Thursday, March 20, 2014

Avian Liquorice All-sorts, Port Fairy

Within 5 minutes and 20 metres of each other were a collection of peculiarly coloured birds at Port Fairy the other weekend. All three were birds I don't often see. Three times I found myself thinking how strangely these birds were "put together".

The always nervous Black-tailed Native hen is mostly drab but has an alarming yellow eye, green and red bill and striking red legs (and it gets it's name from a black tail!?).

Black-tailed native hen - no large groups here but 5-6 birds momentarily in bright sunlight.

A single Pink-eared Duck refused to cooperate but its impressive shovelling bill can be made out on this photo as can it's zebra markings and pink "ear".

Australian Spotted crake was equally noncommittal but also has some garish colourings on bill and leg.

Australian Spotted Crake
All birds were seen at Port Fairy's Russell Clark Reserve which was conveniently located between our digs and the Port Fairy Folk Festival. We walked past daily. The reserve is actually used as a temporary  car park for the festival.

I sat for a while to view and photograph the crake which was on yonder island ….
… the usual local gang of thugs was also present ….
… and came to check me out (iPhone shots now) …..
 ….. which of course attracted the attention of the constabulary. So much for going under cover!
To my left our rented house, my right the music festival, behind me the Southern Ocean, in front of me a wetland!
Alas only one long weekend!
"Reverse charge call". The first time I've seen a Hoodie's nesting area roped off on the "dune" side preventing access to the shore line. The scrape was apparently on a short peninsula. The dune is behind me! We watched the hoodie for a while (sans camera, we were actually at the beach swimming!) and were thrilled to count five Ruddy Turnstones as well.
Returned the next day but found none of the above but a White-faced heron ...
 …. and some other locals. Always impressed at that bill! Long-billed corella.
Between Acts, Stage 1, Sunday Evening, Port Fairy Folk Festival
Decidedly birding theme to this year's festival featuring local gull, "mutton birds" (Short-tailed shearwaters), Hooded Plover and Pied Oystercatcher. Wins my vote! I wonder home many of the 12,000 patrons were as impressed as me!

Experience more at the website Port Fairy Folk Festival Worth a look! Hear some tunes!

Bird (& folk) on!


  1. Black-tailed Native hen you got a great photo Pete, the beak is quite colourful too. Looks like a great weekend.

  2. 12000 people at Port Fairy?! A wonder you saw anything but Silver Gulls! Delightful post Pete with lots of info for those of us who can't get to the Festival, sorry was it a bird festival? Often wondered myself about the naming of the BTNH, seems a bit bizarre. Must remember that caravan park next time we are staying in Port Fairy, although Yambuk was a delight, maybe just "checking out" the caravan park in town for a few hours whilst others are "checking out" the shops and ice-creamery.

  3. Hi Pete. You did well to see so many birds with all the people at the festival

  4. Sounds like a great combination - birds and music. I do like the design of the poster(?)