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A Report from

Victoria, Australia, 18 November – 15 December 2008,

John Kirby

Flights arranged through
Singapore Airlines from Heathrow to Singapore on Airbus A380!  On to Melbourne on Boeing 777.

We stayed mostly in St Kilda. Close to Melbourne city centre. We rented an apartment overlooking Albert Park (where the F1 Grand Prix is held). The apartment is ideally located for getting into the city or the beach. Close to lots of restaurants and a really good supermarket right opposite. Book directly with owners. Melbourne Australia Accommodation - St. Kilda Beach Bed and Breakfast Boutique Hotel- St Marine


Sites within the city and the outskirts are easily reached by tram. A good number of common birds can be seen. I went to :-

St Kilda Botanical Gardens.
St Kilda pier off St Kilda beach. (colony of Little Penguin inhabit the breakwater at the end of the pier)
Royal Botanical Gardens
Fitzroy Gardens
Albert Park.

Birds… Pelican, Pied Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Silver Gull, Whiskered Tern, Little Penguin, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Corella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Mynah, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Hoary headed Grebe, Royal Spoonbill, Coot, Dusky Moorhen, Hardhead, Red Wattlebird, Spotted Turtledove, Crested Pigeon, Magpie Lark, Australian Magpie, Black Swan, Welcome Swallow, Noisy Miner, Pacific Black Duck, Chestnut Teal, Black winged Stilt, Willie Wagtail, Chestnut Teal, Grey Teal, Australian Reed Warbler, Raven, Little Raven, Bell Miner, Starling, Blackbird. Golden Whistler.


Places in the city worth visiting for non- birding….. Royal Melbourne Zoo, MCG, Melbourne Old Gaol, The Edge ( 88 floors up in the Eureka building) and Acland Street in St Kilda for cakes and Ice-cream.

Great Ocean Road

We drove along the Great Ocean Road as far as the Twelve Apostles where we took a helicopter flight along the coast.

Overnight stops included:-
Fauna Australia: Lavers Hill.
Fauna Australia Wildlife Retreat - Stay with Koalas and other Australian Wildlife and enjoy them from the surrounds of your accommodation.

Here the main attraction is the animal collection but Crimson Rosellas and Satin Bowerbirds hopping around the grounds. Crescent Honeyeater also seen.



Marengo Holiday Park

Very confiding Crimson Rosellas, King Parrots and Red Wattlebirds around the cabins. On the shoreline a protected area of dunes had a pair of Hooded Plovers with a fledged youngster. Other birds seen in the area :-
Corellas, Thornbirds,  Horsfields Bronze Cuckoo, Superb Fairy-Wren, White-faced Heron, Crested Terns, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Brush Wattlebird, New Holland Honeyeater, Yellow tailed Black Cockatoo, various Ducks, Black-shouldered Kite.



Countrywide Cottages The large and well-appointed chalets are set amongst gum trees with a large lake about 150m through the trees.  There are Chickens, Rabbits, Horses and Alpacas that the children are invited to feed. Eggs from the hens are finder’s keepers! Koala and Kangaroos seen in the grounds. A Possum came to feed on our picnic table in the late evenings. We were told there were Echidnas too but we didn’t see any. Best accommodation we had during the trip!

Birds seen:-

King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Galah, Eastern Yellow Robin, White Throated Treecreeper, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Scarlet Robin, Sacred Kingfisher, Kookaburra, Australian Grebe, Great Egret, Pallid Cuckoo, Black Swan, Hardhead, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Dusky Moorhen, Blue-billed Duck, Musk Duck, Superb Fairy-Wren, Eastern Spinebill, Powerful Owl.


Day Trip.

I arranged a day trip with Lynn and two of his birding mates. (My daughter booked it in Melbourne from a list through the Tourist Information Centre).

