Birding Victoria - Birding Sites Southern Victoria Australia

 REGION 1.  Melbourne and surrounds 

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Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens
Situated in St Kilda, just 2kms from the CBD of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Botanical gardens were established in 1846 and cover 38 hectares. Easily accessed by tram or walking, this is a nice place to ease into Australian birds if you have just arrived in the country, and good at anytime for the world class plant collections.
The webpage at has lots of information

Getting there:
Walk or tram from Melbourne’s CBD.

Key sites: The main lake is home to a range of commoner native waterbirds. The plantings of various specimen trees attract a range of Parrots and Cockatoos and in recent years the Australian Koel has arrived in the spring. Denser areas provide refuge for smaller bird species, and the loud ringing call of the Bell Miner will give their presence away. The patient observer may spot a roosting Tawny Frogmouth and the Powerful Owl is an intermittent visitor.
Key Species:
Nankeen Night Heron, Tawny Frogmouth, Australian Koel (spring or summer only), Bell Miner, Little Wattlebird, Song Thrush (occasional).


Yarra River sites

The Yarra river winds its way from the Yarra Ranges to the east of Melbourne all the way into the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.  For much of that length the surrounding land and vegetation is preserved for green space with only limited development allowed. As such it provides a green corridor allowing wildlife to move freely. There are many sites worth exploring along the way. Here are just a sample starting closest to the city.

Yarra Bend Park

This protects the largest portion of native vegetation adjacent to the city, whilst parklands and golf courses add to the attraction. A nice but short walk starts from the pipe bridge next to Fairfield park. This north-eastern section of the park contains very natural riverine vegetation. Just south of here, on the southern side of the Freeway and accessed off Yarra Boulevard is the Bellbird picnic ground. A huge colony of spectacular Grey-headed Flying-Fox roost here during the day, certainly one of Melbourne’s most incredible wildlife spectacles. Footpaths follow the river frontage for nearly 16kms as well as alongside the Merri creek. Studley park in the south-west is a pleasant parkland with a variety of Parrots possible.

Key Species:  Australasian Darter, Tawny Frogmouth, Azure Kingfisher (occasional), and Bell Miner. Up to 14 species of Parrot have been sighted here with 5 or 6 species present most of the time. A selection of smaller bush birds are recorded also, despite being lost from the surrounding suburbs.

Wilson Reserve

Accessed off The Boulevard in Ivanhoe, this reserve protects a dense pocket of riverine forest as well as temporary swamps and wetlands. It has a similar but more extensive bird list than Yarra Bend, particularly providing a home for a variety of smaller bush birds such as Eastern Yellow Robin, Superb Fairy wren, Red-browed Finch, Golden Whistler and Eastern Spinebill. Tawny Frogmouths are residents here also, and it falls with the territory of a pair of Powerful Owl which are around mostly in the summer months. Buff-banded rail occurs in the swampy areas, and it attracts a similar selection of Parrots.

Banyule Flats

Further upstream still, accessed from Somerset Drive off Banyule road, this park has much more extensive riverine woodlands and quite a large wetland area also. It is more regularly visited by birdwatchers and boasts a list over 150 species. A wide variety of waterbirds visit from time to time, and as the lake dries in summer Latham’s Snipe, and various Rails and Crakes appear. A small pond at the northern end of the large lake and ovals, called affectionately the Grotty Pond (it does tend to collect plastic bottles!) is a hotspot for Buff-banded Rail and Spotless Crake in season. A variety of raptors occur especially Brown Goshawk. Crested Shrike-tit, Mistletoebird and Olive-backed Oriole are all fairly regular, Flame and Scarlet Robins turn up in winter, Tawny Frogmouths and Powerful Owls are in the area much of the year, whilst Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Gang Gang Cockatoos and Australian King Parrots are all regularly sighted especially in autumn and winter.

Warrandyte State Park

This state park protects significant stretches of land adjacent to the Yarra river on the outskirts of Melbourne in a more rural setting. From Templestowe to Eltham and Warrandyte and out as far as Wonga Park and Bend of Islands, some sites are easy to access, others very difficult involving walking trails or long drives along country tracks. Quality remnant vegetation here is known for its terrestrial orchid displays particularly in spring. Koalas Wombats and Platypus live here, as do Powerful Owls. Some popular sites to check include Pound Bend, Jumping creek reserve and Blue Tongue Bend, and the Heritage wetlands at Wonga Park (just outside the state park).

