Australia is a vast and extraordinary continent, packed with over 300 endemic bird species and hordes of exceptional and often bizarre wildlife found nowhere else on our planet. Included in this suite of endemics (Australia is second only to Indonesia in the number of endemic bird species) are several endemic bird families, including the delightful Pardalotes (Pardalotidae). Comprising only four species, these tiny birds (colloquially known as peep-wrens) are characterised by their short tails, strong legs and blunt, stubby beaks; and are named after the Greek word meaning “spotted”. Our April image is the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote, the rarest pardalote and one of Australia’s most endangered birds, being confined to only the south-east corner of Tasmania and nearby off-shore islands. Adam photographed this little beauty at the Inala Reserve on Bruny Island off Tasmania, which happens to be one of the few reliable places for viewing this increasingly rare and difficult-to-observe species.
Our Tasmania Extension, which follows on from our very comprehensive Australia – East Coast birding tour, offers the opportunity for seeing this species in the wild, as well as the other 11 Tasmanian endemic birds. Additional targets on this leg of our tour include the splendid Beautiful Firetail, Swift Parrot, Little Penguin, and superb mammals including possibilities for the aberrant Platypus and famous Tasmanian Devil.
Our main Australia – East Coast tour comprehensively covers the prime birding and wildlife sites of Australia’s eastern seaboard from Cairns in the north to Melbourne in the south. Sites visited include the tropical rainforests of the Daintree and endemic-rich Atherton Tablelands, the cool temperate forests of Lamington and Royal National Parks, and other endemic hotspots, before finally ending with coastal birding around Melbourne. Targets are numerous and include Victoria’s Riflebird, Australian Logrunner, Noisy Pitta, the strange Chowchilla, the exquisite Golden Bowerbird, Southern Cassowary, Emu, Superb Lyrebird, Plains-wanderer (sole member of its family), Malleefowl and a plethora of colorful parrots, honeyeaters, finches – and so much more! Non-avian highlights will be abundant, including seeking out some of the world’s strangest mammals such as Short-beaked Echidna and the endearing Koala.
Finally, our pre-tour Southwest Australia Extension takes us to the Darling and Stirling Ranges, Dryandra Woodland and the heathlands of Albany, to search for the dozen endemic and numerous other avian and wildlife targets of this isolated ecozone. Prime amongst these is the Noisy Scrubbird, believed to be extinct until its dramatic rediscovery in 1961. Further tour targets include Short-billed Black Cockatoo, Western Bristlebird, Western Whipbird and Numbat.
These birding and wildlife tours to Australia are thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding adventures and are suitable for both hardcore birders and non-birding spouses alike.
For further information on these departures, all of which have spaces remaining, click on the links below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries regarding these tours.
Australia – East Coast (25 Sep – 15 Oct 2015 (21 days), AUD9,975 per person sharing; approximate domestic flight costs AUD435 per person);
Australia – Southwest Extension (19 – 25 Sep 2015 (7 days), AUD2,850 per person sharing; approximate domestic flight costs AUD560 per person);
Australia – Tasmania Extension (15 – 19 Oct 2015 (5 days), AUD2,350 per person sharing; approximate domestic flight costs AUD615 per person).