Day out with Denis in Bendigo

Lynne's eastern spinebill in her Ocean Grove garden.

I went to Bendigo for a week, which I must say was just wonderful for birdwatching and had a day out with ex-Ocean Grove local Denis Sleep, who moved there two years ago.

He took me to his favourite local birdwatching spots, and I had the best day out. We went to Mount Korong Scenic Reserve, and the first birds we saw were diamond firetails.

We also saw a wedge-tailed eagle, hooded robin, striated pardalotes, white-plumed honeyeaters, spiny-cheeked honeyeaters, brown treecreepers, brush bronzewings and white-browed babblers. It was difficult to leave this spot and go to the next one, which was a place called Diamond Dove Dam.

I have never seen so many different species of honeyeaters in the one spot – fuscous, New Holland, white-eared, yellow-plumed, white-plumed, white-naped, yellow-faced and brown-headed. There were also musk, little and purple-crown lorikeets everywhere. We also saw a few Gilbert’s whistlers.

I received a few messages from John Murray who is a long-time Bellarine Hooded Plover volunteer extraordinaire. John is so dedicated to helping the local hoodies in the summer and spring nesting seasons. Last week the Birdlife Australia held their annual Beach Nesting Birds Conference at Anglesea, and this attracted people from all over Australia.

John said the conference speakers were fascinating. There was a presenter from New Zealand who spoke about hand rearing critically endangered little tern chicks until they fledge, which involves around the clock resources. There were also speakers from Cairns, Western Australia and South Australia. Thanks John for all you do for the local beach nesting birds, you certainly are a champion hooded plover hoodlum. John also found a newly deceased

juvenile grey-headed albatross washed up on the beach.

I received an email from Alan, who was walking at Lake Victoria when this bird sailed so close overhead that I could not fit it in the frame. That’s the downside of a prime lens where zooming in or out means running towards or away from your subject. The bird was a whistling kite and I too have had this experience of being so close to one of these raptors flying overhead that the wings are cut off in the photo.

Alan also saw two tawny frogmouths at Blue Waters Lake. Another interesting viewing was 15 to 20 nankeen night herons. They were quite high, weaving in and out so hard to get a solid count. They eventually landed in various trees around the lake, a mix of adults and juveniles so perhaps this was a training flight?

I received an email from Lynne, who lives in Ocean Grove. It has been so long since she has had any small birds in her garden (due to the presence of noisy miners). She was excited to share that she has had the cutest little eastern spinebill visiting her garden for the past two weeks. The poor little thing flits in under the cover of the foliage and tentatively drinks from the flowers until it is spotted by the noisy miners, but it is so good to see it keep coming back. She has also had musk lorikeets in her leucoxylon. Luckily they, and the rainbow lorikeets, and the eastern rosella pair are not bothered by the miners.

Lynn also saw a flock of at least 80 yellow-tailed black cockatoos while driving along the Drysdale Bypass.

Lynn also was lucky enough to see two wedge-tailed eagles over Grubb Rd, Wallington a few weeks back.