We enjoyed travelling with Steve Davidson. He is very knowledgeable and more than willing to assist anyone with getting on birds, and he takes time to explain where the bird is.
The South West corner of Western Australia is a birding and ecological hotspot, hosting a superbly high diversity of endemic plant, animal and bird species. This short extension to our Eastern Australia birding tour concentrates on south-western Australia’s endemic bird species and other wildlife and commences in the state’s capital of Perth, situated on the Swan River. During this Australia birding tour, we explore a range of habitats from the eucalypt forests of the Darling Ranges to the extensive woodlands of Dryandra, the Stirling Ranges, semi-arid mallee woodlands and the rugged windswept heathlands of the south coast. We expect to encounter all twelve endemic bird species plus several near-endemics and we can anticipate a trip total of between 120-150 species. We also hope to see several fabulous mammals such as Short-beaked Echidna, Western Grey Kangaroo and Southern Right Whale.
Please note that a Rockjumper leader may not accompany this tour unless a minimum of 9 participants are signed up. In the case of insufficient sign-ups, a professional and very experienced local guide will lead the tour instead.
Emu, Pink-eared, Musk & Blue-billed Duck, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Painted Buttonquail, Hooded Plover, Banded Lapwing, Pacific Gull, Red-tailed, Short-billed & Long-billed Black Cockatoo, Western Corella, Western Rosella, Elegant, Red-capped & Rock Parrot, Western Ringneck, Noisy Scrubbird, Rufous Treecreeper, Red-winged, Splendid & Blue-breasted Fairywren, Southern Emu-wren, Western Fieldwren, Western Wattlebird, Western Bristlebird, White-cheeked & Swan River (split from White-naped) Honeyeater, Western Spinebill, Scarlet, Red-capped, Western Yellow & White-breasted Robin, Western Whipbird, Crested Shrike-Tit, Red-eared Firetail, Western Thornbill
Southern Right Whale, chances for New Zealand Fur Seal & Australian Sea Lion, Numbat (small chance), Short-beaked Echidna, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Common Brushtail Possum, Western Brush & Tammar Wallaby, Quokka, Western Grey Kangaroo
various Eucalpyt woodlands, coastal scrub, wetlands
warm to hot and cooler at night
Day 1. Pre-tour arrival day in Perth & transfer to Sullivan’s Hotel
Since we have a full day’s birding scheduled to start early on Day 2, it is imperative that you arrive in Perth today. Tonight’s accommodation is included in the tour price, but NOT any meals, which will be at your own expense. As today has been set aside as an arrival day, you are free to arrive at any time that you wish.
Day 2: Perth to Narrogin via Darling Ranges & Dryandra Woodlands
Our exciting South West Australia endemics extension will commence this morning in Perth. Departing the city, we’ll begin our drive to Narrogin, which lies to the south. Ascending into the Darling Ranges, we will begin our search for some of south-western Australia’s very special endemics, including Long-billed Black Cockatoo, Red-capped Parrot, Western Rosella, Western Spinebill and White-breasted Robin. The Dryandra Woodlands are our main focus today and it is here that we will look for the endangered Short-billed Black Cockatoo, Blue-breasted Fairywren, Crested Shrike-Tit, Western Thornbill, Elegant Parrot and Purple-crowned Lorikeet. We’ll most likely come across our first marsupials, the large Western Grey Kangaroo or the diminutive Western Brush Wallaby.
Other noteworthy species that we hope to see today on our Australia birding tour, include Little Eagle, Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, beautiful Rainbow Bee-eater, White-winged Fairywren, Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, Western Gerygone, Weebill (Australia’s smallest bird), Jacky Winter, Rufous Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Grey Currawong, Silvereye, Rufous Treecreeper, Scarlet and Western Yellow Robins, Varied Sittella and Restless Flycatcher, as well as a host of honeyeaters including New Holland, White-cheeked, Brown-headed, White-eared, Yellow-plumed and Red Wattlebird.