The Dandenong Creek

Running through the eastern suburbs of Melbourne this creek is managed by Melbourne Water as a green corridor with sections of remnant floodplain forests and wetlands, some of which are newly created. The creek runs out of the Dandenong Ranges National Park flowing west and south.                                                                                          The first site of significant interest is Liverpool Road Retarding Basin in Kilsyth South. Parking is on Liverpool road and the main attraction is the wetland along the northern boundary of the reserve especially the eastern sections where reedbeds and swampy grasslands are a home for Latham’s Snipe (summer). Any of the locally occurring Rails and Crakes may be observed, especially in summer when water levels may be lower. A vagrant Tawny Grassbird has been seen here a few times., The surrounding parklands hold a ranges of bush birds, and many parrot species pass through including Gang-gang Cockatoo, King Parrot and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo.                                               The next area of note is Koomba Park in Wantirna. Either park near the Wantirna Reserve in the south or at the small parking area in the north on Boronia Road. The Dandenong Creek shared Bicycle path provides access right through and various walking tracks allow further access including along the powerlines firebreak. Some swampy wetlands in the heart of the reserve hold a few waterbirds, surrounded by extensive swamp paperbark scrub. Taller riverine eucalypts closer to the creek are harder to access. Unlike the surrounding suburban landscape, Noisy Miners have not taken over this area which supports plenty of smaller bush birds. Sacred Kingfishers and Mistletoebirds are regular in summer. Bell Miners occur to the south and both Scarlet and Flame Robin may occur in winter.                                                                        Bushy Park wetlands are the next site downstream, park just off High St Road near the Pony Club and walk north. Open paddocks and rough grasslands plus a nice little wetland with a decent bird hide are all interesting. Various waterbirds pass through the area, whilst Lathams Snipe and various Rails and Crakes are all possible.                    On the south side of High St Road the creek runs through the popular Shepherds Bush. Various access points include Napier Park, and the end of Shepherd Road. This reserve contains excellent quality riverine woodland with plenty of old growth trees plus paperbark swamps and adjoining woodland on the slopes, but no larger open wetland areas. A good selection of walking tracks provide excellent access. The reserve has quite a decent bird list with 126 species on eBird and is known for its Powerful Owls which are present for most of the year. They have many roosting sites usually using the paperbarks or wattles. Tawny Frogmouths occur year round, a wide range of Parrots pass through, and amongst the wide range of bush birds that frequent the area, scarcer species have occurred in season such as Rose Robin, Bassian Thrush, Rufous Fantail and Brown Gerygone.                                                                                               Continuing south, the creek that keeps on giving next passes by Jells Park. Some open parklands and a large “wildlife” lake here is very popular for family picnics and a walk right around the lake takes you though some quite extensive woodlands. 144 species are listed on eBird for the site including visits by Freckled and Blue-billed Ducks occasionally, resident Australasian Darters, Cattle Egrets and Night Herons, Cuckoos in the spring and a nice range of Parrots and Cockatoos.                                                 Next the excellent Dandenong Valley Wetlands are a huge area of open lakes and swamps developed by Melbourne Water recently for flood mitigation and water quality improvement. Access from Mulgrave reserve off Garnett road, walk north and then take the bridge across the creek. Although relatively new, these wetlands are already attracting many waterbirds, with sightings of Crakes, Wood Sandpiper each summer and Australasian Bittern more in winter. Water levels fluctuate throughout the year depending on how recent the rainfall has been. Various Dotterels and Sandpipers use the area when levels drop, Intermediate Egret has occurred here, and no doubt more good sightings will be had as the ecology of the site establishes. The forest along the creek itself holds a variety of bush birds with Song Thrush occurring here and Flame Robins are regular in the open areas in winter. Being quite extensive allow 2 or 3 hours to walk right around.                                                                                                                 Finally the Heatherton Road Retarding Basin is a smaller area of wetland serving a similar purpose to the DVWetlands. Access off Heatherton road in Dandenong. It is a pleasant site with a nice mix of the commoner wetland and bush birds. Latham’s Snipe can occur in summer.

Woodlands Historic Park
Woodlands Historic Park is a one of the best examples Red Gum grassy woodland remaining close to Melbourne. There are a number of access points from which it is easy walking through grassland with large numbers of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, and open woodland with many old growth trees. Birding at any time of year can be worthwhile.

Getting there:
This site is just 22kms from the city, and right next to Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport. Drive up the Tullamarine freeway and on past the airport then turn right onto Oaklands road. Either park at the Living Legends equine centre or further around on Somerton Road.

Key sites: From the car park on Somerton road walk into the woodland where a wide range of bush birds may be observed. A small creek and wetlands add to the diversity. If parked at the Homestead on Oaklands road walk south-east through open grassland down to some billabongs or into an area called “the back paddock” which is fenced and has a reintroduced population of Eastern Barred Bandicoots.
Key Species:
Brown Goshawk, four species of Cuckoo in season, Tawny Frogmouth, Parrots and Lorikeets, Speckled Warbler ( rare, try the southern section of Back Paddock), Scarlet Robin (mostly autumn/winter), Red-capped Robin, and Flame Robin (autumn/winter)

The Western Treatment Plant (or just “Werribee” to the locals) 

Managed by Melbourne Water and accessible by permit only, the Western Treatment Plant (WTP) near Werribee, 50 kms west of Melbourne, is one of Australia's most famous birding sites. Situated on Port Phillip Bay, the treatment works features approximately 10,000 hectares of wetland and farmland, parts of which are managed specifically for wildlife. The diversity and sheer number of birds make this a very special place. In the warmer months over 100 species is quite possible in one day.  

Getting there
Access is via the Point Wilson road if coming from Melbourne. If driving from Geelong turn off the freeway on to Beach road which goes past Avalon airport and then intersects with Pt. Wilson road. Without a key to access the plant, there is only limited viewing of wetlands along the Pt. Wilson road and also from near the boat ramp at the end of Beach road. A drive west from the boat ramp on a rough dirt track takes you to Kirk Point which is a roost for some terns and waders. Otherwise it is necessary to obtain a permit from Melbourne Water. Full details can be found at the Melbourne water website on the following link
In this age of litigation we are very lucky to have access to such a permit system, and being a hazardous workplace it is very important all visitors register their visit and adhere to terms and conditions of the permit.
If you are visiting Melbourne for a short time, the permit system may not be practical, however if you are around for a few days it can be worth the effort. A general permit allows access to around half the wetland area, for full access undertaking an OHS induction is also required.

Key sites:
The wetlands are very dynamic, with conditions changing all the time, depending on season, tide and water levels which are regulated by Melbourne water. At low tide many waders are to be found on the mudflats of the bay. At high tide they roost on rocky points along the coast as well as in various ponds depending on water levels. The Western lagoons are quick to get to off the bitumen and have waders, terns, Spoonbills, Egrets and lots more. From these lagoons drive along the track along the side of The Spit nature reserve, an area of saltmarsh, mudflats and shingle spits where coastal waders may be seen. The saltmarsh habitat has Australian Crakes, Buff-banded Rails and Lewin’s Rails. Look for gaps in the vegetation where there is bare mud exposed. The T-Section lagoons also hold waders. Reedy areas can be good for Crakes including the Baillon’s. The larger wetland to the north has regular Red-necked Avocets, and sometimes Cape Barren Goose. The other quick and easy area to access is to drive the loop which starts further north along Beach road onto Paradise road, past Paradise ponds ( also often good for Cape Barrens), and onto the Little River. Then follow the Little river to the coast where a bird hide is good at low tide when many waders can be seen. The saltmarsh here also has Rails and Crakes. Driving back to Beach road can take you past Lake Borrie and surrounds where thousands of duck are likely to be seen. The pond just inside the gate, at the boat ramp on Beach road is reliable for waders and birders often pick up rarities here.
Grasslands all around are excellent for raptors with most Victorian species present at times. Also Banded Lapwing, Brolga, Brown and Stubble Quail, and Zebra finch too. The road up to Ryan’s swamp is a good one for these open country birds as are the areas north and west of the Austin road lagoons.

