Western Victoria - April 2013

Following the unprecedented sightings of large numbers of Malleefowl along the Ouyen-Patchewollock Road in NW Victoria earlier in the year, Yvonne and I decided to take a trip up to Ouyen. After exploring the national parks of NW Victoria, we travelled down to the Grampians and then on to Mount Gambier in South Australia. We then drove back to Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road.

Mallee Country

Wednesday: 10th April 2013

Drove up to Ouyen with an early morning visit to Kooyoora State Park. The park was fairly quiet in the early morning probably as it was still quite cold, although we did manage a brief view of Speckled Warbler and heard a couple calling. Stopped for lunch at Sea Lake and saw six Cockatiel feeding on red berries in the gardens. In the late afternoon saw four Malleefowl along the Ouyen-Patchewollock Road.

Stayed at the Hilltop Motel in Ouyen which was comfortable and very clean, and is probably the best accommodation in town. Had dinner at the local Victoria Hotel which had great meals.

Thursday: 11th April 2013
Birding around Ouyen, the Murray Sunset National Park (Pink Lakes) and Timberoo Flora & Fauna Reserve. Saw five Malleefowl in the early morning and then quite a few bird species in the Murray Sunset NP, with the highlight being the repeated sightings of Mallee Emu-wren. 

Mallee Emu-wren in spinifex grass

Saw ten Malleefowl on the Ouyen-Patchewollock Road at around sunset. 

Young Malleefowl blending well into habitat
Friday: 12th April 2013
Birding around Ouyen, the Murray Sunset National Park (Honeymoon Hut Track) and Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.  Heard two Malleefowl grunting along the Honeymoon Hut Track and saw lots of honeyeater with the highlight being a single Striped Honeyeater. Saw about 200 Red-necked Avocet at the Hattah-Kulkyne NP in the afternoon.

Pink Lakes at Murray Sunset National Park

Saturday: 13th April 2013
Drove down to the Grampians with some birding in the Little Desert National Park (Kiata). The area around Kiata was very quiet for birding and we didn’t see the Purple-gaped Honeyeater which can be found in this area. Most of the birds seen were in the flowering eucalypts alongside the road on the way to the campsite at Kiata.

Stayed at the Mountain View Holiday Lodge just outside of Halls Gap, which was very comfortable and had lots of space. In the evening we had dinner at the Quarry Restaurant in Halls Gap to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Sunday: 14th April 2013
Relaxing in the Grampians with some morning birding around Devils Garden State Forest and Lake Fyans. The Devils Garden SF is always a good spot for birding and highlights for this visit were lots of Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater and Orange-winged Sittella (sub-species).

Devils Garden State Forest
Monday: 15th April 2013
Drove down to Mount Gambier with a stop at Lake Buninjon and then some late afternoon birding around Casterton.

Lake Buninjon is alongside the Pyrenees Highway, SW of Ararat and was full of birds, with Double-banded Plover, about 200 Banded Stilt, many Red-necked Avocet and Red-necked Stint, plus a single Restless Flycatcher making its scissor calls in the adjacent reeds.
In the afternoon we drove north from Mount Gambier towards Penola and then turned right towards Victoria taking the Tower Road then Casterton-Penola Road. This is an area where the endangered sub-species of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii graptogyne) can be found (http://redtail.com.au) and we saw four birds flying over at about sunset.

Sunset of the Casterton-Penola Road
Stayed at the Walija Cottage (www.walijacottage.com.au) which is just south of Mount Gambier and was an excellent place to stay, by far the best accommodation for our trip.
Tuesday: 16th April 2013
Visited the Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park in the early morning and then spent the rest of the day in the Port MacDonnell area.

The Piccaninnie Ponds are a wetland of international importance and have a large underwater cavern known as The Cathedral, which has crystal clear water and is also a diving spot. The wetlands are surrounded with extensive reeds and we saw Southern Emu-wren alongside the path.
Piccaninnie Ponds

The fresh water which flows underground from the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier down to the coast, overflows into a stream which runs out on the beach, with a walking path provided through the dense heath to access the beach. We saw more Southern Emu-wren along this path and managed to get some photos too.
Southern Emu-wren

Port MacDonnell is a relaxing place to visit and has some stunning coastline with road access to the west and east of the town. Saw about 70 Black-faced Cormorant on the rocky limestone islands close to shore.

