I have recently returned from a fortnight of
birding and sightseeing in southwest WA. As there are plenty of trip
reports available, and all the information you could ever want on Frank
O'Connor's web site, there seems little point in writing too much, but I thought
a summary of where I saw the special birds may be useful to anyone heading there
shortly (as recent reports were useful for me in deciding which sites to go
Malleefowl - three at Fitzgerald River B&B (see
comments at end)
Square-tailed Kite - one seen in flight over
Stirling Range Drive
Painted Button-quail - saw more of these in a few
days than the rest of my life put together - they were at Ochre Trail, Dryandra;
Stirling Range Retreat and 10km west of Jerramungup.
Short-billed Black Cockatoo - lots at Stirling
Range Retreat (~100). Also seen NW of Narrogin. Many other
black cockatoos weren't identified to species level.
Long-billed Black Cockatoo - groups feeding in
trees beside the road about 20km NE of Albany (on the road to Waychinicup) and
near Dunsborough were this species. Plenty of white-tailed cockatoos were
seen on Caves Road from Augusta to Dunsborough - I suspect most were this
Western Corella - seen at Rocky Gully. I
found out why reports never say more than that when I drove to the road junction
that is Rocky Gully, got out of the car and saw a flock about 50m
Purple crowned Lorikeet - Stirling Range Retreat
was full of them, maybe 50-100. Also lots at the Tree in the Rock car park
at Porongorup NP.
Red capped Parrot - ones and twos in many
Elegant Parrot - three seen very well at the start
of the Ochre Trail at Dryandra.
Noisy Scrubbird - one glimpsed poorly, crossing the
trail at Frank's recommended site near Little Beach at Two People's Bay.
Other birders I met there seemed to get marginally better views than I
did. Also heard calling at Waychinicup (at the creek crossing and at the
carpark), but the birds didn't want to co-operate and kept to impenetrable
Rufous Treecreeper - seen at several sites.
Lots at Dryandra.
Blue-breasted Fairy-wrens - seen at Dryandra (Ochre
Trail and Kawana Road dam). Damn hard to tell from other fairy-wrens if
you ask me.
Red-winged Fairy-wrens - seen at various places
including Porongorup NP, Waychinicup and the Gloucester Tree.
Southern Emu-wren - three near the Noisy Scrubbird
at Two Peoples Bay.
Western Bristlebird - one seen extremely well at
the carpark at Little Beach. I have now ticked all three bristlebirds in
Western Thornbill - seen at Bungendore and near the
village at Dryandra. [Watch out for the aggro Magpie at Bungendore, it
gave me a fairly heavy whack on the side of the head as I walked
"Western" Wattlebird - two on the Ochre Trail at
Dryandra; one at the carpark at Waychinicup.
Purple gaped Honeyeater - two along the Kanga Walk
firetrail not far from the ranger's house at Stirling Range.
Western Spinebill - many sites including
Bungendore, Dryandra, Two Peoples Bay, Waychinicup.
Western Yellow Robin - surprisingly elusive,
especially at Dryandra. Saw two at the White Gum Flats rest area on
Stirling Range Drive and one about a kilometre before the Tree in the Rock
car park at Porongorup NP.
White breasted Robin - common, especially at
Porongorup NP, the Gloucester Tree and many of the tourist stops along
Western Whipbird - great views of one bird at
Fitzgerald River B&B (see comments at end). Also one heard on the road
to Cheyne's Beach, around poles 104/105.
Red-eared Firetail - just one bird seen - near the
toilet block at Tree in the Rock car park at Porongorup NP.
All in all it was an excellent trip. The only
birds I had hoped to see that I didn't were the local races of Crested
Shrike-tit and Rufous Fieldwren (plus Little Shearwater which was always a long
shot). No luck on Numbat either unfortunately. Also I didn't see any
Rock Parrots, but only had a couple of half hearted searches. Other
birders I ran into seemed to be having trouble finding them.
Frank's web site and several trip reports mention
the Fitzgerald River B&B. I would strongly recommend it, both for the
birds and for good food and accommodation. To see Malleefowl you will need
Trevor to take you out in his 4WD about half an hour before dusk, though we did
see our first one feeding on spilt grain in the farm sheds. Let them know
at the time of booking that you're a birder and would like to do this.
They now charge a reasonable $20 - payable only if you see the birds,
but he implied he hasn't missed showing them to any birders yet. I found
the Western Whipbird on their property by tracking down a calling bird
right at the fork in the road about half a kilometre before the