Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Birding Wonthaggi Heathlands - of Emu and Emu-wren

I had my second visit to Wonthaggi Heathlands last weekend. I have enjoyed the birding on both occasions. One bird on the target list for this location is Southern emu-wren. I certainly was not expecting to see its oversized namesake but there you go ....!

First tick of the afternoon: Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae 6 Sept 2014
One of a pair seen on pastoral land looking west from the car park at Wonthaggi Heathlands
Grey fantail were also active along the car park fence line

Two circuit walks leave from the car park which is at the end of Chisolm Rd just southwest of Wonthaggi (find Cameron Street then head west along Campbell Street - at its navigable end is a dog leg and you are then in Chisolm Rd which becomes gravel - follow this south until you reach the car park - google maps does not recognise Chisolm Rd). One finds oneself unexpectedly close to the sea and also the local windfarm. On this occasion I only had time for a late afternoon walk around the shorter loop.

I am increasingly impressed and consider myself very lucky to be able to travel relatively short distances from home to encounter different honeyeater strongholds. The calls of White-eared, Yellow-faced and New Holland honeyeaters as well as Red wattlebird told me which honeyeater gangs were active here!

Yellow-faced honeyeater, Wonthaggi heathlands
New Holland honeyeater 
Nicely focussed on the dead branch with "scribbly gum" effect! White-faced honeyeater
The next two pictures were taken at my previous visit which was in November 2013. As you can see it was quite wet! Things were much dryer this time.

A section of heathland on the Short Loop trail, Wonthaggi Heathlands
Australasian pipit, Wonthaggi Heathlands
 This next series of photos follows (what I eventually worked out to be) a young male Golden whistler having a drink and a bath in a drying out puddle. I have not seen whistlers at ground level before - they must have brief visits.

Golden whistler, immature male, Wonthaggi Heathlands 
Now behaving a little more whistler-like
Superb fairy-wren were abundant but not cooperative today!
Red-browed finch
So as the sun started to get low I realised I was going to dip on Southern emu-wren on this occasion. 

But I did see an emu!

Looking south-west from the Short loop trail, Wonthaggi Heathlands. Note the thin sliver of sea on the horizon.
Bird on!

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