15 September left Albany in pouring rain and went to Stirling Ranges, where I
stayed until the morning of 25 September. 10
nights in one place was great for not having any packing/unpacking and doing
only local trips, so less driving and more time
actually in the bush. Despite being spring, nights and some mornings were very
cold. A couple of days poured with rain, had
wild winds and hail - days for relaxing (after all, this was a holiday !).
The Stirling Ranges were fabulous, with many walks and a good variety of
habitat - the mountains are terrific with wonderful
swirling clouds around the top of Bluff Knoll. I was there for the peak of the
wildflowers, a key reason why I chose to go
there and it was truly a florafest of colours and shapes of flowers. This
helped to attract birds also. And if you are an
orchid enthusiast, well this place is orchid heaven. I would strongly
recommend the area to anyone, and allow plenty of
time to soak up the atmosphere of this lovely area. I saw many people spending
only 1 or 2 nights in the area - a shame as
this area is very rich in natural beauty and sights.
Birding highlights were:
- More Red-capped Parrots - always generally only seeing 1, maybe 2, but never
more than 2.
- Plenty of Short-billed Black-Cockatoos, some Regent Parrots, Western
Ringnecks (watch out for the different races)
- Lifer No. 20 for the trip: Elegant Parrot. Seen twice: 1 bird at Stirling
Ranges Retreat flying up from the ground and
perching at eye level in good light and unobscured by any leaves etc. A great
viewing. Plus 2 birds on Salt River Road at S
34° 19.553' E 117° 53.664'
- 2 Emus in a canola crop, somehow just managing to totally disappear in the
- Striated Pardalotes being the red spotted western form. A jewel of a bird.
- Honeyeaters were well represented, with Tawny-crowned, White-naped (race
whitlocki with white over the eye), Brown, Red
Wattlebirds, White-cheeked, Yellow-plumed just some of the birds flocking to
the flowering eucalypts, banksias and dryandras.
The Red Wattlebirds were a little aggressive, chasing Purple-crowned Lorikeets
and Australian Magpies
- Raptors pretty good too: Nankeen Kestrels, Wedge-tailed Eagle at the top of
Bluff Knoll (by being at the top of the Knoll
at 1097 metres, the soaring birds were at eye level - wow!), 2 Peregrine
Falcons at Mt. Trio, 2 Little Eagles,
Black-shouldered Kite, Brown Goshawk
- Lifer No. 21 for the trip: Western Fieldwren at Mt. Trio
- Lifer No. 22 - finally - Western Yellow Robin. Was starting to worry that I
wasn't going to see this bird on this trip,
but saw it on the Ongarup Creek walk, at Paper Collar Creek and in other areas.
Talking about Paper Collar Creek - I went there 5 times in 10 days to find the
Red-eared Firetail which other people were
reporting. Nil, zilch, nought sign of this bird while I was there. Last
chance for this bird was closer to Perth - more of
that in another report.
The area was also my last chance to see a Numbat as they have been released in
this area. Had to leave WA without seeing
this animal - something for next time (perhaps ?).
- 20 September was a full moon night. "Hoo hoo, Hoo hoo". Not one but two
Southern Boobooks were visible in the brilliant
full moon night. One bird was giving the hoo hoo call with breaks of about 2
seconds in between, but with the breaks
gradually getting shorter and shorter over a minute until there was continuous
calling, with the "hoo hoo" sometimes having a
trilling tone about it.
- black capped form of Varied Sittella was great.
- Tawny Frogmough and Australian Owlet-Nightjar added to the joys of this area.
While based at Stirling Ranges, I did a day trip to the Porongurups. The walk
to Alfred's Rock (Castle Rock) produced Isodon
obesulus, Southern Brown Bandicoot. The last part of the climb to the top of
Castle Rock was a short but challenging rock
scramble and steel rung ladder - not for the faint hearted. The Nancy Peak
circuit was a nice 5.3 km walk with birdies such
as Scarlet Robin and White-breasted Robin, many of the birds coming close as if
to see who had bothered to come up to the
Concord West, 12 km from Sydney city, NSW Australia
S 33°50.278' E 151°05.406'
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