It was late October. The scarlet honeyeaters were showing up in regions where they had never been seen before. Initially, people were getting excited because they were showing up close to Melbourne. Then there were sightings in Ballarat. Then Geelong.
It was hard for me to get excited about such sightings. I was still getting used to medication changes and wasn’t well enough to catch two buses. They had been seen at both Fyansford Common and then Ocean Grove.
Fortunately, a friend asked if I wanted to join her in tracking down the elusive birds. Our first stop was the Ocean Grove Nature Reserve.
Ocean Grove Nature Reserve
We didn’t have much luck here. The grass was overgrown in some areas and the mosquitos were prolific. I ended up with about 15 bites around my elbow, despite using repellant. I did quickly snap some photos of wildflowers. I had planned to visit more areas in the Spring and get photos of flowers, but was thwarted by exhaustion and migraines. Hopefully, better luck next year.
We had a lot more luck at Fyansford Common and probably should have gone here first. We walked around for a short while, listening for the call. I suck at picking out calls… but I’m very good at tracking sudden bursts of movement. After about 15 minutes of looking, we found this:
They were tricky to photograph. They were smaller than expected and seemed to mingle with other honeyeater species. I wished I’d had a better lens but no matter, it was still a brilliant experience. I rarely get excited about rare birds but this guy has such beautiful colouring.
Unrelated, but also saw this interesting nest. A worthwhile twitch, and great to hang out with birding buddies.