Images and story by Steve Hoptroff
Ten brave souls travelled the distance and braved the Stygian gloom of a rather damp Dandenong day around Kurth Kiln, so named as it is the sight of a charcoal producing kiln built by Dr. E.E. Kurth during World War 2, but more of that later.
Kurth Kiln car park of which there are two, caused a little confusion but we managed to eventually gather together for our day of birding.
In the car park, an Eastern Yellow Robin seemed very curious about our presence in his territory and the Fairy Wrens were very tame indeed, even joining later for lunch hopping around the picnic table. Grey Fantails flitted amongst the bushes.
There was a lot of bird sound, White Throated Treecreepers, Rufous Whistler, Yellow- faced Honeyeater and Kookaburras.
We set off along Thorntons Track (Dedicated to Ron Thornton, the caretaker of Kurth Kiln for many years) in a light drizzle. Once into the tall trees we didn’t notice it. Lots of sound, Rufous and Golden Whistlers, Spotted Pardalotes, GST, Shining Bronze Cuckoo were a few, but no visuals until Phillip at the front of line saw a Superb Lyrebird flit across the track. We waited hopeful that it would reappear. After five minutes it called, very near to us and a few lucky folks caught a fleeting glimpse in the thick undergrowth.
Continuing along the track we crossed the river to a clearing where we were treated to two minutes of a Shining Flycatcher high in the trees.
Continuing on Scout Loop we headed back to the car park via Kurth Kiln for lunch watching a pair of wet Kookaburras foraging for grubs on the way.
The charcoal produced at Kurth Kiln was used in Gas producing Units to power motor vehicles in WW2 because of the shortage of Gasoline. It was built in 1942 to Dr. Kurth’s patent but discontinued in 1943 due to abundance of Charcoal available from other sources.
Once out in the open the precipitation was more apparent and lunch was rather a damp affair. Undeterred six of us ventured out again along the Tomahawk Creek circular track to see what birds we could find. The rain got heavier, birds sheltered and kept out of sight except for a pair of White-throated Treecreepers collecting bark nesting material and depositing it in a hole in a nearby tree of which we had good views.
This is a beautiful location and no doubt is stunning on a sunny day. Well worth another visit. The consensus was that it was a day of quality rather than quantity.
Finally two of us decided to go around Thornton Track again anticlockwise to seek the elusive Lyrebird. Sadly this was not to be but a group of Red-browed Finches and a Crimson Rosella posed for pictures.
At the end of the walk the sun came out (for a few minutes) and two Golden Whistlers were seen at the edge of the forest.
Looking forward to 100 Acres next month!