During our trip to Melbourne, we were fortunate to take a birding trip with Paul Hackett of Melbourne Birding. I knew we found a good match when I saw this quote on the website: “if you thrive on long days and birding for 12 hours then this is the tour for you”. Ok, we admit it, we are starting to become bird crazy!
I’ll start with the highlight of the trip: seeing the mating dance of the male Superb Lyrebird. Being huge David Attenborough fans, we had seen this bird during the final segment of the Life of Birds series. The lyrebird is an incredible mimic and the males integrate all kinds of sounds into their mating dance. They will mimic every other bird call in the forest, and they will even mimic human produced sounds, like chain saws (which is sad), and camera shutters. The males practice their dance for the first 6-7 years of their lives before they’re ready show time. We saw the display platforms that the males make and maintain, which are slightly elevated sections of dirt meticulous cleaned of any forest debri. It looks like a gardener had just cleared a little 3′ x 3′ section of forest before planting.
We set out for the wet eucalyptus forest of the Dandenong Ranges and ran into a naturalist volunteer who surveys the Lyrebirds. She helped us to find a pack of 4 male Lyrebirds racing through the forest and practicing their dance. Here are some shots we took of the juvenile male, who stopped to practice his dance on a log just a few feet from us.
Throughout the day, we saw a huge number of birds, 93 bird species, to be exact. Here are some favorites:
Our birding trip in Australia did not disappoint. We’ve had a pretty spectacular year birding!
You can see all of our photos from the trip here: Flickr.