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.
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.
Wednesday 22nd Drove to Wynyard at BurnieAirport to fly to KingIsland. 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.
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.
Drove back to Eaglehawk Neck and turned right for 4km
to park at the wharf (ten minutes). Met Damian of www.tasmanseacharters.com (03 6265
7036) for our prearranged pelagic. Damian will take from one to twelve people
but he said eight is more comfortable. At 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 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
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.
two days of looking at gardens and buying souvenirs Reg headed off from
Launceston for a hard earned rest until the pelagic out of RoseBay in Sydney.