Re: Birding WA & Wungong / Bungendore

Subject: Re: Birding WA & Wungong / Bungendore
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 10:01:41 +0800
Teet (and any interested birding-aus subscribers),

Wungong / Bungendore is just outside Armadale which is SE of Perth.  From
the Albany Highway / SW Highway / Armadale Road junction, follow the Albany
Highway towards Albany.  At Admiral Road turn right (up the hill) towards
Wungong Dam.  As the road bends to the left you look down over a valley.
Bungendore is the jarrah / marri forest on your right, and Wungong Gorge is
at the bottom.  Listen for the black cockatoos anywhere along Admiral Road.
You can find all three species (Red-tailed, Long-billed and Short-billed)
but the first two are more common but by no means certain.  Also look for
Western Brush Wallaby in the paddocks.  Continue along Admiral Road to the
car park on the left just past the boom gate.

You should get here at about 7:30am to 7:45am (say 45 to 60 minutes after
dawn - i.e. leave Perth just after dawn).  Allow 2 hours for the walk,
possibly a bit more since you don't know the calls.

Walk across the road to the lawn area.  Walk to the far end of the lawn,
and around the corner of the fence.  White-breasted Robin and Red-eared
Firetail are often around here.  Red-capped Parrot and Western Rosella can
be anywhere.  The Red-capped Parrot is bigger and has a yellow rump in
flight.  Australian Ringnecks are also very common.  The firetail has a
mournful whistle (but very different to the Western Gerygone which is
common).  New Holland, Brown and White-naped Honeyeaters are usually common
in the car park and the lawn area.  Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Splendid
Fairy-wren are usually on the lawn.

Walk up the slope to the gravel track and follow the track down the valley.
After about 15 minutes or so, you will get to a fork in the track.  Follow
the track downhill to an old orchard and the creek lined by blackberries.
Walk along the edge of the blackberries.  The Red-eared Firetail,
Red-winged Fairy-wren and White-breasted Robin are found along the creek or
on the ground very close.  You should find all three, although getting a
good view of the first two can take some time.  The robin and to a lesser
extent the wren usually respond initially to pishing / whistling /
squeaking.  Check the wrens closely as Splendid Fairy-wren is also very
common.  The call of the firetail is very distinct and carries.  Listen for
it and then track it down.  Check the trees around to the right of the
orchard for Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Spotted Pardalote,
White-browed Scrubwren, Western Gerygone, etc.  You should find Scarlet
Robin and Silvereye in the orchard.  In spring you may find a Pallid or
Fan-tailed Cuckoo.  Don't spend more than say 40 minutes in the orchard.

If you have missed the firetail, wren or robin, then return along the creek
to the car park.  Half way up the track from the orchard, go down the slope
to the right to the small dam, follow the creek and cross it on the large
pipe and follow the narrow track above the creek.  All three species can be
found along the creek here.  Beware of ticks!

>From the car park, return along Admiral Road to Bungendore at the top of
the hill.  Keep the window open and listen for the cockatoos as you go.
Park and walk along the track to the information sign at the first track
junction.  Allow about 1 hour for the walk here, maybe 1.5 to 2 if you
really want the Rufous Treecreeper.  At the information sign you will see
the school oval.  I have seen Elegant Parrot on the oval, or perched high
in the dead trees.  They are very seasonal.  Blue-tongue (or Bobtail)
Goannas (skinks actually) are usually fairly common.

Look and listen for mixed feeding flocks preferably on or near the ground.
The flock should contain Inland Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Western
Thornbill, Weebill, Splendid Fairy-wren, Western Gerygone, Striated and
Spotted Pardalote, etc.  The Western Spinebill responds very well to
pishing or squeaking.  From the original track, turn left and follow it for
5 to 10 minutes to a junction with a track on the right.  There is some
wandoo in this area which is where the Rufous Treecreeper is.  Listen for
its loud single note call.  It should be on the side of a tree or hopping
along the ground and fallen logs.  There has been a fire through this area
which has hit the wandoo particularly, and so I don't know if the
treecreeper is still there.  You can follow the side track to another track
looking / listening for the treecreeper.  You should find Dusky Woodswallow
also.  Near this track junction there is a lot of dryandra which is very
prickly.  The Western Spinebill loves this when it is in flower, and
White-cheeked Honeyeater is often common, and I have seen Little Wattlebird
in this area.  Varied Sittella is quite often seen near here.

Return to the corner with the first wandoo.  The area bounded by the first
two tracks and the paddock has at least one pair of Western Yellow Robins.
You shouldn't get lost as you are bounded by these features, which is why I
walk back through this area.  Walk in to roughly where it starts to slope,
and walk along the top of the slope.  The WYR has a 'robin' call, roughly
piping and it will respond but not come in to an imitation.  I locate the
robin from its call, but I often find it amongst the banksias where there
are usually many Western Spinebills also.

By the way, the Birds Australia office is only open from 9:30am to 12:30pm.

The flock of Western Corellas at Dongara was across the road from the
petrol station just before you reach the town.  Little Corella is possible
so check (for colour around the head and the bill if you get close enough).
If you are going to Kalbarri from Yanchep, then head north towards Lancelin
and follow the signs to Geraldton by going right, left, then right to the
Brand Highway very close to the Moore River.  I have seen Western Corella
in this area but they are usually flying and you don't get a good view.  I
have also seen Short-billed Black-Cockatoo.

The fax number for Cargill Salt is 08 9173 0270.

I don't know anywhere in particular for Rock Parrot north of Perth
(although I did see a few at The Pinnacles near Cervantes but this is too
far off your route and a long way from being a certainty), but they are
reported as fairly common near Monkey Mia.  Check the coastal lookouts and
areas on the way to Monkey Mia.  Maybe ask the CALM rangers at Monkey Mia
but they usually are not very clued up on the birds.

I would be very interested in any details of the location if you see
Slender-billed Thornbill, Grey Honeyeater, Striated Grasswren, Inland
Dotterel, Grey Falcon, etc.

Good luck,

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