Bob’s farm delivers the goods

Carole's masked lapwing at Ocean Grove Nature Reserve.


I was lucky to have been asked to help assist a new volunteer for Birdlife Australia’s Birds on Farms program, so I had an extra visit to Bob’s farm in Wallington.

It was a very fresh morning and it was quiet on the farm until the sun came out, and then there was more avian activity.

We saw a pair of black swans building a nest on the wetlands. Black swans breed all year around and the newly hatched cygnets must feel the cold when they emerge from the eggs in the winter months.

It was lovely to see good numbers of weebills, flame robins, striated pardalotes and red-browed finches.

There was also a pair of brown falcons calling to each other.

On my way to work one day I called past Hospital Swamp, Connewarre. There was a pile of rubbish dumped at the end of Baenschs Lane, which didn’t thrill me, and then a duck shooter drove down the lane to commence shooting, which caused me to quickly leave the area.

I am so sad that ducks are shot in the name of sport. It’s so barbaric and cruel.

I managed a quick photo of a welcome swallow on the fence on the side of Baenschs Lane.

Welcome swallows are blue-black above, light grey below on the breast and belly and they have a rusty coloured forehead, throat and upper breast.

They have a long-forked tail which is slightly shorter in the female. These birds are expert fliers, and they love following moving objects like cars, which always makes me nervous that I’m going to run into one, but they have great evasive skills.

I always notice quite a few welcome swallow nests under shop canopies in The Terrace in Ocean Grove. These birds build a small cup nest made of mud and grass.

I received an email from Kevin, who ventured to Queenscliff to look for some coastal birds, but only found the usual pelicans, swans, silver gulls, white-faced herons, cormorants and egrets.

However, while surveying the Swan Bay scene, a juvenile grey butcherbird perched obligingly right in front of Kevin, and he took a lovely photo. Butcherbirds get their name from the way they hang their prey off a branch or tree fork to consume it later. They have a hook at the end of their beak which is very obvious in Kevin’s photo.

I received an email from Carole, who has recently been out and about but must admit that despite going down the Great Ocean Road and travelling far afield she hadn’t noticed many different birds.

Carole went on a walk with the Birdlife Bellarine Peninsula walk at the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve and did not see a great variety of birds there. Carole did send me some photos of masked lapwings that reveal the very obvious wing spurs.

I received an email from former Ocean Grove resident and fantastic bird photographer Denis Sleep, who sent me some photos of endangered swift parrots that were hanging around his neighbourhood in Bendigo.

I also received an email from Lee, who took some lovely photos of around 20 yellow-tailed black cockatoos that were feeding in two Banksia trees at Collendina Reserve in Ocean Grove.