Wedge-tailed eagles delight

Kevin's Cape Barren goose.

I was lucky to have a week at Apollo Bay before lockdown.

It was lovely to explore parts of the Great Otway National Park, which is a treasure that is luckily not far from our doorstep.

The highlights of Apollo Bay were many. I tried extremely hard to spot a male pink or rose robin around the rainforest areas, to no avail.

I saw two separate flocks of white-throated needletails, which are nonbreeding migrants to Australia from Northern Asia.

White-throated needletails are small swifts (20cm in length), and are seen in Australia mostly during summer. They are dark grey, with white markings on the throat and undertail, and long and pointed wings.

These birds are most often seen when storms are approaching, as they usually feed on insects in rising thermal currents associated with storm fronts and bushfires. Surprisingly, I saw them on a clear, cool, still day.

I also spent way too much time standing on Mariners Lookout above Apollo Bay photographing three wedge-tailed eagles that flew around the lookout a few times a day. These magnificent birds came so close to me I could almost touch them, and my 600 photos were slightly disappointing, as I think I was so amazed at being so close to one of my favourite birds.

On the subject of wedge-tailed eagles, I received an email from local bird expert Tom Fletcher, who went to Aldi at Kingston Village to do a spot of shopping and was fortunate to be entertained by three wedge-tailed eagles that were circling quite low in the paddock nearby.

Some shoppers were also quite interested, especially when Tom pointed the birds out to them. Eventually, after about 30 minutes, the birds drifted over to the nature reserve then slowly northward. Why doesn’t this happen to me when I go to at Aldi, Tom?

I received an email from Susanne, who lives in Wallington. She had an extremely exciting visitor to her henhouse, namely a grey goshawk (white morph).

The goshawk was surveying the chook house, most likely looking for a trapped dove, which Susanne has found carcass evidence of in the past. The chooks were not happy and were making quite a racket.

The grey goshawk is a bird of prey with two colour forms or morphs. The grey morph has a grey head and upperparts, with white underparts barred grey on the chest, and a grey and white barred tail.

The white morph is pure white all over and is seen in north-western Australia and coastal Victoria and is the only form found in Tasmania.

I received an email from Ian, who spotted a juvenile silver gull at Point Lonsdale that was extremely friendly. The gull landed right next to Ian and they had a chat for a while. I suspect that the gull was after Ian’s morning tea.

I also received an email from Kevin, who had a lovely morning at Serendip Sanctuary at Lara, despite the threat of wind and thunderstorms.

Kevin spotted at least 19 emus in one paddock, countless magpie geese in a pond and numerous other birds, including black-fronted dotterel, Cape Barren geese and a pied stilt.