SW Western Australia Bird WatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: March 2007
On March 22 we were off to the St John Brook Conservation Area (33.945S 115.691E early. When we came into the park we spotted a pair of Common Bronzewing, then another pair, then more. When they started flying off there must have been two dozen. One stayed in front of the car for a long time as we drove thru the park.
We headed off north on the Old Timberline RR Trail. We walked north for 2 hours. The woods were very tranquil. We didn't see anyone all day. We saw some beautiful birds including the Western Yellow Robin. We also saw the Crested Bellbird, Golden Whistler male, and Black-capped Sittella -- all very striking.
About 10:30am it looked like a storm was brewing so we headed back. The return walk only took 40 minutes.
Back at the cottage the Red Wattlebird still hadn't learned to share with the other birds -- so we continued to show him who was The Boss. The small Honeyeaters and Ringneck Parrots flocked in for a feed.
On March 23 we left for the Kerri Forest near Manjimup early (I was told that if a word ends in "up", it means "near water"). Kerri trees are the tallest of the 500 Eucalyptus tree species in Australia. A mature tree can grow to 285 feet and produce 200 tons of lumber. This is highly valued for construction, which resulted in most of the Kerri trees being cut down years ago. What is left is protected in parks. Harvesting Kerri Trees on private land is highly regulated.
We first stopped at the Four Aces (34.212S 115.931E) -- 4 Kerri Trees about the same size naturally lined up in a row. We walked down to "One Tree Bridge" -- a wooden bridge originally built out of one tree. The original bridge used the tree trunk as the beam to span the narrow river with a small superstructure bolted on top. The bridge was replaced in the 1960's. The new bridge has wooden columns and massive beams, but the superstructure is concrete and iron.
We could hear a lot of birds, but they mostly hid in the tops of the trees. Our best sightings were of a pair of Western Shrike-tits, a pair of White-browed Babblers, and a Rufous Treecreeper. Our best plant was several Rose-hip bushes.
We had dinner with Ian, Bonnie, and Dorothy (Bonnie's 91 year old Mum). Bertie the Corella flew in from time to time for a snack. We had grilled Lamb and gravy with mint jelly, served with potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, onions, peas, and Garlic Bread. For dessert we had Trifle (fresh whipped cream, gelatin fruit, Carmel ice cream, Pavlova chips). Beautiful!!!
We sat on the porch and talked after dinner. Ian said they have big problem during mushroom season with people coming in to get Magic Mushrooms. The problem is they look like some of the local poison mushrooms.
Ian also told us that Herbert Hoover was Manager of a Gold Mine in Kalgoulia in the 1870's. Hoover was involved in rescuing a miner that was trapped underground for 9 days. How do you get from WA to the White House??
Ian said they ship sheep and cows to Arabia by Cattle Cruise Ship -- some with 25 decks (with pins instead of cabins). It is controversial, so they do it mostly under the cover of darkness. The animals go thru a religious process on arrival before being slaughtered.
On March 24 we headed North to the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetland (33.622S 115.426E) near Busselton. The wetlands were mostly dry since we are pretty far removed from the May-Jy Wet season. It doesn't help that they are draining the wetland and building houses as fast as possible.
We went for a walk in the Taurt Forest NP (33.527S 115.525E) and later on the Busselton Beach. We ended up seeing 45 bird species, mostly water and shore birds.
We drove into town and stopped at a small cafe for lunch. My wife got a ham, cheese, and pineapple sandwich with fresh iced coffee. I got a steak sandwich with chips and beetroot, and a very thick chocolate shake.
We loaded up with tucker for a few days and headed off to the Wyadup Brook Cottages in Yallingup(pronounced Yal-Lyn-Gup).
On March 25 we had our usual Br -- Toast with honey and peanut butter, and a Cuppa. The Jarrah Honey is like eating candy. The jar says it comes from wild beehives.
We went for a walk around the 250-acre cattle farm. There were 14 new calves in the field. A small spring fed creek runs the farm, which insures a strip of green.
At one stage we heard a dog barking, then we realized it was a Barking Owl. We saw dozens of Ringnecks and Rosellas, Thornbills and Silvereyes, and White-breast and Scarlet Robins.
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