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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Big Weekend Birding North East Victoria Day 3

We had discussed the night before what our agenda was, so still waking up relatively early we had the cabin packed and locked up just before 8 am and heading to Bartley's Block at Chiltern National Park. Our target was the Painted Honeyeater which we had missed the day before with Michael. 
After speaking with a couple we had meet at Cyanide dam the night before while searching for the White-throated Nightjar gave us a little hope as they had seen a Painted Honeyeater only a week before in the carpark there. 
As we arrived and walked through the gate, it was similar to the day before with birds calling everywhere and we were able to find a new bird for the weekend with a small flock of White-throated Needletails flying just above the canopy with a mixture of Tree Martins and Welcome Swallows.
    White-throated Needletail

Standing at the dead tree like yesterday rewarded us with views of Black-chinned Honeyeaters flitting between trees, with the White-winged Trillers vey prominent. 
    Black-chinned Honeyeater

At one point I had thought I had heard a Painted Honeyeater so headed towards the call which was to the right of the planted citrus trees. While listening carefully hoping to hear the call again we were surrounded by a family of White-browed Babblers who feed noisily though the shrubs.
    White-browed Babbler

Also in this spot we found a very obliging Eastern Yellow Robin as well as a few Western Gerygone. After listening for a good 10 minutes ( while the ladies talked cameras and settings and stood away from me). I decided to head towards the flowering mistletoe Michael had showed me the day before and as I crossed the block heading to the trees I heard the call of the Painted Honeyeater again, this time back towards the car so as I headed off towards it Kris had joined me as Jenn walked back to the carpark from the other end. 
The Painted Honeyeater called again and it was right above the car, we skipped through the bush and tried to locate it, a few quick glimpses here and there as it was getting pestered by other honeyeaters as it landed on any branch, so many attempts later I was able to get binoculars views for extended periods but we had struggled to get a photo (really wanted at least one to prove we had seen it). 
After 45 minutes of chasing the little blighter back and forth over the road we finally got some shots at just after 9.30 am. 
My 6th lifer for the trip and my 400th bird in Australia an absolute cracker of a bird for my milestone so was extremely excited.
    Painted Honeyeater Collage

After this Jenn and I bid farewell to Kris and Keiran who were heading back to Honeyeater Picnic Area as we headed home. One last bird along the highway was a Black Kite which amassed a total of 140 species for the weekend, a great trip and certainly will be interested to do another one in Autumn! 
Funnily enough as we drove home I asked Jenn to view her photos from the day excited to see the shots of the Painted Honeyeater again. As I scrolled through the photos I noticed that Jenn had infact took photos of the Painted Honeyeater an hour earlier and after quizzing her about it she had written the bird off as a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.......... Even out in the open on exposed branch!!!
    Painted Honeyeater

As I have said previously it was a great weekend, Michael's local bird knowledge and his amazing ability to find target species has certainly made a dint in my Victorian List and with 12 new Victorian birds it was a truly exceptional weekend. Thanks again to Ros, Jenn and Kris who have shared these beautiful photos and we certainly shared some special moments over the whole weekend...... Here's to another trip soon!


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