SW Western Australia Bird WatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: March 2007
We talked to some city employees who were at the lake to spray Pompous Grass. They said it gets out of control here and takes over. We have a difficult time keeping it alive in Ohio.
On March 14 we stopped by the mud flats near our cottage at low tide. There were several Whimbrels and Sandpipers.
We drove out to the Kalgan River (34.922S 117.980E) for the nature walk. We encountered several flocks of Red-winged Fairywrens, and a mob of White-tailed Black-cockatoos eating seeds in the trees.
About 6pm we returned to Two People's Bay. We saw White-browed Scrubwrens and Welcome Swallows, but no Bristlebird.
On March 15 we were off early to Waychinicup NP (pronounced Y-chin-I-Cup 34.885S 118.408E), 30 miles east of the cottage. It looked stormy in the dawn light as we started walking down the sand track. Right off we saw two quails 150-feet down the trail. As they moved closer to us, their numbers increased to five. They did their best to get in a line as I photographed them. When they were only 30-feet away, they noticed us and vanished into the Mellee.
One hundred meters down the trail my wife heard a promising bird call. While I was looking in the bird book, my wife saw a Western Bristlebird land close by her. Soon there was a drenching mist, so we headed back to the car.
In an hour there was a double rainbow and the sun was out. The Rangers had told us that the Noisy Scrubbird had been seen here recently near the beach. There was no map, so we headed off down the 4WD sand road looking for the beach and bird. We found heaps of Banksia bushes in full bloom with stacks and mobs of New Holland Honeyeaters, Western Spinebills, and Wattlebirds -- with the odd White-cheeked Honeyeater. After walking for an hour with no end in sight, we decided to turn back. Back at the car, we tried another sand track. Soon we saw a Western Bristlebird run across the track in front of us. We followed this track to an overlook of the beach. It was getting hot and late, so we skipped walking down to the beach.
On March 16 the Laughing Kookaburras were howling like monkeys outside our window at sun-up. Some days you go birdwatching -- sometimes the birds come to you. This afternoon as we were having tea on the patio when a Western Red-Tailed Black-cockatoo flew over the cottage. They are only found in this region of WA. We took that as a sign to go for a look-about.
First we went to Middleton Beach (35.026S 117.919E). The area was scenic, but there didn't seem to be any life in the area.
On the way home, we saw a Rail on the side of the road at Lake Seppings. We turned-around. Even though heaps of cars were flying down the road, the Buff-banded Rail was still there going about its business.
We decided to stop at the Lake Seppings Nature Trail to see if more Rails were about. We found Nasturtiums and Sweet Peas growing along the path -- with Purple Morning glories for good measure. The Red and Yellow Nasturtiums had mixed in a profusion of colors. There were heaps of Butterflies including the small Blotched Dusky-blue. At the bird hide we found a Spotless Crake and a Little Grassbird. There were 25 Black-fronted Dotterels on the mud flat 40 feet from us that were almost invisible in their breeding colors. As we were walking out we spotted a form of the Western Yellow Robin that is only found in the Albany area.
On March 17 we were off at 7am heading west toward Denmark. There are so many National Parks in Australia that not all of them are shown on the maps. William Bay NP (35.025S 117.236E) between Albany and Denmark, was an unexpected good find today. It had scenery, paved roads, beach, swimming areas, birds, and a trail -- everything except a bathroom.
We stopped along the road to watch and photograph a Wedge-tailed Eagle eating a Kangaroo that was lying in the eastbound lane. A car came along and the Eagle tried to carry the Kangaroo off with one foot. He dropped the Kangaroo, but landed on a fence post to guard it till the coast was clear.
We arrived at the Fern Gulley Cottages outside Nannup at 4pm. We met out hosts Ian and Bonnie. Right off we had mobs of White-naped Honeyeaters and Red Wattlebirds on the back porch. Later Ringnecked Parrots dropped in as well.
About 6:30pm we went for a wander around the grounds. My wife spotted a Western Shrike-tit high in a tree. It was really flashy. On March 18 we went for an early 2-hour walk along the Blackwood River. The Red Wattlebirds were bathing in the stranded pools. Waves of Parrots were moving thru the tall trees along the banks.
My wife found a Yellow-rumped Pardalote in the bushes. It has a yellow belly when it is perched, and covered in black spots.
The river is reduced to standing pools since it hasn't rained in months.
When the Wattlebirds are away the Honeyeaters will feed from the honey-water on the porch. The Wattlebirds are afraid of us, but chase the other birds away from the feeders on the porch. We decided to sit on the porch so the little birds could eat.
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