Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Winton Wetlands and Chiltern Mt Pilot

As I drove into the carpark at Winton Wetlands, I noticed two things, the first were the council workers on their ride-on lawn mowers, and the second was that there wasn't any "wet" lands. As I got out of the car, a familiar call filled the air - lots of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Next were the Red-rumped Parrots, and then finally a call I had heard quite a lot in the past few days, the Brown Treecreeper. Despite a rather cool day and some drizzle in the air, I set off along the Woodlands Walk. A few more surprises, White-breasted Woodswallows, White-browed Babblers and Dusky Woodswallows. I returned to the car to some close-by grass cutting and decided any further bird-watching around there was likely to be spoilt and headed off towards Chiltern. A few kilometres up the road I came across a track and thought a drive through the Wetlands which were bone dry may prove enjoyable. It took a while for the birding to heat up as the wind had picked up and the day was moving from cool to cold.

I drove around through lots of dead tree "woodland" in the dry wetlands, seeing the occasional bird - a Wedge-tailed Eagle far away carrying what looked like a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in its talons, a Brown Falcon, a couple of Masked Lapwings and Grey Teals at a small dam, and then finally decided enough was enough.

I'm not sure of the exact location but I kept thinking I should head back towards the Chiltern road. I came across a patch of woodland just before exiting the Winton Wetlands area and saw a fair bit of activity. Out of the car, camera in hand. "Bird on the right!" screamed inside my head, camera whipped up and .... White-plumed Honeyeater. "Damn!" Then a different bird, skulking through the leaves and branches about two-thirds up a 20 foot tree. "That's a ... ohhhh... Finally.... Crested Shrike-tit." It wasn't too keen to come too close to the camera but I managed half a shot through the leaves.

I thought as I drove out through the gates that it was a worthwhile experience and then noticed lots of activity on the road ahead. About 20 Red-rumped Parrots and some smaller birds were feeding on the side of the track. The smaller birds turned out to be Yellow-rumped Thornbills. This one kindly sat on a wire on the side of the road and posed for the photo.

So, off to Chiltern-Mt Pilot, high in expectation of finding not only the Fuscous and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, but perhaps some Regent Honeyeaters and Turquoise Parrots. I headed towards the Honeyeater Picnic Grounds and found the Fuscous Honeyeaters almost where I'd left them on a previous visit, at the start of the road leading up to the Honeyeater Picnic Grounds. The juvenile was the best poser for the camera.

Next was a fleeting glance at a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, before an Eastern Yellow Robin perched on a branch not far from me.

The drizzle I had encountered down at Winton had followed me to Chiltern, and I was becoming concerned about the camera gear. I headed back to the car to grab some plastic bags for the camera and heard a lot of chriping coming from the other side of the dam. I grabbed the bags and headed off. A Brown Treecreeper was the first bird I saw heading towards the dam, heading left from the carpark. It went from a tree trunk to sit "in" a tall stump. Most unusual as it became a "tree-sitter" rather than a tree creeper.

I continued on, covering the camera with the bags, then stopped suddenly at the very south end of the dam. There it was, sitting out in clear view - a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. It flew off initially, then returned to the same spot to preen itself, constantly calling to others further back into the bush. The camera came out slowly, I didn't want to scare it off. I watched nervously as the rustling of the plastic bag and the camera seemed to be louder than a firecracker, but the bird stayed in place. Here are a couple of shots.

I decided that the area was fairly sparse bird-wise and took off towards the Whitebox Gum area the Regent Honeyeaters were supposed to be. To my dismay, this area had recently been burnt out. I met a local on the road and he gave a graphic and scary rendition of the fire that had come through just recently. Another local stopped not too long after to give another scary description. Both had stayed to fight the fire from their homes, one had managed to do that, the other had lost one of three buildings in the fire. After hearing their stories, my quest for birds seemed pretty lame in the area at that time. Apart from Black-chinned Honeyeaters, and a large group of Eastern Rosellas, a few Varied Sittellas and the calls of the Pied Currawongs and White-winged Choughs, I decided my time was at an end, and headed off towards Bendigo for the night.


  1. Congrats on the Crested Shrike-tit. It's been a while since I've seen one. What a reliable spot for Yellow-tufted that seems to be (in summer anyway)

    1. Yup. Challenge is to get hose Turquoise Parrots. 2 year window