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Tasmania Bird Watching

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

We retreated down the hill looking for birds. We mostly saw Black Currawongs, lots of them - they have a white arch on their tail feathers. We only saw 8 bird species today, but 7 were endemic (the exception was a house sparrow).

On Feb 8 we caught the 7:45am ferry to Bruny Island (43.291S 147.330E). Our first stop was Barnes Bay. In the trees outside the small town we found 5 Tasmanian specialty birds: the Black-headed Honeyeater, Green Rosella, Tasmanian Native-hen, Yellow Wattlebird, and Yellow-throated Honeyeater.

We headed south along the coast on a gravel road. The tide was out, which left a vast mud bar by the coast. We stopped once and found a flock of Wilson's Storm-petrels hiding amongst the Pied Oystercatchers and Gulls.

We stopped at the end of North Bruny Island at the game reserve. Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters nest here. We could see the Shearwater burrows in the gigantic sand dune, but no birds (only a dead chick). They say 17 million Short-tailed Shearwaters (a.k.a. Mutton Birds) come to Tasmania each year from the Bering Sea.

We drove across the neck of land connecting the N & S Islands, and on to the South Bruny Island Lighthouse. This is as far south as you can get in Australia. We tried to find a restaurant for lunch, but they were all closed today. We caught the 2:15pm ferry back to Hobart.

For dinner we went to the Waxed Restaurant near our apartment. We started with Pumpkin soup, Greek Salad (without lettuce), and Foccocia bread. For the Main course we had a small pizza with chicken and veggies. The tomato sauce was made from fresh mashed tomatoes. Beautiful!!!

On Feb 9 we left at 7am for the 50-mile drive to the Tasman Peninsula. At 9:45am we boarded ((43.034S 147.947E) the Sealife Encounter for an Eco tour to Tasman Island at the south tip of the peninsula.

The coastline is dominated by weathering Siltstone cliffs and towering Dolomite intrusions. The Siltstone, being very soft, has been eroded by the sea into numerous blowholes, sea caves, sea arches, box canyons, pinnacles, and islands.

The Encounter is a 750-horse power aluminum hull boat capable of going 40 knots. Its shallow draft allowed us to enter many of the sea caves and drive thru a few.

Fur seals inhabit these waters and rocks. We came on a group of seals that were feeding on a school of fish with the help of Crested Terns and Shy Albatrosses. These were the first Albatrosses we had ever seen.

For lunch on the boat we had smoked octopus and smoked tuna by Herman the German, along with Farmers-cheese, olives and crackers. The octopus was right (really good). Beautiful!!!

We had 6-foot waves on the return trip. The boat powered thru the waves with flying surf and powerful booms when we bottomed-out.

About 8am on Feb 10 we walked down to the weekly Salamanca Market on the Hobart waterfront. There were a couple hundred vendors mostly selling stuff we didn't need or didn't want to pay to ship back to Melbourne. We did get some huge meaty cherries, and a Tasmanian hat for me. Next we walked over to see part of the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival at the Wharf. Hundreds of wooden sailing and powerboats had come from all over Australia, including the oldest yacht in Australia dating from 1873.

Late morning Feb 11 we walked down to the Hobart Casino. Their buffet lunch was sold-out. All wasn't lost -- there were beautiful flowers coming and going.

The yards here tend to be small. Many people have opted for flowers instead of grass in their front garden. The Roses are crackers! The Fuchias are rippers and turn into bushes.

On Feb 12 we walked downtown to find Mures Seafood Restaurant for Lu. The Information Center said it was in the middle of the Wooden Boat Show area, but we could get in free if we told them we were only going to the restaurant.

We both ordered half a Green Crayfish with Rosemary, Chili breadcrumbs and pesto flavored goat cheese served on angle hair pasta tossed in Basil butter with spinach and Cherrie tomatoes. Extravagantly Beautiful!!!!

My wife had Ashbolt - the drink of the Angles; a drink brewed from elderberry flowers with a crisp and lively flavor. I had Limon, Lime and Bitters.

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