Capes Naturaliste/Leeuwin WA Trip

Subject: Capes Naturaliste/Leeuwin WA Trip
From: "Frank O'Connor" <>
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 01:27:35 +0800
I have just spent five days around the south west capes of WA.  It happened
to coincide with a period of very strong winds.

I left Perth on Saturday 14th and went to Dunsborough where I stayed with
Ross Payton for two nights.  The large number of seabirds seen from his
front window helped to compensate for the Eagles bombing out.  Off and on
for about 7 hours we saw :

Yellow-nosed Albatross >55
Shy Albatross 3
Australasian Gannet >25
Great-winged Petrel >30
White-chinned Petrel 13
Cape Petrel 1
Great Skua 2
(Southern?) Giant-Petrel 2
Little Shearwater 1
(Soft-plumaged?) Petrel 1
(species?) Dolphins 3

On Sunday, the wind had swung around slightly to the west which greatly
reduced the numbers, especially in the afternoon.  However, we spent some
time late in the afternoon at Bunker Bay in the lee of Cape Naturaliste.
Altogether we saw :

Yellow-nosed Albatross >6
Shy Albatross 1
Australasian Gannet >25
Great-winged Petrel >30
White-chinned Petrel 2
Cape Petrel 3
(White-headed?) Petrel 1
Little Shearwater >2
Hutton's Shearwater >60

On Monday, there was nothing from the front window.  I left mid morning to
travel to Augusta.  I spent a short time at Bunker Bay where I saw some more
YNA, GWP and Hutton's Shearwaters.  I called in at the mouth of the Margaret
River where I saw a Terek Sandpiper on the beach.  At Augusta I found a
Hooded Plover.  I went to Cape Leeuwin, but the gates to the lighthouse
closed shortly after 4pm, so I didn't get a chance to look from the Cape.
The wind was really blowing!!!!!!!! (plus a few more maybe :-)

On Tuesday, the gale was still going plus frequent showers.  I was a wimp
and stayed indoors.  I ventured ut mid afternoon for a short while, finding
a few Rock Parrots feeding on the grass of a cleared block.  I spent about
30 minutes at the cape, but even in the lee of the lighthouse it was very
difficult to keep the scope still.  I got very rough sightings of a couple
of albatross (YN?) and a few possible GWPs.

On Wednesday, I spent about 3 hours at the Cape standing in the lee of the
lighthouse.  A few more Rock Parrots around the houses was a good sighting.
The wind was still over 30 knots, but there was some respite in the shelter
of the lighthouse.

Yellow-nosed Albatross >30
Shy Albatross 3
White-headed Petrel 8 (all within a 10 to 15 minute period - and a lifer)
(same size as GWP, all dark above except for white head, dark under wing and
white body)
Great-winged Petrel ~20
Flesh-footed Shearwater ~40 (not always easy to tell these two apart as most
were a long way out - I decided that most of the birds in pseudo flocks of
up to 10 with apparent brown rather than black under wing were probably FFSs
and the all dark mostly individual birds were GWPs, especially if I could
see the 'bent' wing).
Little Shearwater >2 (small, all dark above, all white below)

After 4pm, I went to Hamelin Bay north of Augusta where I found a pair of
Hooded Plover and 4 Red Knot on the beach.

On Thursday, I headed back to Perth.  I stopped at Sugarloaf Rock near Cape
Naturaliste and found 5 Red-tailed Tropicbirds that had probably just
returned to breed.  There was almost nothing at Bunker Bay, and what there
was were a long way out to sea.  I also walked around close to Cape
Naturaliste itself as the wind had dropped to only 20 knots!  In 30 minutes
I saw a Black-browed Albatross and a (Southern?) Giant-Petrel.

Ross Payton always welcome visitors, so if you happen to be down that way
then call to see if he is at home.  His phone number is 097 553 263

Overall it was a good trip.  I hope to head down that way a couple of times
a year.  Ross says that Cape Naturaliste can be good any time of the year
depending on the weather.  If only someone could arrange for a glassed
enclosure to be built at Cape Leeuwin so that you can keep out of the wind
and rain it would also be very good.

Frank O'Connor                  Argyle Diamonds
8C Hardy Road                   PMB 11
Nedlands  WA  6009              West Perth  WA  6872
Phone   +61 9 386 5694          +61 91 671 445
Fax                             +61 91 671 438

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Capes Naturaliste/Leeuwin WA Trip, Frank O'Connor <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU