Birding around Gisborne, Victoria

Crimson Rosella, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra

Crimson Rosella, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra

On our holiday earlier this year we stayed for several days with friends in Gisborne, north of Melbourne. I didn’t deliberately go our birding while there but we did go for several drives in the district and I’ll write about those in coming days.

Instead, I took note of those species I saw or heard around the garden and on a walk we did one evening. I was quite surprised by the numbers of Common Mynas now present in Gisborne. I can’t recall ever seeing so many on previous visits. On one occasion there must have been at least 30 sitting on a neighbour’s roof and fence. That is too many!

The town still has large numbers of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Long Billed Corellas. Several times I heard a small flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flying over. Crimson Rosellas (photo) are also quite common in the area, but I can’t recall seeing or hearing any lorikeets or Galahs on this visit. They must have been around, but I didn’t record any this time.

The common garden birds, apart from the mynas, included House Sparrows, Common Blackbirds, Australian Magpies, Red Wattlebirds and New Holland Honeyeaters. Interestingly, the Mynas seem to have replaced the Common Starling.

I also saw a small flock of thornbills moving through the garden. None would give me a good enough look to positively ID them. They might have been Little Thornbills, but I can’t be sure.

Great Birding Moments #15 Long Billed Corellas

Long Billed Corellas

Long Billed Corellas

This great birding moment occured not in the field but at my computer. A few weeks ago we visited Laratinga Wetlands at Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It was a calm and mild evening and we had a cuppa and a few biscuits while sitting on a log placed near the water’s edge. There was the usual squadron of ducks, grebes and coots swimming about – or headed in our direction hoping for a tasty handout. (Word must be out that my wife’s Anzac biscuits are superb).

Long Billed Corellas

Long Billed Corellas

A small flock of Corellas flew in and landed on a nearby tree. “Little Corellas” was my immediate thought and wrote that in my notebook. It was only when I downloaded the photos to my computer that night that I realised that they were actually Long Billed Corellas. Oops. Never assume anything – check them out carefully. It’s a good rule of thumb when birding. I had momentarily lapsed into thinking that they were Littles when in fact both species are common in our state.

Related articles:

  • Little Corellas – about calls to cull the large numbers of corellas in parts of South Australia.

Updated November 2013.

Call to Cull Corellas

South Australia’s longest serving member of parliament, Graham Gunn, has called for a cull of corellas in the mid-north of the state. He is advocating the use of strychnine. I heard him being interviewed on the radio this morning and he admitted that the use of strychnine was illegal in our state, but thought that National Parks Rangers could be employed to deal with the problem.

In parliament yesterday he even gave a suitable recipe using strychnine which would have them “falling out of the sky like Spitfires.” He went on to outline the great damage the species is doing in his electorate. He claimed that they were in plague proportions.

During his interview on the┬áradio this morning, a very distraught caller rang in to remind listeners of the story of America’s Passenger Pigeons. Once seen in flocks of millions not a single bird remains.

Some might suggest he is focusing on the wrong “pest” species that needs culling.

To read the article in The Advertiser click here. (Sorry – this link no longer works)

Updated: May 30th, 2017.