Last week with family events and holidays on mind, we travelled north toward Swan Hill. One of the highlight ‘honeypot’ birding sites on any birders list of must do’s is The Goschen Bushland Reserve only a few minutes drive from said Hill.
Tim Dolby in “Where to See Birds in Victoria” devotes 2 pages to the little bushland area with an excellent overview by Greg Oakley.
When I was a little tacker, the concept of Goschen being a “birding highlight” never occurred to me. It was a place where the PMG, (Telstra) had planted a very tall communications tower. As little blokes, we’d ride our bikes out there to gaze heavenward at the stark red and white tower against the blue sky. Perhaps we dreamed of climbing to the top, but were stopped by a huge (when we were little), razor-topped security fence. Probably just as well.
Tis only a short drive down the road from Swan Hill, and with a bit of careful planning, one can stay off sealed roads and enjoy the backcountry sandy roads and the chance of seeing birds along the roadside trees.
So we motored north. Of course a bonus is that the road to Goschen travels through Eaglehawk in Bendigo, and of course a stop off at the Eaglehawk Bakery, for a famed “Mulga Bill” pie is not to be missed. This time as it turned out others of the travelling family had the same idea and we met up in the bakery. I’m not the only one on WordPress with a penchant for the Mulga Bill pie as “Almost Always Ravenous” has a page here.
Then a slowish trip along the highway out of Bendigo, particularly between the 18 and 19 kilometre posts. There is almost always a speed camera car buried in the shade among the trees here, 5 times out of our past 6 passings. First time was a$180.00 view. I’d failed to notice the 100km roadsigns as was tooling along like a freeway. Duh. Mind, this time I went by at a sedate 75km.
I like the roads from Bendigo to Swan Hill. Flat, long straight runs, and on good days, plenty of raptors at work. So it’s easy to see where they are and their action. Slowed down again just at the Kerang Rail Crossing. A pair of Wedgetails have a nest in the closest tree to the road. The young are now fledged, but off in the field we saw one of them hard at work.
Turning from the highway at Lake Boga, we followed the backroads to Goschen Bushland Reserve. It was just early in the afternoon, and quite hot. Any respectable birds were resting out of the heat.
But in a short time there, as it was only a recce for the days to come, we found Hooded Robins, Brown Treecreepers, White-browed Babblers, a number of different honeyeaters and some beaut looking Blue-bonnet Parrots.
So on to the domicile for the week. We stayed at the Murray Downs Resort, which is part of the Murray Down Golf Club. Great little rooms in the shade of the lovely trees in the landscape.
And while I was unloading the car: 2 clothes bags, 6 photo kits, I spied a Blue-faced Honeyeater in the agapanthus garden. Quick as, out came the 300mm and a nice shot against the light. Good way to start I thought.