Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Austraila - July 2014


I've spent the past 3-weeks in Australia on a family/birding holiday. This was our itinerary:

30 June - 3 July, Sydney, NSW
4 July - 7 July, Tasmania (2 days in Cradle Mountain, 1 day in Hobart)
8 July - 10 July, Melbourne, VIC (visits to Penguin Parade and the Great Ocean Rd.)
11 July - 13 July, Perth, WA
14 July, Dryandra, WA
15 July - 20 July, Waychinicup NP (Cheynes Beach), WA

Here's a run-down on what I saw and where.

Sydney

Most of my birding was in the Royal Botanical Gardens, which is a lovely area of green space that joins up to the Sydney Opera House. Here the best birds I saw were Powerful Owl, 2 Tawny Frogmouths, Masked Lapwing, Topknot Pigeon and Little Black Cormorant (breeding colony in RBG). A trip to Toronga Zoo also added Brush Turkey to the list.

Tasmania

Cradle Mountain (stayed at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge).
I birded the area around the lodge, the campsite and also walked the Ronny Creek - Wombat Pool - return trail. I managed 9 of the 12 wintering Tasmanian endemics in these areas.
Birds I saw around the lodge and campsite include Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmanian Native-hen, Scrubtit, Green Rosella, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Superb Fairy-wren and Black Currawong.

Birds on the Ronny Creek walk included Tasmanian Thornbill, Scrubtit, Green Rosella, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Black Currawong and Striated Grasswren.


Mammal watching was quite good, considering it was winter. We took a slow night-drive from the lodge, through the park all the way to Dove Lake and back. Wombats were quite common in the area, along with Common Brushtailed Possum and a single Tawny Frogmouth. Also a Platypus along Ronny Creek plus 2-3 Spot-tailed Quoll (including one in the middle of the day) around the lodge.

En-route to Hobart I saw 4 Flame Robin, Brown Falcon, 4 Wedge-tailed Eagles at Lake Macintosh Dam, Eastern Spinebill, Forest Raven, Australian Shelduck, Tasmanian Native-hen, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Common Bronzwing, Yellow-tailed Cockatoo (20 near Cambletown), Green Rosella, Goldfinch (20), Forest Raven and Black Currawong.

In Hobart Kelp Gull was quite easy to see in the harbour and Black-faced Cormorant was also quite common. Grey-backed Silvereye (race litoralis) could be find in the parks of Hobart. A trip up the (very foggy and windy) Mt. Wellington didn't produce much other than lots of Green Rosellas and Brush Wattlebirds in the gardens on the way up plus Grey Shrike-thrush, Yellow-faced Honeyeater and Superb Fairy-wren near the start of the Radford Track.
Finally, we saw at least 4 Pied Oystercatchers under the floodlights from The Spirit of Tasmania ferry as we left Devonport Harbour.


Melbourne

The area of Albert Park seems a great place to do some birding. I only had time to drive round it and stop at a few places, but there were loads of Black Swans, Hardheads, Hoary-headed Grebes and 4 Red-rumped Parrots.

Penguin Parade
Little Penguin (500), Shy Albatross (c15), Giant Petrel sp., Fluttering/Hutton's Shearwater (20), Austrian Gannet, Cape Barren Goose (8), Purple Swamphen, Straw-necked Ibis, Whistling Kite,

Great Ocean Road
We drove the road from Torquay to Wye River. I managed a single Rufous Bristlebird in the coastal scrub, but the best birds for me were offshore. Lots of Shy Albatrosses lingered offshore, plus a single Black-browed Albatross just west of Anglesea and a Wandering-type Albatross off Aireys Inlet lighthouse.


Western Australia

Perth Area


King's Park
The park is a massive area (for a city) of bush land and open space just SW of the CBD. It's a great place to bird in and brought me my fist ticks of the trip. The area around the 'reservoir' always proved to have lots of birds, but it's worth spending at least a few hours in the park, especially in the quieter, bushier southern section. Birds included White-checked, Brown and Singing Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebird, Western Spinebill, Western Gerygone (common), Spotted Pardolate, Silvereye, Rufous Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Tree Martin, Australian Ringneck, Rainbow Lorikeet  and Black-faced Cuckooshrike.

