Perth and Rottnest observations, WA

To: <>
Subject: Perth and Rottnest observations, WA
From: "Eric Finley" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 12:26:27 +1100
Hi all

A few observations from the West on an Easter trip to Perth, which was
not a birding trip but provided a few nice birds anyway. Probably not
much of news here for WA locals but could be of interest to visitors
from the east.

Lake Monger 23 Mar

I guess this and some of the nearby Perth metro lakes are well known to
local birders. I didn't plan any birding on this short trip but dropped
by here after seeing hundreds of ducks while driving past. Great spot
for ducks and other waterfowl with a fantastic variety - but its the
close range observation opportunities that make it so good. In rough
descending order of abundance were Aust Shoveler (250+), Black Duck,
Hardhead,  Black Swan, Blue-billed Duck (35+ mostly non-breeding males
and females), Musk Duck, Grey Teal, Great Crested Grebe (15+),
Pink-eared Duck (12), Hoary-headed and Little Grebes, Aust Shelduck,
Pied Stilt,  Aust Pelican and Red-necked Avocet (2). These sightings
were in 20 minutes spent along a 100 metre stretch of the shore
bordering Lake Monger Drive and only relate to birds within about 50 m
or so of the shore - there were many hundreds more on other parts of the
lake which I did not get around to. Also a very dark fairly non-descript
duck which was possibly a teal x Black Duck hybrid. Also entertaining
views of an Australian Hobby attempting to catch Welcome Swallows over
the lake - no successful hits but some very close calls for a couple of
swallows. Lots of Little Corellas and Rainbow Lorikeets along the
shores, and a few Western Ringnecks. A flock of Short-billed Black
Cockatoos dipped over the road just nearby (saw these in the suburbs
south of the CBD too).This lake is just a few kms  from the CBD near
Leederville so easy to access even on a short visit to Perth.

Rottnest Island 24 Mar

A day spend cycling around the island, mostly beach and snorkeling but
some bird sightings along the way. I added 2 species to my Australian
but not life list with COMMON PEAFOWL and COMMON PHEASANT. The peafowl
were most unimpressive hanging around the picnic/shop area much as they
do at any second rate wildlife park.... Those seeing them as lifers here
don't be put off, they are a stunning bird in their native habitats and
hearing them crying out to the thunder claps of monsoon storms in the
Indian jungle is a fantastic experience. All of the pheasants I saw were
female but at least not just hanging around waiting for fast food
handouts - 2 were seen around cottages behind the bike hire shed, and
another couple on the track out to The Basin just past the campsite. A
couple of birders I met told me they were also in good numbers around
the golf course. First time I have seen Banded Lapwings taking food from
people (who obviously ignore the island regulations - no surprises
there) - very tame here.

More interesting were great sightings of Ospreys - 5 over the day with
the best views being at the island tip, Cape Vlamingh, where a bird was
soaring and diving close by. Also here were White-fronted Chats and an
impressive King Skink. Waders were seen at Lake Baghdad just behind the
settlement and although no outstanding sightings they all allowed
extremely close approach - my best views ever of Ruddy Turnstones inc
some in breeding plumage, Red-necked Stint also coming into plumage,
Grey Plover, and Red-necked Avocet, and a distant small bunch of Banded
Stilts. 2 Pied Oystercatcher at the main jetty.

Offshore including the ferry over produced a few Wedge-tailed
Shearwater, a Peregrine Falcon, many crested terns (did not get a look
at which species but assumed the locals are mostly Crested not Lesser
Crested), a few small groups of Roseate Terns.

Eric Finley

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