Trip Report King Island 30/04/09-02/05/09

To: Mick Roderick <>
Subject: Trip Report King Island 30/04/09-02/05/09
From: John Tongue <>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 19:26:43 +1000
Good list, Mick,
We had a week there a couple of years ago, and got most on your list, plus a few others, but NO California Quail!

John Tongue
Ulverstone, Ts.

On 10/05/2009, at 7:06 PM, Mick Roderick wrote:

Hi all,

Steve Roderick, Craig Arms, Alan Stuart and I visited King Island from the 30th April to 2nd May. Apologies for the tardiness in getting this short trip report to the list.

We enjoyed reasonably good weather for the time we were there, which amounted to just under 2 days of daylight birding. We recorded 79 species in that time, the highlights of which are discussed below. Not having good knowledge of the bird life on the island, I have based the significance of sightings on documents such as "Fauna of King Island" and checklists available at the links that I have pasted at the end of this message.

We stayed at Naracoopa, on the east coast of the island. Personally I think this is a great place to stay - very well sheltered from prevailing winds and close to some of the island's best birding sites at Sea Elephant and Pegarah State Forest. We hired a 4wd which is essential for accessing sites around Sea Elephant and Nook Swamp.

In general, the birding is not frantic on KI but most of what you are seeing is very interesting to mainland birders - most of the Tassie endemics can be seen there, plus there are several endemic sub-species present. For listers KI is possibly second-to-none in Australia for 'plastic fantastics' and most are very easily seen.

The following were probably our birding highlights:

Great Egret - one close to the airport 30/4 and one near Yambacoona 1/5.
Straw-necked Ibis - single bird close to Egg Lagoon 1/5.
Black-browed and Shy Albatross - a few seen from Currie Harbour 2/5.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle - at least 4 birds seen, all along east coast (listed as Endangered in Fauna of KI). Brown Goshawk - one near the airport 30/4 (said to be a recent arrival).
Brown Falcon - one near Yambacoona 1/5.
Australian Hobby - one perched on wires in the vicinity of Egg Lagoon 1/5.
Banded Lapwing - group of 5 birds in a paddock adjacent to the Hobby.
Double-banded Plover - common at Yellow Rock but a count of 250 birds was made over a section of Lake Flanagan 1/5 - there would have almost certainly been as many birds there again which were not counted.
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo - 3 or 4 birds at Pegarah SF 1/5.
Orange-bellied Parrot - single bird on southern side of Sea Elephant estuary 30/4 and again 1/5. Blue-winged Parrot - two sightings of single bird (probably same bird) on Lake Flanagan 1/5.
Spotted Pardalote - heard twice at Pegarah SF.
Golden Whistler - Pegarah SF 2/5.
White-browed Woodswallow - 5 birds at northern end of Nook Swamp 1/5.

The latter of these was probably the most 'surprising' bird we saw. We were also surprised not to see any Wood Ducks at all, though we didn't visit the southern end of the island where they are supposed to be more common. No Pied Oystercatchers were seen either, although numerous Sooties were seen. We also observed a lone, flightless juvenile Short-tailed Shearwater (presumably abandoned) stumble across a beach and into the water to start what would be one hell of a long paddle north!

Three endemic taxa listed as vulnerable (Green Rosella, Yellow Wattlebird and Black Currawong) were encountered regularly, the latter forming flocks around Sea Elephant. We made a brief attempt at finding the Critically Endangered Scrub-tit in a small patch of unburnt vegetation at Nook Swamp without success.

Two of us also saw the most difficult 'plastic' on the island to see (Californian Quail) as one scurried across the road behind a group of Brush Bronzewings that we were admiring on the road to Sea Elephant.


Mick Roderick

Links to lists mentioned above:

Fauna of King Island: KIFauna.pdf

Birds of King Island Checklist:

Other Bird Species Recorded on King Island:

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