Saturday, 30 January 2016


What a great start to the year!  On New Year's Day I often visit Banyule and Wilson Reserve, in an attempt to get the year's birdlist off to a good start.  This year I didn't.  These treats are still in store for me in 2016.  But I ticked a lifer in January, something I don't often do, and what better start to the year could there be?

Apart from seeing the poor lost Paradise Shelduck at Lake Wollumboola, I spent a very pleasant hour at Trin Warren Tam-Boore (while Rog was at one of his interminable doctor's appointments) and visited Werribee twice.  Yes, I did see the Red-necked Phalarope, not very good views, but I saw it.  Better, I saw some great interstate birders who'd come to see the phalarope.  Three species of crakes put on a delightful display and Werribee was as wonderful as only Werribee can be.  

We saw thousands of ducks, but dipped on the Brolga.  We saw many raptors, but came home without a kestrel.  We had four species of terns and lots of waders.  The avocets were as elegant as ever, Banded Stilts overshadowed their smaller cousins and the Cape Barren Geese impressed everyone.  We had superb views of Little Grassbird, Striated Fieldwren and Australian Reed-Warbler.  I enjoyed the Brown Songlark and I always love zebbies.  One single Dusky Woodswallow greeted us on both our visits.

This despite the rain.  It seems to rain less at Werribee than it does in Melbourne.  Often I leave a wet Melbourne and enjoy a pleasant dry day at Werribee.  This year, both my visits so far have been wet.
Phil Jackson and me at the Borrow Pits, Werribee, photo by Dianne Lee

I managed 30 daily walks in January, seeing a total of 26 species.  I saw an average of 11 species on each walk:  the most was 16 and the least was 8.  I added just one new bird to my daily walk list.  It was a Little Eagle.  The Rainbow Lorikeets drew my attention to it, with their ear-piercing screeching.  It was quite high in the sky, seemingly oblivious to the noisy lorikeets.

In February, I plan to make yet another attempt on my last remaining bogey bird: the White-necked Petrel.  This is supposedly the easiest seabird on the Australian list that I have not seen.  I have driven (or, more correctly, Roger has driven) to New South Wales on at least a dozen occasions in an attempt to add this bird to my lifelist, but so far have had no luck.  Perhaps 2016 will be my year.

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