Wednesday: 17th April 2013
Birding in the Lower Glenelg National Park in the morning with a visit to the coast at Nelson in the late afternoon.

The Lower Glenelg NP has some very pleasant sites to visit alongside the Glenelg River. Whilst the birding was fairly quiet, we did enjoy having lunch at one of the picnic sites on the river with Red-necked Wallaby and Superb Fairywren coming in very close. 

Red-necked Wallaby
Thursday: 18th April 2013
Drove through to Apollo Bay with a detour to the Gannet colony and Fawthrop Lagoon in Portland, and then a drive along the Old Ocean Road through Port Campbell National Park.
It was very windy in Portland and four Shy Albatross were seen very close to shore, together with about 1,000 Australasian Gannet. The birds were too far way to have a chance of seeing the Cape Gannet.
Taking the Old Ocean Road from Princetown is worth the detour and the area is good for birding, with Grey Goshawk seen close to Princetown.
Stayed at the Whitehawks Cottage which is adjacent to the Cape Otway NP forests and just outside of Apollo Bay. Unfortunately this accommodation did not meet our expectations and there is far better accommodation, for the same cost, closer to Apollo Bay.
Friday: 19th April 2013
Relaxing around the Apollo Bay area, with a walk along part of the Great South West Walk (GSWW) which runs along the coastline heading down the coast.

The wind was still blowing hard and we saw more Shy Albatross along the coastal walk together with Short-tailed and Fluttering Shearwater.

Saturday: 20th April 2013
Birding in the Great Otway National Park with visits to Blanket Bay, Point Franklin and Maits Rest. 

Blanket Bay was a great birding spot and we saw Rufous Bristlebird up close, together with Olive Whistler, Pink Robin and Beautiful Firetail.

Rufous Bristlebird
Olive Whistler

Beautiful Firetail

Point Franklin is a tourist rip-off, having to pay quite a bit to see some old lighthouse? Did however see many Koala in the trees alongside the road on the drive down to Point Franklin.
The walk at Maits Rest was unbelievably quiet however did see Forest Raven briefly.
Sunday: 21st April 2013
Early morning drive up the Great Ocean Road to Queenscliff. Took the ferry across to the Mornington Peninsula and then drove home.  

Trip Highlights
The easy sightings of Malleefowl alongside the Ouyen-Patchewollock road were great, although the large numbers of birds reported, often between 50 and 80 birds, had reduced significantly by the time of our visit.  Ouyen is conveniently located for access to a number of excellent birding areas, such as the Murray Sunset NP, Hattah-Kulkyne NP and Timberoo FFR, plus has some other good birding sites in the district.

The Grampians area is always a very pleasant part of Victoria to visit, although it’s best to avoid the tourist season and weekends if possible.

Mount Gambier is a lovely area to spend some time visiting and has local attractions in town, such as Blue Lake and Cave Gardens, plus some good areas to visit close by, such as Port MacDonnell. The accommodation at Walija Cottage was excellent and we would stay there again if we were visiting Mount Gambier in the future.

The area to the west of Cape Otway was interesting and a lot quieter than the touristy sites along the Great Ocean Road.  Blanket Bay in the Cape Otway National Park was well worth a visit.

For the trip we saw 166 birds, none of which were lifers, but some were new for my Victorian and South Australian bird lists. The list of birds according to the IOC taxonomy, with subspecies identified where possible, was as follows:


Emu (Dromaiidae)

Emu [sp] (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

Emu [novaehollandiae] (Dromaius novaehollandiae novaehollandiae)


Megapodes (Megapodiidae)

Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata)


Ducks, Geese & swans (Anatidae)

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa)

Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides)

Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata)

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)

Pacific Black Duck [sp] (Anas superciliosa)

Pacific Black Duck [rogersi] (Anas superciliosa rogersi)

Australasian Shoveler [sp] (Anas rhynchotis)

Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)

Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)


Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)

Shy Albatross [sp] (Thalassarche cauta)

Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Short-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris)

Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia)


Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Australasian Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus)


Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Australian White Ibis [sp] (Threskiornis moluccus)

Australian White Ibis [moluccus] (Threskiornis moluccus moluccus)

Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)

Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)

White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica)

Eastern Great Egret (Ardea alba modesta)

White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)

Pelicans (Pelecanidae)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)


Gannets, Boobies (Sulidae)

Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator)

Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)

Little Pied Cormorant [sp] (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

Little Pied Cormorant [melanoleucos] (Microcarbo melanoleucos melanoleucos)

Black-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscescens)

Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)

Australasian Darter [sp] (Anhinga novaehollandiae)

Australasian Darter [novaehollandiae] (Anhinga novaehollandiae novaehollandiae)


Kites, Hawks & Eagles (Accipitridae)

Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

Little Eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides)

Wedge-tailed Eagle [sp] (Aquila audax)

Wedge-tailed Eagle [audax] (Aquila audax audax)

Grey Goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae)

Brown Goshawk [sp] (Accipiter fasciatus)

Brown Goshawk [fasciatus] (Accipiter fasciatus fasciatus)

Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans)

Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis)

Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)


Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)

Nankeen Kestrel [sp] (Falco cenchroides)

Nankeen Kestrel [cenchroides] (Falco cenchroides cenchroides)

Brown Falcon [berigora] (Falco berigora berigora)


Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)

Buff-banded Rail [mellori] (Gallirallus philippensis mellori)

Purple Swamphen [sp] (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Dusky Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula tenebrosa)

Dusky Moorhen [tenebrosa] (Gallinula tenebrosa tenebrosa)

Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)

Australian Coot (Fulica atra australis)


Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)

Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris)

Sooty Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus fuliginosus)

Sooty Oystercatcher [fuliginosus] (Haematopus fuliginosus fuliginosus)

Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)

White-headed Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus)

Banded Stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus)

Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae)

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Masked Lapwing [sp] (Vanellus miles)

Masked Lapwing [novaehollandiae] (Vanellus miles novaehollandiae)

Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)

Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)

Double-banded Plover [bicinctus] (Charadrius bicinctus bicinctus)

Greater Sand Plover [leschenaultii] (Charadrius leschenaultii leschenaultii)

Hooded Dotterel (Thinornis cucullatus)

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)

Ruddy Turnstone [interpres] (Arenaria interpres interpres)

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata)

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Gulls, Terns & Skimmers (Laridae)

Silver Gull [sp] (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

Pacific Gull [sp] (Larus pacificus)

Pacific Gull [georgii] (Larus pacificus georgii)

Kelp Gull [sp] (Larus dominicanus)

Black-backed Gull (Larus dominicanus dominicanus)

Greater Crested Tern [sp] (Thalasseus bergii)

Greater Crested Tern [cristatus] (Thalasseus bergii cristatus)


Doves and Pigeons (Columbidae)

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia ''feral'')

Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

Crested Pigeon [sp] (Ocyphaps lophotes)

Crested Pigeon [lophotes] (Ocyphaps lophotes lophotes)

Peaceful Dove [placida] (Geopelia placida placida)


Cockatoos (Cacatuidae)

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo [graptogyne] (Calyptorhynchus banksii graptogyne)

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo [sp] (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo [whiteae] (Calyptorhynchus funereus whiteae)

Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)

Galah [sp] (Eolophus roseicapilla)

Galah [albiceps] (Eolophus roseicapilla albiceps)

Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

Little Corella [sp] (Cacatua sanguinea)

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo [sp] (Cacatua galerita)

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo [galerita] (Cacatua galerita galerita)

Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

Parrots and Macaws (Psittacidae)

Rainbow Lorikeet [sp] (Trichoglossus moluccanus)

Musk Lorikeet [sp] (Glossopsitta concinna)

Musk Lorikeet [concinna] (Glossopsitta concinna concinna)

Purple-crowned Lorikeet (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala)

Mallee Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius barnardi)

Crimson Rosella [sp] (Platycercus elegans)

Crimson Rosella [elegans] (Platycercus elegans elegans)

Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans flaveolus)

Eastern Rosella [sp] (Platycercus eximius)

