South West Trip

To: "birdswa Google Group" <>,
Subject: South West Trip
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 16:27:29 +0800

Just returned from leading a tour of the south west (and a bit further out) of Western Australia. Perth, Geraldton, Kalbarri, Mt Magnet, Cue, Payne's Find, Dalwalinnu, Northam, Narrogin, Dryandra SF, Stirling Range NP, Jerramungup (and the mallee) and Albany / Cheyne Beach.

First the unusual sightings :

Gull-billed Tern (affinis). This is very uncommon in the south west. Three sightings of birds all in breeding plumage. 30/09/13 Three birds in the Hutt River Lagoon at Port Gregory (between Geraldton and Kalbarri) and three birds at the Murchison River mouth at Kalbarri. 10/10/13 Two birds on the mud flats in Oyster Harbour at Emu Point near Albany.

Plumed Whistling-Duck. Again very uncommon in the south west. 04/10/13 Twelve birds on an ephemeral wetland about 1km south of York.

Australian Bustard. 03/10/13 Four birds along Maranalgo Road south of Payne's Find. Uncommon in the south west, but it has been seen along this road before.

White-fronted Honeyeater. 04/10/13 Five plus birds at Ballidu (in the heath opposite town). They do turn up from time to time, but almost not seen anywhere else.

Rock Parrot. Six seen at Lancelin on 29/09/13. Four on the ground at the north end of town, plus two others flew over.

Black-tailed Native-hens were at four sites. Herdsman Lake, Northam, Albany and Beaufort River.

Two Whiskered Terns in breeding plumage were at the Wagin sewage ponds on 06/10/13 along with 100+ Pink-eared Ducks (including ducklings).

The two Freckled Ducks were at Herdsman Lake as previously reported.

The Common Ostriches at the north end of the Frankland Kojonup Road were sitting on eggs.

Second, the areas from Kalbarri to Mt Magnet to Cue to Payne's Find had obviously had a very poor season. No nomadic species whatsoever. Five Western (Chestnut-breasted) Quail-thrush about 9km from Mt Magnet on the Yalgoo Road in the late afternoon of 01/10/13 were a bonus, as we could not find them opposite the 10km marker. Missed Orange Chat and Banded Whiteface which I expected to see near Cue. The White-browed Treecreeper was at the grid east of Payne's Find on the Payne's Find - Sandstone Road, and the Gilbert's Whistler and two Bourke's Parrots were at the Warne River crossing on the same road.

We found most of the south west endemics, except that Red-eared Firetail was missed (looked at Cheyne Beach, Lake Seppings, Lake Powell, Porongurups and Dwellingup) and Noisy Scrub-bird was only glimpsed. Unbelievably, we could not find a Spotted Pardalote of either race. Heard some in the distance at Dryandra and the Porongurups. Only saw two Western Spinebills at Narrogin.

The Little Beach car park at Two People's Bay was good with two Western Whipbirds calling and showing themselves (one between car park and the toilet, and the other at the bottom right corner of the car park), plus a Western Bristlebird ran across the road.

Three Hooded Plovers were on the Camel Lake NR on Salt River Road as usual (with four Banded Stilt).

The main comment from the trip was that many of the migrants were missing or in very small numbers. Only one group of White-winged Trillers (on York Williams Road north of Dryandra). No Pallid Cuckoos (even heard). Only heard two Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoos. Only saw one Shining Bronze-Cuckoo (at Herdsman Lake), and heard two others. Only saw one Fan-tailed Cuckoo and heard three others. Only one poor sightings of a Brown Songlark on Formby South Road north of the Stirling Range. Rufous Songlark was only common just east of Geraldton, but we did hear a few others including two at the Stirling Range. Only three Sacred Kingfishers (including one nesting at the Stirling Range). Only saw two Rainbow Bee-eaters (plus heard a few more) at the Stirling Range (08/10/13).

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

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