West delivers plenty of bird sightings

Carole's gang gang cockatoo.

While Victorians have been unfortunately forced into another lockdown, I have been on the other side of the country in Western Australia having a wonderful time.

I heard on the news that Barwon Heads Primary School has been impacted which is a bit close to home, so I hope that everyone is safe and well at home on the Bellarine.

The highlights for me have been many.

I loved Exmouth and swimming with a few whale sharks, but I was more interested in seeing my first ever Hutton’s shearwater that flew over Ningaloo Reef.

The next day I hired a car and drove to Cape Range National Park and on the way a huge bird flew over the road which turned out to be an Australian bustard.

I nearly ran the hire car off the road with excitement and didn’t manage a photo.

I am currently in Monkey Mia where I’ve seen many crested terns, emus, pied oystercatchers, and a surprise common sandpiper.

The other ‘first’ sighting of a bird for me was a flock of star finch at Chinaman’s Pool in Carnarvon.

Fortunately, there have been some wonderful Voice readers who have emailed me with their observations around the Bellarine.

Lee took some great photos of a golden whistler that she spotted on the rail trail between the Banks Road rail crossing and Mannerim rail crossing.

Lee saw three flame robins initially in a paddock and when she turned to walk back to the car she saw the golden whistler in a gum tree and couldn’t believe her luck.

The beautiful bird was not bothered by Lee’s presence at all, which was great, and reflects that Lee was keeping her distance and not frightening the bird.

I received an email from Kevin who saw an eastern spinebill in his Ocean Grove garden. This was a first for Kevin.

There was a frequent visitor, a red wattlebird in a small bush and the eastern spinebill appeared, instantly, on the departure of the red wattlebird.

Before I left for Perth I noticed around 10 eastern spinebills in Sue’s park near my home, so these beautiful birds seem to be enjoying Ocean Grove this winter.

I noticed that all the spinebills that I observed were males, so it would be interesting to know if any females have been seen in Ocean Grove.

I received a lovely email from Carole, who spotted gang gang cockatoos at Point Addis.

Carole wrote that she loves the creaky, low guttural sound and soft guttural noises these birds make as they feed high in the trees. It was a joy to watch them feed and she managed to get a few photos.

Carole also saw eastern spinebills and Australasian gannets, but didn’t email me any photos of these birds.

She wishes that she had caught the Rufous bristlebird, but they were very elusive and difficult to photograph.