Eastern Rosella [eximius] (Platycercus eximius eximius)

Yellow-vented Bluebonnet (Northiella haematogaster haematogaster)

Red-rumped Parrot [sp] (Psephotus haematonotus)

Red-rumped Parrot [haematonotus] (Psephotus haematonotus haematonotus)

Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius)

Regent Parrot [monarchoides] (Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides)


Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Laughing Kookaburra [sp] (Dacelo novaeguineae)

Laughing Kookaburra [novaeguineae] (Dacelo novaeguineae novaeguineae)


Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchidae)

Satin Bowerbird [sp] (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

Satin Bowerbird [violaceus] (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus violaceus)

Australasian Treecreepers (Climacteridae)

White-throated Treecreeper [sp] (Cormobates leucophaea)

White-throated Treecreeper [leucophaea] (Cormobates leucophaea leucophaea)

Brown Treecreeper [sp] (Climacteris picumnus)

Fairywrens (Maluridae)

Superb Fairywren [sp] (Malurus cyaneus)

Southern Emu-wren [sp] (Stipiturus malachurus)

Mallee Emu-wren (Stipiturus mallee)

Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)

Yellow-faced Honeyeater [sp] (Lichenostomus chrysops)

Yellow-faced Honeyeater [chrysops] (Lichenostomus chrysops chrysops)

Singing Honeyeater [sp] (Lichenostomus virescens)

Singing Honeyeater [sonorus] (Lichenostomus virescens sonorus)

White-eared Honeyeater [sp] (Lichenostomus leucotis)

White-eared Honeyeater [leucotis] (Lichenostomus leucotis leucotis)

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater [sp] (Lichenostomus melanops)

Yellow-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus ornatus)

White-plumed Honeyeater [sp] (Lichenostomus penicillatus)

White-plumed Honeyeater [penicillatus] (Lichenostomus penicillatus penicillatus)

Noisy Miner [sp] (Manorina melanocephala)

Yellow-throated Miner [flavigula] (Manorina flavigula flavigula)

Blue-faced Honeyeater [cyanotis] (Entomyzon cyanotis cyanotis)

Black-chinned Honeyeater [gularis] (Melithreptus gularis gularis)

Brown-headed Honeyeater [sp] (Melithreptus brevirostris)

Brown-headed Honeyeater [brevirostris] (Melithreptus brevirostris brevirostris)

White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus)

Striped Honeyeater (Plectorhyncha lanceolata)

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis)

Little Wattlebird [sp] (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

Little Wattlebird [chrysoptera] (Anthochaera chrysoptera chrysoptera)

Red Wattlebird [sp] (Anthochaera carunculata)

Red Wattlebird [carunculata] (Anthochaera carunculata carunculata)

Crescent Honeyeater [pyrrhopterus] (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus pyrrhopterus)

New Holland Honeyeater [sp] (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

New Holland Honeyeater [novaehollandiae] (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae novaehollandiae)

Eastern Spinebill [sp] (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris)

Eastern Spinebill [tenuirostris] (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris tenuirostris)

Bristlebirds (Dasyornithidae)

Rufous Bristlebird [sp] (Dasyornis broadbenti)

Pardalotes (Pardalotidae)

Spotted Pardalote [sp] (Pardalotus punctatus)

Striated Pardalote [sp] (Pardalotus striatus)

Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Striated Fieldwren [sp] (Calamanthus fuliginosus)

Striated Fieldwren [bourneorum] (Calamanthus fuliginosus bourneorum)

Speckled Warbler (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus)

White-browed Scrubwren [sp] (Sericornis frontalis)

Weebill [sp] (Smicrornis brevirostris)

Brown Weebill (Smicrornis brevirostris brevirostris)

Brown Thornbill [sp] (Acanthiza pusilla)

Brown Thornbill [pusilla] (Acanthiza pusilla pusilla)

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza uropygialis)

Buff-rumped Thornbill [sp] (Acanthiza reguloides)

Yellow-rumped Thornbill [sp] (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa)

Yellow-rumped Thornbill [leighi] (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa leighi)

Striated Thornbill [sp] (Acanthiza lineata)

