Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Area 6: Gellibrand Hill
Gellibrand Hill really isn't that special regarding birding possibilities but is a great place to view birds of prey gliding on the thermals produced by the rocky outcrop that is Gellibrand Hill. The hill itself gives 360* views where you can see the Dandenongs to the east, Melbourne CBD to the south east, and Melbourne Airport the the south, and is awesme to just sit and watch the planes land and take off and also great on a hot stormy summer night watching a crazy storm drift over Melbourne.
DunDonald Ruins is atop of this hill, not much is still standing of this old homestead but looking at this prime location, I wonder what it would have been like back in the 1840s looking out of the house to such wonderous views.
There is a small dam ( let's call it that, it's more like a puddle) which does attract a wide variety of frog species which are regularly heard croaking away.
Birds that can be found here are Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Golden Whistler, Common Bronzewing (best spot for them), Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Superb Fairywren and Red-browed Finch. Birds of prey is the main reason to come here, as you have the 360* views things like Wedge-tailed and Little Eagle, Whistling Kite, Brown, Black and Peregrine Falcon, Brown Goshawk and Black-shouldered Kite are seen either in the planted pine trees or flying the thermals on most visits.
At the base of the hill there is a path that runs north/south along the Back Paddock, here you can get birds like Red-capped Robins, Red-rumped Parrot and Striated and Spotted Pardalotes. I have always had a thought that the south side of Gellibrand Hill which is just a grassy field (all be it steep and dangerous) could/should have Brown Quail as it seems to be ideal habitat but as of yet all the Quail species (Stubble, Brown and Painted Button-quail) have eluded me but they have all been recorded at Woodlands. This area shouldn't be high on your list to visit, but can be a good stop over from one area to another, wouldn't be spending more that 15 minutes here on any one visit.