Key Species:
Blue-billed Duck, Freckled Duck, Cape Barren Goose, Black Falcon, Brolga, all of Victoria’s Rails and Crakes, waders including annual visits by Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Long-toed Stint, Banded Stilt, Little, Fairy and White-winged Black Terns amongst others, Blue-winged Parrot, Striated Fieldwren, Zebra Finch, rarities. 

Brisbane Ranges National Park and the You Yangs Regional Park

These low ranges west of Melbourne have generally poor soils and lie in a rain shadow area. They are both excellent areas to become acquainted with a wide range of open woodland birds. The granite hills of the You Yangs have seen significant changes since European settlement, whilst the weathered soils of the Brisbane ranges have experienced recent extensive wildfires, however both regions still support good bird diversity.

Getting there
The main entrance to the You Yangs is along Forest road north of Lara. It is also possible to access quieter parts of the park in the east along Toynes road and Drysdale road.
The Brisbane ranges, a little further to the north-west has many access points, the main ones being just north of Anakie. There is no convenient public transport to either area.

Key sites
You Yangs Regional Park: Near the southern entrance and visitors centre has Yellow Gum woodland, particularly good in winter and spring when in flower. The Great Circle Drive takes you through a range of woodland types and has most of the parks bird species. Walking down to Hovell’s creek from Sandy creek road can be worthwhile, with Rainbow Bee-eater present in summer. Walking along Branding Yard road from the end of Toynes road is also excellent.
The Brisbane Ranges NP: Birding throughout the park can be worthwhile, with some better known sites including Anakie gorge which can be accessed in the east from The Gorge road or from the west at Stony Creek picnic ground on Switch road. Various sites along the Durdidwarrah-Steiglitz road are quite birdy and Steiglitz itself is a good area with a more open woodland of larger trees. Also worth driving are Aeroplane, Thompsons and Reids road in the northern plateau area where Spotted Quail-thrush is a real chance.
Some tracks are steep and rocky and may be unsuitable for small cars.

Key Species
You Yangs: Tawny Frogmouth, Diamond Firetail, Scarlet Robin, Woodswallows, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Rainbow Bee-eater, Cuckoos.
Brisbane Ranges: Spotted Quail-thrush, White-throated Nightjar, Scarlet Robin, Diamond Firetail, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Painted Button-quail, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.

Driving through this region, roadside flowering trees attract good numbers of Lorikeets, in fact it is as good as anywhere in the state for seeing the small and beautiful Purple-crowned Lorikeet. 

Serendip Sanctuary

This small oasis is well set out with walking tracks, contains grasslands, wetlands and woodlands and has a high species list for a relatively small area. Re-introductions of Magpie Geese and Cape Barren Geese have been successful, whilst the resident Emus are not yet  considered to be naturalised. There are also some aviaries, however it is the abundance and diversity of wild birds that makes this area well worth visiting. 
Getting there A short drive north from Lara, with good signposting.

Key sites:
Woodland around the car park often has Honeyeaters and Lorikeets. Many waterbirds use Lake Serendip, which can dry up in late summer. Smaller wetlands in the northern parts of the reserve are also excellent especially the far north-east corner where there is a bird hide amongst some lignum wetlands.   
Key Species
Cape Barren Goose, Magpie Goose, Tawny Frogmouth, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Australian Crake, Black-tailed Nativehen, Little Eagle.

Edithvale Seaford Wetlands and Braeside Park

South-east of Melbourne there was once a huge wetland (Carrum Carrum swamp), which is now much reduced but what remains is still of national significance. Surrounded by suburbia and only a km or so from Port Phillip bay, the Edithvale wetlands are well worth a visit especially later in summer when water levels drop and migratory waders increase.
Braeside park includes areas of Red Gum grassy woodland, heathland and wetlands, and nicely complements a visit to Edithvale. Again the wetlands are at their most exciting in late summer as the water levels drop.

Getting there
Edithvale wetlands can be reached on foot to from Edithvale train station. Just walk inland away from the beach for one and a half kms along Edithvale road.
Braeside park is just a few kms north of Edithvale and is best accessed from the southern end off Governor road. Be aware that the gates here are locked around 4pm.  

Key sites:
Some of the best viewing is to be had along Edithvale road itself which dissects the wetland. There is a small bird hide looking south, next to the road, and a larger information centre which only opens on Sat and Sun afternoons and also some Wednesday evenings in summer. More views can be had looking through the fence that runs down the eastern side.
This southern part of the swamp usually dries up in late summer.
Best access to the northern part of the swamp is through a gate on the western side, north of Edithvale road. There are walking tracks right the way around the area. This part of the wetland holds water more permanently.

Key Species
Australasian Bittern, Black-backed Bittern, large numbers of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in season, Magpie Goose, Swamp Harrier, rails and crakes.  

Dandenong Ranges National Park

Located on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne the Dandenong Ranges are a quick and easy mountain escape from busy Melbourne. There are several separate sections of forest with the most interesting areas for birds being the tall wet forests of Mountain Ash, and the damp gullies with an understory of giant tree ferns. There is a healthy population of Superb Lyrebirds in these ranges, thanks to conservation works and control of feral animals.

Getting there
It is possible to walk from Upper Ferntree Gully or Belgrave train stations. The drive is around 40 kms from Melbourne’s centre.

Key sites:
Sherbrooke forest is the largest section of the park, and has plenty of Mountain Ash, tree ferns and Lyrebirds. Both the Sherbrooke and O’Donahue’s picnic grounds are a great place to start, with trails taking you down through the forest to Sherbrooke falls. The Lyrebird walk and Neumanns track accessed from Grants picnic ground are also excellent trails to look for Lyrebirds.
The Ferntree Gully section of the National Park also contains some excellent wet forest, with the Tree Fern Gully track being good, but be aware it is now also a monument to Kokoda, and on weekends and holidays literally hundreds of people do the climb. The stunted forest on the steep western slopes of Ferntree Gully are quite different to the sheltered gullies, and allow some closer views of small bush birds.

