Whether you simply enjoy time in the outdoors or are a serious birdwatcher, birds will provide you with lots of enjoyment.
Their beautiful calls, their bright colours and endearing habits make them a joy to have around.
All ecotours and walks in the program include bird encounters and time to watch and enjoy birds as part of our daily activities.
In addition there are two dedicated birdwatching tours where the focus of all our activities is on birdwatching. You don’t have to be an expert, this is a perfect way to get started and you will enjoy sharing lots of different bird experiences with your fellow travellers.
Graded: Easy Walks: Lots of short walks at birdwatching pace, some uneven ground and gentle hills. 4 nights accommodation Focus: Birdwatching Destinations: Snowy River National Park, Buchan, McKillops Bridge, Deddick Educational discovery level: Moderate / High
This is a dedicated birdwatching trip to introduce you to the rich birdlife of the Snowy River Valley. The scenery is superb and the birdwatching is rewarding both in the dry rainshadow woodland of the Snowy River Valley as well as other interesting sites we visit.
Fully accommodated in comfortable cottage accommodation, enjoy days filled with observing birds going about their daily activities and discover life in a remote corner of Victoria.
Graded: Moderate Walks: Lots of walking, mostly easy but sometimes off track 7 nights accommodation Focus: Birdwatching in an arid environment Destinations: Murray Sunset & Hattah Kulkyne National Parks, Murray River Educational discovery level: Moderate-High
This is a dedicated birdwatching trip to introduce you to the very rewarding birdwatching of the mallee environment. Proximity to the Murray River also adds waterbirds to the variety of birdlife.
You don’t have to be an experienced birdwatcher, enthusiastic novices are most welcome and it is a great way to gain experience and learn more about birds and birdwatching. We will take our time and enjoy watching the birds, not just ticking off lists.
After a productive morning wandering and enjoying the birds, we settled back at “Kurrajong” for some relaxing time before lunch, with everyone reading, writing up a diary or sneaking a bit of shut-eye.
We were disturbed from our rest by the song of a robin, so out to the verandah with binoculars. No robin to be seen, but a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater sat in the dead branches on top of the old fig tree – its striking yellow catching the eye. Then a flurry of bird activity erupted. As well as the immature Jacky Winter that seemed to call the garden home, an adult arrived to dive for insects as well. In the fig tree, two immature Diamond Firetails arrived along with a brilliantly coloured adult. Brown Treecreepers hopped confidently across the lawn and a Sacred Kingfisher perched briefly on the barbed wire fence but was too shy to stay. As the activity died down, we returned inside to lunch keeping a watchful eye on the garden.
Lunchtime the following day also commenced with excitement with a single Scarlet Honeyeater singing its heart out from a lofty perch on the very top branch of a pine tree. Despite his height, our binoculars soon brought the brilliant scarlet colour closer as he shone in the sunlight. Later I was surprised to see not one or two, but five Speckled Warblers foraging together beneath the fig tree. These are not uncommon in the open woodland here but this is the first time I have seen such a group together. Perhaps this group included immatures, but sadly my observation was brief as some passing Ravens started them and they disappeared from view.
The bird list for this visit grew to 66 species, with the overall list for various departures of this trip since 2007 now over 100 different species. A couple of notable new additions for this visit were the Scarlet Honeyeater and a pair of Turquoise Parrots at Canni Creek on the last day. However tallying the number of birds on lists is no where near as much fun as sitting and enjoying watching the birds coming to us as they did over these two lunches!
The Bowerbird by Kaye Munro (Waterholes Guesthouse) ‘A newly mature satin bowerbird built his love bower very visibly in a little patch of bush just outside our gate this spring. He was very inexperienced and we had a lot of amusement watching his attempts to prove his worth to the ladies. Every exciting little article he collected for his display was nicked by the older males while he was off getting more and every time a young female showed interest the older ladies drove them off with dire warnings about young handsome males with nothing behind them. Even after the season was over he continued practising for next year - chirring and dancing, collecting, etc... Then the fires came. After it all slowed down we were delighted to discover his little bower intact - the flames had come to within a metre of it but there it was with his bits of blue all around it. Two days later we heard the most glorious carry-on up at the bower: Absolutely triumphant chortling and chirring - the whole gamut of the bower bird repertoire. He had found his bower all perfectly safe and was letting the world know that he had the best real estate on the block! It was lovely! I hope he does very well next spring!’
