Saturday, 25 February 2017

Special birds!

Last weekend I had a 4 day weekend away as a friend came down from Queensland to try to see a Rufous Bristlebird, a bird which lives along the western coast of Victoria.  Unfortunately we didn't manage to see it, partly because it was very windy the whole weekend and there were a lot of people about.

We arranged to go on a tour of the Australasian Gannet colony at Point Danger, near Portland in western Victoria.  Most of the birds nest on an island off the coast, but the overflow now nests on the mainland opposite, so the area has been fenced off to protect the birds and chicks, as there are foxes and feral cats in the area, and to keep human visitors at a safe distance from nesting birds.

It's the only mainland Gannet rookery in Australia, and is extra interesting as there is a nesting pair of Cape Gannets there too.   Cape Gannets are an African species, so they have strayed from home!   Apparently there are another two Cape Gannets there as well but they weren't breeding.

An adult Australasian Gannet in flight.

The Cape Gannet chick is much darker than the Australasian Gannet at a similar stage.

We were very lucky to see it as it was almost ready to leave the colony, and in fact it did fledge and leave next day.   Hopefully it will survive life at sea and maybe return in about 6 years to breed itself.

It was great spending time watching them, despite the strong wind, and burst of hail which surprised us not long after I took this shot!

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