Monday, 11 June 2012

Powlett River Mouth

After a few weeks of no birding I had the opportunity to get out with the camera this morning on my way to visit friends in Gippsland. I have been meaning to visit Reef Island for a while and today seemed like the ideal time. I was going to be in the area and low tide was mid morning, so what could be better?

...being able to see the island would have been a good start! The morning fog had disappeared inland but the sea air was obviously still damp and cold so the fog was still thick over Westernport Bay. On the chance that the fog would lift, I walked down the beach to the narrow low-tide isthmus that leads to the island but, alas, the fog was getting thicker...

So instead, I headed for the Powlett River Mouth (see map). This is usually a great place for a variety of birds with the ocean beach, river estuary, swamp and grasslands providing a variety of habitats. What I hadn't counted on was that every man, woman, child and dog also thought this was a great place to visit on a (now) sunny holiday morning. With so much activity, there was not a lot of bird life on the river but I did manage to find a solo heron, feeding on the exposed river bed on the opposite bank. It allowed me to get quite close--it's amazing how tolerant feeding birds are, especially when there's water between you and them.

White-faced Heron, Powlett River Mouth

There was a small flock of European Goldfinch in the swampy grassland beside the road. Small flocking birds are hard to photograph but one came quite close.

European Goldfinch, Powlett River Mouth

A small mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos loafing about in the nearby grassland provided the non-avian entertainment for the morning.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Powlett River Mouth


  1. Bonita reserva natural,buenas fotos.Saludos

  2. Two great locations to visit, at present there are 10 eastern curlews overstaying at Reef Island (there were 10 last winter as well) and at Powlett River I counted 5 Hooded Plovers the other day. If you get lucky you might see a White Bellied Sea Eagle fishing in the river.

    1. Hi Wampy,
      I must try for Reef Island again soon. I have not been there for more than 30 years! Powlett River used to be one of the little hidden gems of South Gippsland. I remember going there when the road in was so bad, if there'd been recent rain you either needed 4WD or had to walk (I did the latter) but that was before there was any development there - no houses, no camping ground. Now it's like Bourke St...or it was on fault for trying it on a long weekend :-( The WBSE was a target for the day but dipped on that - good excuse to go back another time soon.
      Cheers, Ian

  3. Oh Ian! One of those days, hey! I was in the same fog very close to you that day. I well remember coming out of the fog at Kilcunda and seeing a great view of a wedgie as we drove. However Bourke Street beat me too as there was no safe stopping with all the traffic.

    Regardless, I recently dipped on Wampy's Eastern Curlew with no fog at Reef Island! Ahh well, like you say, we just have to go back!

  4. Fantastic series of the white-faced heron. I have never seen one before. I enjoyed touring your blog, Ian.


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