Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heyfield Birdwatchers January 2012

G’day Birdos,
A small band of committed birdwatchers braved the bad weather forecast and assembled in Sale on Sunday morning.

We were heading for Giffard and had just got over the Latrobe River on the Longford causeway when a large mob of water birds caught our eye. No doubt about the difference to the season this year. There were Egrets, (by the 100s), Spoonbills, Herons, Pelicans, Swans, various ducks and waterhens in great profusion. Whistling Kites and Swamp Harriers were cruising above looking for some prey.


Despite the roaring of the passing traffic, many of whom probably wondered what we were looking at, we stood and absorbed the scene for some time.  

At Giffard we entered a property that was earmarked by Basslink as an offset requirement for their easement from McGauran’s Beach to Loy Yang. This large block of deteriorating farmland has been re-vegetated and is recovering brilliantly. All the usual whistlers, wrens, thornbills and honeyeaters, etc have moved in. The approaching weather front even heralded our first Needle-tail Swifts for 2012.

After a cuppa we headed for Jack Smith Lake and did a quick survey of the spit near the car park before scurrying back into our cars to dodge the rain. 

When the front had passed it was on with the coats, off with the ladder, and across the creek. White-fronted Chats, Red-capped Dotterels, Skylarks and a small flock of Blue-winged Parrots were ticked as we did the walk along the fenceline on the western bank of the lake.

Several of us were probably 15 minutes from the cars when the next rain front arrived and there is no cover what-so-ever. We sloshed our way back to the others sitting warm and dry in the vehicles, so we told them of the Eclectus Parrots, Red-bellied Pittas that we saw!

Oddly, at this point we decided to head for home. Our car deviated, (which it frequently does when I’m driving), to McGaurans Beach – a small flock of ENORMOUS Pacific Gulls – and to the Swing Bridge at Sale that was just closing from its weekly opening event.


Latrobe R on the left, Thomson R on the right. Guess which one passes through the Latrine Latrobe Valley.

As I drove up the driveway at home, a family of Buff-banded Rails dashed across the track in front of me – more of that later.



  1. Pacific gulls look as big as albatrosses when all you've seen for a while are silver gulls! I think I'd probably run screaming from them now.

    Btw, I've got one of those Katter fridge calendars for you, if you're interested.

  2. G'day Pete,
    Val said she doesn't believe the sighting of blue wings because she didn't see them.
    Mehitabel, (Jane F)