Wednesday, March 17, 2010
SW WA Trip Part 1: Margaret River area
Its long been a dream of mine to bird around the south west corner of Western Australia, ticking off all the endemic species that can be found there. Luckily for me, Mr Stowe scored a gig over there and offered me the opportunity to go. Sweet!
We flew into Perth airport late Saturday morning after a hairy landing in strong easterly winds. After we picked up the hire car we made the decision to trawl the suburban streets on the look out for Laughing Turtle-dove. It took us all of 5min to find a pair sitting on the electricity wires and out we jumped with binos and cameras in hand. First tick for the trip!
We made our way south along what would have to be one of the most boring roads in the world. As we drove we added heaps of WA state ticks like Welcome Swallow, Aust. Magpie and Wood Duck. Black-faced Woodswallow was probably the highlight.
We stopped at an inlet south of Perth (the name escapes me) and what a great spot!! We quickly ticked off Twenty-eight Parrots, Splendid Fairy-wren, Singing Honeyeater and Inland Thornbill in the shrubbery and in the water, Aust. Shelduck, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Caspian Tern and lots of Banded Stilt, a new bird for Dave.
We pushed on further south and eventually made it to the Cape Naturaliste area where Dave had some business to attend too. While waiting, I walked the grounds of the vineyard and glimpsed three Purple-crowned Lorikeets shooting across the sky. The views were lousy and not tickable. However, the views we got of a male Western Rosella were excellent and that was my second tick for the day!
Next stop was Cape Naturaliste lighthouse which is surrounded by heath. To our excitement there were several Carnaby's Black-cockatoo feeding at eye height in a banksia beside the track. We got wonderful photos and this was the highlight of the day for me. Common Bronzewing and Western Rosella were also seen in the heath.
It was getting late in the day so we made tracks to Margaret River where we were staying with Dave's mate Tony. On the way we spotted more Black-cockatoos feeding on the ground. I swung the car around and to our amazement they turned out to be Baudin's!! We got excellent views and photographs of these as well and we finished the day on a high.
The next morning we were up bright and early and heading further south to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. We stopped to snap Twenty-eights and Rosellas along the way. It was blowing a gale on the cape and birding was difficult. After a long wait we eventually located a beautiful Rock Parrot feeding quietly among the rocks. We slowly crepted up on him and he slowly started to walk towards us and in the end we were within 3m of the little fella. Great experience!
I finally managed to tick off a tropical Tern in the form of Bridled, and as we headed back to Margaret River, White-breasted Robin and Red-winged Fairy-wren made appearances. Another 4 tick day.