It was our last weekend in Australia and we were more or less back to health after a second bout of flu, so were keen to get out and about before heading back to SA.
When Stephan suggested a day trip to Raymond Island we jumped at the chance and set off late morning along the very pleasant “back” road to Paynesville. The country roads in Victoria (and probably in other states) are often lined with mature eucalyptus trees which give them a particular character and form a stately ‘ tunnel’ as you drive through…
Along the way a couple of raptors caused some excitement – well, I got excited, the others in the car just smiled :
- Swamp Harrier – a couple of seconds view as we swept past a wetland were enough to pick up the important clues – low flight, white rump, swamp habitat and of course the all-important ‘giss’ which convinced me that it was a Swamp Harrier – and a lifer to boot
There was no time to get a photo so I am posting this beautiful image courtesy of the photographer –
By JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16315120
- Black-shouldered Kite – almost an equally short view but the familiar giss in flight and black wing ‘shoulders’ were enough for a positive ID
- Whistling Kite – flying up from the roadside as we passed, this is a bird I have come to know quite well as they are regularly seen around Sale
On reaching the waterfront at Paynesville, we parked and walked, looking for an open restaurant, and came upon Alma’s which turned out to be a good choice for the fish and chips we were thinking of – really tasty and served with a good salad.
Outside the restaurant a Noisy Miner was going about its business pretty much ignoring the people passing by – so much so that I was able to get a close-up with my Iphone
After lunch it was time to explore Raymond Island, so we joined the short queue for the ferry and were soon on the island, where we turned left along the shoreline then inland and right across the island to Gravelly Beach.
Some of the birds spotted along the way :
- Pacific Gull – quite common but far outnumbered by the Silver Gulls
- Little Pied Cormorant – a few perched on poles in or near the water
- Great Cormorant – as the name suggests a much larger Cormorant
- Australian Golden Whistler – with a name like that you would expect a colourful, spectacular bird, however this was the rather dull immature version of the species. I spotted it in a tree as we passed by and asked Stephan to stop – it looked a lot like the Grey-headed Sparrow that we are familiar with in SA and I was only able to identify it after some time spent paging through the bird book (which always takes me back to my early days of birding). The male would have been a lot more obvious with its bright yellow colouring…
- This poor photo was all I came away with after almost pulling a muscle or two trying to get my aging body into a position in the car to get a decent view of the bird, which did its best to frustrate me … but – it was another Lifer!
At Gravelly Beach we walked about enjoying the view up and down the deserted beach
Another road took us back to the nature area where we parked again and walked a section of the Koala trail, coming across a few of these cute, sleepy creatures.
Along the way we also found
- Laughing Kookaburra – very habituated to humans as they allowed us to approach to within a couple of metres of where they were perched
- Eastern Rosellas – a flock feeding on the ground
- Wallabies – a pair in a garden – the wildlife and the people who live on the island seem to get on well with each other
It was late afternoon by now so we headed back to the ferry and were soon on the road back to Sale, having spent a memorable day in a charming part of Victoria