Have kick started the new year with a number of day trips and a couple of 3 day escapades around southern and central Victoria. 224 Species already logged on tour, during what has been a very hot January. Northern Victoria has sweltered through continuous 40+ degrees temperatures, with maximums reaching 45 and 46 degrees. Occasionally this heat has made it south as well with 45 degrees in Melbourne as I write. The hot and often humid weather have lead to many Swift sightings, including the less predictable Pacific or Fork-tailed Swifts. The dry conditions inland mean waterbird numbers are very high in Victoria with Freckled Duck widely distributed, and quite a few Australasian Bitterns being seen. The big news for twitchers was the first ever sighting of a Tufted Duck in Australia, found at Werribee WTP early in the month and still present now. The big numbers of twitchers had long gone by the time the media latched on, but film crews were there, and bird watching was put on the map, as well as highlighting the importance of the WTP for birds. Some personal highlights on tour this year include finding a number of tricky birds for a client including Lewin’s Rail and Pilotbird. Amazing views of a Peregrine Falcon hunting shorebirds on the bay, excellent wader viewing with 27 species seen already this year, fabulous birding in the mountain forests where bird diversity is peaking with summer migrants adding to the resident species, and watching many birds coming to drink at various waterholes, providing amazingly good views.