Key Species
Superb Lyrebird, Red-browed Treecreeper, Crescent and Lewin’s Honeyeaters, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Olive Whistler, Pilotbird, Rose Robin, Rufous Fantail, Bassian Thrush.  

Yarra ranges National Park and Toolangi state forest

Drive a little further out of Melbourne to the east, and you will reach the more extensive natural areas of the Great Dividing range. The Yarra Ranges NP protects Melbourne’s water catchment, supplying the city with some of the cleanest water of anywhere in the world. The most accessible birding areas are accessed from Healesville or Warburton, both towns surrounded by lush forests and towering mountains. With the connectivity of habitat all the way from here to Gippsland, these parks and their varied forests provide opportunities to find a wide range of species, including many that are at the edge of their Australian range.

Getting there
Both Healesville and Warburton are around one and a half hours drive out of Melbourne. Take the Maroondah highway out past Lilydale, after which you may turn right to Warburton or continue on to Healesville.

Key sites:
Mt Donna Buang is a drive up the mountain from Warburton. The narrow road has many passing points which provide the opportunity to park and do some spot birding. The road continues on over the mountains right through to Healesville, but some sections are closed in the winter. It is passable in 2WD but care should be taken in wet weather as one section is unsealed. At the rainforest canopy walk you can experience a Myrtle Beech forest. The drive from there through to the 10 mile picnic ground provides some of the best birding, and is particularly good for Olive Whistler, Pink Robin, Pilotbird and Superb Lyrebird. The birding is challenging due to the dense habitat and tall trees, and can be very quiet in winter.
Badgers Weir just south of Healesville has some easy walks, is a good place to look for Superb Lyrebird, and is worth trying some spotlighting after dark, however be aware that the gate is locked so walking in is required in the evening. Donnelleys Weir just north of Healesville is also well worth a visit for species such as Red-browed Treecreeper and Gang Gang Cockatoo.
Further north from Healesville, Toolangi state forest has some protected areas with good quality rainforest. The best of these for access is the Wirrawalla rainforest walk on Sylvia creek road. A boardwalk takes you into the cool temperate rainforest of Myrtle Beech. Quarry road, which is really just a track, is a great walk from the car park, taking you further on alongside Sylvia creek. The Myrtle Gully walk is also excellent, starting from the Myrtle Gully car park in the north and connecting with the Wirrawalla walk in the south. 
Beware of logging trucks around Toolangi, they don’t always slow down.

Key Species Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl, Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Olive Whistler, Pink Robin, Rose Robin, Crescent Honeyeater, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren, Eastern Whipbird, Bassian Thrush, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Eastern Whipbird.

Bunyip State Park

Another large area of forest well worth the day trip from Melbourne is Bunyip State Park. One of Bunyip’s main attractions is the greater diversity of habitats, including wet and dry scleophyll forest, heathy woodland and swampy heathland. Much of the eastern section of the park is recovering from wildfire. Weekends and holidays attract many trail-bikes to the park, but it is generally a big enough area to not become a major issue.

Getting there:
The two most convenient entry points to the park are from Gembrook in the west (via Belgrave and Emerald) or from Tynong north in the south (via the Monash Freeway). The tracks in the park are mostly well maintained, but watch out for potholes.

Key sites:
Birding throughout the park can be worthwhile, so stopping at signs of activity is the way to go. Along Camp road and the buttongrass walk are areas of  heathy woodland with Southern Emu-wren and sometimes Beautiful Firetail. More of this habitat can be found along the Bunyip river road. Diamond creek runs east west through the park and attracts Sacred Kingfisher, Red-browed Treecreeper, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Eastern Whipbird and  Satin Flycatcher amongst others. Link road climbs up to a higher altitude and passes through some wet forest with Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Rose Robin, Rufous Fantail all regular. Dyers picnic ground is a great site with Satin Bowerbird, Satin Flycatcher, Rose Robin and a chance of a Koala. The first section of Ash Landing road follows alongside a wet gully with some good birding opportunities. Brown Gerygone and Black-faced Monarch are both possibilities.
Regrowth areas in the east, such as along Forest road have attracted Brush Bronzewing and Blue-winged Parrot as well as Pilotbird in the gullies. Night drives have much potential with Sooty and Powerful Owls sometimes seen plus many nocturnal mammals. The Helipad is a known stakeout at dusk for White-throated Nightjars in summer.
Tarago road in the Tarago state forest outside the park to the east is also a quality area for wet forest species.

Key Species
Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail, Superb Lyrebird, Rose Robin, Satin Flycatcher, Gang Gang cockatoo, Pilotbird, Sooty Owl, Lewins Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren, Red-browed Treecreeper, Blue-winged Parrot, Scarlet Robin, Painted Button-quail.

REGION 2.  Victoria’s Western Coastline 

The Bellarine Peninsula

5 miles10 km

As with the coastline closer to Melbourne, the Bellarine peninsula has many worthwhile birding sites within a small area. It is an excellent area for waders with a wide diversity present at various sites. It also has some excellent freshwater marshes where in season rails, crakes and Bitterns may be seen. On top of this coastal lookouts will reward with ocean going seabirds such as Shy and Black-browed Albatross.

Getting there
It takes one hour to drive to Geelong from Melbourne on the Princes freeway. From Geelong either head south on the Barwon Heads road, or south east on the Bellarine highway.

Key sites
Belmont common in Geelong is a good place to try for some of the trickier marshland birds, such as Latham’s Snipe and Spotless Crake especially when water levels are down usually in summer.