Southern Whiteface [leucopsis] (Aphelocephala leucopsis leucopsis)

Australasian Babblers (Pomatostomidae)

White-browed Babbler [gilgandra] (Pomatostomus superciliosus gilgandra)

Butcherbirds (Cracticidae)

Grey Butcherbird [sp] (Cracticus torquatus)

Pied Butcherbird [nigrogularis] (Cracticus nigrogularis nigrogularis)

Australian Magpie [sp] (Gymnorhina tibicen)

Pied Currawong [sp] (Strepera graculina)

Pied Currawong [ashbyi] (Strepera graculina ashbyi)

Grey Currawong [sp] (Strepera versicolor)

Woodswallows (Artamidae)

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus)

White-browed Woodswallow (Artamus superciliosus)

Dusky Woodswallow [cyanopterus] (Artamus cyanopterus cyanopterus)

Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Black-faced Cuckooshrike [sp] (Coracina novaehollandiae)

Sittellas (Neosittidae)

Orange-winged Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera chrysoptera)

Black-capped Sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera pileata)

Whistlers and Allies (Pachycephalidae)

Olive Whistler [bathychroa] (Pachycephala olivacea bathychroa)

Australian Golden Whistler [sp] (Pachycephala pectoralis)

Australian Golden Whistler [youngi] (Pachycephala pectoralis youngi)

Rufous Whistler [rufiventris] (Pachycephala rufiventris rufiventris)

Grey Shrikethrush [sp] (Colluricincla harmonica)

Grey Shrikethrush [harmonica] (Colluricincla harmonica harmonica)

Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

Willie Wagtail [sp] (Rhipidura leucophrys)

Willie Wagtail [leucophrys] (Rhipidura leucophrys leucophrys)

Grey Fantail [sp] (Rhipidura albiscapa)

Monarch Flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Magpie-lark [sp] (Grallina cyanoleuca)

Magpie-lark [cyanoleuca] (Grallina cyanoleuca cyanoleuca)

Restless Flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta)

Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Forest Raven [sp] (Corvus tasmanicus)

Little Raven (Corvus mellori)

Australian Raven [sp] (Corvus coronoides)

Australian Raven [coronoides] (Corvus coronoides coronoides)

White-winged Chough and Apostlebird (Corcoracidae)

White-winged Chough [sp] (Corcorax melanoramphos)

White-winged Chough [melanoramphos] (Corcorax melanoramphos melanoramphos)

Australasian Robins (Petroicidae)

Eastern Yellow Robin [sp] (Eopsaltria australis)

Eastern Yellow Robin [australis] (Eopsaltria australis australis)

Hooded Robin [cucullata] (Melanodryas cucullata cucullata)

Jacky Winter [sp] (Microeca fascinans)

Jacky Winter [fascinans] (Microeca fascinans fascinans)

Pink Robin [inexpectata] (Petroica rodinogaster inexpectata)

Scarlet Robin [sp] (Petroica boodang)

Scarlet Robin [boodang] (Petroica boodang boodang)

Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Welcome Swallow [sp] (Hirundo neoxena)

Welcome Swallow [neoxena] (Hirundo neoxena neoxena)

Tree Martin [sp] (Petrochelidon nigricans)

White-Eyes (Zosteropidae)

Silvereye [sp] (Zosterops lateralis)

Starlings (Sturnidae)

Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)

Common Starling [vulgaris] (Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris)

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Bassian Thrush [lunulata] (Zoothera lunulata lunulata)

Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Flowerpeckers (Dicaeidae)

Mistletoebird [hirundinaceum] (Dicaeum hirundinaceum hirundinaceum)

Old World Sparrows and Snowfinches (Passeridae)

House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrow [domesticus] (Passer domesticus domesticus)

Waxbills, Munias and Allies (Estrildidae)

Beautiful Firetail [sp] (Stagonopleura bella)

Red-browed Finch [sp] (Neochmia temporalis)

Red-browed Finch [temporalis] (Neochmia temporalis temporalis)

Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Australian Pipit [sp] (Anthus australis)

Australian Pipit [australis] (Anthus australis australis)

Finches, Siskins and Crossbills (Fringillidae)

European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)



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