Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lake Hattah - Apostlebirds, Regent Parrot

Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea)
There are not many places in Victoria where you can see Apostlebirds. The day picnic area and campground at Lake Hattah is apparently a pretty reliable spot.

I think the genus name comes from "Struth it just took my sandwich!" as they are quite keen around a picnic table.

I visited a few weeks ago and was hoping to camp at the Lake Hattah campground. Late Hattah is a flood plain lake. It is often dry but when flooded supports Red gum bushland. Currently there is a program of deliberate environmental flooding to keep this habitat healthy. Several roads and camping areas are closed as a result.

My first visit became a brief reconnaissance mission due to some pretty blustery rain storms that were coming through. It was good to catch up with these guys though at the picnic area.

iPhone shot - another bird has just left the table. Note the flooded trees in the background
The road to Lake Hattah Campground
Spirits improved when I spotted a Regent Parrot (female or immature) up high among the red gums in the lake. Gotta love a "Lifer" from a picnic table!

I only lasted about 10 minutes at the picnic area before retreating to the shelter of the car. In addition to observing the Apostlebird and Regent parrot I also saw Little corella, Hoary-headed and Great-crested grebe, Grey teal, Pink-eared duck, Crimson rosella (the yellow form). This was all from the (partial) shelter of the picnic tables or the car!

As my kids pointed out the pictures above are of the exact same location grebes heading one way, Pink-eared duck the other within seconds of each other!

Little corella
Crimson rosella (Yellow form) Platycercus elegans flaveolus
Back in the car .... good conditions for birding don't you think ....?

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird On!


  1. Great birds - I have only see the Apostle Birds up north - I want to get up to the HK Nat Park to have a good look around.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  2. I've never heard the name before......they sound like camp robbers or Jays around here ...and, also magpies are abundant in camping areas where they can beg treats...

  3. You did well to get photos in those very wet conditions and a lifer is good in any conditions!
    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have seen Beach-stone Curlew eating those crabs but the ones that really tuck into them are Ruddy Turnstones! I have watched them pick up a crab then bash it around - not close enough to see how the crab ended up - but finally it was eaten! There are never a lot of Turnstones up here but often a few will stay around at Inskip Point.

  4. I apsolutely love those photos of the Apostlebird, especially the first one. What a classy little miscreant. It reminds me of the aggressive food thieves, (Crested Barbets, Buffalo Weavers, Red-winged Starlings etc.) at the rest camps in Kruger NP, South Africa. They will grab the food right off your dinner plate if you look away.

  5. What a great post! We often went there with the children when we lived in Melbourne but that was a good 4 decades ago. It was really wonderful to see the little video, the road is better than I remember but the feeling is the same. I do so enjoy your posts.

  6. Never saw a Regents Parrot and I had to laugh at the video!

  7. Gorgeous countryside - so iconically Australian if you ask me! Those birds are all quite special too, aren't they! A Regent Parrot sighting would make my jaw drop if I stumbled upon one unexpectedly, and I loved seeing Apostlebirds for the first time in North Queensland last year. Great post!

  8. Interesting birds all of them. Beautiful photos of the Apostlebirds.

  9. I've never seen Apostlebirds! In fact, I've never seen a Regent Parrot either. Great finds Pete!

  10. Hello Pete,
    "Long time no see"!!!
    Sorry I haven't been a good blogger for quite some time now! :(
    I am happy to discover the Apostlebird, I never saw it during my 2 trips in Aussie land.
    A great post, nice to see the Regent, we used to call the Rock pebler, and the Corella!
    I hope you are well, cheers from France! :)