At 20:50 27/04/97 +0800, Stewart Ford wrote:
>Does Rottnest Island (off the West Coast) have any birds that are regarded
Sorry for the delay, but I have been in the desert...
Rottnest is certainly worth a visit. Summer is the best time.
A lot of people visit Rotto to tick off the introduced Common Pheasant and
Common Peafowl. The pheasant can usually be found quite easily on the golf
course, and is not uncommon in many other places. The peafowl is now almost
exclusively in the main settlement and Kingston Barracks, although it used
to be in the centre of the island.
The other highlight for most people is the large flock (often several 1000s)
of Banded Stilt. These can be seen from the causeway between Government
House / Pearse Lakes on the left and Lake Herschell on the right. They feed
on the abundant schools (?) of pink Brine Shrimp which are worth seeing in
their own right.
Rock Parrots do occur on the island, but can be hard to find. The most
reliable place that I have found is near the tennis courts close to the
Bathurst Point lighthouse. Look in the grove of trees between the courts
and the sewage ponds close to The Basin, or feeding in the coastal heath
around the sewage ponds.
Bridled Terns are sought after by many eastern states birders and can be
readily seen in summer from the ferry as you pass Phillip Rock, or from the
Bathurst Point lighthouse looking towards Duck Rock or on the small island
in Geordie Bay. However, Bridled Tern is much better on Penguin Island near
Red-necked Phalaropes are very uncommon in Australia, but one to three birds
have made an appearance on Rottnest during the last five years during summer
(usually late October to February although they were seen in August one year
and left at the end of December last summer). They seem to prefer Pearse
Lakes (far side of causeway on the left) earlier in summer while there is
water. When Pearse Lakes dry up, look on the spit on Government House Lake.
Look for them swimming, although I have seen them roosting on the shore. If
you can't find them there, then they have been seen at least once on Lake
Rottnest was where my interest in birding began. Walking on the golf course
watching Red-capped Robins, White-fronted Chats, Rainbow Bee-eaters, Sacred
Kingfishers and dodging the dugites is always enjoyable. Looking at the
numerous Osprey nests is also a highlight. The nesting Fairy Terns, Caspian
Terns and Red-necked Avocets are also memorable.
I highly recommend the book The Birdlife of Rottnest Island by Denis
Saunders & Perry de Rebeira mentioned by Stephen Ambrose. The second
edition is now available.
Frank O'Connor Argyle Diamonds
8C Hardy Road PMB 11
Nedlands WA 6009 West Perth WA 6872
Phone +61 8 9386 5694 +61 8 9167 1445
Fax +61 8 9167 1438