Trip Report Tasmania

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Trip Report Tasmania
From: "Allan Benson" <>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 19:00:41 +1000
Please find below a trip report for trip to tasmania. Its been written for a newsletter but i hope its of interest.

Wet N’ Wild Tasmania.

The plan was formulated with my brother, Rob to go on the Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip organised by Chris Lester on September 21st 2003. However, Rob needed the Forty-Spotted Pardalote, Pink Robin and Dusky Robin for his list so we thought a three-day trip, with our wives could be justified.

We arrived in Hobart on Friday 19th September to lousy weather. The wind was howling, rain showers swept across the tarmac and it had been snowing on Mt Wellington the previous day. Sunday’s boat trip was not looking promising at this stage.

The first challenge was the Forty Spotted Pardalote. We knew the spot was Peter Murrell Reserve, the only problem was finding Peter Murrell Reserve. The only information was 15 minutes south of Hobart on the Channel Highway near the Vodaphone Call Centre but the reserve was not marked on the street directory. After a couple of false starts we finally found the Vodaphone Centre marked on the map. Just to clarify the directions, take the main road south to Kingston, continue south along the Channel Highway toward Margate. Just past the Antarctic Headquarters there is an industrial estate with Vodaphone marked on the sign. Turn left here and take the dirt road beside the Call centre to the gate.

The conditions here were very ordinary. The wind was roaring through the trees and we really thought we had little chance. We searched the "manna’ gums below the first dam wall and the only bird we saw was a Yellow-throated Honeyeater. We moved to the second dam to find it looked a little more promising as there were several Spotted Pardalote, Grey Fantail, Grey Shrike Thrush and Brown Thornbill. There was a small, dull brown bird flicking around relatively low down. Eventually, I got my binoculars on it to see the yellow vent and yellow face of the Forty Spotted Pardalote.

We headed down through the picturesque Huon Valley to our overnight accommodation near Dover. Risely House is a very comfortable B & B run by Phil and Greg. They have a private conservation area here and a garden full of birds including Dusky Robin, Crescent Honeyeater, Black-headed Honeyeater, Beautiful Firetail, Superb Blue Wren, Fantail Cuckoo and Brown Thornbill. Olive Whistler was heard calling but the place was so wet, I wasn’t going chasing it.

After a wonderful meal, a good night’s sleep and a sumptuous breakfast, we headed back toward Hobart to Ferntree to search out the Pink Robin. Conditions today were much better. The wind had dropped and the sun was out so the walk along the pipeline track was pleasant. We found the Pink Robin on the road off the Ferntree Bower. We heard it calling and we squeaked in not one but two beautiful males with their pink breasts standing out like beacons. Other good birds here were the Tasmanian Scrub-wren, Strong –billed Honeyeater, Tasmanian Thornbill and Golden Whistler.

Our overnight accommodation at Eaglehawk was appropriately called Osprey Retreat (although Osprey would be a rarity in Tasmania). This is a 4-½ star B & B and, not to put to fine a point on it, was very nice. While enjoying a welcoming cup of tea with our hosts, Kathy and Werner, a very obliging Olive Whistler hopped along their deck. A Yellow Wattlebird seen out the window was the 10th of the 11 possible endemic for Tasmania. The Scrubtit was the only omission from the list.

Sunday dawned reasonably calm but overcast. So the boat trip looked on as we boarded the Pauletta. We headed north-east out of Pirates Bay into the swell and it soon became obvious that it was going to be a far from pleasant day as significant amounts of spray were coming over the boat. Once off the shelf the swell was 2-3 metres with a 1-1-½-metre chop and the wind got up to 25-30 knots. I said the organiser, Chris Lester, at one point "this is exciting" and Chris said, "if it gets anymore exciting I’ll charge extra". Within minutes of that conversation a wave broke over the back of the boat, the deck tilted toward 45 degrees and what seemed liked half a swimming pool of water came on board. Chris went flying across the deck, followed closely by my brother, who was very appreciative that Chris broke his fall. Meanwhile, I clung even tighter to stanchion that was my saviour. One passenger was very seriously sea sick to the point of severe disorientation and hysteria so the trip was called early and we were back at the wharf by about 2.30 p.m.

Despite the atrocious conditions we saw everything we could have expected to see and more. The common albatross was the Shy with the nominate race and Salvin’s in good numbers. We saw a couple of Bullers, a few Black-browed, several wanders and most importantly for me one Northern and two Southern Royal. There were lots of Petrel’s including the much sought after Grey, great views of White-headed, Cape, Great–winged, Northern and Southern Giant Petrel and Grey–backed Storm Petrel. One other rarity was the Southern Fulmar.


I think its an adage of pelagic birding that the worse the weather, the better the birds so all up it was a very memorable day and a very memorable long weekend.

Allan Benson
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Trip Report Tasmania, Allan Benson <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU