Is the Regent Parrot common at Lake McClartley? And could we have seen a

Subject: Is the Regent Parrot common at Lake McClartley? And could we have seen a Southern Scrub-robin there? And a WA trip report
From: Patrick Scully <>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2010 21:39:06 +1100
Hello fellow birders,

Here is a trip report of a recent holiday to WA with my wife, Deb, three
month old baby daughter, Gabrielle, and mother in law, Sue. I was very
fortunate to go out birding with a top WA birder, Sue Abbotts for a day, for
which I am very grateful.

Sue picked me up at 7.00 am on Monday the 29th of November and we headed out
past Armidale on the Albany Highway then turned off to follow the Brookton
Highway to Collins Rd. As soon as we stopped we could see plenty of Rufous
Treecreepers and got to see the brilliant colours in the morning light.  Later
Sue found us a couple of Western Yellow Robins.  Sue assured me that they
are quite hard to find and this proved so true as they were the only WYR
that I was to see on this WA trip.  Other highlights were seeing Yellow
–plumed Honeyeaters and Western Rosellas.

The next day Tuesday the 30th of Nov, while walking with the baby at the
local Nedlands park I observed the pinkie-white skin markings on the sides
of the chin of the first year Australian Ravens, which was a buzz.

Wednesday the 1st of December we stopped at Lake McLarty, on route to Bunker
Bay.  Following Sue Abbotts mud map,(which was perfectly accurate) I set out
into the lake leaving Deb with baby Gabrielle and her mum  at the car.  The
lake was abounding with birds, but alas I had a bit of a meltdown in getting
past identifying the Red-capped Plovers while fumbling with my new lighter
tripod, which seemed very hard to operate in comparison with my heavier
tripod and get to the field guide, while the mud rose to my ankles.  It  was
a huge buzz for me to see the Banded Stilts (which I had wanted to see on
each of my visits to WA without success) in company with elegant
Black-winged Stilts and Red-necked Avocets.  But it was with a heavy heart
and feeing of utter failure that I trudged back to thew car.  The list of
great and new, hoped for ticks had evaporated.  I had needed a lot more
time, experience and it seemed that a lot of birds were on the opposite
(western) side of the lake.  Later that night, I thought I’d have another go
on the return journey from Bunker bay.

We stopped at Buselton and on the foreshore observed Western Corellas at the
kiosk, where we had lunch while we looked up into the Morton bay Fig trees
at the birds, which have been in these trees on both other visits to the

At Bunker Bay (and everywhere else in the South-west)the place was abounding
with New Holland Honeyeaters and what I didn’t realise until looking at the
field guide yesterday was that WA has a subspecies called Longirostris, with
a longer bill than the eastern ones.  WA seems like as described by Sean
Dooley in his book, The Big Twitch, as being like the east but with
something a little almost indefinably different, that WA has so many bird
species that have little differences.  This was so with the Silvereye, with
race Chloronotus, with its olive –green back (seen everywhere, at Bunker
Bay, Prevelly Beach, Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, and Augusta); the White
–browed Scrubwren, race Maculatus with its spotted breast (seen from our
lounge at Bunker Bay in villa 502); the Golden Whistler with race Fuliginosa
(seen on Bunker bay fireshore scrub); the Grey fantail race Preissi (seen in
a lot of south-west); the Inland Thornbill, race Apicalis seen at Bunker Bay
and other south-western spots(formally called Leeuwinensis in my old S & D
field guide, and Bunker Bay is in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Nat Park?).

Some of the highlights were seeing the Western Spinebill in the Bunker bay
Resort driveway, a female in yellow Kangaroo Paw flowers and a male also in
yellow kangaroo Paw.  Sue Abbotts had suggested this was a good way to see
them. Other highlights were seeing the White-breasted robin from the lounge
room at the villa at Bunker Bay. Another was seeing Humpback Whales from
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Southern Emu-wrens also at the Lighthouse,
both male and female.  Also the WA race Splendens of the Splendid Fairy-wren
in full breeding colour at the lighthouse and Meelup Bay, and seeing a flock
of Baudin’s (Long-billed) Black-Cockatoos on the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
rd in a tree and being able to identify all their features.  Another buzz
for me was seeing a group of Western Rosellas in a tree outside our villa
and getting great views of the male.  A low point was not seeing the Rock
Parrot at Augusta after having two different trips to see it and having a
good mud map from Sue abbots.  On the return journey back to Perth, we
stopped at Lake McLarty on Wed 8th of Dec at 5.00 pm and the lake was
completely dry.  While Deb fed the baby I with scope trudged out into the
dry lake hoping to get lucky.  I saw a few groups of red-capped Plovers and
that’s all.  We had gone to the western side of the lake on the sealed road
and stopped at the signposted birding info and gate.  On getting back to the
car, I found both Deb and her mum in a state of excitement with Deb saying
they had observed a new bird that was very close to the car that seemed to
fit the picture of the Southern Scrub-robin, in the field guide, but they
were not certain.  I seemed to remember Sue Abbotts, saying that it was not
possible to see it in the South-West?  On a positive note (for me) I looked
up into a tree opposite the car to find a male of the WA race Anthopeplus of
the Regent Parrot in my bins.  I managed to scope it too.  It was a bird I
had not even thought to look for, and having seen the more yellow eastern
race at Wyperfeld, it was a huge thrill for me and left me on a high for
this WA trip.
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