Swan Valley
We went on the (highly recommended) Taste Bud Tours (http://www.tastebudtours.com.au/) tour of the Swan Valley, where a couple of noticeable birds were Pallid Cuckoo and Grey Butcherbird.

Other Areas

Dryandra
We spent one night in Dryandra Woodland Village. The birding was quite hard going, presumably because of the time of year and also the rather wet weather. I still managed a fairly good tally though. I birded mainly in the areas around the paddock and the dam, plus some stops along Tomingly Road.
Rufous Treecreeper, Dusky Woodswallow, Australian Ringneck (Twenty-eight Parrot), Regent Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Western Rosella, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-rumped and Western (in scrub by junction of Kawana and Koomal Rds) Thornbills, Weebill, Jacky Winter, Red-capped and Scarlet Robin, Yellow-plumed, Western White-naped and White-eared Honeyeater, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Australian Pipit and Varied Sittella.

Waychinicup NP  and Cheynes Beach
We stayed in one of the well-equipped cabins at the Cheynes Beach Caravan Park (http://www.cheynesbeachcaravanpark.com.au/) which proved to be a beautiful location, but aesthetically and from a birding point of view.
The caravan park itself is great for birds with Red-eared Firetail, White-breasted Robin, Red (common) and Western (rare) Wattlebird, New-Holland Honeyeater, Brush Brozewing, Golden Whistler, Western White-naped Honeyeater, Carnaby's Black-cockatoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Red-winged and Splendid Fairy-wren, Red-capped Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet and Grey Currawong. Mammals included Quokka and Southern Brown Bandicoot.

The main targets for me here were Noisy Scrub-bird and Western Bristlebird, plus quite a few SW Australian endemics that I missed at Dryandra. There are a series of 4WD tracks behind the caravan park, which I walked in the mornings. The right-hand-most track proved to be the best with quite a few Western Bristlebirds, Western Whipbird, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Western Spinebill, Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-faced Cuckooshrike and Southern Emu-wren. 

The track to Channel Point was also very good, with 2 Western Whipbirds singing on the hillside near the end. The point was very good too - Humpback Whales take the short-cut between the mainland and Bald Island and come very close. Also at least 2 Killer Whales offshore plus lots of Australian Gannets and Brown Skua off there, plus Hobby and White-bellied Sea Eagle. I reckon this would be a great place to seawatch from in a strong south-easterly as I'm pretty sure lots of seabirds will use the same technique as the whales.

Noisy Scrub-bird is actually quite common in the area, but seeing it is another thing. The best location when I was there was the first beach access track off Cheynes Rd, just east of Bald Island Rd (caravan and 4WD access road). Stand by the road and watch for the birds running across the access track. It's unlikely that you'll get a great view of the birds as the zip across the track.
The beach was also good for birds (as well as a female Southern Right Whale and its calf), with Caspian Tern, Crested Tern, Sooty Oystercatcher, Pacific Gull and Osprey.

Also, the 2WD Waychinicup Rd, which brings you out at the very picturesque Waychinipcup river mouth provided Noisy Scrub-bird, Western Whipbird, Spotted Pardolate, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Australian Darter and Sacred Kingfisher. 

Stirling Ranges
We took a day trip to the ranges and birded mainly around the Stirling Ranges Retreat, plus the first two fire-brakes off Bluff Knoll Rd. Western Yellow Robin was quite common around the retreat, as were Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Tawyn-cronwed and Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Red-capped Parrot,
Also smaller numbers of Owlet-nightjar (in tree next to retreat office), Elegant Parrots, Spotted Pardolate, Peregrine and Weebill.

In total 155 species, which can be viewed here

If you have any questions about any of the birds I saw or are planning a trip to any of the places I visited, please feel free to get in touch.
All the photos from my trip can be found below.



Dusky Moorhen, Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens
Little Black Cormorant, Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens
Roosting Powerful Owl, Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens
Roosting Tawny Frogmouths, Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens
Masked Lapwings, Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens (note the yellow bony spurs)
Black Currawong, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Western Brushtailed Possum, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Wombat, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Wombat, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Wombat, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Rufous-bellied Pademelon, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo,  Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Tasmanian Native-hen, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Tasmanian Scrubwren, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Scrubtit, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Scrubtit, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Scrubtit, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmania
Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmania
Flame Robin, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, nr Cambeltown, Tasmania
Kelp Gull, Hobart harbour, Tasmania
Black-faced Cormorant, Hobart harbour, Tasmania
Forest Raven, Hobart, Tasmania
Green Rosella, Hobart, Tasmania
Green Rosella, Hobart, Tasmania

Brush Wattlebird, Hobart, Tasmania
Brush Wattlebird, Hobart, Tasmania
Cape Barren Goose, nr Penguin Parade, Philips Island, Victoria
Welcome Swallow, Great Ocean Rd, Victoria
Australian Gannet, Melbourne Harbour
Shy Albatross, Great Ocean Rd, Victoria
White-cheeked Honeyeater, King's Park, Perth
Red Wattlebird, King's Park, Perth
Rufous Whistler, King's Park, Perth
Rufous Whistler (female), King's Park, Perth
Rainbow Lorikeet, King's Park, Perth
Tree Martin, King's Park, Perth
Willie Wagtail, King's Park, Perth
Western Spinetail, King's Park, Perth
Western Spinetail, King's Park, Perth
Australian Ringneck ("Twenty-eight Parrot"), King's Park, Perth
Australian Ringneck ("Twenty-eight Parrot"), King's Park, Perth
Singing Honeyeater, King's Park, Perth
Wedge-tailed Eagle mobbed by Australian Raven, Dryandra, Western Australia
Wedge-tailed Eagle mobbed by Australian Raven, Dryandra, Western Australia
Wedge-tailed Eagle mobbed by Australian Raven, Dryandra, Western Australia
Western Rosella, Dryandra, Western Australia
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Dryandra, Western Australia
Rufous Treecreeper, Dryandra, Western Australia
Rufous Treecreeper, Dryandra, Western Australia
Western Thornbill, Dryandra, Western Australia
(Western) Grey Kangaroo, Dryandra, Western Australia
Red-capped Robin, Dryandra, Western Australia
Red-capped Robin, Dryandra, Western Australia
Red-capped Robin, Dryandra, Western Australia
Golden Whistler, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Red Wattlebird (with wattles expanded), Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
New-Holland Honeyeater, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
New-Holland Honeyeater, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
New-Holland Honeyeater, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Spotted Scrubwren, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Spotted Scrubwren, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia

Spotted Scrubwren, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Brush Bronzewing, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Brush Bronzewing, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Grey Fantail, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Red-eared Firetail, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Caspian Tern, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Caspian Tern, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Caspian Tern, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Crested Tern, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Crested Tern, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Crested Tern, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Western Rosella, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Western Rosella, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Nankeen Kestrel, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Nankeen Kestrel, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Southern Emu-wren, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
(Western) Grey Kangaroo, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
White-breasted Robin, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
White-breasted Robin, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Red-capped Parrot, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Australian Pelican, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Osprey, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Australian Hobby, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
White-bellied Sea-eagle, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Dusky Woodswallow, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Western Yellow-Robin, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Western Yellow-Robin, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Western Yellow-Robin, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Western Yellow-Robin, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Splendid Fairy-wren, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Australian Owlet-nightjar, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Grey Shrike-thrush, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Grey Shrike-thrush, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Scarlet Robin, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Weebill, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Weebill, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Inland Thornbill, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Elegant Parrots, Sterling Ranges, Western Australia
Australian Hobby, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Sooty Oystercatcher, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Sooty Oystercatcher, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Sooty Oystercatcher, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Cheynes Beach, Western Australia
Australian Darter, Waychinicup river mouth, Western Australia
Sacred Kingfisher, Waychinicup river mouth, Western Australia

2 comments:

David said...

Stunning! Superb! Just green-makingly wonderful!

David said...

Just stunning! Superb photos of superb birds! Envious of East Norfolk here!