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Across the Nullarbor Plain & SE Coastal WA Birding

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: January 2001

At 7pm we left with Trevor to look for Malleefowel on the Station. The Malleefowel doesn't come out during the heat of the day, but if you wait too late you can't see them either. Malleefowel build huge mounds where they incubate their eggs. They are highly endangered because of the loss of habitat to fires and farming -- foxes take a toll as well.

On the drive out thru the Barley field Trevor scared out a Stubble Quail. Then we spotted three Malleefowel in the field. One got spooked and flew away. The other two let us walk up close to them, and even posed for pictures.

long billed black cockatooWhile we were watching the Malleefowel we heard a loud commotion in the distance. Then we saw big birds fly into the trees 300m away. We got our binoculars on some. They were Cockatoos with white tails. They turned out to be a WA specialty bird -- the Short-billed Black-Cockatoo, or Carnaby's Black Cockatoo. You can't call them a white-tailed Cockatoo because there is another cockatoo out here that also has white in the tail.

Janine had dinner ready when we came back. We had Steak Salad with Smashed Potatoes (cut a boiled potato in half, press it down with a potato mashed, drizzle on some Olive Oil, salt, pepper, and cheese; bake in the oven till the cheese melts). For dessert we had Mango Trifle with Pavlova, custard, Mango Jelly, and Sponge Cake with Cointreau.

fitzgerald river national parkOn March 8 we drove to the nearby Fitzgerald River NP (33.975S 119.177E) for early morning birding at the entry booth for the park where the bird book says you should be able to see a Western Whipbird and other specialty birds. The birds seemed to be sleeping in today (or maybe the recent bush fire chased them away). Anyhow, after an hour of beating the bushes and seeing only a few of the usual suspects, we went back to the B&B.

For Jam Tasting Janine had prepared home made whole grain bread and Strawberry Jam, followed by fresh fruit salad with vanilla yogurt and cereal. Yummy!

purple crowned lorikeetWe left at 10am for another birding foray into Fitzgerald River NP. 26 Km into the park we found the Bird Mother-load. First, we saw a Twany-crowned Honeyeater in a flowering bush. Next there was a Purple-gapped Honeyeater close by. Wattlebirds were whizzing everywhere. Then my wife spotted 4 Purple-crowned Lorikeets -- they are only 6 inches long and blend into the green tree leaves. Even with my wife pointing at them for me, it took a long time to actually find them, even though they were only 15 feet away.

Down the road we found a group of 100 or more of the Little Lorikeets. They were so confident we couldn't see them, they would let me walk around them trying for the best lighting conditions without flying away

It got to 40C (104F) today. We would often see the birds sitting on limbs panting. My wife decided the birds needed some water, so she pored some of our bottled water into a Glad storage container for them to drink out of. The first customer was a Red Wattlebird. He liked the water so much he wouldn't let any other bird have some.

We drove on across the park and finally arrived at Point Ann Beach (34.166S 119.576E) at 2:30pm. This is a Right Whale watching location from July to October -- not many people here today. We spent some time picking up treasures on the beach. We got back to the B&B at 5pm.

For dinner Jennie served grilled lamb-kabobs over rice and onions, with baked potato wedges and sweet potatoes in a mustard cream sauce (sour cream, mayonnaise, and whole grain mustard), and mixed pea pods and green beans. The lamb came from their farm. For dessert we had homemade macadamia nut ice cream with honey (instead of sugar) topped with fresh red raspberries and home made rocky road chocolate squares. Beautiful and delicious!!!!

After dinner my wife commented on their water garden. Trevor said it attracted mice, which brought in snakes. He said the snakes were poisonous, but Australian snakes don't inject the venom thru hollow teeth like ours do -- the venom comes from glands on their gums. If you wear long pants, you might get a bite, but the venom will only get on your clothes (not kill you).

painted appleberry vineAt Dawn on March 9 we went for a small walk-about on the 17,000-acre Station. The highlight was seeing a Painted Appleberry vine climbing up a tree.

For Jam Tasting we had Orange-Lemon Marmalade on Crumpets (a fancy English muffin). After Brekky, Janine showed us the 20-liters of Yabbies Trevor had brought in from 1 of the 70 lakes on the Station. Yabbies are like our crayfish, but bigger.

At 10am we went for a 188 Km circuit drive thru Jerramungup, south to Devils Creek Road (34.212S 119.115E), NW thru Fitzgerald River NP, and back to the B&B. We saw several flocks of Black-cockatoos with white tails. One group flew low over our heads as I was photographing them. We saw Ringneck Parrots (the so called "28 Parrot" because its call sounds like someone saying "28") and Red-capped Parrots feeding in a field.

At a river crossing we saw a few Coots and a Blue-billed Duck. Splendid Fairywrens were running along the banks. It started sprinkling, so we moved on.

yabbiesFor dinner Janine fixed Yabbies in noodles with Mornay sauce (saute lots of garlic in butter, add half a bottle of white wine, reduce, add cream) and avocado salad with honey mustard dressing. For dessert we had Pavlova filled with Passion fruit filling (the Passion fruit come from a friends Station).

E-mail if you would like a file with the specific birds we saw each day.

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