Australia Day Weekend

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Australia Day Weekend
From: Jenny Spry <>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 13:55:03 +1100
Hi all,

For the past few years we have taken the Australia Day weekend as a chance
to head to Orbost and the coast in the far east of Victoria, but this year
we opted for a change and headed north-east to the dry grasslands and hills
around Chiltern.

Our first stop was Bartley's Block, a clear area within the forest and in
the early morning sunshine the flowering mistletoe was full of honeyeaters,
and small birds bounced and chirped in the freshness everywhere we walked.
What surprised us were the large numbers of Black Honeyeaters and
White-throated Gerygones.

Another thing that surprised us, rudely, was the largest and most beautiful
Red-bellied Black Snake I have ever seen. It was thick and shiny and I
guess it was nearly 2 metres long, but I didn't get close enough to
actually pace out its length or lie down beside it for comparison; the
comment in the field guide says "Dangerously venomous and bite can be

On Sunday we headed down to the Warby Ranges and arrived at Wangaratta at
lunchtime and were lucky enough to choose Kaluna Bushland Reserve, right in
the middle of town as a spot for lunch. As we walked the trails through the
reserve we were surrounded by birds, including more than a dozen
Dollarbirds. This was another surprise for the trip. We have seen
Dollarbirds in Vic before but never in such big flocks. Of course all these
Dollarbirds got us off on one of our driving reveries. We decided that a
flock of Dollarbirds had to be either a Bank or Wealth of Dollarbirds and
this led us to consider some of the other birds we had seen for the
weekend; A Surprise of Black Honeyeaters just because we weren't expecting
them, a Delight of White-throated Gerygone because they are so beautiful in
their butter-yellow vests, and a Pin-cushion of Needletails, why not.

As usual the Warby Ranges did give us different birds including large
numbers of Turquoise Parrots and we ended the trip with well over 100
species for the weekend including Latham's Snipe, Peregrine Falcon,
Peaceful Dove, White-throated Needletail, Little Corella, Little Lorikeet,
Speckled Warbler and Western Gerygone. Fun

It is very dry up around Chiltern but the birding was spectacular so anyone
looking for a place to go it is well worth it at the moment. There is a
longer report and photos on my blog.


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