A last flush of sunshine

Bassion thrush at Ocean Grove Nature Reserve. 168381

There’s been some lovely autumn sunshine over the last few weeks, mainly when I have been working, so I could only look longingly out the window.
I did manage a few walks in the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve, where I saw flame robins, white-naped honeyeaters, and yellow-faced honeyeaters, all lovely.
The highlight of my fortnight at the OGNR was spotting a bassian thrush in the Banksia Trail closest to the north track. Barry Lingham told me that he hadn’t seen a bassian thrush at the OGNR for 10 years.
Bassian thrush can be found in damp, densely forested areas and gullies, where they can hide or blend into the environment, as they are very secretive. The bassian thrush has mottled brown to olive-brown plumage on the back and head, and paler, scallaped underparts, with a white eye-ring.
I heard the beautiful call of the thrush before I saw it, which was lovely. My photo was pretty ordinary due to the dull autumn weather combined with the dark location.
Regarding the OGNR, I attended a great talk given by John Sharp regarding bird photography. John recently took the best photo of a male flame robin that I’ve seen. It was lovely to share the day with many interested and talented photographers.
I also went to Lorne with my work colleagues, specifically to introduce them to bird watching, and we saw about four kookaburras for the whole day. Nevertheless it was lovely to see the kookas.
On the drive down to Lorne we went via Breamlea Flora and Fauna Reserve, and I spotted two nankeen kestrels, a brown falcon, a singing honeyeater, four black-winged stilts, a blue-winged parrot, a great egret, and a flock of eight white-faced herons – a purple patch indeed.
I discovered that it is such an advantage sometimes to be a passenger in a car rather than the driver and it’s much safer too for bird spotting, but if I had’ve been driving I would have tried to stop and take some photos.
Speaking of photographers, Denis Sleep is an excellent local birdwatcher and photographer, and a member of Bellarine Birdlife.
He sent around a photo of a wedge-tailed eagle that he spotted on Grubb Road, just past Swan Bay Road on the way to Drysdale.
He said that he managed to creep up to about 60 metres from the bird, and the resultant photos are just wonderful. Thanks to Denis for allowing me to borrow one of his photos for this article.
The Barwon Estuary Nature Diary is now available, and if you would like a copy you can access the Barwon Estuary Project via barwonestuaryproject.wordpress.com or you can email at barwonestuary@gmail.com
The activities organised by Bellarine Birdlife can be accessed via www.birdlife.org.au/locations/birdlife-bellarine-peninsula.

– Jen Carr, jennifer.carr6@bigpond.com