Monday, May 16, 2011

Chiltern = fantastic birding!

Well this weekend was a rushed drive from Adelaide to Chiltern in order to attempt, for the fourth time, to see the Endangered Regent Honeyeater.

Michael and I set out in the icy morning fog to the Chiltern National Park with high hopes. We had set aside the entire day to search for the 3 birds that have been reported as being seen in the area this year.

We had only been searching for a few minutes when suddenly we could hear them! Scanning up in the canopy we were rewarded with 2 of them were feeding at the top of the Ironbarks! They are just beautiful. A reasonable sized bird and they sound similar to a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater.


We had good views of them foraging within the clumps of leaves. After getting a good look through the bins it was time to attempt photos. I mean “attempt” because firstly, they were within the foliage, secondly they don’t sit still and thirdly, anyone who has ever been to Chiltern knows just how tall the Ironbarks are and these little guys were right at the top!!! 

So I apologise but simply could not manage to get any decent photos but you can at least get the idea from these...

We spent about an hour in this area enjoying their presence as it was such a privilege to see these beautiful endangered birds we didn’t want to leave them. Black-chinned Honeyeaters were also feeding there which I love.

Also present were Yellow-tufted and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Fuscous and White-plumed Honeyeaters. Eastern Spinebill, Grey Fantail, Red Wattlebird, White-naped & Brown-headed Honeyeater & Little and Noisy Friarbirds.

We moved onto Bartley’s Block to enjoy some of the smaller birds.  Yellow-faced and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters were enjoying the sunshine. I simply love Speckled Warbler so really enjoyed trying to get decent photo of one for a change! We also had great views of Western Gerygone, Scarlet,Flame and Rose Robins, Striated Pardalote, White-browed Scrubwren, White-browed Babbler, Pied Currawong, Jacky Winter, Little, Purple-crowned and Musk Lorikeet.

Speckled Warbler

Western Gerygone

We then checked out Dams 1 & 2 enjoying Australasian Darter, Australasian Grebe, Great Cormorant, 2 Little Eagle, Crimson Rosella, Fan-tailed cuckoo, Crested Shrike-tit, Buff-rumped, Yellow-rumped and Yellow Thornbills, Diamond Firetail and European Goldfinch before moving out of Chiltern.

We stopped to enjoy some White-backed Swallows soaring overhead, and I couldn’t help but enjoy the cute little Tree-Sparrows in Rutherglen. Yeah yeah, I know, it’s introduced, but I still think it’s cute….

White-backed Swallow

We travelled across the border to Corowa, NSW. We stopped at roadside vegetation to enjoy views of Apostlebirds and Grey-crowned Babblers before heading to a swamp near Balldale.


There were Great and Intermediate Egret, Many White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis, Red-kneed Dotterel, Black-fronted Dotterel and about 100 Plumed Whistling-Ducks!

We searched for Painted Snipe. After a short walk we flushed 5 of them from the roadside!  

We enjoyed watching them for a while and I was simply beside myself with excitement! LIFER number 2 for the day!!!!! Woo Hoo!!

We also enjoyed watching a flock of Zebra Finch, a Swamp Harrier hunting and also noticed a Sacred Kingfisher staying late in the area.

We then headed back to Chiltern and enjoyed the last hour of daylight at Cyanide Dam, Frog's Hollow and finally Bartley's again enjoying Brown Treecreeper, White-throated Treecreeper, cheeky Eastern Spinebills, Grey Fantails and Fuscous Honeyeaters.

Eastern Spinebill

Fuscous Honeyeaters

Grey Fantail


What a fantastic day, certainly worth the 2000 km round trip. Great birds and great company, life doesn’t get much better than this!!!

If you are heading to Chiltern I’d recommend you contact my friend Michael Ramsey. He is a great birder, he has a wealth of knowledge and is excellent fun to be with.