Birds galore at summer’s end

Tawny frogmouth at the Botanical Gardens. 165788

It’s been a wonderful few weeks weather wise, and I’ve certainly enjoyed being out and about (in between suffering a nasty bout of gastro).
Nothing can keep a good, tough bird watcher down however!
I managed to visit Western Treatment Plant on one of the days that the Avalon Airshow was on, which was not a great move, but it was still nice to be there. I saw some lovely terns and waders, plus a few rather well-fed snakes.
On my way to work, I had a few visits to the Geelong Botanical Gardens. At the end of summer, there are always a few rufous fantails at the gardens. I have been trying to photograph these birds for years, but they are so tricky. They like to hang out thick tree canopy and they never stop moving, unlike grey fantails that are curious and tend to pose for photos in the open. Once again, I saw a few rufous fantails but failed to achieve even a half decent photo.
When I was walking around the gardens, a hawk flew past me at a rate of knots. Usually when this happens, I never see the hawk again, but this time I did spot the bird in a tree, under a thick canopy in a very dark area. I had to turn the ISO on my camera up to @2000 to get a photo. I think this bird was a young brown goshawk, as it had a beetle brow, and didn’t have a long middle talon, but I could be wrong as brown goshawks are very similar to collared sparrowhawks. Young goshawks have grey-brown eyes, with brown, streaky plumage rather than the finely barred plumage and yellow eyes of the adult birds. A few days later, I saw a young collared sparrowhawk on a TV antenna around the corner from my house. This bird did have a wide-eyed look rather than a beetle-brow, and a very long middle talon, and also has a square-shaped tail, so I am certain that it was a collared sparrowhawk. It’s great to examine the birds and see how similar they look.
Also at the Geelong Botanical Gardens, I saw the pair of tawny frogmouths that always roost in a particular tree at the start of autumn. It’s so nice that there is some predictability in the bird world, but even nicer to see this pair of birds and say hello. I’m sure that they could have done without my hellos, as they were trying to sleep during the day and trying to remain inconspicuous, but I was excited.
I managed to accidentally see the terek sandpiper that has been seen at Western Treatment Plant. I say accidentally because I only realised that I ‘saw’ it when I looked at my photos on the computer after coming home. Duh. The terek sandpiper is a small sandpiper with short orange legs, and a long, slightly up-turned bill with orange at the base.
I received some lovely photos from Kevin, who had a trip to Lake Victoria at Point Lonsdale. I’ve included a photo of a red-capped plover taken by Kevin. I also received a photo of a young nankeen night kestrel, seen somewhere in Ocean Grove taken and sent to me by Lel. A wonderful bird enthusiast, Suze, also sent me a great collection of her photos. It was great to receive the emails, they are much appreciated.
You can check out the calendar of events organised by Birdlife Bellarine by going to There will also be some nature activities organised at the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve that will be advertised on the OGNR facebook site in the coming months.
Jen Carr,