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Birds of Victoria - #7(b) – East Gippsland (Orbost Region) (27 July 2017)

contributed by cougar15
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We are now on our annual journey north chasing the winter sunshine of Queensland.

Birds of Victoria - #7(b) – East Gippsland (Orbost Region) Darter, Snowy River Mouth, Marlo, VIC

Our first overnight stop was Orbost. However, before bedding down that night we visited the coastal village of Marlo, at the mouth of the Snowy River. My primary targets in that area were three ‘lifer firsts’ - Beautiful Firetail, Pilotbird and Southern Emu-wren - all of which were reported to be local residents.

Birds of Victoria - #1 (c) - Phillip Island (Shearwater Estate Wetlands) Black Swan, Shearwater Estate Wetlands, Phillip Island, VIC

At Marlo, we drove along the foreshore esplanade until it ended not far from the river mouth. Along the way, we noted a large colony of Little Black Cormorants along the shoreline opposite the Marlo pier. Further down the esplanade, we saw Pied Oystercatcher, Little Pied Cormorant, Darter and Great Egret. The ubiquitous Silver Gull was ever present as well.

Birds of Victoria - #8 - The Mallee Region Peaceful Dove, Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, Buronga, NSW

A quick trip to the local cemetery produced nothing but Australian Magpie, Australian Raven, Magpie-lark and Masked Lapwing (Spurwinged Plover).

In other words, not a single ‘lifer first’, anywhere.

The following morning I only came across a couple of Common Starling and dozens of House Sparrow at our motel.

Birds of Victoria - #7(b) – East Gippsland (Orbost Region) Bassian Thrush, Bellbird Creek, VIC

So, I left Orbost with a sense of disappointment and headed for our next overnight stay, at Ulladulla.

Birds of Victoria - #5 - South Gippsland White-faced Heron, Waratah Hills Vineyard, Fish Creek, VIC

Not far into our journey that day we passed through a ‘dot on the map’ called Bellbird Creek. I parked alongside the local hotel and went for a quick walk around the nearby picnic area and along the walking track into the bush. My first avian encounter was with a Laughing Kookaburra perched on a post behind the hotel. Next, I was ‘buzzed’ by an inquisitive Eastern Yellow Robin – I later found out that it was one of many in the area.

Birds of Victoria - #5 - South Gippsland Varied Sittella, Wonthaggi Bushland Reserve, VIC

Then I saw a thrush scratching amongst the decaying leaves underneath some heavy vegetation at the rear of the hotel. I believe it was a Bassian Thrush as the Russet-tailed Thrush is not usually seen that far south of Sydney.

Birds of Victoria - #9 - Heidelberg Region Eastern Rosella, Main Yarra Trail, Viewbank, VIC

There were a number of bird calls I heard during my brief stay in that area. One was the unmistakeable call of the Eastern Whipbird, the others were more difficult to identify as I was unfamiliar with that area and a long way from my usual birding hang-outs.

Birds of Victoria - #9 - Heidelberg Region Gang-gang Cockatoo, Banyule Flats Reserve, Viewbank, VIC

I did, however, track down a pair of Gang-gang Cockatoo high in the forest canopy.

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