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North East, Victoria, Australia
Blog of Bronzewing Birding Services, which provides news and updates on birdwatching in North East Victoria. For more information go to the website at:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Killawarra Forest and Scarlet Honeyeater!

pent an amazing morning at Killawarra Forest today searching for Regent Honeyeaters (unsuccessful) and Swift Parrots (successful). The forest just keeps getting better with the diversity of species and sheer numbers (hundreds of Noisy Friarbirds alone) as the flowering of Mugga Ironbark and Grey Box continues.

Started the morning at one of my favourite spots roughly at the corner of Irishtown Track and Wallaby Hill Track. Pied Currawongs have now made there way into the forest from the hills in large numbers and plenty were here this morning. Lorikeets, Purple-crowned and Little are still about, busily buzzing overhead or from tree to tree. A small group of Flame Robins was nice to see, including a male which was my first for this autumn. Hooded Robins (see below) were also about as well. I could heard Gilbert's Whistlers calling as well and finally tracked a male down in low undergrowth. A robin in the top of a Grey Box drew my attention as robins are usually lower to the ground. It turned out to be a female Rose Robin, my first ever sighting for Killawarra Forest though I have seen them along the Ovens River nearby. This species is an autumn-winter migrant here. I walked closer to Irishtown tk and heard the unmistakable call of Swift Parrots, 10 in all feeding in an Ironbark. A pair of Turquoise Parrots were also, this is the most northerly spot I have ever seen them in Killawarra/Warby Ranges. They tend to range about in autumn and winter though.

Continuing to walk about I was looking at a Mugga Ironbark flowering and a bright red little thing flitted about and flew between branches, a male SCARLET HONEYEATER! Amazing. This species has been popping up all over the state this year but still a major sighting for the north east.

Moving on I stopped along North West Lane where there were up to 26 Swift Parrots. A nice sighting was a large group of "cuddly" Dusky Woodswallows all huddle up together along a horizontal branch (pic below). They seem to do this in autumn and winter, very cute. A friendly Jacky Winter was also, enough to get a good picture with my basic photography skills.

Later in the morning I stopped at the Camp-Oval area in the middle of the forest. A male Peregrine was over the oval. More Swift Parrots were here too along with the hundreds of Noisy Friarbirds (pic below). Red Wattlebirds seem to have moved into the forest in larger numbers now as well, Little Friarbird numbers seem to have dropped off though. Crimson Rosellas, an autumn migrant were in reasonable numbers too, some birds feeding on Ironbark blossom, the flowers themselves not the nectar.

Heading out of the park I stopped along Frost Lane, Blue-faced Honeyeater was nice to see here, a late Fairy Martin overhead and more Friarbirds. Pictured below is some flowering Mugga Ironbark which is the reason for the fantastic birding in the forest at the moment.

Birdlist for Killawarra Forest (25/04/10):

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Swift Parrots at Boweya Forest

Had an excellent morning in the Boweya Forest today. I have spent most of this week out and about noticing lots of flowering in Mugga Ironbark and Grey Box trees. I have been keeping my ears and eyes out for Swift Parrots and today finally saw 2 at the north end of the forest. I first noticed them by their cheery "pip-pip-pip" calls and then observed them for a while feeding on Mugga Ironbark blossom. One bird was clearly an adult, the other maybe a young bird. It was duller, especially around the face and was missing some tail feathers, maybe it was moulting. Little and Purple-crowned Lorikeets were also about taking advantage of the flowering. Little Frairbirds were common too, more so than Noisy. The reverse is the case in Killawarra Forest to the east. This is not the first time I have noticed this as well. I wonder why?

Another bird which I have been having good luck with this week was a Painted Honeyeater. It flew over Keenan Road and landed in a large patch mistletoe on top of a Mugga Ironbark. I think it was a female or maybe even an immature as it was brown and white, rather than black and white.

Small mixed feeding flocks with Buff-rumped and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Scarlet, Red-capped and Eastern Yellow Robins were also observed in the recently burnt areas of the forest. A minor fuel reduction burn has taken place here earlier in the week and seem not to have affected the birds at all. Two Wedge-tailed Eagles were spotted sunning themselves in a dead tree along the Wangaratta Rd. Heading home along Creamery Road in Almonds I picked up a few extra species for the morning.

Birdlist for Boweya Forest:
Birdlist for Almonds:

Warby Ranges in Autumn

Spent a lovely morning in the Warby Range State Park of the 2nd April. The park was quite active with birds, many autumn-winter migrants around such as Pied Currawong (1st record for this year), Crimson Rosella, Silvereye (Tasmanian subspecies), quite a few Scarlet Robins, Brown Thornbill and Golden Whistler. Local birds have also moved into feeding flocks with a mixture of species such as Buff-rumped and Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Grey Shrike-thrush, White-throated Treecreeper, Grey Fantail, Speckled Warbler and Superb Fairy-wren. It was also nice to see some Turquoise Parrots near Ryan's Lookout. A pair of Peregrine Falcons was also observed along Tower Road.

The real highlight of the morning though was Noisy Friarbirds (picture below). In about a half hour period over 300 birds were noticed in flocks of 10-30 birds moving along the ridge line of the park along Tower Road. I suspect most birds were heading to Killawarra Forest where there is much flowering, which I observed earlier in the week. Small numbers of Little Friarbirds were also in the flocks.

On the way home at stop along Big Hill Road in Almonds was great for some raptor watching with Brown and Black Falcons, Wedge-tailed and Little Eagle and a Brown Goshawk all seen.

Birdlist for Warby Ranges:
Birdlist for Big Hill Road:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Killawarra Forest

Killawarra Forest would have to one of my favourite places to go birding. Only 10 minutes drive from home and such a hotspot for woodland bird diversity make it a top destiniation. This mornings outing was not different with 70 species recorded in a morning. A lot of Mugga Ironbark and Grey Box trees are flowering at present which is great for honeyeaters, in particular Noisy Friarbirds. There must be hundreds in the forest at the moment. Also notable this morning was the number of autumn-winter migrants now in the forest. This is one of the most pleasant times of the year in the forest watching the migrants move in from the higher ranges to the south. Today Crimson Rosella, Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Golden Whistler, Spotted Pardalote and Grey Fantail were all seen. An immature Flame Rbin was also observed as well, the first for this autumn-winter. In a few weeks there will be small flocks all over the countryside.

Some more interesting sightings today included a late White-throated Needletail (I think my
latest record is 9th April), a Painted Honeyeater which also seems to be staying rather late,
Gilbert's Whistler and some Turquoise Parrots, which move about 5-20 km into the forest from the Warby Ranges to the south during autumn.
No Swift Parrots yet, but hopefully with the good flowering occuring it will be sooner rather than later. On the way home I stopped briefly by the Ovens River at Frosts Crossing. An immature Olive-backed was an interesting sighting. It seemed to be practicing singing with it getting the "ory-ory-ole" call not quite right. A terrific morning in the North East.

Birdlist for Killawarra Forest:
Birdlist for Frosts Crossing: