Chronicling an adventure in the Mallee
In mid-March, we went on two short forays out of Melbourne and into the regions. The second of these was to the Mallee
We stayed in an Airbnb in Sea Lake and did the obligatory sunset viewing of Lake Tyrell. This was a magnificent experience, the “lake” has no water at this time of year so we couldn’t do the “reflections” photographs that have caused it to become a tourist Mecca. Nevertheless the view of the endless landscape of salt flats at sunset was inspiring. The facilities have been upgraded to provide car parking, comfort stops, viewing platforms and even a “Sky Lounge” for people wishing to stretch out to view the stars. Highly recommended!
We also explored Green Lake, south of Sea Lake. A walk around that lake provided opportunities to photograph cuckoo shrikes, willy wag-tails and a profusion of water birds and bush birds.
The main point of the trip was to visit Michael and Louise who run Explore the Mallee eco-tours on birds and botany from their farm in Patchewollock adjoining the Wyperfield National Park.
The day at Patchewollock was amazing. Michael took us around the property to see the wildlife and vegetation. We saw kangaroos and evidence of echidnas and other animals.
The first big hit of the day was a flock of Pink or Major Mitchell Cockatoos. These were high up a tree and flying and roosting and showing off their bright red and yellow crests and their bright pink underwings. Along with photographing some distant mulga parrots this made the day a success almost before we started.
Wandering in the bush we found female splendid wrens, brown headed honeyeaters, singing honeyeaters, and even some black kites circling. We spent an hour in the “morning bird hide” and the water feature had a profusion of spiny-cheeked honeyeaters with glowing breasts visiting to take a drink.
We had a very vocal butcherbird visit and also some white-eared honeyeaters showing off their gold/olive green plumage to effect in the morning light. A lone singing honeyeater and some brown-headed honeyeaters also visited for their morning refreshment.
We left the farm and drove to a nearby town of Ouyen for lunch and coffee, returning to Patchewollock and the northern entrance to Wyperfield National Park. Sadly we didn’t see the regent parrots at the dried basin of Lake Agnes, but on the drive back to town we flushed out a flock of at least twenty regent parrots feeding at the side of the road. They stayed in the trees just long enough to take some photos. They are not the best pics, but good enough to whet our appetite to see this bird again in better circumstances.
This was our first trip to the Mallee, and it won't be our last! See a portfolio of best pics of the day here.