On Monday, I journeyed up to the Moroka River with a small group of the Heyfield Birdwatchers. Here is a link to an excellent article on the history of the area written by an old friend, well known to us all.
Our first stop was at Peach Flat on the Marathon Rd, where, after a short look around this wonderful private project, Michele and Rod joined us for the trip up the mountain.
Apart from not swallowing the dust, being in the lead vehicle has the advantage of seeing the wildlife first, and the Landrover crew got some views of a male Lyrebird – sorry about that Subaru crew. (You were first down the mountain though, I hope you spotted something of interest.)
We had a cuppa before heading off for the short walk into the Moroka Hut, situated on a small grassy plain on a bend in the river. This little walk probably provided us with the best birding of the day, Rufous Whistler, Rufous Fantail, Flame Robin and Satin Flycatcher being the stand out species. I thought at times I could hear the mournful call of the Crested Shrike Tit in the vicinity, but I wasn’t able to pin point the bird at any stage, so it doesn’t get a ‘tick’ unfortunately.
Most of the group had not seen the hut, so we had a good browse of the area.
We then drove a little further along the Moroka Rd to the Horseyard Flats for lunch. The river is a little more substantial here and trout were quite visible at times in some of the pools. During lunch we were serenaded with the quintessential and beautiful Aussie bush bird call of the Grey Shrike Thrush. All the time, a sizeable group of Pardalotes was persistently piping from the tops of the tall eucalypts.
The day had warmed up a bit by now and there was some smoke haze on the mountain tops, so we didn’t spend too much time on the Gorge Track. We walked across the spanking new bridge to the site of the first moss beds, only to be disappointed at how dry the conditions were.
We said our goodbyes, and headed back down the mountain to the hot and windy flat country, and then for me it was on to the motorbike and out with the hoses on the golf course for a few hours. From many spots on the course I could look up at the Moroka country and recall some of the images from the day – sigh!