A rare find

Peter's red-whiskered bulbuls.

IT has been a great fortnight for the Bellarine.
It was wonderful to read that the Bellarine Peninsula was named one of the top 10 destinations in Lonely Planet’s best value travel destinations for 2017, but they failed to mention that it’s one of the best bird watching destinations as well.
I noticed on Birdline Victoria that Robin Spry, a member of Bellarine Birdlife and a wonderfully keen birder, had seen a male eastern or common koel at Queenscliff, so I asked Robyn to contribute to this article.
The male koel can be identified by its glossy black plumage (which is tinged with blue and green), and red eye. The common koel is a member of the cuckoo family. Adults are rather shy, and they are heard much more than they are seen.
During breeding season koels are found in northern and eastern Australia, south to about Nowra, although occasional birds are encountered further south, in areas such as Queenscliff.
The male common koel has a very distinctive and loud cry, which sounds like ’koo-el’, continuously repeated. Robyn reports that In mid-December last year she heard a Koel calling near her from home a couple of mornings, but was unable to find it. This year on 2 November she heard it again and had time to search along the railway line in King Street, Queenscliff.
The photo/s were taken from a distance as it was being attacked by a willy wagtail.
The eastern koel led Robyn a merry dance for the next hour as it flew from tree to tree nearby. Even standing very close to where it was calling from she could not see the bird. Thanks Robyn for sharing your experience of chasing a koel around Queenscliff.
I received an email from Susanne from Wallington who has had a kingfisher visit her pond on her magnificent property. I called in to Susanne’s and had a walk around the dam area. I didn’t see a kingfisher (unfortunately) but did spot a yellow thornbill, which is a bird that I haven’t seen around the Bellarine Peninsula before.
The yellow thornbill is a small to medium-sized thornbill (10cm in length). Yellow thornbills are olive on the back, with white streaks on the cheeks and ears, and pale to bright yellow underparts. There are reddish brown streaks on the chin and throat.
I also received an email from Voice reader Carole, who saw an unusual sight of two black swans with their two cygnets in the dog car park, at the bottom of Hodgson Street in Ocean Grove. She watched the swan family continue up the very steep grassy bank heading west out of the car park.
On her return to the Dunes car park she decided to see if the swans had made it up to the lookout car park and there they were strutting towards the two-storey holiday homes minus one of their offspring. The cygnets had no sign of adult feathers and were struggling to keep up with the parents.
I wondered where on earth the nest could have been around that area and would love to hear if any other Voice readers had seen the family. Thanks Carole for your email.
I also received an email from Kevin and Anne Maree, who saw some red-necked stints (migratory shorebirds) at Barwon Heads, and four black kites in Clarendon Road, Drysdale. Kevin sent me the photos that he took, and I’ve included the photo of the red-necked stints with this article.
I received an email from Peter from Drysdale who observes red-whiskered bulbuls in his garden this time of year. Peter and his neighbour have made an interesting discovery, that the bulbuls eat the small berries that grow on the palm trees in the neighbour’s yard. Hence the attraction of the bulbuls the area. I have included Peter’s photo with this article.
Thanks so much for the great emails.
I’ve been pretty busy lately. I went to Black Rocks Beach at the end of 13th Beach and saw about 50 red-necked stints and a pair of nakeen kestrels.
Driving home from work one evening I saw a barn owl in Lake Road, Connewarre, which was lovely.
I’ve seen some reed warbler chicks at Blue Waters Lake.
I’ve also seen a very beautiful tawny frogmouth chick in Woodlands. There are kookaburra chicks in Pete and Chris’s nest in Woodlands as well.
There is a lot happening around one of the 10 top holiday destinations in the world.
– Jen Carr, jennifer.carr6@bigpond.com