Some notes from a long weekend in Tasmania in late September 2008

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Subject: Some notes from a long weekend in Tasmania in late September 2008
From: robert morris <>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 04:35:29 +0000
I just spent a long weekend in Tasmania which was great despite the weather. I 
used a variety of information, but Thomas and Thomas still proved to be very 
useful and  accurate.

I saw all 12 endemic breeding species whilst there. On the Friday I saw 11 of 
them around Hobart but didn’t see Dusky Robins! Scrubtits showed well a couple 
of times around Fernvale, along with Black Currawongs (love the call!) and Pink 
Robins (the males are stunning!). The Truganini Trail / Reserve was excellent 
for Swift Parrots and all 4 endemic honeyeaters - with several Strong-billed in 
the lower sections. I heard the Tasmanian form of Masked Owl here on 2 
occasions before first light and after dusk, but didn’t see one here. 
Forty-spotted Pardalotes were pretty easy down near Kingston at the Peter 
Murrell State Reserve near the dam (turn down into the reserve just beyond the 
Vodaphone building).

Saturday I did it all again but went one better on Bruny Island seeing all the 
endemic breeding species in a day. Dusky Robins appeared from nowhere on road 
side posts, and during the morning I saw male Pink, Scarlet and Flame Robins! 
Forty-spotted Pardalotes were pretty easy on the hills just south of Dennes 
Point. I saw Scrubtits on the road between Lunawanna and Adventure Bay, and 
amazing views of them on the Mavista Trail right next to the Picnic area. 
Tasmanian Thornbills take a little while to suss out if you haven’t seen them 
before (note the similar Brown Thornbill is also common) - check out the 
primary fringe colours, tail length, heard markings, bill and vent / underpart 
colours. Swifties were again obvious particularly on the road down to the 
ferry. In the afternoon I caught up with - Musk Lorikeets (at last!) which were 
common around the airport and surrounding roads.

Sunday morning started with a huge, chestnut-washed (I assume female) Tasmanian 
Masked Owl sat no more than 5m away from me at eye level along Pittwater Road. 
The bird called a number of times around 4 am, and around 4.30 I had amazing 
views of this stunning form. It was them onto Eaglehawk Neck for a pelagic trip 
I organised via Chris Lester / Bill Wakefield. During the day I was 
disappointed with the numbers and diversity of species, but when I returned and 
reflected on my 4 new seabirds I decided I was being greedy and I had an excuse 
to come back again (and again). We had great views of Northern and Southern 
Royal Albatrosses, a few White-chinned and Cape Petrels; brief views of 
Wilson’s and a Grey-backed Storm-Petrel and Common Diving Petrels. There were a 
variety of other commoner albatrosses, a few Great-winged Petrels and 1000s of 
Short-tailed Albatrosses, but none of the more uncommon southern ocean species 
I’d be dreaming about!

Great place - I’ll try the seabirds again in November!Rob Morris  Brisbane, 

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