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Tasmania Bird Watching

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: February 2007

In 2006 and 2007 we spent 255 Days driving around Australia. We started in Darwin, drove south to Alice Springs, backtracked to Cairns, went down the East Coast to Rockhampton, cut over to Melbourne, went across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth, drove up the West Coast to Broome, and finished by crossing the Kimberely Region on our way back to Darwin -- 24,000 miles & 6 rental cars. Along the way we stayed in 56 cities and saw 693 bird species/subspecies.
This Trip Report covers the 14-days we spent bird watching in Tasmania in February 2007.

We saw 86 bird species at 11 parks. The cities where we saw the most birds were: Bicheno = 74, Hobart = 52.

The parks where we saw the most bird species were: Bicheno Hideaway = 38, Tasman NP = 37, Bruny Islands = 31, Marie Island NP = 29, Governor Island Marine Reserve = 27, Denison Conservation Area = 22, Douglas-Apsley NP = 16, Freycinet NP = 15, Moulting Lagoon =12, Scamander Lagoon = 11, & Mt Wellington Park = 8.


Bicheno - Bicheno Hideaway (http://www.bichenohideaway.com/ 41.899S 148.308E). The chalets look like they are made from two Quonset Huts joined together. Our chalet was about 200 feet from the ocean with a great view of the sunrise.

If you put these coordinates into Google Earth, you can see the locations I am discussing. Typically, there will be lots of pictures as well.

Hobart - Grosvenor Court Apartments (http://www.grosvenorcourt.com.au/ 42.897S 147.325E). The apartments are located within easy walking distance to the Salamanca Market, Battery Point, Wrest Point Casino, and Harbor. We would have rather stayed out of town -- possibly Bruny Island, but we couldn't find a place at a reasonable cost (we were there during the Hobart Cup Horse Race and the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival).

Highlights of the Region:

Eating fresh Tasmanian Rock Lobster, a.k.a. Crayfish, at the Sea Life Center in Bicheno.

Seeing mobs of ocean birds like Buller's Albatross, Shy Albatross, Short-tailed Shearwaters, and Australian Gannets on the Sealife Encounter Eco tour to Tasman Island. The ocean arches and pinnacles were nice too.

If we were planning the trip again, I would:

Stay 4 nights in Hobart, not 7.

Stay several nights in the mountains SW of Hobart.

Birding Summary

Of the 86 bird species we saw in Tasmania, 36 were endemic to Australia. Most of the 50 non-Australian Endemic bird species we saw were new for us.

43 of the species we saw in Tasmania were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Tassie Magpie, Domestic Geese, Little Penguin, Tassie Spotted Pardalote, Tassie Australasian Magpie, Tassie Eastern Rosella, Little Wattlebird Tassie, Striated Pardalote, Tassie Richard's Pipit, Tassie Eastern Spinebill, Spur-winged Plover, Tassie Superb Fairywren, Australian Gannet, Tassie Forest Raven, Tassie New Holland Honeyeater, Tasmanian Native-hen, Black Currawong, Forty Spotted Pardalote, Tassie Noisy Miner, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Black-faced Cormorant, Tassie Golden Whistler, Olive Whistler, Tasmanian Thornbill, Tassie Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Tassie Gray Fantail, Peacock, Tassie Wedge-tailed Eagle, Black-headed Honeyeater, Tassie Gray Shrike-Thrush, Tassie Scarlet Robin, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Blue-winged Parrot, Green Rosella, Scrubtit, Yellow Wattlebird, Tassie Brown Thornbill, Homing Piegon, Shy Albatross, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Buller's Albatross, Tassie Little Grassbird, & Silver-eye Tassie.

Special Comments:

On Jan 30 it took 2 hours to drive the 158Km from the Hobart Airport to Bicheno (pronounced Bish-en-O). My wife tells me it was a very scenic drive, but I didn't see much because I was concentrating on the narrow road and trying to drive fast so we would get to Bicheno before dark.

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