Quality …

On New Year’s Day many a birdwatcher likes to get their list off to a good start.

This year I decided to go for quality rather than quantity. I have in the past rushed around near home amassing a big list of birds. But these are birds I can go and find any time. This year I opted for a longish drive and a shortish list.

Lake Tyrrell is Victoria’s largest salt lake (20,860 hectares or ~51,550 acres) although there are far larger examples in other states. It is surrounded by saltbush and samphire which provides a home for some birds that are fairly restricted in their requirements. I was pleased to find White-winged Fairywrens, Rufous Fieldwrens and White-backed Swallows.

So what is a quality bird? Start with a bit of rarity and add some good looks. In Victoria this is a quality bird …

Black-faced Woodswallow

although further north in Oz Black-faced Woodswallows are commonplace.

If it can be persuaded to pose and maybe do something interesting it is even better.

You can usually find them at Lake Tyrrell and I have rarely seen them anywhere else in Victoria.

Lake Tyrrell is 360km northwest of Melbourne on the Calder Highway. If visiting do not venture onto the tracks around the lake after rain. Gates have been installed recently to help you make a smart decision but if you should find them open and the tracks wet don’t drive off the bitumen unless you want a prolonged stay. And please never drive on the lake bed itself.