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Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Tawny Frogmouths & Sandpipers: 2 day Birding Tour

Duration: 2 days/1 night - You Yangs & Western Plains

Type: Private Charter.

Interests: Birds, Land Mammals & Marsupials.

Over two days, this birding tour showcases the rich birdlife of the Australian bush and coastal wetlands, including kookaburras, frogmouths, honeyeaters and cockatoos; ducks, waders and endemic geese. Visiting the beautiful You Yangs Regional park, best known for its beautiful granite ridges, grasslands and low woodlands, guests will have the opportunity to spot more than 200 bird species such as White-naped, White-plumed, New Holland and Brown-headed honeyeaters, Laughing Kookaburras, White-winged Choughs, Eastern Yellow Robins, as well as wild  Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Koalas.

The second day focuses Western Treatment Plant, a RAMSAR listed Wetland of International Importance, regarded as one of Australia's top birding locations. It is a mosaic of lagoons, saltmarshes, waterways, swamps and both rocky and sandy shoreline. With this habitat diversity the region has an incredible bird list of over 280 species, being especially rich in waders, waterfowl and raptors.

Itinerary

Tour day-by-day

  • Day1: Tawny Frogmouths, Kangaroos and Koalas

    Guests will travel with their birding guide to the bushland of You Yangs Regional Park, 45 minutes to the west of Melbourne. The park is home to a healthy population of wild Koalas which are researched and monitored to ensure the best possible sightings. The wildlife guide will introduce you to each Koala as an individual, with a history, social life and family. The guide will also show you how to approach Koalas quietly, and how to watch them from a respectful distance without disturbing them, still providing fantastic photographic opportunities. At one of five Boneseed-removal sites, the group will stop to remove some of these noxious weeds to improve Koala habitat.

    The group will look out for the dry woodland birds that are special to the You Yangs, including Tawny Frogmouth (with several pairs nesting in the park), White-winged Chough, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Common Bronzewing, Spotted & Striated Pardalote, Eastern & Crimson Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Long-billed & Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Yellow-faced & New Holland Honeyeaters, Weebill, Brown & Striated Thornbill and Laughing Kookaburra.

    In summer it is possible to occasionally spot Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater and Eastern Spinebill. The area covered is of great significance to the local Aboriginal People of the Wathaurong Tribe. The granite rock formations of the You Yangs staged huge meetings of Aboriginal People from all over Southeastern Australia. Many signs of their occupation still remain. Your Guide will share their knowledge with you and though we may not be meeting any Aboriginal People on this tour, we act with the knowledge, consent and support of the Wathaurong Community.

    Leaving the You Yangs, the group will venture to the Serendip Wetlands, where guests will enjoy a gentle walk through the gum trees and across grasslands in search of wild mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. They are wild and secretive and will often follow kangaroo tracks, using trees and bushes as shelter. This area is also a terrific spot to observe e look out for emus and Cape Barren Geese and take a short walk to the billabong, home to Magpie Geese (re-introduced but now breeding, wild residents), ducks, stilts and spoonbills. A captive breeding population of Australian Bustards and Brolgas are managed for conservation purposes on the site.

    Return to Melbourne at around 4pm
    Or optional : evening spotlighting at Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Centre - an incredible open range sanctuary conserving endangered marsupials, then stay overnight at B&B in Little River (BLD)

  • Day 2: Birding at Western Treatment Plant RAMSAR site

    The Western Treatment Plant (WTP) is a RAMSAR listed Wetland of International Importance and regarded as one of Australia's top birding locations. It is a mosaic of lagoons, saltmarshes, waterways, swamps and both rocky and sandy shoreline. With this habitat diversity the WTP has an incredible bird list of over 280 species. High numbers of waders, waterfowl and raptors visit or live at the site.

    Species seen on most trips include Red-necked Avocet, Black-winged and Banded Stilt, Chestnut and Grey Teal, Pink-eared, Musk and Blue-billed Duck, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpiper, Hoary-headed & Australasian Grebe, Red-capped Plover, Australasian Gannet, White-faced Heron, Royal & Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Whiskered & Crested Tern, Spotted & Baillon’s Crake, Black-tailed Native Hen, Pied Cormorant, Zebra Finch, Striated Fieldwren, Singing Honeyeater, Swamp Harrier, Black-shouldered, Whistling & Black Kite, Brown Falcon. We may also see Brolga, Cape Barren Goose, Banded Lapwing, Red-kneed Dotterel, Red & Great Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank and Freckled Duck.

    WTP is also home to large numbers of reptiles and frogs – on suitable days it is possible to see Tiger Snakes and to hear Growling Grass Frogs.

    The group will return to Melbourne around 2pm after a delicious lunch.

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