Saturday, 29 April 2017

Howe Flat

Howe Flat

Howe Flat is located in the far eastern end of East Gippsland and  is part of the Cape Howe Wilderness Area. 

Howe Flat can only be practically accessed using a 4x4, though a boat could also be used, but this could be difficult. Directions to Howe Flat by car are: Turn onto Maxwells Rd from the Princes Hwy, 7.4Km north east from the NSW/VIC border. Continue down Maxwells Rd (Maxwells Rd turns into Buckland Rd) until you come to Lakeview Tk on your right. There is a gate here, that is closed during the winter months. Take Lakeview Tk and continue on it until you get to Howe Flat Tk on your right. Take this track, and you will get to Howe Flat. Note: The Lakeview Tk is windy, steep and very narrow. There is a creek crossing and a number of steep gullies. Most of the track has no mobile phone reception, so be careful at all times. All the tracks are well sign posted, so you shouldn't get lost. 

Lakeview Tk

Lakeview Tk

Once you arrive at Howe Flat, there is a walking track that leads to the ocean. Ground Parrot, Southern Emu Wren, Eastern Bristlebird and a variety of honeyeaters can be seen along here. Once you reach the ocean, you will be able to see Gabo and Tullaburga Island. If you have a spotting scope, you may be able to see Black Faced Cormorants on Tullaburga Island. Australasian Gannets can be seen feeding off the coast, and albatross and petrels are always a possibility. 

An unfortunate Ground Parrot,

The walking track to the beach at Howe Flat
Red Necked Stints on the Beach at Howe Flat.

Snakes are also rather abundant on the Howe Flat area, so be very careful. 

Gabo Island

Howe Flat is an excellent place to visit, providing you have the right car, and plenty of time. The birdlife is excellent, and the scenery is also great. This is a must visit place.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Bairnsdale Birding

Bairnsdale Birding

Bairnsdale is the largest town in East Gippsland, and is located on the Princes Hwy, 280 Km east of Melbourne.

There are a number of excellent birding spots in the Bairnsdale area, some of which have already been covered, such as Macleod Morass and The Cut. Below I will list some of the good birding locations around Bairnsdale.

Picnic Point Reserve: 

Picnic Point Reserve is located on Bredt Street. Bredt Street can be accessed from Calvert Street, which starts at the Hwy, opposite the VicRoads Centre.

Google Maps- Route to Picnic Point from Princess Hwy
There are a number of walks at Picnic Point Reserve, as well a road that goes through the reserve. The walking tracks are gravel and well maintained.

Some of the birds that can be seen in the Picnic Point Reserve are: Cormorants,  Reed Warbler and Darter in the Mitchel River, Australasian Pipit, Red-Browed Finch, Little Grassbird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye and Golden Whistler.

Golden Headed Cisticola

Australasian Pipit
The eBird hotspot for Picnic Point Reserve.

Bairnsdale Aquatic Recreational Centre 

The wetlands located behind Bairnsdale Aquatic & Recreation Centre (BARC) has quite a good population of birds. During the summer, Latham Snipe can be found in the wetlands. Other birds that may be seen are: Olive Backed Oriole, Australasian Swamphen, Yellow Thornbill, Spotted Pardalote and Australian White Ibis. BARC can be accessed from Wallace Street, which runs onto Bredt Street.

Google Maps-BARC

Red Wattlebird

An Australian White Ibis foraging in the reeds

Olive Backed Oriole

Howitt Park 

Howitt Park is a park located at the eastern end of Bairnsdale, just east of the bridge over the Mitchell River. There are toilets and picnic tables, as well as a playground. Some birds that can be seen in Howitt Park are: Dusky Moorehen, Mistletoe Bird, Striated Pardalote, Little Corella, Feral Pigeon, Golden and Rufous Whistler and Brown Thornbill.

Jones Bay Wildlife Reserve

Jones Bay Wildlife Reserve is a northern area of Jones Bay. This reserve is sometimes dry, but when it holds water, Red Necked Avocets, Black Winged Stilts, Musk Duck, Grey and Chestnut Teal and a large number of Golden Headed Cisticola can be seen there.

Jones Bay is accessed from Philips Lane. Turn right onto Philips Ln, off the Princes Hwy, 1.18Km from the Lucknow roundabout. Philips Ln takes you directly to Jones Bay.

Google Maps-route to Jones Bay

Red Necked Avocets

More Red Necked Avocets

Bairnsdale is actually quite a good area to go bird watching, even if you only have half an hour, a sizable checklist can be made from any of the above locations.  Always keep in mind ethical birding when birding in areas used by other people for their own recreation.

Sunday, 2 April 2017



Deptford is an abandoned gold mining town in the hills north-east of Bairnsdale. During the late 1800's Deptford had a population of around 300, with a hotel post office and other such buildings. However, the town declined and by the early 1900's, Deptford had been pretty much deserted.

Google Maps- Deptford
There are two ways of accessing Deptford. One is by Deptford Rd. Turn left onto Deptford Rd 13 Km from Bairnsdale. You then drive 26 Km to Deptford. Part of Deptford Rd is Gravel, and most of it has reasonably tight corners. The other way to get to Deptford is by Engineers Rd. Turn onto Engineers Rd from the Alpine Hwy 2.9 Km north of Bruthen. Continue on Engineers Rd until you come to Deptford Rd. Engineers Rd is also gravel, with lots of corners, so pay attention to the road. Engineers Rd is definitely the longer route to Deptford.

There is no bridge crossing the Nicholson River at Deptford, so one has to cross the river at the river crossing. Care should be taken after rain.
The Nicholson River at Deptford

Deptford has a a few walks that are worth going on. One is the Tubal Cain Walk. This walk takes you to an old mine where you can still see some old gold extracting machinery. Some of the walks are quite steep and rough, so it pays to be careful, especially when wet.

Birds that can be seen in the Deptford area are: Cicadabird, Yellow-Tufted Honeyeater, White Naped Honeyeater, Sacred and Azure Kingfisher, Flycatchers, and many other forest birds. The environment is somewhat dry, with the Nicholson River providing a good water source for many of the birds.

Australasian Grebe in the Nicholson River, Deptford
Yellow Tufted Honeyeaters

Sacred Kingfisher, with a large lizard

Deptford is a great area to visit.  The bird life is quite abundant, especially during the warmer months.