Breamlea to Barwon Heads. The coastline and adjacent marshes here are good wader habitat. Point Impossible, Black Rock and Thirteenth beach are all interesting with localised coastal species such as Pacific Golden Plover, Hooded Plover and Sanderling all regular. Seabirds may be seen off shore and Black-faced Cormorants can be in the area. The marshes adjacent to Blackgate road and Minya road hold a range of waterbirds when water levels are right. Seabirds may be seen especially from Barwon heads bluff.

Lake Connewarre is a complex of wetlands at the end of the Barwon river, some of which is tidal. Waders are found in the estuary at Barwon heads and particularly in the lower reaches of the lake. Either access from Taits road or Brinsmead lane on the northern shore. The saltmarsh also has some interesting birds such as Blue-winged Parrot and Southern Emu-wren. Reedy lake is the freshwater part of the system further upstream. Hospital swamp, accessed from Hospital swamp road is a good wader hotspot in the south, or access from Moolap station road, Woods road or O’Halloran road in the north.

Lonsdale lakes are two shallow lakes that can hold large numbers of waders especially when water levels drop through summer. Access from Emily st or Clows lane. This is one of the only places in Victoria where Hooded Plovers may be seen away from the beach.
Edwards Point and Swan Bay on the eastern end of the peninsula are also excellent for waders and various coastal birds, with saltmarsh and mudflats exposed at low tide. Allow two or three hours for the return walk to the point, access from the east end of Beach road, St Leonards.

Lake Lorne, adjacent to the Geelong-Port Arlington road in Drysdale is an exceptional freshwater lake which regularly holds numbers of Freckled Duck, especially in summer.

Key Species
Brolga, Australasian Bittern, Black-faced Cormorant, Shy Albatross, Hooded Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Sanderling, Wood Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Spotless Crake, Latham’s Snipe, Fairy Tern, Double-banded Plover, Freckled Duck, Blue-billed Duck

Great Otway National Park and The Great Ocean road

With moisture laden air coming in off the Great Southern Ocean meeting steep mountain ranges which go right down to the coast, the Otways region receives some of the highest rainfall in the state. The resulting forest of Blue Gum and Mountain Ash is magnificent, and in the higher areas temperate rainforest and spectacular waterfalls complete the scene. Add to that the coastal heathlands that occur around Anglesea and Aireys Inlet as well as along the Port Campbell and Twelve Apostles sections of the coastline, and you have a tremendously diverse birding area, complete with its own speciality, the very localised endemic Rufous Bristlebird.   
Getting there:
Driving from Melbourne there is now a bypass around the city of Geelong, which means you can be on the coast near Torquay in not much over an hour. Then simply follow the scenic coast road, remembering to keep looking ahead at the road and not get too distracted by the spectacular scenery. There are many tourist coaches passing through every day, but little in the way of public transport.

Key sites
In order, from the Melbourne end of the coast road, through to Port Campbell, the first worthwhile stop is Point Addis. A short drive off the main road takes you out to a scenic lookout which is a handy sea watching site with Shy Albatross almost guaranteed and many other possibilities depending on the time of year and the weather. Rufous Bristlebird and Brush Bronzewing are found here. It is also worth stopping at the small car park not far off the road where a walking track takes you along the ridge or down into Ironbark basin. The Ironbark and Stringybark woodland here has lots of birds such as Cuckoos, Scarlet Robin, Leaden Flycatcher, Olive-backed Oriole etc.

Anglesea Heath – just before reaching Anglesea it is possible to turn right onto Coalmine road and drive up onto the heath behind town. Another access point is along Harvey street, which climbs the hill behind the west end of town. Once up on the heath Bald Hills road or No.2 road are both good tracks to try  Another worthwhile section of heath is the coastline just east of town, park at the end of Purnell st and walk along the cliff top. The heathlands  are very rich botanically, and have some specialist birds such as Southern Emu-wren, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Striated Fieldwren, Blue-winged Parrot, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Beautiful Firetail (rare) , Rufous Bristlebird and Olive Whistler. They are also very good for Gang Gang Cockatoos which regularly come into town.

The mixed habitats behind Aireys Inlet are also excellent, with Bambra road and the Old Coach road particularly good.

The Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet is another headland good for seabirds, and also Rufous Bristlebird. The small pond at the start of the access road can have Lathams Snipe in summer, and also Buff-banded Rail.

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.


Lorne- Drive up into the mountains behind Lorne and you hit the first of the towering eucalypt forests, with Satin Bowerbirds and King Parrots, and a good chance of Koala. Worthwhile sites include the Allenvale road along to Allenvale Mill and the She-Oak picnic ground, Sharps track, the Erskine Falls road up to Blanket Leaf picnic area and the Falls themselves and Five mile track (walking only) accessed off the Deans Marsh road. Species include Bassian Thrush, Forest Raven, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Olive Whistler, Crescent Honeyeater, Satin Bowerbird, Rose Robin etc. The forest here comes alive at night, with many nocturnal mammals to see as well as a chance for Powerful Owl or Masked Owl.

Moving further west into the Otways the township of Kennett river is an excellent place to see Koala, Triplet Falls would be one of the most magnificent walks in a cool temperate rainforest with Pink Robin a real chance, Cape Otway also has a large Koala population and Blanket Bay is well worth the detour with its mix of stringybark woodland and rich coastal heathland, a very birdy spot.

A little more inland between the townships of Gellibrand and Carlisle river, the Old Carlisle Track is a four wheel drive track which is seasonally closed in winter. The sandy nature of the soil here supports a diverse heathland and is an excellent area to look for Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail, Olive Whistler and lots more. Either drive in with care, or park at either end and walk.
Further west still in the Port Campbell NP, the scenery ramps up even more with eroded sea cliffs, and the famous arches and pillars that make this area famous. It also happens to be excellent for seeing Rufous Bristlebird, at many of the tourist car parks along the way, best in the early morning before all the regular tourists wake up.
There are of course many more worthwhile spots in this rich area, which is great to explore.

