A Flying Visit to the South West
02.11.96 - 05.11.96
Many thanks to those who replied to my request for information re Two Peoples
Being Victorian based and on my first trip to the South West (Australian Atlas
Region) I was most
interested in the endemic species and more notable subspecies. Time as always
was short and the
schedule was pretty hectic. The itinerary and highlights were as follows :-
Arrived Perth late 1.11.96, stayed at Town Lodge Motel, opposite the Zoo. Dawn
(approx 0500) on the
second saw a stream of Nankeen Night-herons returning to their roosts and as
the light improved it
turned out that view not only included the Swan River but also a breeding
colony of Great Egrets. A
walk before breakfast turned up Laughing Dove, Red-capped Parrot and Little
Drove to Dryandra which turned out rather quiet but managed to pick up
Blue-breasted Fairywren in an
area of sandy heath. The next major stop was Stirling Range NP, the drive
enlivened by Regent Parrots. The National Park yielded 19 species in just under
2 hours including Elegant Parrot, Short-billed Black-Cockatoo and
Purple-crowned Lorikeet. Arrived Albany after dark.
3.11.96 - up at 4am and on station, as directed, at Little Beach Carpark, Two
Peoples Bay Nature
Reserve by 0500. Parked half out of the last bay looking back up the road. The
announced its presence at about 20 past, for anyone familiar with the Rufous
Bristlebird the kinship of
the call is immediately obvious but the Western seems far more melodious. There
followed a couple of
glimpses until a pair emerged in front of the car and boldly foraged over the
lower foliage bordering the
carpark. The only other birds heard or seen during this time were White-browed
Scrubwren and New-
The next destination was Sinker Reef Carpark but had a little trouble finding
it and arrived at the Picnic
area and had to settle for White-breasted Robin and Red-winged Fairywren.
Walked the Heritage trail
where the Southern Scrub-robin was calling prominently but not making itself
visible. Back in the car and soon at the right car park. Hiked out to Wave Sign
Gully. Took up position with a view down the narrow trail to the creek and
waited. The Noisy Scrub-bird soon started calling and fortunately it soon
became obvious that it was working its way towards me up the gully. There was a
second on the other side of the creek slightly in advance of it. After an hour
and 20 minutes it was just inches away from me. Two things were obvious, 1) it
is stone deaf, 2) it is very hard to see. There was silence for a short while
and then it crossed the path about 2 metres away. Not a great view but all I
was going to get.
A visit to Sinker Reef turned up Sooty Oystercatcher, Flesh-footed Shearwater
Honeyeater. The walk back found some more Short-billed Blackatoos. To my ear
their call sounds very
like the Yellow-tailed.
Had a chat with Ranger Danks, his tip for the Whipbird is Little Beach carpark
at dawn! I dipped.
The Albany Region has much more to offer and during the arvo I visited Oyster
Harbour, Lake Sepping,
Emu Point, Lake Powell, The Gap, Rushy Point and Nanerup. Highlights included
Western Rosella and some nice waders. The most exciting moment though was
generated by the Black
Snake at Lake Sepping. A big day but no Red-eared Firetail.
4.11.96 - early start, still adding to the trip list with things like Inland
Thornbill and White-necked
Heron. First name destination Walpole-Nornalup NP. The forest in the Valley of
the Giants is extremely
impressive. Here were Long-billed Black-Cockatoos. Their call seemed strikingly
different, I transcribed
it as wee er er er eee ya, another call was a clipped kun yip kun yip kun yip.
I would be most interested
to hear more on this from any one with greater experience. The fieldguides are
poor on the two Black
Cockies of the area and they have a cute way of hiding their bills in their
beards. The local White-naped
Honeyeaters were also in evidence - no red crescent over the eye (the splitters
need to get onto this
The Knoll area nearby turned up Rufous Treecreeper and the local Crested
Shrike-tit - subspecies
leucogaster and funnily enough its got a white belly. A group of White-browed
Babblers took me rather
On and on to Leuwin-Naturaliste NP finding Splendid Fairywren and looking
anxiously for the Red-
eared Firetail. Sugarloaf Rock lived up to it's reputation with 9 Red-tailed
Tropicbirds calling raucously.
And finally the firetail in the light house carpark.
Overnight in Bunbury. 5.11.96 to Perth via Benger Swamp, Yalgorup NP and the
stromatolytes in Lake
Clifton (+ Rainbow Beeeaters ), Harvey Estuary, Peel Inlet, Point Peron (
Bridled, Fairy and Caspian
Terns ). And thence to Melbourne. Four days birding, 123 species, 15 lifers.
I'll have to go back for
Western Yellow-Robin, Spinebill and Thornbill; and once again the Western
Whipbird has eluded me.