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A Report from

Plains Wanderer, 15th July 2009,

John Kirby

This was an overnight trip arranged with Simon Starr of Firetail Birdwatching Tours in Victoria to see the endemic Plains Wanderer.

Simon is based at Pyramid Hill in Northern Victoria. I took a train from Melbourne (A$ 47 return) at 07:40 and arrived at Pyramid at 11.06. We had some lunch and I birded locally until 17:30 when we had dinner.

It starts to get dark about 18:30 at this time of year and this is when we set off with warm clothing and spotlights. The temperature can drop to 3’C and rain is possible.

Simon has access to an area of pristine native grassland situated between Pyramid and Echuca where we searched for the bird.

After 15 minutes searching we spotted a female with a male close by. Further searching produced a male on 3 eggs, quite an unexpected find. Another female was found.

Male Plains Wanderer on eggs

Female Plains Wanderer

A further 2 hours searching in another area did not produce any Plains Wanderers but we flushed 3 Stubble Quail, 4 Rufous Songlarks and a Dunnart (a marsupial mouse).

Male Stubble Quail

The Plains Wanderers ‘froze’ when spotlighted allowing very close approach and good photographic opportunities.

Simon charged A$ 175 for guiding, transport, meals and accommodation in his caravan. This bird would be impossible to find without Simons’ expertise and local knowledge!


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