Rhonda Bunbury warmly welcomed us to her beautifully maintained farm which has a range of suitable environments for birds.
We started in her beautiful home garden of mixed exotic and native plants, and were greeted by a Yellow-Faced Honeyeater. Striated Pardalotes called incessantly from her roof top as they nest very close to her bedroom window…maybe not such a good thing!
Less welcome but interesting was an English Blackbird with two young. However very soon a highlight was a Grey Butcherbird arriving at the nest to feed two young…hopefully not with other baby birds as Butcherbirds tend to steal from nests to feed their young.
Grey Butcherbird nest with 2 chicks
On the walk adjacent to the old Torquay water course and down to her large area of remnant woodland of 20 acres, two Eastern Rosellas flashed past displaying their red heads and vivid green rumps. We saw numerous Crimson Rosellas during our time there.
The birds in the woodland were mostly hard to see in the high trees against the grey sky, and the cold weather seemed not inspire them to call to each other and enable us to more easily identify them. A number (or maybe only a couple!) of Grey Shrike Thrushes were heard regularly with their musical call. Superb Fairy Wrens called, but mostly staying hidden in the bushes. At Rhonda’s most attractive dam there were six Australian Wood Ducks which seems agitated but did nor fly away as they would normally have done. Rhonda thought there must be some hidden eggs or tiny ducklings.
We did see several Red-browed Finches nearby.
Morning tea was calling so we decided to walk back to the house. We were enthralled by the sight of a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles looking very conspicuous in a large tree in a paddock, and then soaring off while being attacked by a variety of smaller birds.
Margaret Lacey’s magic camera picked up one of them, a not so small Whistling Kite.
She had earlier caught on camera a diving Brown Goshawk which put in such a brief appearance that most of us didn’t even glimpse it.
Diving Brown Goshawk
She also photographed a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, which again was not seen by most of us.
During morning tea we were entertained by a White-browed Scrubwren darting into a Kangaroo Paw plant with food for babies in a hidden nest.
Rhonda wrote a dedication in a book she has donated to the ANGAIR library. It is the incredibly detailed Geelong Bird Report 2013 to 2016, which is the culmination of many years of work bringing together over 300,000 observations of more than 300 bird species submitted by more than 600 observers in the Geelong region.
On our way out Margaret saw another two birds, one which was a Magpie-lark which I thought I had heard earlier, and which gave us a total of 38 species. All in all it was a most pleasant morning… thank you Rhonda!
Below are all the birds identified on the walk:
Photos by Margaret Lacey with the exception of the Butcher Bird nest taken by Conrad White