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environment

Collared sparrowhawk in an Ocean Grove backyard.

Little eagle at Curlewis.

Wedge-tailed eagle at Curlewis.

Plethora of birds in West Aus capital I'M BACK from a week in Perth, and it was hard to adjust to the freezing conditions here compared to the mild, sunny days in the western capital. I was taken on an organised bird-watching tour, and managed to see some new birds for me (lifers). I saw brown honeyeaters, yellow plumed honeyeaters, western spinebills, and western rosellas. Mind you most of those birds were glimpsed as they flew through forest areas

and I didn't manage to take many decent photos. The highlights for me were seeing a male splendid fairy wren (not in full breeding plumage but a lovely sky blue tail cover nonetheless) and seeing a most unusual finch called a red-eared firetail. The tour guide took me to the beautiful Peel-Harvey Estuary, which is located south of Mandurah, where we saw a few osprey nests and a sacred kingfisher. After writing in the last

edition of the Voice about collared sparrowhawks, I had a very close encounter with one in my own backyard. I heard a bird commotion out the kitchen window, and spied the sparrowhawk on the back fence. Instead of taking my camera out to the back yard via the back door I decided to venture upstairs to the balcony, and this worked perfectly, as the sparrowhawk did not fly away and I managed some good views of it. The features that made

me sure that the bird was a sparrowhawk were the long, thin legs, small stature, small head, wide eyed stare (no beetle brow), and the bird was out in the open rather than hiding, and the very long middle talon. After dropping my daughter at St Ignatius for school, I often drive home via Coriyule Road, Curlewis. It's been lovely lately as there are many flame robins on the fence, as well as brown falcons, whistling kites, black kites, and a magnificent

wedge-tailed eagle that flew just next to the car. One morning I had a very close encounter with a chocolate coloured little eagle in Curlewis, and I think that it was so cold that it froze to the gum tree that it was perched in and couldn't fly away. I've also seen a flock of about 10 flame robins around Connewarre. Speaking of Connewarre, the duck shooting season draws to a close this long weekend. The birds who have survived this barbaric

event can relax until next March, and I can visit Lake Connewarre and marvel at its beauty without worrying about guns. Vale the poor, defenceless, gentle ducks and all of the other birds who get in the way of the guns. I would like to thank Voice readers Judy Margolis and Allan Wettenhall for their emails and photos of raptors in their gardens. I imagine that there are many goshawks and sparrowhawks in gardens

around the Bellarine, but they are so sneaky that they don't often get spotted. Don't forget to check out websites for the Geelong Field Naturalists, Bellarine Birdlife Group and the Facebook page for the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve. I'm loving all of the winter rain and hope it continues! Stay warm everyone. Jen Carr jencarr@y7mail.com

Ocean Grov Voice 10 June 2015  

Ocean Grove Voice newspaper

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