Klaus took us into the bush
after we couldn't get a view and then all got a good view except for one
person.  A few days later we went back to same spot (so that the person who
missed could get a look) in the afternoon and it was very quiet but with a
lot of playback the bird emerged. Klaus said it was the same bird that used
to frequent Cooks Campground.

As for the Yellow-legged Flycatcher / Flyrobin, we dipped on that too.
 Iron Range was incredibly dry. I had been there in August 2009 and was
surprised by how dry it was in early December.  I had imagined that the
heat would be unbearable and that the bush would be steaming and lush.  The
heat was quite bearable, in fact quite pleasant. The dryness made it very
hard to get onto the birds and they were pretty quiet.  Klaus said that
with rain the forest becomes alive with bird calls.  In one year Klaus got
onto all in the birds in a day and a half.

We did have a spectacular view of the Yellow-billed Kingfisher though.
 After hearing YBK call for what seemed like hours and walking along the
road hoping to see one fly into a tree,  we got up on our third morning and
right next to our accommodation (high up on the hill above Portland Roads
with a great view out to the endless blue of Weymouth Bay).  Klaus got onto
the bird that lucky for us was down low in a bush near our parked vehicle
and the male Yellow-billed Kingfisher stayed for around half an hour
without being bothered by us wondering around the bush for a better look
and lots of photos.

We had no luck with Spotted Whistling Ducks and on last day having a last
look at the Lockhart River sewage hoping they might be there ponds we saw a
Swinhoe's Snipe. Ya. And very lucky for us, we did see a Red-belied Pitta

Best wishes and happy birding,
Patrick Scully

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