Bird watching along the Otway Coast
Magnificent bird habitat
The Great Otway National Park, also called The Otways, is a national park of over 100,000 hectares. It contains a diverse range of landscapes and vegetation types and is situated within the Otway Ranges. The park was declared in 2004 when Otway National Park, Angahook-Lorne State Park, Carlisle State Park, Melba Gully State Park, areas of the Otway State Forest and a number of Crown Land reserves were combined into one park
The Otways region receives some of the highest rainfall in the state of Victoria and is ideal area for Blue Gum s and Mountain Ash. Trees such as these and other along with tree ferns growing in our region create a temperate rainforest, home to wildlife and spectacular waterfalls.
Throughout the beautiful and scenic Otways forest hills behind the townships of Separation Creek, Wye River, Grey River, Kennett River and Wongarra you can spend time bush walking or driving tracks among of the towering eucalypt forests.
The Great Otway National Park has been identified by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports populations of Rufous Bristlebirds, Striated Field Wrens and Pink Robins, species that are not common but also many other more established species.
All throughout the Otways you’ll encounter many different species of wildlife, including mammals like kangaroos, and wallabies with almost guaranteed sightings of koalas.
Our area is famous not only for the many different species of birds, but also for the large numbers. Visitors are often amazed at visible and frequent birds are.
How do we know when birds are breeding? 1. When you see them gathering lots of food in their beaks. Usually birds will just feed themselves but when you see them with full beaks and then they fly away, you can be sure they are flying to a nest of young. 2. Also when you notice more males than females, the females will be incubating the eggs.
Common birds of the Otway Coast
The most common you can see almost all day and every day include Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Kookaburras, Satin Bowerbirds, Pink Robin, Rufous Bristlebird, Currawong, Fairy Wren, Crimson Rosellas, Forest Raven, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Bassian Thrush, Brush Bronzewing and Chestnut-rumped Heath wren. Lesser often seen but loved by all are the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.
At night the almost magical forest of the Otways and many parts of our towns with dense tree scapes comes alive with Twany Frogmouth Owls, Barn Owls and Powerful Owl or Masked Owl.
Sea birds (Pellagic birds) along the Great Ocean Road
Victoria has some of the best pelagic birding in the world. Along the Great Ocean Road there are many such birds and usually the best way to see them is being out in a boat. Occasionally however you can also see them from the coast or beach.
The endangered Hooded Plover occurs all along the coastline in small numbers, check any suitable looking ocean beach. Fenced off areas protect the birds when breeding. Please do not disturb these areas when you walk near them and keep your dog on a leash.
Key species depending on the time of year –
Australasian Gannet, Little Penguin, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Southern Giant-Petrel, Northern Giant-Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Great-winged Petrel, Wilsons Storm-Petrel, White-faced Storm-Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, Cape Petrel, Fairy Prion, Common Diving-Petrel, Fluttering Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Huttons Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater and Crested Tern. (List courtesy of Firetail Bird Watching Tours.)
Bird watching on the Otway Coast
Bird watching on the Otway Coast can be as easy as sitting on your balcony or outside your cabin and caravan (with glass of wine in hand) and watching all the birds gather around a bird feeder.
Or as easy as going to the Wye Beach Pub for a drink and trying not to share your crisps with the Kookaburras.
Or bird watching can be as hard (read invigorating) as going for a strenuous bush walk in thick forest and scrub to see those birds that are a little more shy like the Rufous Bristlebird. Choose your bird watching method and enjoy.
Relax and energise and connect with nature by observing the beauty, song and habits of wild birds in this region.
Post Christmas Day Bushfire Bird Nesting Box project
The Christmas Day 2015 bushfire in Wye River and Separation Creek resulted in tree losses in the higher parts of the villages. The local residents and holiday house owners felt strongly about supporting their local birds and helping them with nesting opportunitities during the time it would take for trees and scrub to regrow. A nesting box program was started by the community which plans to put up over 70 boxes for varied species during 2016.
Birds of the Otways Bird Day with Simon Starr
The residents have organised a day of bird watching lead by ornithologist Simon Starr. To be held Saturday October 8th at the Wye River CFA.
Bird watching clubs in Australia
If you’d like to be a serious birdwatcher then these organisations may be of interest to you.
Birds Australia Birds Australia (also known as the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) is dedicated to the understanding, conservation and enjoyment of Australia’s wild, native birds.
The Bird Observers Club of Australia A Club for people interested in all Australian Birds. The Club reports birdwatching trips provides information on birdwatching locations.
The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV) This Club’s objectives are conservation and the study of natural history in Victoria, including birds.