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Bird life

Phillip Island

  • Birdlife, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

Be sure to pack your binoculars as birdwatching opportunities abound on Phillip Island. Greet migratory mutton birds on their long journey from Alaska, see rare wading birds up close, and feed the excitable pelicans in the seaside village of San Remo.

Migrating mutton birds
Make your way to Cape Woolamai's main car park to witness the spectacle of over a million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) returning to their colony en masse at sunset. The birds fly 8,000 kilometres annually from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to Phillip Island, and between late September and late April you can see them return to their burrows after a day out fishing.

Real birds at Rhyll
Spot all kinds of migratory wading birds in the mangroves and mudflats of Rhyll Inlet, which are recognised under the Ramsar international wetlands agreement. Royal spoonbills, straw-necked ibis, swans, little pied cormorants and the rare hooded plover visit the area annually to feed and breed.

Start exploring at the Conservation Hill information shelter and follow the elevated boardwalks through the saltmarsh, mangroves and tidal flats. Alternatively, take the Oswin Roberts Walking Track to reach rewarding bird-watching areas. Keep a lookout on your travels for the pink legs and yellow beaks of the Cape Barren Geese, which live on the many offshore islands.

The pelicans can
Don't miss the opportunity to watch the pelican feeding that takes place daily at midday on the beach at San Remo. Enjoy seeing the wild birds squabble, sway their beaks and dance in unison.