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Victoria Bird WatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: February 2007
Not seeing hundreds-of-thousands of Short-tailed Sherwaters return in the evening to Port Fairy.
If we were planning the trip again, I would:
Spend 3 nights in the Sassafras area, not 9 nights. The Cottage was really nice, but there was not that much birding available.
Spend a week in Lavers Hill -- lots of birding locations plus a great place to stay.
Of the 118 bird species we saw in Victoria, 57 were endemic to Australia. Most of the 61 non-Australian Endemic bird species we saw in Victoria were new for us. 8 bird species from Vic were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Arafura Fantail, Red Goshawk, Buff-sided Robin, Rufous Owl, Geney Fowel, Sandstone Shrike-Thrush, Pied Honeyeater, & Zitting Cisticola.
On Jan 18 we were off at 6am heading toward Melbourne. As soon as we crossed into Victoria we saw a dead Koala in the road.
We had good roads going south, but it rained most of the way. As expected, there was no good connection between the main N-S Freeway and the main Freeway going East. Fortunately, we had detail driving directions from Whereis.com and 2 Atlases. No one should consider coming to Australia without bring detail driving directions for their itinerary with them.
We picked our way thru the city streets and dodged the streetcars that shared the road. Finally, we were on the Monash Freeway going East (none of our maps used that name). We took a short cut, which resulted in seeing another dead Koala and a dead Wombat, and a Koala in a tree. We arrived at our cottage in Yanakie at 2pm.
About 3:30pm we drove down to Duck Point on the Corner Inlet Marine NP (38.807S 146.269E). The tide was out, so a lot of the water birds were too far out to ID. We went of a walk thru the heath. We found several Little Wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters in the Bottle-brush Tree blossoms. The flies were horrid. On the way home we saw 5 Bright-eyed Brown Butterflies.
On Jan 19 it was raining. Late morning we drove down to Toora (38.691S 146.335E) where we were told we could see water birds. Sure enough, there were heaps of Black Swans, Black-tailed Godwits, Eastern Curlews, Whimbrels, and a few Sooty Oystercatchers.
On Jan 20 we headed south this morning to Wilson's Promontory (or Prom for short 39.034S 146.327E) -- as far south as you can go in continental Australia. Our first stop was at Whiskey Beach (39.013S 146.291E) for a walk thru the coastal heath. We saw mobs of Little and Red Wattlebirds. The area was covered by sand dunes and the dunes were capped with Spurge plants. On the walk back to the car a pair of Beautiful Firetails landed in front of us.
Our next stop was Squeaky Beach (39.022S 146.304E) where a Varied Sword-grass Brown Nymph Butterfly landed on a flower near us. It wasn't hard to ID the Nymph -- it was the only one with red Owl eyes in the butterfly book.
We finally reached the Tidal River area (39.031S 146.316E). There were thousands of people camping here (most were in tents). We found a boardwalk along the river that went thru a wetland.
On our drive home we saw an Emu on the road. As we approached, it stepped into the dense bush and disappeared.
On Jan 21 we left at 7:47am for Cockatoo in the far-east Melbourne suburbs. Our first stop was at the Bald Hills Wetlands (38.734S 145.939E www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=246). The hike to the wetlands went thru a fern forest with heaps of Common Brown Nymph Butterflies. The wetland was beautiful, but not a lot of water birds. On the way back we saw a White-eared Honeyeater.
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