Tasmanian Trip Report (Contains OBP References)

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Tasmanian Trip Report (Contains OBP References)
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:09:32 +0000
I did a driving trip to and round Tasmania over the year end.  Thanks to the 
advice and assistance provided by John and Shirley Tongue I was well informed 
and did some interesting birding.

As the Spirit of Tasmania runs day time crossings between Melbourne and 
Devonport during the summer school holidays, I was able to turn the ferry legs 
into birding days.  Not a big diversity of species, but plenty of shearwaters 
(mostly Short-tailed), Prions (mostly Fairy) and albatrosses (mostly 
Black-browed).  Most of the sightings were in the southern half of the 
crossing.  Deck 7 provides the best viewing.

The main birding component on the trip involved a 5 night bushwalk with some 
friends from Melaleuca to the South-West Cape Range and back.  This was a 
remote beach crawl along the southern coast of Tasmania.  The track was muddy 
on the section heading to New Harbour, was re-routed on the three ridge/range 
crossings to Wilsons Bight, and very overgrown on the way to South-West Cape.  
There were leeches in the forested sections, but the range views and beach 
walking were fantastic.

I saw 2 Ground Parrots on the walk into New Harbour and Hooded Plovers at every 
bay we visited.  The Hooded Plovers have a quiet existence - no dogs, foxes or 
vehicles to disturb the beach - just quolls, shorebirds and a small number of 
bushwalkers passing through. (That said, I did find a chick parked on the line 
bushwalkers take when entering one of the beaches).  In all, I saw six species 
of shorebirds on the walk - Hooded Plovers, Sooty Oystercatchers, Aus Pied 
Oystercatchers, Silver Gulls, Pacific Gulls and Black Currawongs ;).

The highlight of the walk, of course was the Orange-bellied Parrots.  I had a 
possible sighting of one near Mt Karamu, but Melaleuca is OBP central.  Lots of 
OBPs to be seen around the nest boxes and the feeding tables.  You get 
crippling views from the scope set up in the Deny King Museum.  I spent a night 
at Melaleuca, so had quality OBP time and got to talk to the volunteers working 
there.  It was very enjoyable logging the birds as they arrived at the table 
(they have individual combinations of colours and letters on their leg rings).  
From a twitching point of view, I was even able to digiscope an unbanded male 
(i.e. born in a tree hollow, not a nest box).

Par Avion runs frequent flights to Melaleuca during the OBP breeding season.  
Note that the flights are weather dependent, so you mightn’t get to fly when 
you are scheduled.  Our flight out to Melaleuca was delayed by six hours due to 
low cloud.

If you haven’t already seen OBPs, I would recommend a summer trip to Melaleuca 
while there is still the opportunity to see them in the wild.

Regards, Laurie
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