Birding the WA coast

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Subject: Birding the WA coast
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 16:51:45 +1000
The plane landed in Perth at 1240 on Saturday (10 June) ably propelled
by the destructive gale force winds centred over central coastal NSW as
I left Sydney. Heading north to Geraldton not much to report bird wise,
with the exception of White-cheeked Honeyeaters and Short-billed Black
Cockatoos at Beekeepers Road near Eneabba. The Black-tailed Gull made
perfect timing as it was located just as the sun was setting at the
Geraldton Fisherman's Wharf. I enjoyed watching it in the scope in the
late afternoon light and then proceeded on finally falling asleep in the
car north of Billabong Roadhouse.
At Wooramel Roadhouse I found an interesting frog Neobatrachus wilsmorei
with plenty of Red Kangaroos active on the floodplain in the predawn
hours. Crimson Chat and Chiming Wedgebills were fairly numerous. It was
now Sunday morning (11 June) but I made good time reaching Whim Creek at
1530. An enquiry at the pub and the lady working behind the bar guided
me out to the workers cabins and I was soon watching a snoozing
Red-legged Crake-interesting behaviour you would not experience
normally. At 1600 it roused from its slumbers and then fed around the
lawns and gardens being very tame and approachable. Certainly one of the
great recent rarities in Australia-a stunning bird.
On Monday I dedicated to enjoying the birding in a less frantic fashion.
It was a great day. As Rohan had commented some good birding around the
Whim Creek Pub. I spent some time on the track off the driveway in that
heads south (to the old Coca cola sign). The Painted Finches were tame
and common; eventually tracked down a bunch of red-bellied Spinifex
Pigeons and had a great view and heard several Spinifexbirds. Other
highlights included Grey-headed Honeyeater, Diamond Dove, Brown Quail
and Little Eagle. I watched the RL Crake at breakfast with a cup of
coffee and the obligatory toasted sandwich.
Time to head south with Singing Bushlarks and Brown Songlarks plus a
Spotted Harrier between Whim Creek and Travelstop. Red-backed
Kingfishers made two appearances north of Nanutarra while more Spinifex
Pigeons were present 10 km N of Fortescue. At Yannarie River, 158 km N
of Minilya I watched a juvenile Black-breasted Buzzard for five minutes-
a rarely encountered plumage.
Spent the night in Minilya serenaded by the distinctive pale-headed
subspecies of Blue-winged Kookaburra; enjoyed a trio of Australian
Hobbies whilst the Southern Boobooks took over the night shift. A quick
road ride when it was dark turned up an interesting Spiny-tailed Gecko
(Diplodactylus strophurus) and then a Rosen's Snake (Suta fasciata): a
gravid female was absorbing the last radiant energy off the black top
Tuesday was dedicated to getting back to Perth but I called in again at
Geraldton. No gull this time (I was really lucky before!) but a superb
pair of Roseate Terns in breeding plumage made for another trip

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