Thursday, 25 June 2015

North-east Victoria

With the glider due to go to Tocumwal for its annual service, Marg and I decided to take a few days along the Murray from there and also explore around North-eastern Victoria.

The Tocumwal golf course is always worth a stroll for its bird-life and even a short stroll brought up Grey-crowned Babblers, Red-rumped Parrots and Noisy Friarbirds - not to mention the hundreds of Galahs and possibly thousands of Corellas.
This Noisy Friarbird (Philomon corniculatis) has very prominent plumes, something I've never really noticed before.
Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) chasing a last-minute snack before settling down for the night with two others (see below).

The next day, we drove along the NSW side of the Murray - great raptor country with a haul of nine raptors that day - Black Kite, Australian Hobby, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Wedgetail Eagle, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Swamp Harrier, Whistling Kite and Brown Falcon.
This Australian Hobby (Falco Longinpennis) stayed put long enough to get a shot or two.
After Barooga, we followed the old stock route section from Barooga to Mulwala, seeing heaps of little birds loving the rough grass, fences and puddles along this rough, "3 chain" track. Zebra Finches, Flame Robins and dozens of Australasian Pipits were the standouts. A large mob (>60) of Shelducks also made a pretty picture in an adjacent paddock.

Along the way, we came a cross a pretty ancient drover with a few hundred head of cattle riding the "long paddock". He said he'd been on the road for 5 years! At $1 per cow per week, it was cheaper than feeding hay in poor times.

A trip through the Boomanoomana State Forest turned up a few Brown Treecreepers alternately foraging on the forest floor with short trips up a tree trunk just to prove they were Treecreepers.

Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus) shows off its interesting streaking.
Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) enjoying a later afternoon snack alongside the Corowa Water Treatment plant.
After a pleasant night in Beechworth, we spent the day in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park in search of Regent Honeyeaters. Alas, no luck but heaps of other Honeyeaters (Yellow-tufted, Fuscous, White-plumed, White-throated, White-naped and Yellow-faced) at Cyanide Dam.
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops) comes down for a look at us in poor lighting conditions
A stop at the Glenrowan West power sub-station on the way to overnighting at Benalla produced a few White-Browed Babblers but little else. The next day we visited the Reef Hills State Park South of Benalla where we got a good earful of a lost White-winged Chough churring for its mates nearby. Next onto the Mt Wombat Flora and Fauna Reserve near Strathbogie for some fabulous views but little else. A quick look at the fabulous new Yea Wetlands Interpretive Centre then a pleasant drive via Kinglake West back to Melbourne.