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5th November. Our last day on Tasmania was spent birding on the mountain above Hobart. We were lucky with the weather as it dawned clear and calm. Views from the mountain looking down over Hobart where breath taking. Flame Robins sang from tree tops glowing in the early morning sun. We worked the roadside forest and heath and scored with Tasmanian Scrubwren and Striated Fieldwren. We also enjoyed great close up views of two pairs of Scrubtits great little birds.
The afternoon was spent out at Port Arthur where we added Cape Barren Goose to the list.
6th November. An early morning flight from Hobart to Melbourne and we were met at the airport by Steve Davidson, local bird guide and good mate of Sean Dooley’s who had put us in touch. We immediately clicked with Steve and knew we were in for a good day. Steve had already got bird number one lined up just a few yards away! A gorgeous Purple-crowned Lorikeet feeding in a tree right outside the airport, great stuff.
We were soon off to Werribee sewage works, which we had read about in Sean’s book, The Big Twitch. The place was heaving with birds, particularly waders and wildfowl; we could have stayed for months checking this lot! Flocks of Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers fed alongside armies of Red-necked Stints, clouds of Red-headed Avocets swirled over the shallow pools. Cape Barren Geese fed amongst Australian Shelduck, a pair of Brolga flew in, Musk Duck were common, two drake Blue-billed Duck were found on a deeper pond, birds everywhere! Steve was able to find Lewin’s Rail and a calling Stubble Quail for us as we listened to Skylarks in full song overhead, magic.
We then headed off across town to Seaford Swamp, where Sean had cut his birding teeth and often mentioned in The Big Twitch his excellent book. Again a great site with plenty of birds, similar in mix to Werribee though fewer waders. We had come here to look for an Australian Painted Snipe. Three other birders were already on the viewing platform, a local Melbourne guy and a British couple that had travelled here overland from the UK, an amazing adventure, birding all the way! We scanned and scanned but no joy. With time ticking away we began to get that sinking feeling, this was a dip. But help was nearby, another local birder emerged from the hide and told us the Aussie Painted Snipe was right in front and invited us to view it, the hide is not open for public access, but we very happily joined him and were treated to amazing views! The bird was literally right outside; you had to look down on it! What a lovely looking wader, sadly the British couple had already left; hopefully they will have time for another look before they leave Melbourne.
Many thanks, Steve, for great birding and a really enjoyable day; we really hope we can bird together again one day, top bloke. Check out Steve’s website – www.themelbournebirder.com and if you’re in the area give him a shout for great birding and great company.Bird species list 3718
Posted Melbourne 6th November


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