Key Species
Black-faced Cormorant, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Forest Raven, Rufous Bristlebird, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Satin Bowerbird, Pink Robin, Olive Whistler, Southern Emu-wren, Blue-winged Parrot, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Powerful Owl, Masked Owl, Beautiful Firetail, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Bassian Thrush, Brush Bronzewing, Rose Robin and Crescent Honeyeater amongst others

Pelagic Sea-birding Trips

Getting there:

Victoria has some of the best pelagic birding in the world. The list of ocean going seabirds seen in Victorian waters is very long, and a day out on the water at any time of the year is sure to produce something of interest. 
Monthly boat trips from Portland in far south-west Victoria are organised by volunteers through Birds Australia’s Victoria group. Bookings should be made well in advance, and these trips are very popular. You are also able to put your name down on a waiting list, as frequently when the week comes some cannot make it. Some trips do not get out due to rough weather in which case a second attempt will be made the following weekend.
Follow the link to
for further information

The only other regular pelagic seabirding trips organised in Victoria are through Birdswing Wildlife Tours and depart from Port Fairy in season.

Key Species
Regular species seen depending on the season include
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.
Other seabirds recorded each year but less frequently include Sooty Albatross, Buller’s Albatross, Royal Albatross, Gould’s Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Slender-billed Prion, Antarctic Prion, Brown Skua, Arctic Jaeger, Pomarine Jaeger and White-fronted Tern.
Then there is a long list of rarer and vagrant seabirds making these trips some of the most exciting pelagics in the world

South West Victoria
The south-west corner of Victoria is an under visited region with outstanding natural values, and a high percentage of native vegetation intact. Port Fairy and Portland are well known as coastal towns from which pelagic birding trips leave, however the region offers much much more. The high rainfall has meant this district is valuable farming land, with drainage schemes having reduced the number of wetlands. More recently wetland values are being more recognised with rehabilitation taking place at various sites. Heading away from the coast around the towns of Dartmoor, Casterton and Edenhope, many bushland reserves remain, with this being the stronghold of the endangered South-East Australian Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.


Getting there: The region lies some 380 kms west of Melbourne via the Princes Highway, which continues on to the coast of South Australia.

Key sites:
Portland: Cape Nelson is probably the best land based site for viewing seabirds in Victoria. As well as the seabirds that frequent coastal waters, at times pelagic seabirds are observed here especially in rough weather. Add to that prime coastal heathland with Rufous Bristlebird, Beautiful Firetail, Blue-winged Parrot, Brush Bronzewing and Olive Whistler and you have yourself hours of amusement.
Point Danger Gannet colony: A viewing platform just outside the protective fence allows for observation of nesting Australasian Gannets. Individual Cape Gannets have been recorded here on and off for many years.
Portland Harbour may provide close viewing of seabirds, particularly during winter in rough weather.
Fawthrop lagoon in town has some quality wetland values. When water levels are lower Lewins Rail may be observed from the boardwalk. Australasian Bittern may occur in winter.
The newly declared Cobboboonee National park 10 kms north west of Portland is a site with some quality wet forest gullies important for species such as Powerful Owl, Rose Robin, Olive Whistler, Satin Flycatcher, Rufous Fantail, Bassian Thrush and Pink Robin (in winter). In the northern section Spotted Quail-thrush occurs
Port Fairy: Griffiths island has a colony of Short-tailed Shearwaters (try a dusk walk in summer), and Hooded Plover occur on some of the beaches here. Wetlands on the south side of town along Ocean drive, Powling Street and the Moyne river are important for Latham’s Snipe in summer and Australian Spotted Crake is regular here.
From Yambuk, 17kms west of Port Fairy take Lake road and then walk to the Eumerella river mouth, where waders roost at high tide. Hooded Plover and Sanderling may be seen. Ephemeral wetlands along Lake road add further interest.
Deen Maar is an important area for a number of threatened species, with river flats, saltmarsh, and coastal dunes at the west end of Lake Yambuk. For access contact the traditional owners, who run the Eumeralla Backpackers. At times Lewin’s Rail, Australasian Bittern, Lathams Snipe, Southern Emu-wren, Stilts, Avocets and Crakes may be seen. It also was a traditional site for wintering Orange-bellied Parrot, though these have been rarely observed in recent years.

Nelson: Discovery Bay, between Portland and Nelson is a stunning 30+km long ocean beach with Hooded Plovers.
The Glenelg river estuary at Nelson is worth a look for waders and terns. Adjacent coastal dunes have Brush Bronzewing, Olive Whistler and Beautiful Firetail amongst others. Access from Nelson via Beach road.
The Lower Glenelg National Park preserves the lower reaches of this river, where steep gorges are popular for canoeing. Azure Kingfisher, Olive Whistler, Rufous Bristlebird, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Brush Bronzewing, Emu, Blue-winged Parrot and Crescent Honeyeater all occur here. In the eastern section of the park wet heathlands are home to Southern Emu-wren. The near impossible King Quail has been recorded here.
Inland from the coast : between Portland, Dartmoor, Casterton and Edenhope lie large areas of forest and scrub, plus many wetlands with tremendous values. Little visited this section of Victoria is quiet and wild, with a wide range of birds. Sites include Stokes River State Forest and Crawford River Regional park north-east of Dartmoor. Nangeela State Forest, Drujurk SF, Bahgalluh SF and Argyle SF west of Casterton. And between Casterton and Edenhope lies Dergholm State Park, Dorodong SF, Roseneath SF and Tooloy-Lake Mundi Nature reserve.
This region provides important Victorian habitat for Emu, Australasian Bittern, Musk Duck, Swamp Harrier, Brolga, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Blue-winged Parrot, Spotted Quail-thrush, Southern Emu-wren, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and Forest Raven.          

Key Species
Emu, pelagic seabirds, Hooded plover, Sanderling, Latham’s Snipe, Lewin’s Rail, Australasian Bittern, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Blue-winged Parrot, Rufous Bristlebird, Southern Emu-wren, Olive Whistler, Beautiful Firetail, Forest Raven.

REGION 3.  Gippsland

Wilson’s Promontory National Park and surrounds

One of Victoria’s most loved National Parks for its rugged beauty, “The Prom” as it is affectionately known is the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and a great place to go birding. There are great camping and hiking opportunities, it does however get extremely busy in holidays through summer.

