Nick Livanos and I have just returned from a 2 week tickathon in south-west Western Australia. My main objective was to clean up on the sw endemics I missed earlier in the year while birding with Stowie. It was Nick's first time in the west and his life list jumped by 30 odd species! Brief summary of each day below.
Flew into Perth and headed straight down to Erskine near Mandurah looking for the Pintail recently sighted there. Dipped badly but did see a flock of REGENT PARROTS flying over...tick 1.
We then headed east towards Dryandra seeing Red-capped and Elegant Parrots and Western Rosella. As we unpacked the car in the dark we could hear Bush Stone-curlew and Boobook.
FREEZING!!! Frost covered the ground and a thick fog hung low. Rufous Treecreepers were everywhere and we quickly found our other targets, Blue-breasted Fairy-wren and Western Thornbill. White-browed Babblers foraged on the ground and Purple-crowned Lorikeets were high in the canopy. Westermn Spinebills brightened up the morning with their stunning markings.
More Regent Parrots were seen as we headed south through Narrogin to the Stirling Ranges and the Porongurups. No new birds were added but we did see Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Splendid Fairy-wren, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Scarlet Robin, Elegant Parrot and Painted Button-quail.
Woke up in beautiful Cheyne Beach and immediately headed down to the main road to tick off Noisy Scrub-bird.....less then 5min minutes later we had the bird crossing both the tarred and dirt roads. We then headed up the sandy track past the caravan park and heard 2 bristlebirds calling near the track. We stalked them slowly never getting any closer. We stopped and played the tape, a verbal response but nothing moved. I decided to set the ipod in a little clearing and this worked wonderfully as the pair of WESTERN BRISTLEBIRDS appeared in the open. Gold!!! My main target for the trip was ticked.
The rest of the day was spent looking at Brush Bronzewing, Red-eared Firetail, Western Wattlebird, White-breasted Robin, Red-winged Fairy-wren and Great Skua.
Spent the entire day searching for Western Whipbird without sucess. Did add Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Dusky Woodswallow and Brown Quail to the trip list. Watching a mother Southern Right Whale with her calf in the bay was pretty cool.
Stuff the whipbird! After having two gruelling days without sucess we decided to head back to the Stirling Range for a better look. Looking for Mt. Trio we quickly became lost which was the best move we made all trip. We stopped the car and decided to do some quick birding before turning around and finding the main road. As I walked into the mallee/heath PURPLE-GAPED HONEYEATERS appeared from no where, a totally unexpected tick. What a fluke! Across in the adjacent paddock were 2 Banded Lapwing and some Emu.
With our spirits soaring (cockiness levels through the roof) we decided to stop in likely Fieldwren habitat. At our second stop we had sucess.......while I was off having a pee Nick bags us a WESTERN FIELDWREN. Excellent views were had.
Other birds seen nearby included Carnaby's Black-cockatoo, Little Eagle, Red-capped Parrot, Elegant Parrot, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, and Grey Currawong.
There were Robins galore in the Porongurup carpark with Scarlet, White-breasted and Western Yellow showing well.Day 6
Our final morning at Cheyne was spent looking for those bloody whipbirds. We trudged up that damn hill, over looking the damn bay. Man I was starting to hate that hill. Our heads were down but they soon lifted when we heard our first whipbird calling near the track. We walked towards the calling bird until we were pretty close but we still couldnt see it. Then a glimpse! Through the dense heath I could see it, feeding back on the edge of the track! Nick however couldn't so we made our way towards the bird and eventually after much waiting got cracking views of 2 Western Whipbirds, one was feeding in the front of a small banskia, the other called from the top of a bush before flying in front of us and disappearing. AWESOME!!!! Lots of high fives were had. We left Cheyne very happy with our results, the three toughies done.
Driving west towards Augusta I finally managed to tick off WESTERN CORELLA just outside Rocky Gully. We watched about 60 birds feeding on the ground around a homestead. Soon after, the heavens opened with heavy rain and very strong winds so we were very happy with our well timed sighting.
Appaulling weather all day. Very strong gusty winds hammered the Margaret River area and very few birds were seen. We dipped on Rock Parrot at Cape Leeuwin so headed in to the taller forests looking for Baudin's Black-cockatoo which we eventually found.
Awoke to much calmer conditions so headed back to Cape Leeuwin, ticking off the 3 Rock Parrots feeding on the visitors centre lawn. We also saw alot more Baudin's just north of Augusta.
We headed north back to Erskine for another try at the Pintail (dipped!) and had a look around Peel Inlet. No where near the number of birds seen previously in the year but seeing 7 Grey Plovers is always good.
South of Moora we bumped into the northern race of Western Corella and also my first Port Lincoln race of the Aust. Ringeck. Our one and only Rufous Songlark was seen in Moora.