Late last year a sighting report came in for a Long Billed Dowitcher – a bird that usually heads down the American side of the Pacific on Summer migration from Siberia. This one seemed to have mistakenly come down the Australasian Migration Highway. It was the first time one had been seen in Australia let alone so far south and into Victoria. I got up early and with a birding mate made the 3 hour drive for my first real twitch to get a single bird onto my life list – one that may never been seen again in Australia. Within 15 mins of arriving at Lake Tutchewop we found the bird thanks to a line up of spotting scopes and photographers. It was cold and windy and after recent rains the lake’s wide sandy foreshore had turned to sticky slippery mud. I did not take any photos (other than two iPhone shots) but had some nice clear views of the red/brown shorebird via my scope.
Spotting scopes lined up, Lake Tutchewop, Vic,
Lake Tutchewop, Vic – to get close up images several keen photographers crawled forward of the main group and stayed low in the mud to make sure they did not spook the Dowitcher and the other waders in the water.
Having been very lucky and finding the bird so soon (many other twitchers making the long trip took hours or days to find it and several never saw it all due to it flying around the vast lake at different times of the day) we decided to make the most of the location and head over to Goschen Bushland Reserve, near Swan Hill. Goschen is a small grassy Mallee woodland remnant, site of a planned, partially built but abandoned town with an old hall, tennis courts and facilities – all now derelict. Several hours of exploring the area can produce a good list of mallee birds not generally found further south and some nice pictures.
Hooded Robin, Goschen
Hooded Robin II, Goschen
Singing Honeyeater II
Singing Honeyeater III
White Browed Woodswallow
White Browed Woodswallow II
White Browed Woodswallow III
On the way home we passed through Lake Boga and watched White Breasted Woodswallows feeding their chicks.
White Breasted Woodswallows, Lake Boga – parent with a nice sized dragonfly
White Breasted Woodswallows, Lake Boga
White Breasted Woodswallows: just like real estate – it is all about position – the chick in the middle kept missing out….bad position.
White Breasted Woodswallow chicks waiting patiently for their next feed.
Posted in Birds, Victoria, Victorian Reserves
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Goschen Bushland Reserve, Hooded Robin, Lake Boga, Lake Tutchewop, Long Billed Dowitcher, Nature Photography, Singing Honeyeater, Twitch, White Breasted Woodswallow, White-Browed Woodswallow
Another part of the Dandenong Ranges that I have explored briefly is a section near one of the Puffing Billy Steam Train Stations – Welch Track. It is a rather steep section of the Park with a good track leading down to a rainforest gully and then merging onto other tracks. I had seen a report of a few Large Billed Scrubwrens in the area and while I looked for them I found a few other interesting birds along the way.
Male Superb Fairy Wren
Red Browed Treecreeper – usually difficult to see as they stick to the higher canopies of very tall trees
Juvenile Powerful Owl – still with fledgling white chest feathers, and already with extremely large and lethal talons. The Powerful Owl is able to take much larger and heavier prey – a favourite being the brush tailed possum.
Even as a young Owl in daylight it had much better senses than I did – it knew when other people were coming down the track well before I did.
Welch Track Foliage and fallen tree
Posted in Birds, Dandenong Ranges, Rainforest, Victoria, Victorian Reserves
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Crimson Rosella, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Nature Photography, Powerful Owl, rainforest, Red Browed Treecreeper, Superb Fairy Wren, Victoria
I explored a new bush park today, on the outskirts of Frankston, Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve. It is a good sized reserve with many well managed and signposted tracks and a wide fire break running down the centre of the park. I spent a few hours investigating several of the Northern trails and found quite a number of smaller birds. The bush is very thick and dense with the only access via the trails – it is too thick to get into. It is a haven for the smaller birds while the larger birds stick to the taller gums. A few uncommon birds seen were Grey Currawongs, a Collared Sparrowhawk and 2 Wedge Tail Eagles circling very high. Many of the gum trees were flowering and there seemed to be a good supply of Lerp on the leaves as well. The birds were quite aggressive towards other species and each other – a sign of a supply of food worth defending.
Yellow Faced Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater,
Grey Shrike Thrush
And my usual forest companion:
Eastern Yellow Robin
Posted in Birds, Victoria, Victorian Reserves
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Collared Sparrowhak, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrike Thrush, Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve, Little Wattlebird, Nature Photography, New Holland Honeyeater, Victoria, Yellow Faced Honeyeater