trip report WA (late) part 1

Subject: trip report WA (late) part 1
From: Frank Hemmings <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 11:24:22 +1100
Hello All,

Went to WA for two weeks after Christmas with my partner for a holiday and did a bit of birding whilst over there. Visited a number of places.

Went to Carrine Open Space (28/12) looking for Blue-billed Ducks. Saw huge flocks of mixed Little and Long-billed Corellas but dipped on the duck. Went on to Pinaroo Valley Memorial Park. Great spot for a number of birds including Spendid Wren, Rainbow-Bee-eater, Sitella, Western Gerygone, Weebill, White-browed Scrub-wren. Good place for birding in Perth.

Had two days (29-30/12) on Rottnest Island. Very nice but very busy (between Christmas and New Year). Bicycled around the western end of the island, including around the lakes. I could only find Peafowl around the buildings in the Settlement- literally lounging on the concrete in front of a building in one case. They seemed a bit too feral to be tickable, but apparently they were released originally away from the Settlement and made their way there! Also saw Ringneck Pheasants near the Settlement, and especially in the Golf Course. A large group (23) of Banded Lapwings were present on the Cricket ground on both days. Lots of Banded Stilts present on most lakes, with a few Black-winged Stilt and a lone Avocet at Garden Lake. Tried Frank O'Connor's Rock Parrot site near the Tennis Courts twice with little success although a number of other birds were present including a large (150-200) flock of Tree Martins nearby. Also tried Bickley Swamp for Rock Parrot (recommended also by Birds WA). Dipped the first time, but on the second visit, two flew past about 30m away as I was leaving. Bridled terns were easily seen from the lighthouse at Bathurst Point on the nearby rock stacks. Fairy Terns were breeding at Lake Baghdad and Crested Terns were breeding on Herschel Lake. Great views of a pair of Ospreys near Salmon Bay. Also saw Red-capped Robin at the Golf Course.

After returning to Perth, we headed off for the Stirling Ranges the next day (31/12). Stayed at the Stirling Ranges Retreat (31/12 & 1/1). Spent the first afternoon and a little time the next morning and afternoon birding around the retreat grounds on the many small tracks. This was a great place for birds. Elegant Parrot, Ringneck, Red-capped Parrot, Western Rosella, Regent Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet were all present. Some of the Wandoo trees were heavily in flower and supporting feeding Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters and a few Purple-gaped Honeyeaters amongst others. A flock Brown headed Honeyeaters stopped by briefly to feed the on the second day. Wrens which actually appeared more like Red-winged were present the first afternoon, but I'm certain that I saw Blue-breasted Wrens the next day. A group of up to 15 Striated Pardalotes were present near our earth cabin. A flock of around 30 Short-billed Black Cockatoos flew past at times, and I flushed a Common Bronzewing which was to be the first of more seen on this trip than I've ever seen before. Western Yellow Robins were also present near the pool the second morning, and near the paddocks the second afternoon.

We walked up Bluff Knoll on New Years Day morning. Views were great, but the area looked to be quite recently burnt, and there were few birds present. A couple of Grey Currawongs were conspicuous at the summit. After returning from the mountain early the temperature was soaring, so we went for a drive. Saw Square-tailed Kite on the Stirling Range Drive. Walked both the Kanga Ck and Ongarrup Creek trails, but was somewhat disappointed, since the weather seemed to be against me on both days. The Kanga trail walk (afternoon, 1/1) started off hot and ended up very windy. Saw little new except for a Tawny-crowned Honeyeater in Wandoo woodland. The Ongrrup Creek walk the next day (2/1) started well after storms through the night, but again wind picked up early. Nevertheles here I was able to see Emus, beautiful Regent Parrots perched in a dead tree strongly sunlit against a dark stormy sky, Western Thornbills, and Southern Emu Wrens. Scarlet Robins were prominent at a number of points along this trail. Got back just in the thunder just before the rain hit.

Frank Hemmings
John T. Waterhouse Herbarium
School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences
University of New South Wales

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