Super Sunday

It began with Philip Peel’s organized outing at Lake Murdeduke. I refer to Phil as the “Birder Whisperer” because he is amazing at organizing outings and getting birders together and getting birders to birds. At this point I have lost track of all the birds that he has helped me find. He has shared information and knowledge with me (and many others) freely and patiently. Phil is the best of what birding is about.

Lynn and I rocked up in Troopi just after 8am (GOD it felt good to be doing that again, if only for the day!). There were about 45 birders at the lake taking part in Phil’s outing and I don’t think anyone was disappointed. The main targets were the continuing Buff-breasted Sandpiper and the Ruff. They were well seen by all. They were Aussie Lifers for Lynn and she had great views of them both. I got a few photos as well.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Ruff (the big one)
After the lovely morning at the lake, a few of our dear birder friends: Karen, James, Oakley and Alan decided to head down to the Great Otway N.P. Distillery Dam Picnic Grounds with Lynn and me. After a bumpy, dusty ride on the back roads (thanks to Oakley’s Google Maps) we arrived in the parking area of the picnic grounds by the little dam. And it was amazing. 

This was just after noon, which is not usually considered a great time for birding. And yet we ended up with 37 species right there. It was a stationary eBird list! The first big thrill was when James quickly spotted a Satin Flycatcher in the small tree right over the water. It was a male and female together. I have seen these birds before, but always only high in the canopy and these birds were at eye level!

Over the next three hours we all just marveled. Gang Gangs, White-necked Heron, Spinebills, Grey Goshawk and not only were the birds awesome, but so was sharing this experience with people who truly get it! These were fun, intelligent, witty, charming and knowledgeable friends who share this deep passion for birding and the natural world. It was a bonding that was close to spiritual. I will never forget it. And then Oakley saw the swift.

Above are Mr and Ms Satin Flycatcher (he is the blue one)

Gang Gang Cockatoo (male)

White-necked Heron
One of the dwindling number of land birds available to me as an Australian lifer was the Fork-tailed Swift (or Pacific Swift). Oakley spotted one overhead in company with a few Needletails. I “saw” it, but instead of using my binoculars, I swung the camera up and shot. This produced three photos of empty, blue sky and the birds disappeared behind the trees. We continued searching through the little groups of Needletails passing above without seeing any with that longer, pointy tail. Eventually the others lost interest and were distracted by a Diamond Firetail (very unusual for that area). However I continued to stare up into the sky. I got really good at spotting Needletails. And then… after about a half an hour I saw a long, pointy tail on a very dark swift! I had it! I kept it in my bins until it disappeared behind the canopy. So sweet. And a couple of hours later, Oakley, Karen and Alan saw another one just up the road in Anglesea as well.
L to R... James, Oakley, Alan, me, Karen and Lynn... the joy was palpable!
Lynn and I headed back to Lara and had a Fish and Chips dinner as our “Lifer Pie” treat. It was one of the most amazing days of birding that I have ever had. And that is really saying something. You don’t have to travel around the entire continent to have a phenomenal day of birding, you just have to be in the right places with the right people! And on that Super Sunday we certainly had both!

Peace. Love. Birds.