Tasmanian birding and Peter Murrell Nature Reserve

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Subject: Tasmanian birding and Peter Murrell Nature Reserve
From: Greg Anderson <>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 09:32:17 -0000
I was in Hobart on business last week and allocated a couple of days to 
look for two endemic species which had eluded me on my first trip to 
Tasmania many years ago as a novice birder - Forty-spotted Pardalote and 
Dusky Robin.  I had intended to go to Bruny Island for these birds, but 
first checked out Peter Murrell Nature Reserve only about 15 minutes south 
of Hobart.

Within a few minutes of arriving I found Forty-spots near the dam.  They 
were feeding quite close to the ground, no higher than 5-6 metres and were 
the common pardalote there.  One bird was carrying food into a burrow, so 
presumably they are breeding.  My other target was Dusky Robin and a pair 
was present right near the carpark.  Other Tasmanian endemics I saw there 
were Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Black-headed Honeyeater 
and Tasmanian Native Hen.  A Brush bronzewing along the trail behind the 
dam was also notable for a Queenslander like myself.

The non-birding highlight was undoubtedly one, and possibly two, Platypus 
in the dam.

This is an excellent reserve and is easily reached.  My attention was first 
drawn to it by Murray Lord on Birding Aus last year.  His directions were 
clear and accurate and I have included them here for reference:

"It is called the Peter Murrell Nature Reserve and is at Huntingfield, just 
south of Hobart. To get there take the Southern Outlet from Hobart, 
following the signs to Blackmans Bay when you get to the end. Continue 
onwards until you get to the Australian Antarctic Division offices. Just 
afterwards you get to a roundabout (where traffic to Blackmans Bay goes 
left). Go straight on and turn left about fifty metres after the 
roundabout. Continue along that road for, I guess, almost a kilometre until 
you come to the very large Vodafone building. Immediately after that you 
will see a sign to the reserve. Turn left onto the dirt track and drive 
200m to the end." [Note that the track runs alongside the Vodafone building 
so Murray does mean to turn "immediately"]

Richard Johnson also sang the praises of this reserve earlier this year and 
in last Saturday's Hobart Mercury there was an article by Don Knowler on 
the reserve and its Pardolates.

I managed to see 11 endemics on that day between the Peter Murrell Reserve, 
Fern Tree and Mount Wellington.  I only missed Strong-billed Honeyeater but 
picked that up the following day.  My most memorable birding moment of the 
trip was not one of the endemics, but a spectacular male Flame Robin in the 
snow at Lake Dobson in Mt Field National Park.

It was a very productive short trip.

Regards to all


Greg Anderson

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