Bird Tour You Yangs
Day 1 Tawny Frogmouths, Kangaroos and Koalas
Full day tour with lunch.
Pick up by your Wildlife Guide to travel 45 minutes to the west of Melbourne to the bushland of You Yangs Regional Park. The park is home to a healthy population of wild Koalas which we research and monitor to ensure the best possible sightings. Your Wildlife Guide will introduce you to each koala as an individual, with a history, social life and family. You will learn all about these threatened mammals, and probably have some great photographic opportunities. They will also show you how to approach koalas quietly, and how to watch them from a respectful distance without disturbing them. (For details please see our Sustainable Koala watching Guidelines on our not for profit Koala Clancy Foundation site.) At one of 5 Boneseed-removal sites we stop to remove some of these noxious weeds to improve Koala habitat. Please go to our Make a Home for Koala Clancy! project for more details.
We look out for the dry woodland birds that are special to the You Yangs including Tawny Frogmouth – several pairs nest 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 we can also see Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater and Eastern Spinebill.
The area we walk through 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. Though we may not be meeting any Aboriginal People on this tour, we act with the knowledge, consent and support of the Wathaurong Community (three of our Koala Researchers are local Aboriginal People, but we cannot guarantee that they will be working on your day).
Leaving the You Yangs, we travel to nearby Serendip Wetlands. We drive, then walk through the gum trees and across grasslands in search of wild mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. They are wild and secretive, and we often walk quietly along kangaroo tracks, using trees and bushes as shelter. Sometimes we find them before they see us, and we can watch completely natural kangaroo social behaviour. Other times they find us first, and we enjoy the magnificent sight of a wild mob hopping, fast and powerful, but silent as ghosts. We 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 along Port Phillip Bay’s famous RAMSAR listed shoreline.
Morning tour with lunch.
The RAMSAR listed Wetlands of International Importance along the western side or Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay are regarded as amongst Australia’s top birding location. Here you will find 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. 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.
The region 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.
Return to Melbourne around 3pm.