Our short stay overnight in Mallacoota was far too brief. Early the next morning we headed back to the main highway on our way to Gisborne north of Melbourne. It was one of the longest days on the road for the entire holiday. On the road leading out of the lovely seaside town of Mallacoota I took the above photo of the type of beautiful country we had to drive through.
Along the coast road from Sydney to Melbourne there are few places where you are very far from forests. Part way through the morning I asked my daughter if she’d seen enough trees. She was almost at the point where some open country would have been a pleasant change.
I didn’t see any birds of note on the way out to the highway, except near the locality called Genoa. Near a creek and its associated wetlands I saw the only Swamp Harrier of the trip. I also heard some Bell Miners in the trees there.
By morning tea time we had reached Orbost on the Snowy River. While having my cup of tea I wandered down to the bank of the river but there was little of interest to be seen. I saw several Purple Swamphens and Little Pied Cormorants. I heard a Clamorous Reedwarbler in the reed beds along the river, and a Laughing Kookaburra was calling nearby. I was surprised to hear some Bell Miners because I always associate them with heavily forested areas which is not correct. Their habitat preferences are much broader than that. It’s a species I’m still learning about.
I saw several Grey Fantails, Australian Magpies, various common honeyeaters and some Silvereyes. The only other species of note was a small flock of European Goldfinches, the only time I recorded this species on the trip.
When I wrote the title of this post I thought I’d seen very little on that day. In actual fact I had quite a nice little list even before lunch time. Birding is like that.
On our holiday in January earlier this year we travelled down along the south coast of New South Wales. On the second day we travelled from Bateman’s Bay to Mallacoota, stopping at a few places along the way. I was keen to find a few good birding spots and also look at potential good places to stay on future trips along that coast. This time we had our daughter with us and so we were on a limited time line. She had to get back home to start work.
One of the places we visited in the early 1980s which I wanted to revisit was the Mimosa Rocks National Park. It’s funny how you sometimes get an idealised concept of a place and want to return there after many years, only to find that it wasn’t like you remembered. That was the case here. Perhaps we went to a different part of the park that first time. The memory can play tricks at times.
Anyway, we found a nice picnic spot for lunch and I was able to do a little birding during and after lunch.
It was quite warm in the picnic ground as we were surrounded by reasonably dense trees and bushes. Only a few steps away one emerged at the beach and a lovely cooling breeze. It’s amazing how much difference a few steps can make.
A few people were swimming or sitting on the beach. Also using the beach were three Pied Oystercatchers, shown in the photo above. It had been some time since my last sighting of this species, so it was a good addition to my list. A few cormorants flew past as I scanned the beach and the water. I recorded both Great and Little Pied Cormorants.
In the picnic ground I watched a small flock of Striated Thornbills busily feeding in the bushes and trees. They wouldn’t come close enough or sit still enough for a photo. I also observed a Little Wattlebird coming into the picnic ground every few minutes, catching an insect, and then head off into the forest nearby, always going in the same direction. It looked very much like it was feeding young in a nest.
On the drive in and again on the way out we wound down the windows to hear the beautiful tinkling calls of the Bell Miners, another good species I don’t get to see or hear very often.