A rare bird was reported at the Western Treatment Plant a few months ago, a Red-necked Phalarope. It was quite far away in the middle of a large lagoon but I did get good views through my spotting scope and a few average photographs…and there was plenty of company to share my “lifer” (1st time seeing a new species of bird). A twitcher is someone who hunts out rare and vagrant birds to add ticks to their life lists. They can travel all over Australia and the Territories. While I am generally a birder – will view/study, photograph any bird, I will twitch a good Victorian sighting of a rare bird…like the Lake Tutchewop Long Billed Dowitcher. I can can proudly add the Red-necked Phalarope to my twitch and life lists.
Sneaking up on the Twitchers in their natural element
(psst…the man on the left, David E, was a contributor and reviewer to HANZAB for those that know the Aussie/NZ 7 volume Bird Bible)
Everyone is delighted to observe the rarity…
Fellow obsessive Twitchers – Dave and Gio
The little white dot is a Red Necked Phalarope
Red Necked Phalarope – a lonely little bird, a long way from home and lifer 330
Large Cape Barren Geese conducting a flyby and stirring up the twitchers…
Posted in Twitching, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Cape Barren Goose, Nature Photography, red-necked phalarope, Twitch, twitcher, Twitching, Victoria, Western Treatment Plant
When I visit the You Yangs I usually pop into a local bird and animal sanctuary at the base of the You Yangs Range. It is little known park close to Melbourne, free to visitors, with breeding programs for several rare birds. It also maintains a sanctuary for injured birds and animals, some too badly injured to be released. It is a great place to see and photograph rare and hard to find birds. The aviary birds are used to people and so are quite relaxed and offer photographers a good chance to get in close. Around the site are many wild birds breeding and taking advantage of the abundant food and protection. There are some large wetlands and many migrating visitors. The park also has resident populations of emus and Brolgas.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Emus are free to wander around and don’t bother people too much.
Emus – these two snuck up behind me to see what I was doing (unsuccessfully trying to photograph a family of Black Chinned Honeyeaters)
Emu and chick walking and feeding along the edge of the main lagoon – the chicks are very cute and there were a number at the Sanctuary but considering how protective (and big) the parents are I kept my distance.
Black Wallaby – relaxed and snoozing in the shade.
Black Wallaby II
Magpie Geese – several thousand were spread across all the lagoons and wetlands.
Magpie Goose – does not quite make my top 10 prettiest birds list…
Tawny Frogmouth – nocturnal specialist and master of camouflage.
Tawny Frogmouth II
Bush Stone Curlew
Red Rumped Parrot
Red Rumped Parrot II
Buff Banded Rail – secretive wetlands bird that birders only usually get glimpses of – but at Serendip there is an aviary full of them that allows for long views and many photos. In fact you have to be careful while you move around taking pics. They get under your feet while looking for insect snacks.
Buff Banded Rail II
Large Whistling Kite nest – the Kites were still around and making a nuisance of themselves amongst the nervous flocks of Magpie Geese
Cape Barren Goose – this one followed me around the Wallaby/Kangaroo Pen – he must have been expecting a feed. He made me a bit nervous as every time I turned around he was a few steps closer to my backside.
Posted in Animal, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Black Wallaby, Buff Banded Rail, Bush Stone Curlew, Cape Barren Goose, Emu, Magpie Goose, Nature Photography, Red Rumped Parrot, Serendip Sanctuary, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Tawny Frogmouth
Another early start to meet up with John at Tooradin for a circuit of the sites around Phillip Island. The Island can be a busy place even in Winter due to the Little Penguins and the Penguin parade that attracts many visitors. In summer it can be much worse with all the day trippers, campers and holiday stays. We started at the Nobbies and got the Kelp Gull (with chick) on the same rock platform where we found a pair last year with a chick. We also got the little penguin and had a look at the Silver Gull colony. No photos as it was just too wild. We had a look at Swan Lake – highlights: Freckled and Musk ducks and Cape Barren Geese.
We drove down to Rhyll foreshore and the inlet hoping for a little calmer viewing – highlights were 100+ Bar Tailed Godwits, a few Eastern Curlews and some Pied Oystercatchers. It was a long walk along the mangroves and ridge-line trail so I only carried the Scope rather than my camera gear. John got a few nice pics of a blue tongue lizard…the rest of the birds were too far way for any detailed shots. Previously I had thought that observing 7 Godwits was pretty good…. the numbers at Rhyll Inlet blew me away. We studied the sandbank for quite a while looking for other gems hidden amongst them (like a potential lifer: a Whimbrel)…but nothing else popped out.
John Van Doorn’s Bar Tailed Godwits Rhyll Inlet Phillip Island, Vic 30 Dec 2014
John Van Doorn’s Blue Tongue Lizard at Rhyll Inlet, Phillip Island, Vic 30 Dec 2014
JVD Blue Tongue – II
At our last site, Fishers Wetland, we got more Cape Barren Geese and a few Black Tailed Native Hens. The goose is a good bird for practising your photography skills and fieldcraft. It is a large bird so you need to find a good spot where you can fit it all in when using a large prime focus like the Canon 400mm. As long as you moved slowly they did not mind too much when you angled in close or around it to get the sun in the right spot. They only got nervous and moved away when two of us started to circle for shots…
Cape Barren Goose, Phillip Island, Vic 30 Dec 2014
Cape Barren Goose II
Cape Barren Goose III