Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

South-East Oz Part 4 – Victoria's Great Ocean Road

Rufous Bristlebird
Following our visit to Ballarat (see next post) we continued south to meet the Southern Ocean and the Great Ocean Road for a 2-night stay in the caravan park in the delightful seaside town of Port Campbell.

Port Campbell coast
I last saw Rufous Bristlebird at Port Addis in 1973 in the venerable company of John McKean, Billie Gill and Margaret Cameron. So I was keen to become reacquainted with this one. We spent a morning exploring the fabulous coastal scenery just east of the town at Loch Ard Gorge and the famed Twelve Apostles.

12 Apostles
Loch Ard Gorge
We did all the walks at the gorge before finally finding a pair of suitably co-operative bristlebirds on the path to Tunnel Cave. Later in the day I found another pair, though much more shy, along the Discovery Walk on the edge of Port Campbell. Then later still that day I found a third pair at the northern edge of the caravan park.

Rufous Bristlebird

Rufous Bristlebird
Striated Fieldwren was present in the coastal heath above the cliffs just east of Port Campbell.

Striated Fieldwren
Crescent Honeyater was common in the heath along the coast. Other honeyeaters included Red and Little Wattlebirds.

Crescent Honeyeater

We then drove east along the Great Ocean Road for a 1-night stay in the Bimbi Caravan Park at Cape Otway. Warning: do not stay in this overly priced hole unless hordes of noisy children are your thin. Luckily the birds helped ease the pain, and a big male koala along the road into the park was a nice find.

We walked a back track almost to the Cape Otway Lighthouse and saw a total of 6 Beautiful Firetails in two spots. Rufous Bristlebird was heard and more Striated Fieldwrens were about.

Cape Otway Lighthouse
We toured the historic lighthouse and visited Blanket Bay and Point Franklin, where another Beautiful Firetail was seen, in Great Otway National Park.

Beautiful Firetail

Beautiful Firetail

In the early evening a pair of Gang Gang Cockatoos flew down to drink. More were in the trees about the camp the next morning.

Gang Gang Cockatoo

Gang Gang Cockatoo

That morning I returned to the trails behind the lighthouse where another pair of Rufous Bristlebirds were seen well and 15-20 Beautiful Firetails were spotted, mostly feeding on the grass at a private camping ground 500m from the carpark. A Swamp Wallaby and a Peregrine Falcon were spotted on the way back.

Peregrine Falcon

Swamp Wallaby

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