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Birds of Phillip Island - #5 - Southern Coastline (17 January 2014)

contributed by cougar15
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Birds of Phillip Island - #5 - Southern Coastline New Holland Honeyeater

My reference to the Southern Coastline covers that stretch of foreshore which faces Bass Strait from Sunderland Bay to Forest Caves. It is the section with which I am most familiar as the view from our home extends from Cape Woolamai to Pyramid Rock.

I will start at Sunderland Bay and work my way east to Forest Caves.

If you visit this area, I suggest you drive to the end of Sunderland Bay Road (which is off the main tourist road opposite the turn-off to Rhyll) and then turn right into The Esplanade. A few hundred meters down that road you will find a carpark on your left.

Birds of Phillip Island - #5 - Southern Coastline White-faced Heron

From there you can take in the views over Sunderland Bay and towards Express Point and Pyramid Rock. You can also look back along the coastline towards Cape Woolamai.

You will be rewarded with numerous photo opportunities of local sea and bushland birdlife if you walk from the carpark to the end of The Esplanade and down the side track to Sunderland Bay.

Birds of Phillip Island - #5 - Southern Coastline Little Wattlebird

Sooty Oystercatchers and Little Pied Cormorants roost overnight on the large scoria rock formation extending into the bay.

Birds of Phillip Island - #4 - Fisher's Wetland and Churchill Island Australian Pelican

The thick foreshore shrubbery and household gardens along The Esplanade provide shelter for a variety of birdlife including White-browed Scrubwren, Superb Fairy-wren, a variety of Honeyeaters, Brown Thornbill, Common Blackbird, Common Starling, House Sparrows, Welcome Swallows, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Australian Magpie and Magpie-lark.

Birds of Phillip Island - #1 - Phillip Island Golf Course Flame Robin

During our winter, you are likely to see Flame Robin in this area.

The next stop recommended is the carpark on The Esplanade at Surf Beach from which you can access the beach below via a well constructed staircase.

Birds of Phillip Island - #2 - Swan Lake Australasian Shovelers

You can either walk along the beach to Forest Caves (which takes about an hour return) or you can simply enjoy the passing flight of local seabirds which include Silver, Pacific and Kelp Gulls, Australasian Gannet, and Crested Tern.

Birds of Phillip Island - #2 - Swan Lake Brown Goshawk

You will often see White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling Kite, Brown Goshawk and Nankeen Kestrel overhead.

Birds of Phillip Island - #5 - Southern Coastline Hooded Plover

Moving east, and not far from the Surf Beach steps, there is a section of beach which is roped off seasonally to protect the nests of Hooded Plover (which are rare to the island). If you visit this area, please respect the work of the wildlife authorities and local volunteers, by keeping a reasonable distance away from these wonderful little fellows.

The large sand dunes along the beach-front to Forest Caves and beyond are home to thousands of Short-tailed Sheerwaters from October to April.

It should be noted that you can access Forest Caves from a nearby carpark (off the main road) which is clearly marked on the local tourist map.

Low tide is best for these beach activities.

Addendum - 26 April 2014

Birds of Phillip Island - #6 - Oswin Roberts Reserve Brown Thornbill

A few days ago I woke to see a magnificent Brown Falcon hovering outside my bedroom window.

He was about 60 mtrs away working the foreshore in search of breakfast. By the time I bounced out of bed and got my camera, he had moved further down the shoreline.

However, much to my delight, he returned shortly afterwards and gave me another chance to photograph him in the reasonable morning light.

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