SW Western Australia Bird WatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: March 2007
Pretty soon Magpies showed up at the porch. We threw rocks at them to chase them away from the feeders. They thought we were feeding them. One Magpie was so stupid it flew down to the ground and found our rocks and ate them.
For Lunch we went to the Tathra Winery & Restaurant near our cottage. We started with baked Pumpkin Soup with swirled cream & Herbs, and a pinwheel roll. For the main course, my wife had baked Ricotta Cheese with veggie & fruit salad and chutney. I had Marron (freshwater Lobster) with veggie & fruit salad. The salad dressing was homemade-spiced Balsamic Vinegar. Deliciously Beautiful!!!
After lunch we took a power nap. When we woke-up, I noticed a Corella sitting in the tree by our porch. This turned out to be the rare SW Western Corella -- I got one picture that showed the faint red spot on the chest. The Corella seemed to be traveling with an Australian Magpie (this was strange since Corellas usually travel in flocks of thousands). They sat together for a long time on a limb and flew off together.
It turns out from talking to Ian that the Corella has been here since they bought the resort property in 1995. His name is Bertie. He has a one-eyed Magpie girlfriend that is always by his side -- even though he regularly snaps at her (like every 30 seconds, as if by clock-work). When Ian and Bonnie first came to the property, Bertie flew down and landed on Ian's shoulder.
On March 19 we had some hydrotherapy this morning in our hot tub on the patio. We saw several beautiful birds including the Yellow-rumped Pardalote. The Red Wattlebird drew my wife's ire by trying to guard the honey-water feeders and chase off the other Honeyeaters. He'll probably have a stress-anxiety attack soon and have to see a Shrink.
It's amazing how fast the birds can sense a change in the balance of power. As soon as my wife started harassing the Red Wattlebird and chasing it off, the little Honeyeaters came in droves to the feeders. The Twenty-Eight Parrots also came in for the seeds we put out.
We have heard the Twenty-Eight Parrots a lot, and they never make a sound like "Twenty-Eight" -- more like a car alarm going off
About 10am we went for a drive east on the Blackwood River Valley. We stopped briefly at the Golden Valley Tree Farm. On the short walk my wife got ants in her birding pants. She did a great impersonation of Cedric trying to get rid of them!
About 2:30pm there was a mighty disturbance in the natural balance of quietness as a thousand Short-billed Black-cockatoos flew by the resort in swalking waves. The first batch flew down the river in view of our patio. Pretty soon every tall tree was sitting full of them. They are nomadic and moved on down the river after a brief rest.
On March 20 we were off to the SW tip of Australia. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near Augusta is as far SW as you can go in Australia (34.368S 115.135E). The lighthouse forms the dividing line between the cold South Ocean and the warm Indian Ocean.
On the drive over we made a U-turn to go back and see three Red-tailed Black-cockatoos in a tree. As we were driving into Augusta we saw a field of Pink Naked Ladies. We went for several beach walks looking for Rock Parrots. The best time to see them is Jy thru early Spring. We managed to see a flock flying off.
On the beach we saw a spectacular Sooty Oystercatcher. The SW species is bigger, with bolder orange colors, than we have seen before.
You have to pay $8US to get into the lighthouse, so we just took a photo and left. Most of the lighthouses have an admission fee.
We stopped for lunch at the Colourpatch Fish and Chips: "Last Eating House Before the Antarctic (5439Km). We got the fish and chips, which was actually a seafood basket. In two words, the food was Not Beautiful! It didn't taste so bad, but it was greasy. The greasy taste lingered even after we ate a Mound bar. The only good thing about the restaurant was that we could watch Dolphins swim in the bay from our table.
On March 21 we lit the gas fireplace and lounged around the spa and cottage till 9am orchestrating the cacophony of birds trying to feed on the porch -- including seven "28 Parrots"
It had warmed up to 56F at 9:20am when we left the cottage to go birding. We drove into town and took the dirt road to St John Broom Conservation Area. Right off we saw a couple dozen Western Rosellas.
We stopped at Workers Pool and took the forest trail down to Barrabup Pool along the St John Brook. We came on a SW Brush Bronzewing that let us follow him down the trail till we were only 10 feet away. Back at our car we saw a flaming Scarlet Robin -- Beautiful!!!!! On the way out of the park we saw our best bird of the day -- a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo.
Back at the cottage we continued to harass the Red Wattlebird -- he'll have a lot of gray feathers when we leave.
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