Getting there:
Leave Melbourne on the Monash Freeway, and follow signs for the South Gippsland Highway. Some 230 kms south east of Melbourne, allow at least three hours travel time.
Key sites:
Cape Liptrap Coastal Park and Andersons Inlet: Accessed via Inverloch, this section of coastline is well worth exploring, for coastal heathland birds and great scenery. Best areas for access are around Venus Bay, Walkerville and Waratah Bay. Olive Whistler, Beautiful Firetail and Southern Emu-wren may all be seen amongst others.
Shallow Inlet and Corner Inlet: These two bays have extensive intertidal mudflats and are amongst the most important sites for migratory shorebirds in Victoria, particularly the extraordinary Eastern Curlew. Before entering the park, the road to Duck point provides access to Corner inlet. Once in the National Park, the road to Millers landing also provides views of Corner inlet where many waders, duck and terns may be present. The Millers landing road also passes through coastal heathland where Southern Emu-wren and Ground Parrot occur.
Cotters lake is a worthwhile detour with many possibilities such as Crescent Honeyeater, Striated Fieldwren and Blue-winged Parrot in summer. Ground parrots have been recorded between here and the Darby river.
Tidal River is the main centre for park facilities. Many of the birds in this area and around the campsite have become quite tame.
Sooty Oystercatchers and Black-faced Cormorant are regular around the rocky coastlines, Hooded Plovers are to be seen at many of the beaches, and Forest Raven is the most regularly observed Corvid in the park. Try the Tidal Overlook track for Beautiful Firetail and Lilly Pilly Gully is a nice walk through temperate rainforest where Brown Gerygone is to be found.

Key Species:
Emu, Black-faced Cormorant, Hooded Plover, Brush Bronzewing, Gang Gang Cockatoo, Southern Emu-wren, Crescent Honeyeater, Olive Whistler, Forest Raven, Flame Robin in summer, Bassian Thrush, Beautiful Firetail

Sale, Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance districts

Roughly a three hour drive east from Melbourne further into Gippsland the human population starts to thin out and extensive forested areas extend inland to the Great Dividing Range. Birding opportunities are far too many to mention here, but a few well known sites listed below are a good place to start.  
Getting there:
Simply follow the Princes highway from Melbourne.
Key sites:
Jack Smith Lake: Access off Sth Gippsland Hwy between Yarram and Sale. Best access is to the north-east section off Middle road (the Giffard road). Also access the south-west off Stringybark lane. The lake can hold large numbers of waders especially in late summer, which can include Avocets and Stilts. Blue-winged Parrots and Striated Fieldwren in the surrounds.
Macleods Morass: A wetland with extensive reedbeds on the outskirts of Bairnsdale has well made walking tracks and some bird hides. Crakes are a possibility here as well as raptors grassbirds etc.
Mitchell River NP: The C601 heads NW from Bairnsdale towards Omeo passing the Mitchell River NP. Some good access points for birding include The Den of Nargun, the Amphitheatre and Angus Vale. Just driving the many tracks will produce good sightings on the way. A very wide range of species occur here making it well worth visiting. Superb Lyrebird, Satin Bowerbird, Powerful, Sooty and Masked Owls, Scarlet Honeyeater, Pilotbird, Brown Gerygone, Spotted Quail-thrush, Black-faced Monarch and Rose Robin to mention a few.
Fairy Dell: 5.5 kms NW of Bruthen along Deep Creek road is Fairy Dell, a densely forested gully with some great birding. The drive in passes through typical eucalypt forest with Wonga Pigeon amongst others. At the Dell the denser shaded parts attract Superb Lyrebird, Satin Bowerbird, Bassian Thrush and Black-faced Monarch whilst the surrounding eucalypt forest is alive with species such as Rose Robin, White-throated Gerygone, Scarlet Honeyeater and Cicadabird in season. Sooty Owl occurs in the area.
Metung: Fig trees in the small township of Metung have attracted Channel-billed Cuckoo over the last few summers.
Log Crossing: Take Uncles track off the Princes hwy just west of Lakes Entrance. After 2.2kms turn right to the picnic area. From here various walks take you along the rich creekside vegetation and surrounding forest with many of the same species as are found at Fairy Dell.     
Nyerimilang Park: Between Metung and Lakes Entrance is the small reserve of Nyerimilang Park run by Parks Victoria. Views across the coast as well as some nice forest make this a really interesting site with a wide mix of birdlife from White-bellied Sea-Eagles to Eastern Whipbirds.
Canni Creek: This site is around the racecourse and golf club south of Buchan. Coming from the south turn right just after crossing the Canni creek and park near the racecourse. The site preserves some rare vegetation communities and attracts an interesting mix of birds including Turquoise Parrot, Bell Miner, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Diamond Firetail and Southern Emu-wren plus a wide range of open woodland species.


Key Species:
Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl, Superb Lyrebird, Satin Bowerbird, Cicadabird, Scarlet Honeyeater, Spotted Quail-thrush, Wonga Pigeon, Black-faced Monarch, Bassian Thrush, Turquoise Parrot.

Marlo and Cape Conran Coastal Park

Pushing further on into the wilds of East Gippsland, as you get closer to Croajingolong NP and the border with NSW, it is a must to detour and spend some time in the area between Marlo and Bemm river. Cape Conran coastal park preserves a range of habitats and has an extensive bird list.
Getting there:
420 km east of Melbourne and 530 km south of Sydney this park may be accessed from Marlo in the west, via the Cabbage tree Conran road, or via Bemm river in the east

