Recent trip to Australia -highlights

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Subject: Recent trip to Australia -highlights
From: "Rosemary Royle" <>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:32:50 -0000
Hello Birding Aussers from a cold and slightly snowy west Wales,

We have just arrived home from a 8 week expedition in a 4WD camper van from 
Perth to Melbourne followed by a 10 day jaunt around Tasmania. We had a 
wonderful time and saw most of our target birds, plus splendid flowers and 
animals. We also saw inland Australia covered in green growth and flowers, 
which was in dramatic contrast to our last trip to Eastern Australia in October 
2006 which was at  the end of a long drought.

We started in Perth then spent about a week north of Perth driving up to Monkey 
Mia looking at flowers as well as birds, then down to the south west corner of 
WA, along the south coast of WA then across the Nullarbor, through the Eyre 
Peninsula, up through the Flinders Ranges to the Strzlecki Track to 
Montecollima Bore, then across to the Murray River and Gluepot, over the border 
to the NW Victoria parks then down through the Grampians to the Great Ocean 
Road, a few days around Melbourne including a day at Werribee then 10 days in 
Tasmania. We drove 13,500 kms in total.

I though you might be interested in what we felt were the highlights of the 

- waking up at Hamelin Station campsite to the sound of Chiming Wedgebills

- Dugongs at Monkey Mia (and Grasswrens too of course)

- despite the dry spring, good flowers in the west

- seeing Wreath Leschenaultias

- a Malleefowl crossing the road just outside Kalbarri

- Banded Stilts at Rottnest (and nowhere else)

- families of Carnaby's Black Cockatoos at Dryandra

- breaching Humpback Whales off Cape Naturaliste

- stunning coastal scenery in the south west

- eventually finding Rock Parrot at Esperance

- Red Capped Parrots - what a stunner!

- 10 Hooded Plovers including juveniles on the inlet near the Point Ann 
campsite at Fitzgerald River NP

- Stirling Range Retreat - 7 species of parrot, many of them breeding, 
including Regent and Elegant

- Flinders Ranges - brilliant scenery, little squadrons of budgies everywhere 
and Yellow Footed Rock Wallabies

- fantastic photographable views of Short Tailed Grasswren at Stokes Hill 

- Diamond Doves, Chirruping Wedgebills, Cinnamon Quail Thrush and eventually 
Chestnut Banded Whiteface at Mount Lyndhurst Station -

- a green Strzlecki Track with Pratincoles everywhere

- sunset at Montecollima Bore

- Letter Winged Kites - what more can you say?

- Copley - there are only three things at Copley - a pub, a café and a campsite 
and they are all good. And of course a 168 wagon train goes through once a day

- lunch at Banrock Station - food, wine and birds - what more could you want?

- watching the breeding activity on the full lakes at Hattah-Kulkyne

- finding and photographing Striated Grasswren and Mallee Emu-wren at H-K

- eating Vanilla Slices at Ouyen (the "Home of the Vanilla Slice" apparently)

- seeing Malleefowl close-up in the breeding aviaries at Little Desert Lodge

- eye level Gang Gang Cockatoos in the Mackenzie Falls car park in the Grampians

- Blanket Bay campsite - a large male Koala nearby and Rufous Bristlebirds 
hopping around the van

- an empty and damp Werribee - but we still saw 75 species

- a fantastic hour at Bunyip - singing Rose Robin, fossicking Lyrebirds and 
Crested Shrike-Tit.

- at last tracking down our bogey bird - Southern Emu-wren - at Bunyip (are we 
the first people ever to see Mallee EW before Southern EW??)

- very tame Echidnas and Wombats in Tasmania

- a Flame Robin (lifer) eating a huge worm on a picnic table in torrential rain 
seen out of the camper van window at Mount Field

- Ground Parrots, Striated Fieldwren and Beautiful Firetail amongst the 
heathland flowers at Strahan

- Corinna on the Pieman River in western Tasmania - a beautiful spot and 
Platypus too

- tracking down Swift Parrots on Maria Island on our last day

- and of course, listening to the cricket ...

I suppose the biggest highlight was just being in Australia, especially the 
Outback - we love it, and will be back.

There were a few "lowlights" of course - a lot of very cold, cloudy and showery 
weather and several really wet spells, a terrible exchange rate, awful 
Melbourne traffic on a wet Friday afternoon, locusts (Wyperfield was closed), 
being rained out of Gluepot and failing to find Purple Gaped Honeyeater, 
Western Whipbird and Freckled Duck. But this is all part of the deal on a long 
holiday and gives you something to laugh about in retrospect.

This trip would not have been the success it was without the help of many 
Australian birders. Firstly many thanks to Gina Hopkins for our day at Werribee 
- despite the empty pools there were a number of highlights - families of Buff 
Banded Rails and Brolgas, Striated Fieldwren (a lifer), untangling the ID of a 
group of terns, and some nice waders.

Thanks to Frank O'Connor for his comprehensive WA website, to Peter Waanders 
for his excellent notes on SA and to Tim Dolby et al for the book on Victoria. 
Also thanks to Thomas and Thomas - some of the sites bear absolutely no 
resemblance to current reality and some are still spot on - the trick is to 
know which are which! Also thanks to the person who posted the location of 
singing Rose Robins at Bunyip and the person who mentioned that they found 
their Rock Parrots at Esperance in the little picnic area close to the port 
entrance - so did we and we were getting pretty desperate by then!

A full trip report will follow in due course - I will send it to and post the link on B-Aus. But first we have to sort out the 
photos and check some of the ID, and also catch up with our local survey work 
here - fancy counting waders and wildfowl in sub-zero temperatures anybody??


Rosemary Royle (and Peter)

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