Friday, 19 October 2018


Rog and I have just returned from a few days in Rutherglen.  The weather was not good - the best day was Friday, when all we did was drive home.  We drove up on Tuesday, and it rained on and off all day.  Nevertheless, I came home with a birdlist of 93 species, not altogether bad.  However, we drove over 800 kilometres over four days to achieve this.  Compare my last trip to Werribee, when I saw the same number of species in one day.

We stayed at Tuileries, where we've stayed before.  When I wanted to book for tea at 6.30, the girl at reception said they were fully booked, and we could not eat until 7.  We arrived at 6.45, thinking we'd have a drink in the bar until our table was ready.  Imagine our surprise to see that the restaurant was more than half empty!  Not a good advertisement for Tuileries.  Perhaps they had mass cancellations at the last minute.
Barmah Forest in flood

On Wednesday, we drove to the Barmah forest, about two hours west of Rutherglen.  It had rained here too, and there was a fair bit of flooding.  I heard an oriole and decided to chase it down and get it onto my list.  After a few minutes, I saw my bird.  It was a Noisy Friarbird!  This is not the first time I've been tricked by friarbirds.  We took Kingfisher Cruises up the Murray, which was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.  I was delighted to see an Australian Reed-Warbler, my first for the year.  On the way home, I saw five Emus, including two chicks, another first for 2018.

Kingfisher Cruises

On Thursday, we did all our usual Chiltern things.  I walked around Lake King before breakfast and saw an Oriental Dollarbird, not new for the year as we'd seen lots in the Torres Strait last March.  As usual, there were Blue-faced Honeyeaters and Eurasian Tree Sparrows in the main street of Rutherglen.  After breakfast, we visited Chiltern No 2 dam, No 1 dam, Lake Anderson, Cyanide dam, Greenhill dam, Bartley's Block, and Lapin's dam.  The birds were fantastic at No 2 dam.  At least five Rufous Songlarks were singing at the top of their lungs.  Dusky Woodswallows were prolific and the White-browed Woodswallows were in perfect breeding plumage.  Again I heard orioles and chased them down.  They were real ones today.  White-browed Woodswallows were mating at No 2 dam and Superb Fairywrens were mating at Greenhill.  Cyanide dam at Honeyeater Picnic Area was almost empty.  What water there was, was dirty red-brown and unappealing.  There were few birds here.  As we drove away from Greenhill dam, a Little Eagle was disturbed from beside the road.  It flew into an adjacent tree and sat looking at us.  It was a very regal bird, undoubtedly the Bird of the Day.
Cyanide dam was reduced to a muddy pool.

It was a shame to have to come home on Friday, the first sunny day we'd had.  I added Little Friarbird to the list, and then Brown Goshawk on the way home.  In grey un-spring like weather, I had to be content with 93 species.  There were some good birds on my list.  The woodswallows were very welcome.  The dollarbird was new for me in Rutherglen and the Little Eagle alone was worth the drive.

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