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The January walk was organised especially to use, for the first time on a bird walk, Angair’s great new spotting scope. A total of 54 species were identified.

(The first actual use was watching the four moons of Jupiter at the November Grampians camp.)

The new telescope

The new telescope

We fortunately ended up with three other telescopes, as all four were in constant use by the 17 people who came.

Four are better than one

Four are better than one

Lake Victoria had swarms of birds, such as over 500 Grey Teal.

So many birds to see

So many birds to see

However the migratory waders were our main focus and there were flocks of them, especially Red-necked Stints, wheeling and landing near us.

Windy grass

We only had to walk about 100 metres to be offered this stunning view of water birds.

A special sighting was two Great Crested Grebes and several Red-kneed Dotterels, which I have rarely seen in our area.

Once we were fully sated we moved on to Lake Lorne for late morning tea or early lunch. We were able to sit just in front of our cars for another wonderful view of water birds, but no waders.

Time for food and coffee, but keep the binos handy!

Time for food and coffee, but keep the binos handy!

A special sighting here was five of the rare Freckled Duck, resting on logs at one end of the island.

No need to walk far

No need to walk far

At the end of the excursion, a few of us gained some minimal exercise walking around the lake for a closer view of the birds. We identified a few new species such as a Little Grassbird, initially by its unusual, penetrating, mournful call. A wonderful day!

How about the bush birds?

How about the bush birds?

Below are all the birds identified on this walk:

1.  Musk duck

2. Freckled Duck

3.  Black Swan

4.  Australian Wood Duck

5.  Grey Teal

6.   Chestnut Teal

7.  Pacific Black Duck

8.  Hardhead

9. Blue-billed Duck

10. Australasian Grebe

11. Hoary-headed Grebe

12. Great Crested Grebe

13. Little Pied Cormorant

14. Little Black Cormorant

15. Australian Pelican

16. Eastern Great Egret

17. White-faced Heron

18. Little Egret

19. Australian White Ibis

20. Straw-necked Ibis

21. Royal Spoonbill

22. Whistling Kite

23. Nankeen Kestrel

24. Purple Swamphen

25. Dusky Moorhen

26. Eurasian Coot

27. Black-winged Stilt

28. Red-necked Avocet

29. Red-capped Plover

30. Black-fronted Dotterel

31. Red-kneed Dotterel

32. Masked Lapwing

33. Common Greenshank

34. Red-necked Stint

35. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

36. Curlew Sandpiper

37. Whiskered Tern

38. Silver Gull

39. Eastern Rosella

40. Superb Fairy-wren

41. Striated Fieldwren

42. White-plumed Honeyeater

43. Noisy Miner

44. White-fronted Chat

45. New Holland Honeyeater

46. Grey Butcherbird

47. Australian Magpie

48. Grey Fantail

49. Willy Wagtail

50. Little Raven

51. Magpie-lark

52. Little Grassbird

53. Welcome Swallow

54. Common Starling

The Saturday after this walk I went wader-counting with the Geelong Field Naturalists at Lake Connewarre on the way to Point Lonsdale. The abundant birdlife there was a joy to see. Once again there were flocks of waders, but this time mainly Sharp-tailed Sandpipers…over 500. I also got my fill of Red-kneed Dotterels, with over 130 seen by my group.  However I fear for all the beautiful ducks, which will be legitimate prey in the upcoming duck-shooting season.

Ellinor Campbell