Saturday, 31 December 2011

Pacific Gulls, Rye

Pacific Gulls, Rye Backbeach, Victoria
The Backbeach at Rye is always good for Hooded Plovers and Pacific Gulls. We encountered this nice set of PGs representing various degrees of immature plumage in one sitting - I'm guessing the age before getting back to my literature. Either way, they're handsome gulls with a lovely range of brown bits!

Pacific Gull (2nd year)

Pacific Gull (3rd/4th year)

Pacific Gull (4th year/sub-adult)

Friday, 23 December 2011

Bullfinch - Hadleigh Downs

I spent 3 hours scouring Hadleigh Downs this morning looking for Bullfinches. Thankfully I found this confiding beauty on my way back to the car!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Southend Pier

I've done all my Christmas shopping so I took a trip to the end of the pier this afternoon. It had the feeling of a lucky day when everything was close and I didn't have to wait for anything. I was greeted by a Great Northern Diver and then a Kittiwake roosting with the med gulls on the pier. I went on to get 2 more GNDs and 3 Guillemots. Full report at SOG

Friday, 9 December 2011

Plains-wanderers and Bitterns, Deniliquin, NSW

Plains-wanderer (female)

Plains-wanderer (male)

Little Button-quail

Stubble Quail

Inland Dotterel

Two Australasian Bitterns were out on the rice paddock banks (Joy).

Australasian Bittern

Little Bittern. BIG Shame!

Superb Parrot male

Australian Owlet-Nightjar

Red-kneed Dotterel

Golden-headed Cisticola

Brown Falcon

Rufous Songlark

Southern Whiteface

Long-billed Corella

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo.
I've never subscribed to the notion of being guided to birds but some list promises are too enticing to ignore. Philip Maher's tour of Deniliquin is famous for a steady return of Plains-wanderer and is a bit of a right of passage. Phil delivered too, with such dazzling encounters as Plains-wanderer (his and hers), Little Button-quail, Inland Dotterel, Australian Bittern (x2), Little Bittern, Superb Parrot and a particular bogey of mine, Owlet-Nightjar. Thanks to Philip and Peter & Frayda who let me gatecrash their tour.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Malleefowl, Bronzewing Flora & Fauna Reserve, VIC

I've been pretty keen to see a Malleefowl for ages. The Bronzewing Flora & Fauna Reserve in Victoria's north west is a great patch of Mallee with a reportedly dense population of this sought-after species so, seeing as I was camping just up the road, I dropped in for a look. There are no signs for the reserve. If you are travelling along the B220 from Ouyen just wait 'til you hit the patch of mallee after 4KMs or so and look out for a right hand turn (Anderson Road I think). I missed it first time. I parked up before the rail crossing, because I'm 2WDing, and walked into the reserve. I got there late because Malleefowl are crepuscular so stuck to the main track, past the damn, round the zed-bend and up to the the dune area at the end of the track (below)...

...that's where I saw these good-looking Malleefowl tracks crossing the sandy path...

...which defied the presence of two MALLEEFOWL! YEAH! One shot off like a race horse and the other, pictured here, slowly slipped into the bush - if you'll pardon the expression. One of my birding highlights.


Hattah-Kulkyne NP

I've just spent four cracking days in the mallee of Hattah-Kulkyne NP where I managed to see most of my target speciess including, Mallee Emu-wren and Striated Grasswren, both along the southern end of the Nowingi Track; Regent Parrot and Yellow Rosella plus Major Mitchell's Cockatoos around Lake Mournpall campgrounds and my first much-anticipated encounters with Budgerigars and Cockatiel (also along Nowringi Track). Got to go back for Chestnut-crowned Babbler.

Mallee Emu-wren (juv)

Mallee Emu-wren

Mallee Emu-wren (juv)

Regent Parrot

Regent Parrot

Regent Parrot

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Yellow Rosella



Budgies - not blue like my Nan's!

Masked Woodswallow

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

...and a wild pig

Basecamp at Lake Mournpall where I had the place to myself. The regent's parrots (c.10) came in to roost in the trees in the background and a family group of four Major Mitchell's cockatoos spent a lot of time in the tree above my tent there.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

At last! A Merlin!

I'm going to come straight out with it. I've never seen a Merlin. I've spent hours in their local wintering hot spots and just never had the good fortune. It was driving me a bit mad. That was until today! I was hanging out with the finch flocks on Wallasea Island hoping a Merlin attack was imminent and after about 15 minutes I got my reward. It was the icing on top of a great day that included Snow Buntings, a smart male Marsh Harrier, a Hen Harrier, Red-Breasted Mergansers and plenty besides. I've put my full listings on the SOG site.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Binya Forest and Cocoparra NP

Mulga Parrot (male)

Mulga Parrot (pair)

Southern Whiteface

Little Eagle (pale morph)

White-browed Babler

Western Gerygone

Yellow Thornbill (much paler than their coastal cousins)

Splendid Fairy-wren
I took my old Corolla as far as possible today (and almost beyond) in search of birds in the Binya State Forest and Cocoparra NP. I didn't connect with my target bird, White-browed Treecreeper, but did claim a few lifers: Inland Thornbill, Western Gerygone, Mulga Parrot and Southern Whiteface.