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.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gluepot Reserve - awesome mallee birding

A planned weekend a Gluepot turned into to one long day after discovering that about 20 students were camping there. I prefer solitude when camping so changed my plans and slept elsewhere arriving at Gluepot at 6am.

Gluepot is thriving with thick green vegetation, healthy Triodia and Orb spiders arein huge numbers (and size). Hiking through the Triodia is like an extreme sport! Trying to negotiate your footing can result in a face full of spider as they have created their webs between trees, Triodia and anything else they can find and often are not noticed until they have arrived uninvited onto your nose!

Things are really livening up and bird numbers are the best I have seen them in many years!

I came across 5 flocks of Miners, 3 of which I had time to check many of the birds (for the darker feathering on their lower jaw and their darker rump).

Black Eared Miner

Black Eared Miner

Black Eared Miner

Yellow Throated Miner (note the lack of  dark line on lower jaw)

3 Red Lored Whistlers were found , 1 single and 2 together.

While driving around Gluepot 7 Gilberts Whistlers were found, most doing what they do best and hiding in thick shrubs!!

The usual position of a Male Gilberts Whistler

Gilberts Whistler

Large numbers of White Browed and Masked Woodswallows, Yellow Plumed Honeyeaters and Inland & Chestnut Rumped Thornbills kept me entertained.

Chestnut Rumped Thornbill

Chestnut Rump

Chestnut Rumped Thornbill

Chestnut Rumped Thornbills can be identified from Inland by checking the eye colour! Chestnut Rumps have a white eye. This helps in Gluepot where the 2 often are found together.

Yellow Plumed Honeyeater

Many groups of  cheeky White Browed & Chestnut Crowned Babblers where observed throughout the day.

Weebills and Striated Pardelotes enjoyed the flowering Eucalypts.

Striated Pardelote

Southern Whiteface, Red Capped Robin, Hooded Robin and Mistletoebirds were in good numbers.


Red Capped Robin

Collared Sparrowhawks were seen hunting on Track 8 and Picnic Dam has a small amount of water in it which kept the White eared  Honeyeaters and Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters happy.

Picnic Dam

Collared Sparrowhawk flies overhead

2 Southern Scrub Robin walked out of the Mallee to check me out while I sat under a tree watching a Grey Butcherbird.

Southern Scrub Robin
Grey Butcherbird

It is wonderful to see the bird numbers thriving and Gluepot is looking great at the moment!A visit there is well worth it!!

Bird hide