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Across the Nullarbor Plain & SE Coastal WA BirdingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: January 2001
We went for a late afternoon walk about the property. My wife spotted a pair of Rufous Treecreepers nesting. They are a beautiful reddish-brown, with a striped pattern on their wings when they fly.
For dinner the owners had prepared Corn Beef with cream gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cooked cabbage. For dessert we had chocolate cake with chocolate pudding and whipped cream. Beautiful!!!
Water is at a premium out here. To encourage conservation, they charge $1 for a 5-minute shower. After showering, we crashed!
On March 4 we saw it getting light about 4:30am thru our one and only window. We got dressed for birding and went out. Then we discovered the light was coming from the almost full Moon shinning in our window.
We left at 9am heading west to Norseman, then south to Esperance. The Yellow Gazanias along the road looked like Dandelions. We stopped at pull-offs along the route. We were rewarded with a Slender-billed Thornbill, a Regent Parrot, ten Purple-crowned Lorikeets, and a flock of Black-capped Sittellas.
We got to Esperance at 2:15pm. We didn't have a hotel reservation till March 6. It turned out this was a long weekend, and all the hotels were full. After exhausting our rooming options, we drove 2-hours back to Norseman to find a place to stay for Sunday and Monday nights. We got an Executive Room at the BP in town (AAA 3 Star) -- I feel sorry for the people who got the standard or budget rooms!
We ate dinner at our hotel. On Sunday night they only have one meal to choose from. We got veggie beef soup, followed by lamb roast and gravy, potatoes, Japanese Squash, cooked Cabbage, green beans, and pea pods. For dessert we had chocolate cake, pudding, and ice cream. Very Good.
On March 5 we drove out to Dundas Rocks (32.468S 121.784E) in the early morning. We parked on the narrow road several times to look for rocks and minerals. Flocks of small birds were working the Mallee trees for bugs. Our best sighting was a Lesser Wanderer Butterfly.
Water out here is more valuable than Gold. We examined a water catchment system built on the side of a granite hillside over 100 years ago to catch rainwater during the past gold rush. For lunch we had Snapper and chips at the BP Restaurant.
On March 6 we left at 6am in the pre-dawn darkness. We had to carefully watch for errant Kangaroos. All we saw was a pregnant Brumbe and three Red Fox pups.
Our first stop in Esperance was the VC where we got a Concessionars (retired person) national park pass. We spotted a Western Wattlebird in the trees at the VC.
We stopped outside Esperance at the Lake Warden Wetland System (Kepwari Trail 33.803S 121.891E). We went on a track around Wood Lake and saw a Western Shrike-thrush and pair of Red-eared Firetails amongst the Bottlebrush Trees and Wild Geraniums.
We drove 60 Km east to the Cape Le Grand NP (33.990S 122.219E). As we got to the park we saw a mob of Emus -- there were dozens of them. The beaches here were spectacular -- brilliant white sugar sand, light blue water, surrounded by Mulga greens. We went to the bird sanctuary where we saw hundreds of Western New Holland Honeyeaters and a White-cheeked Honeyeater.
We had tea (Dn) at the Loose Goose. We started with Herb Bread and Garlic Bread, and Creamy Garlic Prawns with rice (our second choice was Avocado and Strawberry Salad with Mango dressing). For the Main, my wife had Crayfish. I had a Veal Steak encrusted with peppercorns over home made noodles mixed with fresh spinach and Esperance olive oil with pureed Pumpkin & Coconut dipping sauce. We also got a side order of baked Pumpkin, and Cauliflower in a thick cream sauce. Beautiful -- especially the Veal.
On March 7 we stopped at Monjingup Lake, 10 Km west of Esperance (33.821S 121.834E), early in the morning. This is an extremely bird rich environment -- probably the most movement and singing we have ever heard. Right off we saw several Red-capped Parrots. Other best birds were the Western Magpie, White-tailed Fantail, Scarlet Robin, and Western Spinebill. We also saw a dozen Elegant Parrots feeding off the Showy Banksia plants (Bottle Brush to us). We found a Musk Duck in the lake. Quite a morning!
As we were getting ready to leave a man walked into the park. It turned out he was the manager/caretaker of Monjingup Lake. He got to be the retired "manager" since he talked the Council (similar to our county government) into designating the area as a park. Ten years ago it was a motorcycle camping area.
We continued driving west till we saw a turnoff for Oldfield Estuary and Munglinup Beach. We drove the 26 Km to Oldfield Estuary. We would have to walk 3 more Km in blazing sun to get from the road to the estuary, so we just drove on down the dirt road to Munglinup Beach. We spent an hour at the beach picking-up treasures (quartz and shells).
We arrived at the Fitzgerald River B&B near Jerramungup at 4pm. Our hosts were Janine and Trevor Barrett. They live on an active station with 7000 sheep and 7000 acres of wheat, barley and canola.
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