Across the Nullarbor Plain & SE Coastal WA BirdingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: January 2001
If we were planning the trip again, I would:
Consider staying at the Madura Roadhouse (www.nullarbornet.com.au/towns/madura.html 31.900S 127.020E) 110 km west of the Mundrabilla Motor Hotel. No Internet reservations, but they have a phone.
Stay 3 nights in Esperance.
Not being able to go to the Eyre Bird Observatory (32.246S 126.302E) because of the bad road.
Of the 91 bird species we saw in SE Coastal WA, 47 were endemic to Australia. Most of the 44 non-Australian Endemic bird species were new for us -- only the Laughing Gull was not. 9 bird species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Cape Barren Goose, Scarlet Robin, Jacky-winter, Slender-billed Thornbill, Laughing Gull, Stubble Quail, Malleefowl, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, & Purple-gaped Honeyeater.
On March 2 we got to the WA border at 5:30pm. Just across the border we came upon a "Crow" in the road. We assumed it would move, but it didn't, so my wife ran over it. Turns out we ran over our new bird of the day, a Brown Currawong. We saw more later.
When we stopped for gas, we learned this part of WA has their own time zone; i.e., they are 45 minutes ahead of Perth and 45 minutes behind Adelaide
We go to the hotel about 5:45pm. After a little rest we had lunch at the Roadhouse. I got Chicken Parmigiana with chips and salad. My wife got a T-Bone Steak. The chicken was great.
On March 3 we were off pre Dawn for the push West. Early on there were swarms of Ravens and Crows chowing down on the overnight road kill (Kangaroos), but the showstopper was the Wedge-tailed Eagles. We saw 27 Eagles today, on the road, soaring, flying in front of the car and sitting in trees.
Gas was $4.61 US per gallon. We were glad to get some Maxibond ice cream bars (which were at the regular price).
About 9:30am it started misting, followed by Grasshopper rain. It was cloudy all day, which kept it cooler. It can get to 113F out here (133F in the sun).
On the side-road to the Eyre Bird Observatory (32.246S 126.302E) we saw a Red Kangaroo and Joey. The road was so rough we only went 5 of the 33 Km.
At Noon we got to the Western time zone, where we set our clocks back another 45 minutes. The road out here is a series of very long straight stretches. In the afternoon we drove a 90-mile straight stretch -- the longest in Australia, before a slight course correction.
We got to the Fraser Sheep Station at 4pm. We spent time talking to the managers -- a couple from Queensland that will work here from March till Christmas. The station is closed January and February because it's too hot. They have to generate their own electricity ($190 per day) and can't afford air conditioning.
My wife told the managers about having her honey confiscated Friday at the WA border. Later, they brought us some honey produced on the station.
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