WA Trip Part 9

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: WA Trip Part 9
From: "Lynn" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 19:30:09 +1000
Evening all.
The day of the Princess has arrived!



It is with great anticipation that you awake to a new dawn in an area where you arrive in the dark. We all have those embarrassing birding moments and mine came this morning as we were listening to the early morning chorus. Black Swan?s calling from over that way I say. That?s interesting says George there is no water over ?that way?. Dick goes off to investigate and comes back with tail between his legs. They were Diamond Dove?s I mumble. From then on in the evening birdcalls were several reports of ?Diamond Swans?.


The brackish water at Well 40 did however have Pink-eared Ducks, Grey Teal, Eurasian Coots, Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes on it. A pair of Black-fronted Dotterels patrolled the waters edge. After a quick circuit of the Well, we walk west on our bird walk as the crew once again pack up camp. Five minutes later a group of about 12 Princess Parrots were headed directly towards us travelling from West to East and before I could get the words out they banked to their right showing good views of their yellow patch on the wing and disappeared over the sand dune. By the time we scrambled to the top of the dune they were nowhere to be found but we could see water in the distance. Action stations, Alan and I continued on to see if we could find where they went, some others stayed on top of the dune to get a 360 degree view and one went back to camp to get George. Whilst on top of the dune 3 White-backed Swallows are showing nicely by circling around overhead.


We searched high and low to no avail and upon returning to camp found that Debbi had her magic moment of the day when four Princess Parrots circled low over our camp, calling and frolicking. Isn?t it always the way!

Mixed feelings for me, as it was great to see the birds but disappointing that most of the others missed seeing them. There will be more we said with confidence.


Lake Tobin was dry but plenty of samphire provided great habitat for Orange Chats which two of the party saw and the rest of us would have to wait for another couple of days until the next lot. We quickly arrive at the other side of the Lake (having driven through the middle of it), and there is a nice camping site under the shade of some Desert Oaks. Great trees for loafing PP?s. Major dilemma it is only 10.30 A.M. so not dark enough to set up camp yet! We have a tribal meeting and discuss the pro?s and con?s of going back to Well 40 where at least we know there had been some PP?s there, stay we were and hunt around there or press on south in search of more water? The vote comes in, in favour of pressing on because back tracking would mean more fuel used etc and also make the end of the trip rather rushed.


Well 39 has about one square metre of surface water accessible by a plank placed into it and hundreds of Zebra Finches were coming in here to drink. The noise was deafening.


Between Well 39 and 38 we stop and bird some good habitat. We see the first of our White-fronted Honeyeaters and many more Black?s and Pied?s. Great views are also had by all of a Chiming Wedgebill who was also calling nicely. Around two dozen Masked Woodswallows are also seen. Their pale colour contrasting nicely with the red sand.


Well 38 is dry and we move on to 37, which has some brackish water. No water birds or Zebra Finches drinking but some good Desert Oaks handy.

Again the tribe meets. Do we press on to Well 36 which has some excellent habitat as well and spend two nights in the one camp site or camp at 37 one night and 36 the next to have one last go for the Princess Parrots. Good old democracy prevails and we move on to have two nights just south of Well 36. It meant travelling in the dark but it gave us optimists a chance to search for Night Parrots!  Some evening Black-shouldered Kites give a brief moment of excitement as we try to turn them into Letter-Wings to no avail.


We pass Well 36 about 7 P.M. and try to find the spot we are looking for. George had been there once before but in daylight. The good old GPS came in handy as there were many tracks in this area and of course you travel in all directions between dunes. The thrill of turning up at the exact co-ordinates we were looking for about half an hour later lifted everyone?s spirits. We set up camp in record time and are sitting around a roaring campfire by 8.30 P.M. eating a wonderful beef curry with fresh chillies.


The final bird of the day was a Boobook Owl calling. 155 sand dunes and 40 species of birds.






Grey Teal

Pink-eared Duck

Australasian Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe

Black-shouldered kite

Whistling Kite

Brown Goshawk

Little Eagle

Brown Falcon

Nankeen Kestrel

Eurasian Coot

Black-fronted Dotterel

Diamond Dove



Princess Parrot

Horsefield?s Bronze-Cuckoo

Southern Booboo (heard)

Rainbow Bee-eater

Variegated Fairy-Wren

White-winged Fairy-Wren

Singing Honeyeater

Grey-headed Honeyeater

Black-chinned Honeyeater

Brown Honeyeater

White-fronted Honeyeater

Black Honeyeater

Pied Honeyeater

Crimson Chat

Orange Chat


Willie Wagtail

Chiming Wedgebill

White-winged Triller

Masked Woodswallow

Black-faced Woodswallow

Zebra Finch

White-backed Swallow

Tree Martin

Brown Songlark


To be continued



Dick Jenkin


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