Falcon sightings a ‘privilege’

Jen's photo of a bassian thrush at Geelong Botanical Gardens.

I spotted my fifth peregrine falcon for the year in Moolap.

I always feel privileged when I lay eyes on one every few months, so to have seen such a good number of these birds has been awesome.

The peregrine at Moolap was perched on a power line tower, watching a few flocks of starlings and sparrows underneath the tower. I strongly suspect that there are now a few less of these birds living under the tower, as I saw the peregrine in the same spot a few days in a row.

The other peregrines I have seen this year were in Apollo Bay, Cape Otway, Hospital Swamp, and flying at great speed over McKillop Street in Geelong.

On the subject of falcons, I photographed a brown falcon at Bawtree Road, Leopold. I discovered that Bawtree Road is popular with raptors, as I’ve seen an immature brown goshawk, black kites, whistling kites and swamp harriers, as well as a small flock of blue-winged parrots.

The parrots have been impossible to photograph, as I imagine with that number of raptors around they are very wary of anything that comes close to them.

I have been watching a small flock of around 10 dusky woodswallows, also in Leopold. There are two juvenile birds in this flock that seem to be thriving. Near the dusky woodswallows I spotted a pallid cuckoo in the same spot that I saw a Horsfield’s bronze cuckoo a few weeks ago.

The pallid cuckoo is distinctive as it has grey plumage, a yellow ring around the black eye, and a black and white undertail.

Also in Leopold I photographed a very pale, almost white, leucistic Pacific black duck, and wondered if it was the same bird that was seen at Blue Waters Lake last year as they both were very distinctive.

I had a quick look around Geelong Botanical Gardens, trying to see the rose robin, rufous fantail and bassian thrush that were reported by David Tytherleigh on the Geelong Field Naturalist Club Facebook site.

I saw the bassian thrush, which is such a secretive bird that hides in thick undergrowth and searches for insects by turning over leaves on the ground.

I heard from Andrea Dennett that there is one remaining hooded plover chick on the beach at 19-20 W. There were originally three hatchlings, but as is always the case the survival of all three is virtually impossible due to the presence of predators on and around the beach. Let’s hope the remaining chick has some luck in the next few weeks and flies off into the sunset. Please keep dogs on leads in this area to enhance the chance of survival for this remaining chick.

I received a few emails from Kevin, who has obviously been visiting a few of his favourite spots around the Bellarine recently. He sent me some superb photographs of blue-billed ducks, pink-eared ducks and hoary-headed grebes (seen at Lake Lorne) and a red-necked stint at Lake Victoria.

I also received an email from Trina, who sent a lovely photo of crested terns at Queenscliff.

My car had a flat tyre last week, and on my walk home from the tyre business I picked up two garbage bags full of rubbish, mostly bottles and cans, off the ground.

This rubbish finds its way to waterways from the gutters and lawns where they are left, so please think about the impact of actions on the planet and or precious environment.