Friday, 3 November 2017

171030 - 171102_Wilsons Promontory

Tuesday [55 species]

John and Marg organized a fabulous three day outing to Wilson’s Prom and surrounding locales including the Yanakie Isthmus. Rod and Michele, Jos, Sue, Deirdre, Bev, Peter and Jack joined to start the excursion from Foster where we had lunch in the refurbishing main Street.

First stop was the Cody Gully Walk (site 01) at the end of Simpson Street in urban Foster where we quickly had our target bird – Scarlet Honeyeater which is currently irrupting all over southern Victoria. Find mistletoe, find Scarlet Honeyeater … and Mistletoebirds too.
Eastern Spinebill
Scarlet Honeyeater
Next we dropped our gear off at Tobolo Lodge in the back street of Yanakie (site 02) which was to be our home for the next two days. Tom and his Red Jungle Fowl descendants – his chooks – were great hosts with a superb house with many bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge rooms, kitchens …

From there we went down Millars Road to Shallow Inlet (site 03) – White-fronted Chats feeding young -- then on to the other side of the isthmus to Duck Point in Corner Inlet (site 04) where we walked through the bush to the beach and back to the caravan park via the point. Highlights there were Red-capped Plovers, Red-necked Stints, a White-bellied Sea-eagle and a pair of Sooty Oystercatchers, one with a flag E8.
Sooty Oystercatcher E8
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Caspian Tern
Tuesday evening’s meal was Spaghetti Bolognaise and Lasagne with the smoothest cheesecake ever made. Lots of conversation, of course, and a relatively early night. 

Wednesday [25 species, total 80]

A small cohort of birders rose early and had a quick look at the Shallow Inlet site again (site 05) as the tide and light were favourable compared to the previous evening.Striated Fieldwren and Golden Whistler were the standout visible bird but there were hundreds of Eastern Whipbirds with their usual fleeting glimpses.

After breakfast we headed off south into the Wilsons Promontory National Park wioth our first stop at Darby River. Here we walked the track to the beach (site 06) with an informative and interesting commentary from Rod and Michele about all things floral and geological. A wedgetailed Eagle and a White-bellied Sea-eagle were seen riding the stiff onshore breeze and another pair of Sooty Oystercatchers (1F, 1Z).
Darby River beach surf

Darby River explorers
A flower
Sooty Oystercatcher 1K
Sooty Oystercatcher 1Z enjoying a worm
Onwards to Tidal River (site 07) and a stop at the visitor centre and a park bench for lunch under the watchful, ever-vigilant eye of a mature Pacific Gull pretending to be a scavenging Silver Gull.
Australian Wood Duck, female. Lounging at Tidal River
After lunch it was on to Lilly Pilly Gully (site 08) where we spent more than two hours quietly walking (and talking) the two or so kilometres in and out to a short loop in the temperate rainforest of myrtle beech and tree ferns. Gang-gang Cockatoo, Australian King-Parrot, Crescent Honeyeater, Brown Gerygone. 
Grey Fantail most common bird after the cuckoos
It was a lovely walk after which we went back to the digs as we had not left enough time for a further site without compromising dinner which was a BBQ (under the direction of Master Chef Rod), salad and cheesecake #2 plus lots more good conversation including “How good a sleeper are you?”

Thursday [18 species, total 98]

This was our final day. After a clean up and final look at Yanakie (site 09) our first stop was to revisit Cody Gully Walk (site 10) to show Deirdre and Peter the Scarlet Honeyeater which they had missed on Tuesday. Easily found in the same mistletoe! From there we went to Agnes Falls (site 11) where we spotted Dusky Moorhen, White-eared Honeyeater for the first time. On to Toora Bird Hide (site 12) where 36 minutes yielded only 16 species but …Little Egret, Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Knot, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Crested Tern. The scope was put to good use.
Eastern Curlew
A short drive to Welshpool, the loos and lunch where we met Gary who hosted us to his dairy farm (site 13) on the northern shore of Corner Inlet where we finished our outing with two hours of birding in reclaimed bush (samphire and tussocks) and the beach. Shelduck, Teal, Great Egrets, cormorants, 10 Australian Pied Oystercatchers (two with flags – NN, 6C) 400 Black Swans80 Red-necked Stints, Caspian and Whiskered Tern and Jack’s highlight, 3 Australian Gull-billed Terns; two in breeding plumage and 1 in non-breeding plumage. On the way out John and Marg flushed a Brown Quail and the last bird to be seen was Noisy Miner!!
Wilsons Prom viewed from Corner Inlet

Australian Pied Oystercatcher 6C
Australian Pied Oystercatcher NN
Australian Gull-billed Tern
adult breeding plumage
Australian Gull-billed Tern
adult non-breeding plumage
Red-necked Stints
Red-necked Stint
Over the entire time we heard (and occasionally saw) many Pallid and Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Shining and Horsfields Bronze-cuckoos. By the end EVERYBODY could identify them by ear both quickly and correctly. Stepped up, stepped down, slide up (whistling the dog), slide down.

We had a very enjoyable time. Many thanks go to John and Marg for organizing it and Gary for hosting us.

Ninety-eight species in all. Not bad for 48 hours of socializing.