Travelling from Orbost to Gisborne in Victoria

During our holiday in January earlier this year, one of our longest days of travelling was to go from Mallacoota in the far south east of Victoria all the way to Gisborne north of Melbourne. We were on the road all day with just short breaks for morning tea and lunch. There was little time for birding except for those short stops.

After morning tea at Orbost we headed on west towards Melbourne, travelling through picturesque Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale. I didn’t bother keeping a list of birds seen along the road; there weren’t all that many to see because by mid morning it was getting rather warm. I was hoping to reach Sale for lunch, but we made only as far as Stratford on the River Avon (no -not THAT one – this one’s in Australia). This is Ben Cruachan country but for the second time in little over twelve months, we didn’t have time to call in on Duncan. Pity about that. (Keep the billy boiling, Duncan.)

At Stratford we found a suitable, albeit rather warm, picnic area for lunch. I managed a short list of birds during our short stay, including Common Starling, Willie Wagtail, House Sparrow, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Spotted Turtledove and Rainbow Lorikeet. Nothing to get terribly excited about.

Probably the most common birds around were the Common Mynas which seemed to be everywhere. Pity about that.

Common Myna

Common Myna

This whole area is yet another place I’d like to explore further over a week or two, and not just drive through. It wasn’t long before we were scooting along quickly on the freeway heading into Melbourne, then on the City Link and on towards our friend’s place in Gisborne. In all the times we’d travelled this route in recent years, this was the quickest and most trouble free. We actually arrived in Gisborne a little ahead of schedule.

It was a wearying day with long hours in the car and little opportunity for birding. Some days are like that.

Almost a non birding day

On the road leaving Mallacoota, Victoria

On the road leaving Mallacoota, Victoria

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.

Picnic grounds in Orbost on the Snowy River, Victoria

Picnic grounds in Orbost on the Snowy River, Victoria