Kangaroo Island Trip Report (summary)

To: ? birding-aus <>
Subject: Kangaroo Island Trip Report (summary)
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2008 09:01:07 +1000
Tried to send this report yesterday but it is too long. Below is the first page 
summary of a word document I have written. If anyone would like a copy 
(particularly if you are after locations for endemic subspecies) let me know 
and I will e-mail the document separately.

My family and I spent just over a week on Kangaroo Island in early March. This 
was our first trip to the island so in many ways it was just as much a chance 
to explore the island as a bird-watching trip. The trip coincided with the 
incredible run of hot days that struck Adelaide (the longest run over 35 degree 
days for any Australian capital city), though we were relatively fortunate to 
have sea breezes at most of the sites we stayed so missed the worst of the hot 
weather (though we did have two very hot days of driving).
We arrived late in the afternoon of the 7th of March, spent two nights at 
American River with day trips to Kingscote, Emu Bay and an afternoon around the 
Wheatons Beach area of Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park. We then travelled via 
Stokes Bay, Parndana and Flinders Chase Visitors Centre to Cape du Couedic 
Lighthouse where we spent four nights. From here we did a number of day trips 
including Remarkable Rocks, Cape Borda, Kelly Hill Caves (where two of us 
walked the Hanson Bay track) and Vivonne Bay. We then travelled back east via 
Seal Bay and Murray Lagoon (though it was far too hot to stop at the latter) 
and spent the last two nights at Penneshaw. From here did some brief trips 
including Dudley CP, Lashmar and Baudin CPs and Cape Willoughby Lighthouse.
Despite the hot and/or windy weather the bird watching was exceedingly good 
with 86 species (plus 5 ‘extras’) and 18 of the 20 targeted subspecies (mainly 
island endemics but the odd other thrown in) seen. The only two targets missed 
·        Bassian Thrush (race halmaturina) which I didn’t really visit any of 
what I would consider suitable habitat (at least that wasn’t burnt) and I spent 
only a very brief visit to West KI Caravan Park (to buy milk)
·        Little Wattlebird (race halmaturina) which was a bit of a 
disappointment as this was the only endemic subspecies I missed – most of the 
potential sites in Flinders Chase NP were burnt and not accessible, and had no 
luck around Vivonne Bay or in the roadside heath west of here. Possibly heard 
one call on the Hanson Bay track but never tracked it down. Means another trip 
in a few years time to chase it up.
As an overall summary we had a great trip with plenty of other wildlife 
(dolphins, kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies – the density of these at Baudin CP had 
to be seen to be believed, possums Fur-seals and Sea Lions, and one Tiger 
Snake) and lots to amuse an under two-year old (and enough swimming areas to 
keep Nan happy). The one concern I did have is the extent of the fire in 
Flinders Chase NP. At least 95% of this reserve is burnt (right up to the roads 
around the boundary and in patches to the cliff edge) with most of the tracks 
and roads closed. My concern would be that some of the endemic subspecies that 
would rely on unburnt habitat (particularly Mallee Whipbird, the seemingly 
restricted Little Wattlebird and to a lesser extent Shy Heathwren and 
Purple-gaped Honeyeater) have far less habitat now left. Unless such large 
fires are prevented somehow in the future, then their conservation status may 
need to be reviewed.

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