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SW Western Australia Bird WatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: March 2007
Stay 2 weeks to a month in Albany.
Skip Yallingup -- it is mostly a surfing spot. We could get to this area from Nannup.
Spend some time at Wave Rock (32.445S 118.894E) near Hyden.
Of the 123 bird species we saw in SW WA, 48 were endemic to Australia. Most of the 75 non-Australian Endemic bird species were new for us.
18 bird species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Brush Bronzewing, Rock Parrot, Fain-tailed Pigeon, Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Hooded Robin, Yellow-rumped Pardalote, Little Grassbird, Western Bristlebird, Long-billed Black-cockatoo, Muir's Corella, Muscovie Duck, Western Shrike-tit, Red-winged Fairywren, Western Thornbill, Rock Dove, & Western Yellow Robin.
On March 10 we were off by 8:30am. We took the inland route from Jerramungup to Albany thru the Sterling Range NP (34.346S 118.125E). We didn't know this area had recently been severely burned. We managed to see a Western Spinebill -- it has a gorgeous orange throat patch. We stopped at a picnic grounds and found 20 Long-billed Black-cockatoos eating seeds out of the Eucalyptus trees.
We arrived at the Coraki Cottage (http://www.corakicottages.com.au/) in Albany (pronounced Al-ba-Knee) at 2pm. While we were unpacking, a male Scarlet Robin flew onto the porch. They are so tiny -- and so BEAUTIFUL, we couldn't stop looking at it.
In the late afternoon we went for a walk along Oyster Bay by our cottage. Butterfly plants and Passion Plants were growing along the path. We saw a sign warning about Quicksand -- that will keep you on the paved path!
All afternoon we watched scores of Yellow-rumped Thornbills feed on a concrete pad by our cottage. I can't imagine what they found to eat there. Later we saw 3 Western Rosellas feeding on the grass.
On March 11 we did some casual birding from the porch. The tide was out this morning on Oyster Bay. Yellow-billed Spoonbills were working the mudflats along with Ibises. We walked around the cottage grounds and found our best birds of the day; i.e., a White-breasted Robin and a Western Thornbill.
On March 12 we drove around the low tide mud flats to observe waders such as Whimbrels, Spoonbills and Ibis. Later we drove out to Two People's Bay Nature Reserve (34.973S 118.194E). This area was once scheduled to become a housing area until a Gilbert's Potoroo was fortuitously discovered here in 1994. The Potoroo was thought to be extinct, so finding one was a big deal. Upon closer study, several other rare marsupials and birds were discovered -- some very rare like the Southern Brown Bandicoot and Quokka, and Noisy Scrub-bird, Southern Emu-wren, Western Bristlebird, Rufous Fieldwren, and Western Whipbird
It turns out we are here at the wrong time of year to have a good chance of see the Noisy-scrubbird. They call during mating season - May thru Sept. The rest of the year they hide in the bush and are practically invisible -- unless you come too close and flush one out. However, someone saw one at a nearby park recently, so we'll go there.
We went to Little Beach to look for the Bristlebird. We met some French birders there, but hadn't seen any birds. It started raining, so we headed home.
Back at the cottages we had the Scarlet Robin on our patio again, until the White-breasted Robin came along and chased it off. Later, we saw the Blue-breasted Fairywren.
On March 13 we were off before dawn for Two People's Bay NR. We drove slowly to avoid the stealthy Kangaroos that sit along side the road. We got to Little Beach at Dawn, but the Bristlebirds didn't come out to play this morning -- nor did anything else.
We spent the late morning watching Splendid Fairywrens around the cottage. After lunch we drove to Lake Seppings (35.011S 117.917E). We saw several water birds here including the Musk and Blue-bill Ducks. I got a great picture of a Red-eared Firetail. We also saw a Red-winged Fairywren.
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