Here's another instalment of highlights from a wonderful trip to south-west
23 August to 1 September 2002
Travelling down the coast north of Perth, from Greenough, through Arrowsmith,
North Eneabba, Coorow, Green Head, Mt. Lesueur
National Park, Cervantes, Gingin, Bindoon, Northam, York and finishing this
section at Dryandra State Forest
Ellendale Pool near Greenough was a lovely area, very nice for camping.
Peregrine Falcon, Sacred Kingfisher, Clamorous
Reed-Warbler. Western Ringneck was plucking leaves and eating something lumpy
off the leaves.
Burma Road Nature Reserve. Sensational for flowers, and it attracted no less
than a Pied Honeyeater male perched on top of a
shrub and singing, giving good clear views.
Near to Burma Road Nature Reserve is the Western Flora Caravan Park at North
Eneabba. I received a number of recommendations
for this caravan park, and they were well founded
This proved to be a good base to explore
the area. Alan Tinker is fantastic on the flowers, and gives a good talk on
flowers and their pollinators. There's also a
session with a dissecting microscope where he shows the extraordinary detail on
a TV screen with overwhelming clarity. You
can tag-along on flora tours in his 4WD or your own for guided tours of the
local area, and have some great discussions with
Alan on geology, the habitat and environment. Some local goodies (of the
++ Little Eagle on a rollercoaster type of flight pattern, flapping on the way
up, then a sort and slow stoop down with
wings closed against body, before flapping to rise again, and whistling all the
++ Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo
++ Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
++ What's that fat brown mottled cutie in the bushes? Looks like a robin.
Where's Mum? Aahh - there's a White-breasted
Robin. That's lifer 9 for the trip.
++ Hooded Robin
++ Remember the Pied Honeyeater above
++ White-cheeked Honeyeater - the race gouldi with the small cheek patch
Cervantes is the base for Nambung National Park and The Pinnacles. These are
well worth visiting - go to The Pinnacles EARLY
morning to avoid the crowds otherwise there could be too many footsteps in the
sand for your photos and too many cars in
view. A fascinating area. No birds recorded at The Pinnacles, a difference to
Cervantes town and the nearby Lake Thetis, a
salt lake with more salt than the ocean, and with some of its own
stromatolites. When you drive on the approach road to the
Lake, there is a small carparking area to the left and it's possible to park
very close to the edge of the lake. Late
afternoon and with no-one around proved good birding, with some birds foraging
close to the car. I could see Black-winged
Stilts with their head going completely underwater, Red-capped Plover and
Red-necked Stint and UNBELIEVABLY close views of
Marsh Sandpiper foraging near the car and filling up my binocular view, clearly
showing many of the distinguishing marks in
the field guides which you generally can't see from a distance. 6 Emus walked
at the edge of the Lake that also held Musk
Dusk, Great Crested Grebe. Cervantes town had resident Banded Lapwings
including 5 immatures on the football field,
White-winged Triller, Western Corella and Brown Falcon.
By now realised that I really haven't seen many raptors (by number) for the
total trip. This contrasted to some of my
western NSW / west QLD trips where there sometimes seemed to be at least one
raptor per 5-10 kilometres.
Gingin Cemetery contains gorgeous kangaroo paws. The nearby marri was being
worked on by a group of 10 Long-billed
Black-Cockatoos chomping on the green marri fruits.
Northam basically held one attraction - Mute Swan "Australian lifer. No. 10"
for the trip.
On 30 August I arrived at the much anticipated Dryandra State Forest, staying
in Magpie Cottage right in the forest. This is
great because, other than some camping in the area, the closest accommodation
is 30km away. I looked forward to this place
not just for birds but for mammals. So out and about soon after arriving, and
within 70 metres of the cottage are not one,
but two echidnas. There were plenty of echidnas around Dryandra, providing
great opportunities for good close views of them
digging and walking, when they really lift their body up off the ground.
Another 70 metres and I saw what I thought was a
dead chick on the ground. Hold on - look at those stripes. Yes !!! Bush
Stone-curlew - a chick on the ground, but just
playing dead as it had seen me before I saw it. Instinct and genes told it to
stay perfectly still and I got very close and
could see it breathing. What a great start to my time here.
++ Western Ringneck - have now moved into the territory of race semitorquatus
(28 Parrot), with the red over the bill, and a
green breast with green & yellow mottled belly.
++ Brown Honeyeater - race leucogenys.
++ Grey Currawong - the brown south WA form with a black face
++ About a zillion Purple-crowned Lorikeet, the air filled with "zzt" calls as
they foraged and flew from tree to tree
++ Varied Sittella - black capped form, race pileata
++ Scarlet Robin - a male feeding a female
++ Silvereye playing "treecreeper", climbing up the side of a tree and poking
its bill into cracks in the bark
Great to see some different races and forms of birds, but I've travelled a long
way to see some lifers (nos. 11, 12, 13, 14):
++ Red-winged Fairy-wren on Ochre Trail
++ Rufous Treecreeper, 3 birds on Ochre Trail, climbing up trees and sometimes
perching still for me. In the sun, their
rufous colour was a knockout.
++ Western Spinebill - 1 male feeding on red flowering gum flowers. Again the
colours are fantastic - what Mother Nature
++ Western Thornbill
Spotlighting at night graced me with a Woylie (Brush-tailed Bettong) which came
right up to check me out, then went off into
the dark, then came back again before finally woyling off into the dark. I
felt very special. A daytime walk on the Ochre
Trail produced Western Brush Wallaby.
For those interested in FLORA, the highlights during this time were:
++ North Eneabba and a number of Nature Reserves in the area including Burma
Road, Wotto, White Gums and Depot Hill.
++ Cockleshell Gully Road in Mt Lesueur National Park
++ Badgi Nature Trail at Badgingarra - a nice gently sloping walk up to a
lookout which gives good views
++ Boyagin Rock - recommend this to everyone for the fact that it's a granite
rock in "the middle of nowhere", and has some
historical significance for our explorers
ORCHIDS: clocking up some beautiful sightings of this very special family of
plants. If you have a specific interest in
orchids, contact me separately.
REPTILES: Between this and the previous 2 WA trip reports in this series:
I've missed out on seeing Thorny Devil, one of
the things I really wanted to see on the trip. Ho hum. I guess it gives me
something to go back for.
More Shinglebacks seen, Christinus marmoratus (Marbled Gecko) and King Brown
Snake at Western Flora Caravan Park, Pogona
minima near The Pinnacles.
The above is a short selection of highlights only. Feel free to contact me for
more details on the above, including
locations (I have GPS details for almost everything).
Cheers and Happy Times with Nature
Concord West, 12 km from Sydney city, NSW Australia
S 33°50.278' E 151°05.406'
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