Key sites:
Cabbage Tree reserve: Accessed off the Marlo Cabbage tree road, this reserve on the Cabbage Tree creek preserves a large stand of Cabbage Tree palms, Victoria’s only palm species. It is an exceptional birding site with the usual wet forest species and the chance of east coast species rare in Victoria such as Top-Knot Pigeon. Pilotbird are here as are Black-faced Monarch, Azure Kingfisher, Sooty Owl, Superb Lyrebird, Scarlet and Crescent Honeyeater, and much more. Masked Owls are in the surrounding area, preferring sites with a mix of habitats such as heathland and forest.
West Cape (Cape Conran): This lookout provides ocean views where seabirds may be observed in windy weather. Pilotbirds and Whipbirds live in the scrub.
Yeerung River Road: The main camp ground and park information is based off this road. The area and drive has a range of forest and heathland with a wide mix of birds. The heaths hold Southern Emu-wren and Ground Parrot. Scarlet Honeyeaters can be common, and both Bandicoots and Potoroos come out at night!  This is one of the best areas in Victoria to see White-throated Needletails in the summer.
Old Coast Road: From the Cabbage tree- Conran road right through to near Bemm river, this well-formed unsealed road is great for birding and passes through a range of vegetation types. Many of the parks bird species can be found along this road, which
is also a regular site for Turquoise Parrot. Glossy Black Cockatoos and Ground Parrots are both possible. Also good for night-birding with White-throated Nightjar, Powerful Owl and various four legged critters.
Bemm River: At the eastern end of the park, and the start of Croajingolong, this small holiday centre has excellent natural values and access back into Cape Conran via the Pearl Point road. The Bemm river itself has some beautiful riverine forest alongside, with Dolly’s Garden a nice place to try some birding. As with other parts of East Gippsland where the habitat is in good shape, both Masked and Sooty Owls are known to frequent the area

Key Species:
Masked Owl, Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl, Top-knot Pigeon, Wonga Pigeon, Turquoise Parrot, Ground Parrot, Glossy Black-cockatoo, Superb Lyrebird, White-throated Needletail, Southern Emu-wren, Scarlet Honeyeater, Pilotbird, Black-faced Monarch, Beautiful Firetail

Croajingolong National Park and Mallacoota

Preserving a long stretch of coastline right to the border with NSW, as well as extensive coastal forests and heathlands, Croajingolong is a place to explore, unwind and marvel at. Track conditions vary so checking with the parks web page is useful. The unspoilt coastline is simply magnificent, and the recent lists entered to the Eremaea Birds website record nearly 200 species in the park. 

Getting there
Located some 450 km east of Melbourne and 500 km south of Sydney, access is via any number of country roads and tracks leading off the Princes Hwy. From Genoa the road to Mallacoota provides access to a range of worthwhile areas where most of the habitat types can be explored.

Key sites

Good tracks in to Point Hicks and Wingan Inlet give access to some of the western section of the park.
Genoa Peak Road takes you up through the best area in Victoria to see Glossy Black Cockatoo. They quietly feed on the casuarina cones that abound here and for such a large bird are easily missed.
Gypsy Point situated in the upper reaches of the Mallacoota inlet has a worthwhile walk out on a peninsula of land to the junction of the Genoa and the Wallagaraugh rivers. Top-knot Pigeons are being seen with more regularity in the Gypsy Point area, whilst both Striated Heron and Black Bittern frequent the fringing vegetation especially up to the left of the jetty. Hiring a boat or canoe is a possible way to see these species but check tides before heading out.
Double Creek Rainforest walk on the Mallacoota road is an excellent section of lowland temperate rainforest with the typical range of species including Scarlet Honeyeater and Black-faced Monarch. On the opposite side of the road a walking track follows the Double creek
Shady Gully Bushland Reserve is another area of temperate rainforest near Mallacoota with an easy walk through. Powerful Owl sometimes roosts here.
Mallacoota Foreshore Camping Ground and Captain Stevens Point these sites provide magnificent views of the inlet. Waders feed here at low tide, Sea-Eagles are never far away, and various other Terns, Egrets and Spoonbills are ever present.
Bastion Point just south of Mallacoota is a good site for a seawatch in the right weather, and Eastern Reef Egret is often in the area.
Take Betka road from Mallacoota west along the coast where there is an excellent heathland walk with potential for Ground Parrot and others. At Betka beach Hooded Plover is quite regular, and further on the heathland around the airfield is also good, with Beautiful Firetail often seen here.
Shipwreck Creek From the car park at Shipwreck creek take tracks back towards Mallacoota coming out onto an excellent coastal heath with more chances for Ground Parrot. Southern Emu-wren are often the commonest bird here !  
Wallagaraugh River Between Genoa and the NSW border take the Wallagaraugh road off the Princes hwy. At the river itself, near the campsite, there is a nice walking track where a brilliant range of birds may be seen.
Howe Flat This section of the park is remote, and only accessible by 4WD or boat. It is the only reliable site in Victoria to see Eastern Bristlebird. It is necessary to drive in from the NSW side, eventually getting to the 4WD Lakeview track and then onto Howe Flat track. Occasionally Eastern Bristlebird is reported further west along the coast but no follow up sightings have been forthcoming.

Key Species:
Black Bittern, Striated Heron, Eastern Reef Egret, Hooded Plover, Little Tern, Top-knot Pigeon, Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl, Masked Owl, White-throated Nightjar, White-throated Needletail, Glossy Black-cockatoo, Ground Parrot, Superb Lyrebird, Southern Emu-wren, Scarlet Honeyeater, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Eastern Bristlebird, Black-faced Monarch, Beautiful Firetail.


REGION 1.  Melbourne and surrounds

Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens
Yarra River sites     Woodlands Historic Park
The Western Treatment Plant (“Werribee”)
Brisbane Ranges National Park and the You Yangs Serendip Sanctuary
Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands and Braeside Park
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Yarra ranges National Park and Toolangi state forest

Bunyip State Park

REGION 2.  Victoria’s Western Coastline

The Bellarine Peninsula

The Great Otway National Park and the Great Ocean road
South West Victoria
Pelagic Seabirding Trips

REGION 3.  Gippsland

Wilson’s Promontory NP and surrounds
Sale, Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance districts
Marlo and Cape Conran Coastal Park
Croajingolong National Park and Mallacoota

Yarra Bend parkweb.pdf

Banyule Flats Bird List eBird.docx

Park-note-Nortons-Park-and-Shepherds-Bush.pdf Park-note-Nortons-Park-and-Shepherds-Bush.pdf
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Map of the Western Treatment Plant for bird watchers




Sherbrooke Bird List.docx