Bird Watching

rufous bristlebird.jpg

FREE Binoculars at the Visitor Information Centre in Port Campbell for enhanced viewing

pelican.jpg Wetland, heath, tall forest and pelagic opportunities are presented with stunning backdrops and within a short drive or walk from local towns. For international visitors the scale, color and volume of species is often overwhelming.

The main cliff top viewing areas offer opportunities to spot Australasian gannets, wandering albatross, nankeen kestrel and peregrine falcon. A scenic boat trip will yield more for those in search of pelagic species.

The low slung coastal heath is often alive with twittering and activity look and listen for rufous bristle bird, singing honeyeater, southern emu and superb fairy wrens and the often cheeky grey fantail. Neophemas seasonally sighted in the area include blue winged parrots and all too rarely the rare orange bellied parrot

Guides are available for visitor use at the 12 Apostles Visitor Information Centre – Port Campbell.

Rare and showy

The endangered rufous bristle bird is technically abundant in the protected coastal heath of our National and Coastal parks. Ardent twitchers that have often waited a long time to see the birds are often disappointed when directed to the car park at Loch Ard Gorge for an almost guaranteed sighting.

The cocky birds put on quite a show fluffing their rust colored crest twitching their tails and doing a fair impression of the roadrunner darting across the car park.

Masters of disguise

The less common white morph of the grey goshawk is referred to locally as the Otway white goshawk. These cunning birds have been observed hunting as individuals amidst packs of long billed corellas. The similar size and shape of the birds provides cover and loud non threatening decoy to confuse their prey. The section of the coast to crater trail near the Timboon railway shed distillery will often yield a sighting of this species.

The impostor

Many a visitor has marveled at how little penguins can get themselves to the top of rock stacks. Don’t be deceived, the flying impostors are pied cormorants, who from a distance can take on a distinctly penguin like appearance.

Penguins that can and have been sighted in the area apart from little blue’s are royal and fjordland penguins.

Twitchy trails

For wetland species near the coast try the Princetown Boardwalk and the Old Ocean Road between Princetown and Lower Gellibrand and the Curdies Inlet at Peterborough.

Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell Discovery Walk and the trail from Bay of Martyrs east into Peterborough provide good opportunities and diversity at dusk and dawn.

Kanawinka Geopark – Lakes and wetland precinct

Lake Corangamite and Bookar in particular are prolific for water birds and waders including heron, crake and water hen. These venues also play host to the enigmatic seasonal visits of godwit, snipe and stint. The enigmatic pelican is often seen at Lakes Bullen Merri, Bookar Purrumbete and Corangamite.

Look for wedgetail eagle, black kite, nankeen kestrel and black shouldered kite soaring and hovering over the undulating farmland in search of prey.

Lakes Bookar and Corangamite offer plenty to observe against a backdrop of volcanic peaks.

Ralph Illidge Sanctuary

SW of Terang lies the 65ha Ralph Illidge Sanctuary, a beautiful tract of remnant vegetation home to many species including the powerful owl.

The Sanctuary is open on weekends and public holidays between 11.00 am and 6.00 pm. Guided walks and group bookings can be arranged by contacting the rangers on 5566 2320

Picnic facilities are provided at the Sanctuary, including shelters, tables and barbecues. Admission is by donation as the Sanctuary depends on donations for maintenance and improvements.