Tassie Birding/Pelagic

To: "BIRDING-AUS" <>, "ANYON SMITH Steve" <>
Subject: Tassie Birding/Pelagic
From: "David Siems" <>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 17:30:02 +1000

Hi Netters,

              After asking my long time friend Reg Clark, many times, when he was coming down to Tasmania to pick up the last of the birds he needed, we sorted out a time and date.

              Sunday 19th. Reg arrived in the afternoon with Virgin Blue at Launceston on an $89 each way fare.

              Monday 20th We headed for my sister Pauline’s 22acre property at Lapoinya, south of Wynyard, to tick off Yellow-throated and Black-headed H/E. The Strong-billed H/E just kept moving.

              Tuesday 21st Wednesday 22nd Drove to Wynyard at Burnie Airport to fly to King Island. Check at the café in the airport as your car can be placed in a secure lockup overnight for $7. The only flight, TasAir, is a ten seat plane for $320 R/T. We stayed at the Parers Hotel and hired a car from Cheaper Island Car Rentals for two days for $258. Due to the smaller plane there were many places for accommodation closed. There is a co-op café opposite the hotel for breakfast and lunch with dinner at the hotel. Petrol is $1:39 a litre. After leaving the airport we saw the first of many Common Pheasants in breeding plumage, then driving north two male Indian Peafowl and then a flock of 20 Wild Turkey with 6 males in display. For two days we searched for California Quail but none to be seen. We visited the resident bird watcher Max McGarvie (03 6462 1472) and he told us due to a massive increase in Forest Ravens eating the eggs and chicks the quail are very hard to find. Left the car at the airport and flew back.

              Thursday 23rd Picked up a large bottle of Cod Liver Oil at the chemist and 20kg of beef fat from the local butcher. This was cut up and packed in the car with the gear and off for a four hour drive to a motel just past Eaglehawk Neck.

               Friday 24th Drove back to Eaglehawk Neck and turned right for 4km to park at the wharf (ten minutes). Met Damian of (03 6265 7036) for our prearranged pelagic. Damian will take from one to twelve people but he said eight is more comfortable. At 6am the two 225hp outboards kicked into life and we headed out of the harbour for the 20 minute trip to the shelf. Seas were 1:5 meters with winds expected to rise. At the shelf we were greeted by 1000s of Short-tailed Shearwaters with Sooty Shearwaters mixed in. Wandering Albatross (1a 3 imm), Shy Albatross (20+), Black-browed Albatross (1 imm), Yellow-nosed Albatross (1a), Buller’s Albatross (1 imm), Fairy Prion (3), Crested Tern (1).  At 9:45am with a big slick and plenty of beef fat a brown bird hit the water, White-chinned Petrel? Asked Damian. After a long look Reg said the bill looked short with having the big black tip. Not a white-chinned Petrel so where is the Seabirds of the World? A squall hit the boat, the wind rose quickly along with the waves and then a fog came in from the east and blanketed the boat. Time to get out of here and head for the harbour as the seas became bigger and bigger. Checking the book and much discussion we decided on a Westland Black Petrel. We thanked Damian for his excellent seamanship and headed for Richmond to put our gear in the Richmond Barracks Motel and headed for Peter Murrell Reserve. We soon had a Forty Spotted Pardalote hopping around on a boulder next to the car park but no Strong-billed H/E. Met three birdos who saw them at The Spring on Mt Wellington.

               Saturday 25th Drove to Mt Wellington and into the car park at The Spring.  Beside the toilet, walk along the path that heads into a forest of trees full of bark, we saw six Strong-billed H/E. One bird to go Pink Robin, so off to the Fern Tree Gully car park we headed up the stairs into the forest and after half and hour I said, this is where I always see them. Reg said I can hear something and there it is, just so brilliant for great views, time to relax and head for Devonport.

                After two days of looking at gardens and buying souvenirs Reg headed off from Launceston for a hard earned rest until the pelagic out of Rose Bay in Sydney.


All the Best

David Siems




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