Early Bird Tours, 527 Tooronga Rd. Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.           +61 419 357 629  

We went to a Coastal site, Werribee Sewage Treatment Plant and You Yangs National Park. Werribee is not like a UK sewage plant. It is a large site covering several square miles of flat grasslands with numerous large settling ponds. Flacks of ducks were in the thousands as were the Whiskered Terns. A very good site but you need transport and a guide and permits (Lynn supplied these) 

Bird Haven at Western Treatment Plant, Lake Borrie: Melbourne Water

You Yangs is suffering from the prolonged drought that has affected Victoria over the last 3 years so was a bit devoid of birdlife. It is still worth a visit.

Birds seen on this day:-

Pacific Gull, Silver Gull, Pelican, Australian Spoonbill, Intermediate Egret, Glossy Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, White Ibis, Hoary Headed Grebe, Native Hen, Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Red-kneed Dotterel, Little Black Cormorant, Swamp Harrier, Hardhead, Australian Shelduck, Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Whiskered Tern, Grassbird, Yellow Robin, Flame Robin, Yellow-Plumed Honeyeater, Willie Wagtail, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Jacky Winter, White-fronted Chat, Dusky Woodswallow, Australian Gannet, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.


3 Day Trip up country.

This was a retirement present from my colleagues at work. It was with Simon Starr of Firetail Bird Tours.

Firetail Bird Tours

Simon is based in Pyramid Hill which is about 3 hours by train from Melbourne. I travelled in the evening and spent the night in Simon’s caravan. This allowed an early morning start as we had a long journey, with birding stops, before reaching the camp site. Simon is an ex-pat but has a strong Australian accent. He has an excellent knowledge of the birds, their calls and where to find them. Tapes were used for some species.

We had lunch on the first day on the banks of the Murray River and camped at Lake Mournpool in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. (The nearest town is Mildura.) This is approximately 480 kms from Melbourne in the North West of Victoria. The area is Mallee-type vegetation and the bird speciality is the Malleefowl which was seen after a long trek in temperature of 30C. Many of the rivers and lakes had dried up due to the drought and this affected the number of birds seen.

Simon found all the special birds except Chestnut Quail Thrush which eluded us.

A night walk produces Spotted Nightjar, Boobook and Possums, but the calling Owlet-Nightjars and Frogmouths could not be located. Fairy-Wrens, Thornbills and Pardalotes proved very responsive to “pishing”.

A very good trip and well worth the 850 Australian dollars (approx £400 all meals and accommodation included)

A total of 165 species seen which would have been impossible without Simon’s knowledge and expertise.

Birds seen on this trip and not elsewhere:-

White-necked Heron
Nankeen Night Heron
Whistling Kite
Black Kite
White-bellied Sea Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Little Eagle
Brown Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Latham’s Snipe
Marsh Sandpiper
Red-necked Stint
Red-necked Avocet
Red-capped Plover
Black-fronted Dotterel
Banded Lapwing
Common Bronzewing
Peaceful Dove
Little Corella
Musk Lorikeet
Regent Parrot
Yellow (Crimson) Rosella
Mallee Ringneck
Blue Bonnet
Red-rumped Parrot
Mulga Parrot
Shining Bronze Cuckoo
Southern Boobook
Spotted Nightjar
Rainbow Bee-eater
Brown Treecreeper
White-browed Treecreeper
Splendid Fairy-wren
Variegated Fairy-wren
White-winged Fairy-wren
Striated Grasswren
Spotted Pardalote
Striated Pardalote
Shy Heathwren
Speckled Warbler
Inland Thornbill
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Buff-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill
Southern Whiteface
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Striped Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Yellow-throated Miner
Singing Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Fuscous Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater
Painted Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
Black Honeyeater
Orange Chat
Scarlet Robin 
Red-capped Robin
Hooded Robin
Southern Scrub Robin
White-browed Babbler
Chestnut-crowned Babbler
Crested Bellbird
Rufous Whistler
Gilberts Whistler
Restless Flycatcher
Grey Fantail
Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike
White-winged Triller
White-breasted Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow
Pied Butcherbird
Grey Butcherbird
Grey Currawong
White-winged Chough
Fairy Martin
Brown Songlark
Australian Pratincole






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