Last weekend Ethan, my grandson, Andrew, from UK via Warsaw, and I went on a 4D/3N Firetail Birding Tour tour to the Mallee with guide Simon Starr. Ethan was keen to see all of the 23 parrot species we could possibly see, Andrew had a big shopping list and I was along to keep the job in order. We had a fantastic time. Andrew got 40 or so life ticks and Ethan ticked about 60! I got 2 and Simon got nil!
After picking Andrew up at Tullamarine at 7am straight off his Warsaw to Melbourne flight, we headed to the southern section of Wyperfeld NP via ...
1. Castlemaine Botanic Gardens where Powerful Owl was almost the first official bird of the trip. It was spotted by Ethan within 30 seconds and he had never seen an owl before! This instantly elevated him to the position of "Chief Spotter" which he fulfilled admirably over the trip with some difficult birds. I was still starting an eBird list so I was assigned the position of Administrator to keep a tab on the birds we saw.
2. Mia Mia Track in the Muckleford State Forest where we heard and saw the first of many Pallid Cuckoos plus Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo, saw a Weebill nest in action, closeups of Buff-rumped Thornbills, seven species of Honeyeater [Ye-f, Ye-t, ReW, Fus, Wh-n, Br-h and Bl-ch*] and Grey Currawong.
3. Wedderburn where we viewed Musk Lorikeets, and
4. Hopetoun which appeared to have no residents at all on a Thursday afternoon. It was surmised an alien invasion had occurred.
Along the way we saw several Spotted Harriers and between Hopetoun and Yapeet, Ethan spotted one on a fence post by the road. Wyperfeld was excellent with Emu, one Major Mitchell Cockatoo, four more Honeyeaters [W-f C, Ta-c, Sp-c, Wh-e**]. The other three also saw a Shy Heathwren. On the way out at dusk we saw Spotted Nightjar and a Tawny Frogmouth.
We stayed overnight was in the motel units behind the Hopetoun Hotel. Andrew stayed vibrant until the end of the meal then crashed. It was a sterling effort to avoid jetlag. We ticked 88 species for the day. The trip was a bird WATCHING trip, not one for hunting down birds for photos so not that many photos were taken. Ethan is a bit of a keen bird photographer too so he had a spare 70-300 lens on his Canon 1100D. Here are some of our efforts.
Buff-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza reguloides
Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris
Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna
Powerful Owl Ninox strenua
Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis
Tawny Grogmouth Podargus strigoides This is a headlight shot. He has something in his mouth. A mouse?
* Yellow-faced, Yellow-tufted, Red Wattlebird, Fuscous, White-naped, Brown-headed, Black-chinned
** White-faced Chat, Tawny-crowned, Spiny-cheeked, White-eared