Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Perth and SW corner of Australia

Just back from a few weeks in Oz and kicked things off in Perth and a trip south to Cape Leeuwin then east to Albany and back to Perth over a week.  We were in Perth for three nights and my first exploration of a city open space produced Australian Ringneck (or Twenty Eight Parrot), Silver Gulls, a Striated Pardalote P.substriatus, Willie Wagtail, Australian Magpie, Magpie Lark, Red Wattlebird and Rainbow Lorikeet.  A walk up to King’s Park added Australian White Pelican, Eurasian Coot (Int), Silvereye, Pacific Black Duck, Dusky Moorhen, Tree Martin, Galah, Singing Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Australian Raven, Kookaburra, Laughing and Spotted Turtle Doves.

 Red Wattlebird
Australian Raven growing a beard
 Australian Magpies

The next day we took a day trip over to Rottnest Island from Freemantle or ‘Freo’.  A cinnamon coloured heron flew over the harbour before we set off and later I realised it was a Nankeen Night Heron, seeing more at Denmark.  It was actually raining but still well worth the visit adding Osprey, Pied Cormorant, Australian Gannet, Eastern Reef Egret, Red-necked Avocet, Banded and Black-winged Stilt, Sanderling, Red-capped Plover, Pacific GP, Fairy, Crested and Bridled Tern, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-Eater, Golden Whistler, Turnstone, Australian Shelduck, Grey Teal, White-breasted Scrubwren, White-fronted Chat, Red-capped Robin, and Nankeen Kestrel.  The resident Quokkas (tiny Wallabies) were seen all over.
 Silver Gull checking out the breakfast menu at Freo harbour
Golden Whistler

 Eastern Reef Egret 

 Crested Tern
Western Corella
On route to Bunbury a Wedge-tailed Eagle circled over the road near Capel (one of about 8 seen), New Holland Honeyeaters became commonplace as did Straw-necked and Australian white Ibis, Western Corellas were numorous around the Dolphin centre whilst Brown Honeyeaters and Silvereyes frequented the mangrove on the road into town.   We continued south to Bussleton and had a walk along the pier.  A couple of 2s Pacific Gulls were a lifer; real brutes of a gull. We stayed in Dunsborough which offered a chance to explore.  A White-faced Heron was on a coastal lagoon with Caspian Tern, Little Pied Cormorant, Greenshank, Sanderling, Lesser Sand Plover, Red-capped Plover whilst Common Bronzewing and flocks of Galahs were in nearby gardens along with a Grey Butcherbird.
Galahs and Bronzewings in a back yard

 Red-capped Plover

 Caspian Tern and Little Pied Cormorant
New Holland Honeyeater
 A walk up to Cape Naturaliste on a windy morning produced few birds in thick scrub but Rock Parrots were seen in flight.  This is a great whale watching headland at the right time of year!   
 Cape Naturaliste lighthouse
A wasp and Huntsman (i think) having a fight and the spider loosing.
The Margaret River wine region and town was our next stop and when in a wine region it feels sampling wine is the best way to pass the day.  I did see some birds though; Red-winged Fairywrens were in an open woodland by the main bridge and a Spotted Pardalote dropped out of the canopy to drink from a stream and White-breasted Robins called from the woodland.  A morning stroll the next day started with a flash of iridescent blue out of the hedge and round the corner. Wow! I’d never seen anything that bright, almost electrical.  It was a Splendid Fairywren and whilst the female sang above my head the male was a few metres away and I didn’t spend long trying with the camera because this really was something else.  Other new birds included Long-billed Black Cockatoo, Western Rosella, Western Thornbill and Black-faced Cuckooshrike.  Cape Leeuwin was a nice spot.  Australian Pipits fed amongst the lighthouse-keepers cottages and a Southern Emu-Wren was in the low heath.  Stopping at a lookout in the Shannon NP a Scarlet Robin and a flock of Purple-crowned Lorikeets were seen before dusk when Walpole was our next stop, a true one-horse-town.  A walk into the forest to see the giant tingle tree was a chance to add Pallid Cuckoo, White-browed Babbler, Red-eared Firetail, Red-capped Parrot and Little Eagle.  
 Splendid Fairywren male above, female below.  

 NH Honeyeater getting bogged down with pollen
Western Rosella eating lavender!

 Galahs and a sub-adult Red-winged Fairywren at Margaret River
 Kookaburra enjoying the sun

 Cape Leeuwin; where two oceans meet 
Scarlet Robin

 Australian Pipit having a stretch
Hmm, I think this is a Little Eagle taken near Walpole

 Straw-necked Ibis 

 Pacific beasts
Albany added Grey Currawong and Swamp harrier before our drive back to Perth and flight to Tasmania via Melbourne.  Flights were with Jetstar and I can only say this was the worst bit of airline service ever and I would highly recommend another company for internal flights.  Keep it to Qantas or Virgin if you can.  Tassie write-up to follow.



  1. Superb Rob! Glad you got some good birds!

  2. Sounds ace rob. Bet the rubbish British weather is taking some getting use to. Looking forward to the Bangir Bird Group talk already :-)

  3. Great stuff Rob. Nice pics and a good read.

  4. Hi Rob, do the Red Tailed Tropicbirds still breed at Cape Naturaliste?

  5. Yeah apparently sugarloaf rock is the only site along that coast. We did call by and I saw a white bird on a nest but it didn't move for an hour! Was hoping for better than that!

  6. Thanks Rob, I had them there back in 2009 but a local birder at the time mentioned that the population was dwindling and as I've not been back (or likely to) I was curious! Adrian