Sunday, October 20, 2013

The case of the missing Cape Gannet

Last weekend after some of my friends had discovered a Cape Gannet at Point Danger, Portland Victoria I decided to head over there to see if I could find it. Thankfully I have a very obliging friend who also wanted to see it and generously provided me with accommodation and transport.

An early start on the Saturday saw us drive the 5 hrs from Melbourne to Portland arriving at the Gannet Colony at midday. We drove in, set up the scope and were immediately asked to leave by the local Rifle Club who were about to start shooting in our direction!

Sadly we then lost 3 hrs of Gannet searching time.

We wandered aimlessly along Crumpets and found a dead whale which we believe may be a juvenile Killer Whale.

At 3pm we returned to the Colony and searched with some other friends. At 4.30pm more birders arrived, luckily for us we were then allowed access closer to the birds making searching much easier.


Vik hard at work!

The guys searching....

The Gannet colony and nearby island

We searched until 8pm, sadly without success however we got excellent views of the Australasian Gannets.












A quick drive to Bendigo the next day before my flight back to SA rewarded us with great views of the Eastern Koel which is a rare visitor to Victoria. He was easy to locate - just follow his incessant calling!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Owls this for a weekend in Tropical North Queensland

I have travelling a fair bit this year, as part of my goal to get to 700 on my Australian Lifelist.  As I work full time I’ve mostly resorted to planning weekend trips heading to targeted areas where potential lifers occur.

I was pleased to find an excuse to go back to Julatten in Tropical North Queensland as I was able to spend a weekend with my friend Del who is great company. I have been really looking forward to spending some time with him again.
His knowledge and skill in finding the local endemic species is remarkable. He makes finding the elusive species look easy due to his observation skills and understanding of the birds behaviour which comes from decades of experience in the field.

I had a few potential target species and with only 24 hrs available we worked hard and were rewarded with wonderful views of Lesser Sooty Owl, Grass Owl and Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo.

I was also able to photograph some species that I had not managed photos of before – as I am also trying to photograph every species in Australia.

A whirlwind trip but filled with wonderful memories!
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo







Comb-crested Jacana

Green Pygmy-goose

Green Pygmy-goose

Lesser Sooty Owl


Lovely Fairy-wren

Macleay's Honeyeater

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Yellow-spotted Honeyeater

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Little Shrike-thrush



Coffee break!

Bushy Creek

My friend Del

Lake Mitchell

Lake Mitchell


 Closed-litter Rainbow Skink- Calia longipes

Red-browed Finch

Macleay's Honeyeater

Del generously gave up potential clients to assist me over the weekend and I am very grateful! If any birders are looking for a professional bird guide in Tropical North Queensland I highly recommend you book with Del Richards on