Knowing that I’d never seen Blue-winged Parrots, my mate Geoff invited me down to his local patch where he regularly sees them. I’m a sucker for a tick twitch so my airfares were booked ASAP and off I went to yet another airport (my 6th for the year!).
Geoff picked me up from Avalon airport and we headed straight for Werribee STW where we met up with George and Paul. It was awesome to finally meet these guys who I’ve only ever chatted to via BOZ.Birds were everywhere as we drove the dirt tracks around the ponds. Skylarks and Welcome Swallows were incredibly common with Swallow numbers in the 1000’s. A Glossy Ibis was spotted in amongst the Spoonies and a flock of Zebra Finches flushed from the road. It wasn’t long before someone yelled out Brolga! George and Paul quickly bailed out of the car as I added one to the list. At the bird hide we were greeted by Fairy-wrens, Scrubwren, Horsfield’s Bronze and Little Grassbird. Pacific Gulls hunted off the shore. George’s coffee was much appreciated and a good chat was had.....love being around other birders!Several small terns were spotted at a distance and after referring to some pics the conclusion was they were Fairies. Unfortunately I couldn’t ID the birds properly and they soon disappeared....a missed tick? Pied Oystercatchers were on the rocks and Greenfinches proved to be quite common. We then parted company after finding 60 odd species.Geoff and I then headed to his local patch near Torquay. I’ve never seen so many White-fronted Chats in my life! Same could be said for Striated Fieldwren although I’ve only ever seen them once before. Little Grassbird called from the saltmarsh and Black-fronted Dotterels feed in the shallows. After searching for quite some time a pair of Blue-winged Parrots were finally spotted sitting on the fence line and gave spectacular views in the late afternoon light. Crawling on my knees through the long grass enabled me a close view and pics. A superb way to end the day.The next day we headed west along the Great Ocean Rd to Point Addis where we quickly found two Rufous Bristlebirds in the carpark. It’s been several years since my last sighting and I’d forgotten how beautiful they were. Black-browed Albatross passed by.
Fan-tailed Cuckoos were very common in the Anglesea Heath. Geoff’s Yellow Robin on a string was very amusing and allowed me to score my best ever shots of this species. Silvereyes and Brown Thornbill were ever present and a White Goshawk was only my 3rd ever sighting.
Back onto the Bellarine Peninsular and birding the fantastic Ocean Grove NR. Grey Currawong and Brush Bronzewing were state ticks for me and the sight of Flame Robin feeding in the open paddock was enough to make me wanna jump the 2m high fence. We were puzzled by a pair of odd looking Rainbow Lorikeets and we finally decided that they were hybrids with Musk Lorikeets.Several stops were made on the way home adding Restless Flycatcher, Great Cormorant, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and King Parrot to the list.
The next morning we headed into Geelong for a crack at Song Thrush....dipping badly. Then we tried the You Yangs for Swift Parrot and Purple-crowned Lorikeets....another two dips! However we did see Scarlet Robin, Buff-rumped and Yellow Thornbill, Weebill and White-naped Honeyeaters.As I was flying out that afternoon, we decided to have one more go at Fairy Tern at Werribee. Swallows and Skylarks were still very common. Shoveler and Pink-ears were added to the list and 3 Black Kites passed overhead. Small terns were again seen flying off the shoreline and one landed on some nearby rocks so down I went through the mud and ticked up my second lifer for the trip. Striated Fieldwren, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brolga and a Whistling Kite with a fresh rabbit kill were our last sightings for the day.
124 species in 3 days.