Winter works its wonders

Olive whistler at Lake Elizabeth. 169085

Despite the cool and wet weather, I’ve had the most fabulous few weeks of tripping round.
Firstly, I noticed on Bernie Lingham’s Facebook profile that she had seen an Australian owlet nightjar in broad daylight, sunning itself with its head sticking out of a tree hollow. I’ve been wanting to spot this species of bird for ages, so I asked Bernie where she saw it, and found out that she had seen the bird at Inverleigh Fauna and Flora Reserve.
Armed with Bernie and Barry’s great instructions on where to find the hollow, I spent two fruitless days looking for the owlet nightjar, but I did see some other fabulous birds, including a pair of restless flycatchers, flame robins, a rose robin, lots of calling fantail cuckoos, white-eared honeyeaters, yellow-faced honeyeaters and whistling kites.
Then I noticed on the Geelong Field Naturalists website that an Australasian bittern had been observed by several people, including Tom Fletcher, at Breamlea. By the time I finished a stint of night shift and had a chance to go and look for the Bittern, it had disappeared, but I did manage to see some lovely white-necked herons.
One Friday I was going to clean my house, which was a long overdue task, but looked out the window at the blue sky and decided to drive to Castlemaine to check out the powerful owls that had been seen there.
On the way I stopped off at the Stony Creek Picnic Area at the Brisbane Ranges, and I was the only person there, which was glorious.
I made it to Castlemaine and did manage to see the pair of powerful owls, but they were around 40 metres up in a huge pine tree, so photo opportunities were limited, (but at least I saw the desired bird species this time).
Then my friend Pat joined a walking group and went to Lake Elizabeth in the Otways, and when she told me, I asked her to take me as I’d heard of Lake Elizabeth but had never been.
Wow, it was the most magical place and it was cold and damp but glorious!
The highlight was spotting an olive whistler, and we also saw a pair of golden whistlers, brown thornbills, satin bowerbirds, eastern yellow robins, crimson rosella and many grey shrike-thrush. Just beautiful!
I think I’ve done a lot of driving and exploring and I still haven’t cleaned my house. And I will keep searching for an owlet nightjar.
If you are interested in any organised bird watching trips, you can check out the calendar of events run by Bellarine Birdlife at
– Jen Carr,