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Last month we visited Minya Winery at Breamlea, which is always a pleasure, for the scenery a much as the birdlife.

It is situated on a large meander in the Thompson river, and the main building overlooks a delightful billabong with an island in the centre.

View of island

We started by looking down at the river bend outside the winery. A Fan-tailed Cuckoo took some identifying as it wasn’t calling, and a lone Black-fronted Dotterel on the river’s edge, were the highlights here.

We then moved into the winery and down to the river. The sight of a carpet of Creeping Monkey Flower Thyridia repens in flower on the river flats took the attention of our botanists, and the birds were briefly ignored. Unfortunately a group of ducks objected to our presence and disappeared around the bend before we were able to identify them. After a time a few intrepid Coots paddled back, but we will never know what else we might have seen! A couple of us spent some time trying to identify an elusive and timid Australasian Reed Warbler skulking in the reeds, and not helping us with its distinctive call.

Finally we crossed the narrow wooden bridge to the island.

Bridge to island

A Yellow Spoonbill conveniently landed nearby in a large tree, and stayed for a long time giving us all clear views of its distinctive beak.

Yellow Spoonbill in tree
Yellow Spoonbill in tree

We were sorry that there were no birds along the water edges on the opposite bank as we had seen in previous years.

View from island
View from island

Our final stop was for coffee and cake on the deck of the winery, made and served by the very hospitable Jeff Dans.

Morning coffee

All in all, a very delightful way to spend a morning.

After the last birdwalk at Distillery Creek, some of us have been inspired to regularly return and keep looking and listening, especially near the small dam in the car park which is usually a hive of bird activity. The Brown Goshawks and Satin Flycatchers had finished nesting, but the Satin Flycatchers were still very active.

Then in mid February we were really excited by two sightings of a Diamond Firetail. This prompted a ‘this is rare for this area and season’ response from the eBird website.

Diamond Firetail
Diamond Firetail (photo by Michael Prideax)

Below are all the birds identified:

  1. Pacific Black Duck
  2. Gray Teal
  3. Little Black Cormorant
  4. White-faced Heron
  5. Australian Ibis
  6. Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  7. Wedge-tailed Eagle
  8. Australasian Swamphen
  9. Dusky Moorhen
  10. Eurasian Coot
  11. Masked Lapwing
  12. Black-fronted Dotterel
  13. Crested Pigeon
  14. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  15. Brown Falcon
  16. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
  17. Galah
  18. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  19. Red-rumped Parrot
  20. Rainbow Lorikeet
  21. Superb Fairywren
  22. Red Wattlebird
  23. White-plumed Honeyeater
  24. New Holland Honeyeater
  25. White-browed Scrubwren
  26. Brown Thornbill
  27. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  28. Australian Magpie
  29. Willie-wagtail
  30. Gray Fantail
  31. Magpie-lark
  32. Little Raven
  33. Welcome Swallow
  34. Fairy Martin
  35. Tree Martin
  36. Australian Reed-Warbler
  37. Eurasian Blackbird
  38. European Starling
  39. Common Myna
  40. House Sparrow
  41. Red-browed Firetail

Ellinor Campbell