Monday, July 22, 2013

Point Nepean

The Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) is a very uncommon bird in Victoria so when three were seen at Point Nepean, south of Melbourne, we had to go.

The weather had been bad for days with rain and strong wind and I nearly decided that standing on a rocky ocean cliff looking for birds in those conditions was not a good idea. Thankfully Joy reminded me that Birding is an Extreme Sport so off we went. As it turned out the day was beautiful. The sun came out, the wind dropped to the point where the birds had good uplift along the cliffs and there was a nice surf running.

Access to Point Nepean has been impossible until just a few years ago. The area used to be an officer training school for the army and, many years ago, a quarantine station. Concrete gun emplacements were built back in the 1880s and maintained until the 1940s. These are now either in ruins or have been restored and opened to the public and are well worth looking at.

Point Nepean would be an excellent place to cliff watch for albatross, shearwaters, prions and other ocean birds but it is a 2.6 km walk from the car park, a long way to carry a scope and tripod. There is a regular shuttle bus but the fare is $10 for the day.

View west across The Rip to Point Lonsdale. Port Phillip Bay is to the right and Tasmania to the left.  Many birds feed in the waters of The Rip and the Ospreys seem to have joined them.

Looking east. An old gun emplacement can be seen. The round, rocky outcrop seemed to be the eastern limit for the Ospreys.


Gannets were flying right over our heads

... and they came very close as they headed out to sea

A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers complete with tracks, shadows and reflections

All images & text © Jenny Spry

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