Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Australia Day Weekend

Scarlet Honeyeater at Fairy Dell near Bruthen

Joy and I were joined by Mel for this year's Australia Day Weekend excursion to Orbost and the Croajingolong National Park in east Gippsland. Mel wanted to find her 500th Australian species and Joy and I wanted to help her and at the same time have some good birding in what I think is one of the most beautiful places in Australia.
Black-faced Monarch

Eastern Whipbird

The weather was perfect with no wind and lightly overcast skies. We even got some gorgeous sunsets and some passing thunder storms – gotta love a good thunder and lightning show! Even when we did get heavy rain it was Camelot-like and happened during the night.
Sooty Owl. Yes, it is a bad photo but I don't like using bright spotlights especially as they are a threatened species

Masked Owl. Another bad photo for the same reasons as above, but hey, how often do you get to see a Sooty or Masked owl?

And it wasn't only birds that kept us interested. Moths, butterflies, flowers, spiders, snakes and lizards were all out enjoying the weather and by the time we were heading home I had 100 bird species on my trip list. Best birds were Masked Owl, Sooty Owl and Eastern Ground Parrot.
Red-bellied Blacksnake. The venom can be deadly but they are not aggressive unless you annoy them or stand on them.

Mel called a quiet warning to me and I looked down to see I was about one metre from the snake and that was closer than I wanted to be so I just stood and waited for it leave. It was very beautiful. Thanks for the photo Joy.

Tiger Snake. I used the telephoto for this shot because Tiger Snakes have a deadly venom and they are  aggressive. I nearly ran over one once and as I backed the car away the snake attacked the car. It is another beautiful snake but not one to mess with.

On the long drive between Melbourne and Orbost we alternated between spotting birds for our trip list and helping Mel come up with songs that have reference to weather in their lyrics. We came up with about 20 or so for Mel to add to her list but my suggestion of Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald was deemed too obscure, even though I assured them that it was all about weather. It seems that what Mel was looking for was well known sing-along type songs to brighten a long road trip, not songs of death and disaster. Sigh, ah well, I tried (smile).
A beautiful moth on a Banksia leaf

Sword Grass Brown Butterfly, on Sword Grass

Jewel or Spiny Spider mending her web

Wood Duck, also known as Maned Duck

The coastal lakes at Marlo

And just a rather nice sunset over the Marlo (Orbost) aerodrome

Text & images © Jenny Spry


  1. Wow! What a nice holiday outing. Those two owls are really something.

  2. Yep, I'd be happy with those owls :)