Mornington Peninsula volunteer profile - Rob Patrick

Rob Patrick from Shoreham

How I started birding:

My family relocated from suburban Glenroy to Point Leo Farm in 1954. Television was not available as electricity was not connected until 1962. This was a blessing in disguise as my time and energy was invested outdoors, both in nearby bush as well as on Point Leo beaches. My interest in nature was captured and the focus on birds grew over time.

It wasn’t until I retired from full time work that my attention swung towards shorebirds. Linda was concerned that I would struggle adjusting to a non-work regime. One day she spotted a small, handwritten note in the window of the Flinders General Store. It was an invitation to join the Victorian Wader Study Group and was written by Penny Johns, a long-time member of the Group and resident of Flinders. My fate was sealed, the first outing was at Flinders ocean beach and the target species was Ruddy Turnstone. I was hooked, more importantly I was in awe of migratory waders and the feats achieved in covering thousands of kilometres to and from the their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. The inherent ability of Ruddy Turnstone to return to the same beach every year is one example.

Favourite birding spots on the Peninsula:

For shorebirds, the shoreline between Point Leo (East Creek) and Flinders ocean beach. Barrallier Island, albeit offshore. For other birds, thirty-eight species have been recorded on, above or within 100 metres of our property at Shoreham.

Memorable birding moments:

The most notable individual sighting was an Eastern Koel perched some 70 metres below our house.

My long term interest is with ongoing, intensive VWSG studies of resident and migratory waders. One such study is the geolocator program on King Island with the focus on the migratory strategies of Ruddy Turnstone in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This research is being undertaken in association with Deakin University, whose focus is on the potential for the transmission of avian borne diseases.

Birding ambitions:

To better appreciate and understand these remarkable animals, as well as contribute to the discovery and sharing of knowledge.

Other interests:

My other interests are bushwalking, gardening and fishing.