Tassie Trip Report - 24-30 Sept 2005

Subject: Tassie Trip Report - 24-30 Sept 2005
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 11:00:12 +1000

My girlfriend and I spent the past week in Tassie. The aim of the trip was to see as many of the natural wonders of the state as possible and birding wherever possible. In addition I wanted to see many of the local mammals too.

In the end I saw 11 of the 12 endemics missing out only on Dusky Robin! I believe the reason we didnt see any Dusky Robins was the fact we didnt spend a whole lot of time in woodland or rural areas. But the innumerable Pink Robin sightings (11 breeding males at 7 locations including by the Franklin River) made up for it.

The only other birdos we ran into were a local birdo showing 2 visitors from Alice Springs around Peter Murrell Reserve south of Hobart. He was very surprised to see another person with binoculars!
The Forty-spotted Pardalote was the easiest tick of the trip as no sooner had we got out of the car and introduced ourselves when they pointed out a pair of Forty-spotted Pardalotes in the eucalypts above us. This reserve is well worth the trip if you cant make it out to Bruny Island with Yellow Wattlebird, Green Rosella, Native-hen, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Tasmanian Thornbill and Black-headed Honeyeater seen. The Black Currawong and Forest Raven were easy and common in most places we visited. By far the most common raptor was the Swamp Harrier. Of interest was an adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle fish in talon above a small farm dam.

Highlights were visiting a 'Muttonbird' (Short-tailed Shearwater) colony of 600+ birds at dusk at Ocean Beach (Strahan), a Tassie Devil along Cradle Mountain Rd after several attempts driving around that night finally getting one around 10pm, an Eastern Barred Bandicoot along the Tyenna River, a Platypus metres away among rocks below the amazing Russell Falls, and the breathtaking views towards Mt Ossa and Cradle Mtn from Devils Gullet lookout on the Central Plateau Protected Area.

I saw what I thought were 2 Intermediate Egrets in a wetland near Triabunna. But my Tasmanian Birds guide doesnt list them as being in Tasmania. One bird obviously had the beautiful distinctive breeding plume down its neck and from what I could gather the neck of the birds werent as long as their bodies. I wasnt close enough to check the other features.

The areas we visited included:
# Freycinet NP (Wineglass Bay Lookout Walk - my first but not last sighting of a Yellow-throated Honeyeater - beautiful!) and Bicheno (missed out on seeing Little Penguins here despite trying)
# Swansea (34 Black-faced Cormorants off Meredith Beach Reserve)
# Hobart (Mt Wellington - first Black Currawong here, Ferntee, Neika)
# Mt Field NP (Russell Falls Walk, Tall Trees Walk, Pandani Grove Walk at Lake Dobson)
# Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers NP (Nelson Falls Walk, Franklin River Walk, Donaghy's Lookout Walk - only sighting of Strong-billed Honeyeaters on whole trip in car park)
# Strahan (Ocean Beach, Henty Dunes) - big storms and windy so no birding here unfortunately, the local Little Penguin colony had been wiped out this winter.
# Cradle Mtn-Lake St Clair NP (Dove Lake Circuit, all short walks at Cradle, and at Lake St Clair - Watersmeet & Platypus Bay where we had close-up views of Olive Whistler and Scrubtit)
# Central Plateau PA (Devils Gullet State Reserve)
# Mole Creek Karst NP (King Solomons Cave Walk - Bassian Thrush)
# Alum Cliffs Reserve (a flock of 50+ Flame Robins in a nearby field with 4 Shelduck)
# Lake Rowallan (views to Walls of Jerusalem NP and along Mersey River White Water)
# Launceston (Cataract Gorge - a Chestnut Teal on a rock midstream)
The accommodation we stayed at during the trip was great and cheap with free breakfasts each morning. The timber cottage at Cradle Mountain was the pick of the bunch with possums, pademelons and wombats at night and many birds during the day.


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