Fw: W.A . # 8 Two People's Bay N.P.Easter 2001

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Subject: Fw: W.A . # 8 Two People's Bay N.P.Easter 2001
From: "Michael J Hunter" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 22:55:58 +1000
From: Michael J Hunter <>

Subject: W.A . # 8 Two People's Bay N.P.Easter 2001

      Two Peoples Bay is a mariner's refuge from the vigorous westerly winds
and waves of the Southern Ocean, and named after French and English
navigators who sheltered amicably there together at a time when Noisy
Scrub-birds extended inland at least Mt. Barker, west to Margaret
River and even beyond to Drakesbrook from a stronghold around Albany.
      Over the following hundred years or so, fires, farms, floods and feral
predators exterminated the Noisy Scrub-bird from all but a last retreat in
protected wet gullies around the granite outcrop of Mt. Gardiner,
overlooking the sea in what is now Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. Here in
1961 the bird was recognised for the first time since 1872  by a local
fisherman who followed up its distinctive call and eventually saw one. A
casualty of the Nature Reserve was the proposal for a holiday town on the
beachside site, to have been be called Casuarina,

     Appropriately protected, the miniscule population of about 100 Noisy
Scrub-birds  multiplied, and birds have been reintroduced to suitable
surrounding areas, including  Waychinnicup N.P. on the opposite side of  Two
Peoples Bay where they are audible across the river from the camping area
and accessable to birders.

    Although their numbers have grown to the thousands, threats to the
 Noisy Scrub-bird still exist as fire-blackened bush and the swathe of a
large firebreak alongside Sunken Reef Rd. within the Park proper clearly
showed. We saw dog prints on one track, despite baits having being laid for
years, and a research worker told us that a local farmer was suing CALM
because one of his trespassing dogs took a bait.

      At dawn on our first day we were parked in the small carpark at the
end of the road in, past the Visitors Centre, opposite the picnic area, next
to a swamp full of sedges, the beach on the Bay just behind, looking back up
the track, waiting and listening. A Scrub-bird called well off to the right,
Western Bristle-birds to the left of us, but we saw neither. Otherwise it
was a good spot; Red-capped parrot, Western Rosella, coloured male
Red-winged Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin, Western Thornbill, Western
Spinebill, Re-eared Firetail, and a marsupial mouse, as well as Scarlet
Robin, Varied Sitella, Golden Whistler, the streaky-breasted local
"maculata" race of White-browed Scrubwren, with Silver and Pacific Gulls off
the beach behind.

      After a pleasant but, in terms of birds, essentially fruitless walk
around the Heritage trail nearby, we went to the Stirling Ranges N.P., (next
report) but returned to the Little Beach parking area to catch dim but
definite views of a Western Bristlebird a few metres down a sandy track to
the left, and listen to another calling and moving invisibly up to the right
at dusk, the experience repeated at dawn the next day. Some days they run
around the carpark there and at the beach, others they make themselves very
scarce, its just a matter of luck, but dawn and dusk are the times to look,
they say.

    There were plenty of Noisy Scrub-birds calling as we approached "the
site" at the end of the track off Sunken Reef  Rd.,(well described  Frank
O'Connor whose birds of W.A. site is accessible through the Birds Australia
page.) We sat at the site in the centre of three continuously calling birds,
one about 10m away, for an hour. None of them moved despite mimicking,
pishing, squeaking or scratching the ground. I walked, with difficulty,
through the matted tangle of shrubs and sedges toward the closest caller who
moved a few metres ahead of me at first then stopped until I stood
immediately over him, totally hidden but still pouring out the decibels. The
temptation to jump on him was swiftly suppressed. I called back a few times
and the bird moved off. It started to rain and we left. Our hour was up.

  Michael Hunter
  Mulgoa Valley
  50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge

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