Surf coast

Our planned return to the coastal heath in search of the rather elusive Striated Heathwren has been abandoned this morning due to very strong gusty winds. Not good weather for bird watching or for taking photos of flowers so it’s a chance to catch up with the diary and try to identify some plants. The coastal walks at Aireys Inlet are visually spectacular and the vegetation very different to our home environment so we happily walk around armed with binoculars and cameras.

Stylish timber seating along the coastal path

On the afternoon of our arrival we had an amusing introduction to the Rufous Bristlebird. When we first heard it’s call we were quite confused. There was a noisy group of international tourists at the end of a walkway busy taking photos with their phones and both Allen and I thought for a moment that the call was emanating from a device! We soon realized that it was in fact a Bristlebird calling from almost underneath the walkway and in spite of us both leaning right over the edge with our binoculars the people near us took absolutely no interest!

Looking down on Rufous Bristlebird from viewing platform near Split Point Lighthouse
Another Rufous Bristlebird Allen spotted on the edge of a garden on our walk back.

On our return journey we had a nice view of a Blue-winged parrot although it was too far away for good photos.

View over coast heath towards Split Point Lighthouse.

Along the Ironbark Basin nature trail the next day we saw at least 8 Blue-winged parrots, in trees looking for nesting sites (or so it appeared to us) and also on the ground feeding. They are sweet little parrots but reminded me rather of over-sized budgies that had hit a wall at high speed.

Blue-winged parrot showing off its colours in the morning sun.
Two of a small flock of Blue-winged Parrots feeding on the ground.

A walk along a path through coastal heath was most enjoyable but the elusive Striated Heathwren continued to elude us! The sun was a lot higher in the sky by the time we had arrived in this area and the bird life was generally quiet.

Common Rice Flower – Pimelea humilis
Smooth Parrot-pea – Dillwynia glaberrima

I’ve made a valiant attempt at plant identification but will happily accept correction.

This Banksia was growing in very exposed coastal heath and I found a number of specimens less than 1 metre in height.
A little further up the slope the vegetation changed into a woodland with Grass tree and bracken understorey.

Searching for ‘new’ birds and trying to identify a few plants in areas we visit keeps us both active and interested in the world around us. My lack of knowledge regarding plant identification can be frustrating but if I can label a few plants correctly I feel happy.

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