Changing of the guard?
It was a spring afternoon in Croajingolong National Park and we were walking along the beach to observe the brown tannin stained waters of Thurra River rush out through a low sand bar to join the sapphire blue ocean. Nearby a Pied Oystercatcher foraged in the sand, apparently oblivious to our presence.
Walking back to the edge of the Thurra estuary we encounter three Hooded Plover in the shallows.
As we watched, they bathed in the freshwater, then scurried on their skinny les up onto the shore to preen. With ablutions complete they busily ran up across the sand. While we watched them we noticed a second Pied Oystercatcher which seemed to appear from nowhere, walking in the direction of the first one seen earlier. This first Oystercatcher suddenly strode purposefully towards us, passed its mate and settled itself sitting on a rise of sand. Was there a nest here? Had we just observed the “changing of the guard”? We’ll never know for sure as we left straight away so as not disturb the pair, but it certainly seemed likely.
Outback Birding “Our trip thrilled birdwatchers with sightings of lots of species of arid-land bird including Pink Cockatoo, Crimson and Orange Chat, White-winged and Variegated Fairy Wrens, Babblers, Australian Pratincole, as well as Blue bonnet, Red-rumped, Mulga and Bourkes Parrots. The semi permanent waterholes along the Cooper boast prolific birdlife with both water birds and bush birds attracted by the fresh water.”
Magical experience “During our walk back from the Thurra Sand Dunes, we chanced upon a lyrebird which was fossicking in the understory of the rainforest. It appeared to be very tame and not the least disturbed by our close presence, but the minute one stepped off the track, that bird immediately took evasive action, so it was indeed keeping a very close eye on us. To me it was a magical experience to be so close to a very special bird. The delight was enhanced by the feeling of calm in the quiet of the rainforest where time seemed to stand still and the world and its worries a very long way away.”
Whipbirds and misty gullies “Magnificent, towering trees; lush green tree ferns with flowing fronds, some tall, some small; the whipcrack sound of the whipbird; the sometimes distinctive, sometimes imitative call of the lyrebird; other wonderful birdlife from the huge Wedgetail eagle perched on the ground to the dainty yellow robin flitting about the bushes; misty gullies with a superb view – for us imagined and not sighted as a result of the unexpected and unusual deluge; dark swamp wallabies and agile grey kangaroos; descriptions of the unseen extremely endangered rock wallaby; pleasant evenings and days spent with friends – good conversations and excellent meals.
These are my impressions from a memorable trip to the Snowy River and Errinundra National parks.”
On one walking tour to Croajingolong we had observed a number of dead penguins washed up on the beach around Point Hicks. On one of our walks though, we encountered a live Fairy Penguin sitting on the sand just above the water. It appeared weak and very thin. After some deliberation on whether to interfere or leave nature alone, we decided to attempt to lend a hand.
On return to the Lighthouse, we contacted a wildlife care expert who gave us instructions on feeding and care overnight and the contact number of a local wildlife shelter who could take the penguin from us the next day and give it more intensive care. A cardboard box and clean newspaper wasfoundto house the penguin and frozen fish from a packet of bait were soon thawed out and force fed directly into the beak (as a mother penguin would do to a chick). The box was placed in a cool dark place for the night. (Unlike many creatures, penguins need to be cool, not warm)
The next morning saw our patient still alive and accepting more fish, although it was with some relief that we passed him on to the wildlife shelter carer, knowing that it would be in the best of care. A phone call after the trip let us know that sadly the penguin did not make it. It appeared to be young and was extremely underweight. Apparently once they get this low, their organs begin to break down and they rarely survive. Speaking to a local wildlife officer, we also learnt that penguins usually only come ashore like this when they are close to death. Penguin mortalities are always high in the first year. This particular year, penguins bred late and with the young fledging late, they had missed the peak of the fish resource and many simply starved. It is sad, however it seems in this instance it was nature just ensuring survival of the fittest in a harsh year.