It was brought to my attention that I tend to go birdwatching alot. So here is my attempt to document my outings and sightings. I also hope to show photos of as many of my ticks as possible.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Regent Honeyeater Survey, 16th May

Lucky and I headed out west to the Bulga/Jerrys Plains area to search for Regents and Swift Parrot last Sunday. We started birding along Wambo Rd where we witnessed 6 Striated Pardalotes displaying on the telegraph wires. Peaceful Doves and Double-bars flittered across the road and a Pipit was on the fence post.Along the Putty Road heading north we stumbled upon a great mixed flock of birds feeding beside the road. We recorded 30 species in 30 minutes with the highlights being Speckled Warbler, Scarlet Robin, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Varied Sittella, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler and Striped Honeyeater. Several Tassie race Silvereyes were also in the flock.We then turned onto Wallaby Scrub road and made a stop about half way along. Lucky was very pleased to find a male Red-capped Robin. Western Gerygone was heard nearby and more Warblers and Buff-rumps were recorded. A Litte Eagle soared over head.Pine Grove Rd was our next stop and we spent lots of time here snapping away at Striated Pardalotes and Red-capped Robin. Speckled Warblers were once again very common.After lunch at the Jerry's Plains pub we headed further west along Jones Reserve Road seeing more of the same birds. A big flock of Double-bars (50-70) were seen near the horse stud as were 2 Jacky Winter, 1 Red-capped Robin and a Western Gerygone.
On the corner of Doyle's Creek Rd we photographed Weebills and a bit further down we had Diamond Firetails and Restless Flycatcher.Over all we had a very enjoyable day even though we dipped on the targets.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chasing Hunter Ticks: Western Hunter

Yesterday Nick and I headed to the far reaches of the Hunter Valley chasing the Singing Honeyeaters that have be recently discovered breeding out there. We managed to arrive at Durridgere before the cool change roared through and in that hour we scored 3 Singing Honeyeaters, 2 Hooded Robins, 4 Red-capped Robins, many Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebill, White-browed Babbler, Double-barred Finch and Rufous Whistler.We continued along the road but the wind was now howling and the temperature had dropped considerably so birds were hard to come by. A small mixed flock was seen crossing the road so we stopped and added Jacky Winter, Speckled Warbler, Striated Pardalote, White-eared Honeyeater and Buff-rumped Thornbill to the day list.Next birding was at the Cassilis Rest Stop where we hoped to see Red-winged Parrots but we instead scored two Cockatiels!!! Another Hunter tick for both of us.
We then made our way east to Ringwood Rd seeing a Black Falcon along the way. This road has quickly turned into my favourite woodland sight in the valley (shame its over 2hrs from home). At our first stop we had Jacky, Hooded Robin, Diamond Firetail, Turquoise Parrot, Restless Flycatcher, Peaceful Dove, Brown Treecreeper, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater and a Black-chinned Honeyeater.Further along at another stop we had Sittella, Speckled Warbler, Weebill and a Golden Whistler.
Our time out west had run out so we departed for home after a very successful days birding.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tassie Trip

I was informed at work on the 16th that due to working to many contracted hours during the month (yeah I know hard to believe hey) I was to be sent on annual leave for a few days. I happily accepted the deal but then started to panic as I had to organise a birding trip in a very short space of time. Cairns and Lord Howe Island were ruled out pretty quickly so I had to decide between Victoria and Tasmania. A quick message to my brother Chris and before I knew it he had organised leave for himself and pointing me across Bass Strait to the Apple Isle.In one night Chris and I had booked our flights, hire car and accommodation for a 5 night stay, pretty good effort I thought. Funnily enough I never studied or 'crammed' at school but I certainly stayed up late the night before our flight studying the 'Where to find" books and old birding_aus threads, ah priorities.So after three days we were flying into Hobart airport, ticking Tassie Native-hen before the wheels had touched the runway. :D
Itinerary: 2 nights in Hobart, 1 night in Triabunna, 1 night in Launceston and 1 night in Queenstown. We really enjoyed Hobart and Triabunna (fantastic porterhouse with mushroom sauce), and our accommodation at Queenstown was good, as was the pizza! Launceston is certainly the arse end of Tassie and all inbred jokes have certainly come about after visiting this hole.
We hired a Hyundai i30 which was adequate for our needs although I don't think she appreciated my rally driving (kept forgetting she wasn't my Subaru) and she was completely gutless on the hills....and Tassie has ALOT of hills.
Anyways I'll shut up about the boring stuff and move onto the birds. We saw 83 species during our stay of which 13 were ticks. I managed to find 11/12 endemics within 5hrs which I was pretty chuffed about. Below are my ticks in order of appearance.

Tasmanian Native-hen 20-30 ticked on the airport runway. Very common and seen in most locations around the south-east.
Yellow Wattlebird First seen in the motel carpark in North Hobart. Fairly common around the south east corner especially in suburban Hobart and coastal areas. Resembles Koel in flight.
Yellow-throated Honeyeater First seen at Peter Murrell Reserve. Common through all bushy habitats.
Green Rosella Peter Murrell Reserve. Very common species found in all habitats from Cradle Mountain to the coast, farmland to rainforest.Forty-spotted Pardalote Only 3 birds seen at Peter Murrell Reserve.
Black-headed Honeyeater Peter Murrell Reserve. Another very common species found in various habitats. Listen out for White-naped like calls and behaviour.
Black Currawong First seen south-west of Fern Tree. Not as common as I'd thought. Seen in higher altitudes. Very distinct call.
Strong-billed Honeyeater Only seen at Longley. Looks like Black-chinned, acts like Shrike-tit. My 550th species.Dusky Robin Only saw one bird during the entire trip at Longley, under the Strong-bill tree.
Tasmanian Scrubwren Fern Tree. Very common species found in thicker vegetation. I noticed a fair amount of variation in the plumage which was interesting.
Tasmanian Thornbill Fern Tree. Tassie is full of Brown Thornbills and it took some time before I was confident enough to tick this species.Pink Robin Wielangta State Forest. For me this bird will always be known as the Norma Zeta Robin. The night before my Nan had passed away suddenly which was a huge shock to my brother and I, so when I saw this species and its immense beauty and bright pink outfit (my Nan always wore a pink dressing gown) I knew my 554th species was hers and mine to share. Nan, thank you so much for always encouraging my love of birds.Scrubtit Wielangta State Forest. This was the hardest endemic to find and it was a huge relief to finally see them in the dark gloom of the rainforest. Also seen on the Franklin River walk.

Other sightings:
-Only 3 species of raptor: Brown Falcon, White-bellied Sea-eagle and the endangered Tassie Wedge-tailed Eagle.
-Masked Lapwing are extremely common if not abundant. Banded Lapwing seen once near Copping.
-Kelp Gull were seen flying high over Hobart and the surrounding hills. Also seen gathering in ploughed paddocks. Their presents reminded me of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'.
-Scarlet Robin, Forest Raven, Starling and Blackbird were everywhere!
-Cape Barren Geese seen near Port Arthur and Triabunna.
-10+ Hooded Plovers seen at Orford.
-Brush Bronzewing and Grey Currawong at Coles Bay.
-10 Olive Whistlers on the Dove Lake walk at Cradle Mountain.

Tassie is an incredibly beautiful place and our 5 night stay was way to short to take in everything. I can strongly recommend the south-east and the Cradle Mountain/Franklin River areas to any birder wishing for a more leisurely birding trip.