Open areas may produce Wedge-tailed Eagle, Black-shouldered and Whistling Kites, Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel, Crested Pigeon, lively Willie Wagtail, Masked and Dusky Woodswallows, Magpie Lark, Australian Magpie, Australian Raven and Little Crow, Welcome Swallow, Tree and Fairy Martins and Rufous Songlark. A host of smart parrots can also be expected during the course of the day and these include Red-tailed Black and Short-billed Black Cockatoos, Galah, Western Corella, Regent Parrot, Cockatiel, Western Rosella and Australian Ringneck. We’ll also look out for other native animals such as the rare, termite-eating Numbat, Western Australia’s faunal emblem, and the charming, hedgehog-like Echidna, both species unusual in being diurnal in habit. In the evening, we’ll return to try our luck with the spotlight, hoping to see Tammar Wallabies, Woylies, Possums, Phascogales, and nocturnal birds such as Bush Stone-curlew, Southern Boobook and Tawny Frogmouth.
Day 3: Narrogin to Cheynes Beach, Albany
Early this morning we drive to the Stirling Range to search for Regent Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Rufous (Western) Fieldwren and more chances for the endemic Short-billed Black Cockatoo, Western Spinebill, White-naped Honeyeater (often regarded as a separate species: Swan River Honeyeater) and a first opportunity for the near endemic Western Whipbird, which can be very difficult to see. We will also take a quick stop at the Porongurups National Park to look for Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Red-eared Firetail, White-breasted Robin, Red-winged Fairywren and Long-billed Black Cockatoo in the tall karri forest. We arrive at Cheyne’s Beach in the late afternoon for a three-night stay. In the evening we will take a walk to look for the shy and very localised Noisy Scrubbird.
Days 4 & 5: Albany & surrounds South Coast, Cheynes Beach, Waychinicup Nature Reserve.
We have the next two days of our Australia birding tour to explore this area to look for some of Australia’s rarest endemics. One of these is the Noisy Scrubbird, which was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered at Two People’s Bay in 1961. Western Bristlebird is another threatened species, as is Western Whipbird. With a concerted effort, we should see all of these scarce birds and will try our best to obtain good views of these three very elusive endemics! On one of the days, we will visit the Waychinicup Nature Reserve, an area of extensive mallee, where with carefully scanning of the roads and a huge dash of luck, we may find the strange Malleefowl, a ground-dwelling species that is rare and threatened throughout its range. Other more common birds in this habitat that we hope to see include Southern Scrub Robin, Purple-gaped Honeyeater and the “mallee” forms of Western Whipbird and Striated Pardalote.
The majestic Stirling Range is the best area to search for Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Hooded Robin and Western Fieldwren, while White-fronted Chat, Black-faced Woodswallow, Australian Pipit and the huge Emu are likely here too. Other noteworthy species that we hope to add to our tally include the aptly-named Splendid Fairywren, Western Wattlebird, Brush and Common Bronzewings, Brown Quail, Southern Emu-wren, Red-winged Fairywren, Australian Golden Whistler and Red-eared Firetail. We will also have time to look for coastal species in the bay, and new birds may include Pacific and Silver Gulls, Greater Crested and Caspian Terns, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, Pacific Reef Heron on the rocks and White-bellied Sea Eagle and Eastern Osprey over the estuaries.
Depending on weather conditions, we may have the opportunity to sea-watch for species such as Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Great-winged Petrel and Australasian Gannet, which come in close to shore on windy days. Southern Right Whales are present from April to October and Humpbacked Whales pass by on migration, often coming in very close to the rocks. Wetlands in this area hold a host of species and we will look for Musk, Freckled, Blue-billed and the bizarre looking Pink-eared Ducks, Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, Hoary-headed Grebe, Red-necked Avocet and Banded Stilt, Dusky Moorhen, Red-capped Plover, Red-kneed Dotterel and Australian Crake.
Other specialities that we hope to encounter over the next two days of our Australia birding tour include Horsfield’s Bronze, Pallid, Black-eared and Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Spiny-cheeked and Singing Honeyeaters, White-winged Triller, White-browed Babbler and Grey Fantail. Rufous Fieldwren can be found in the low heath and we will also search for Inland Thornbill, White-browed Scrubwren and the beautiful Mistletoebird.
Nocturnal forays may produce Southern Boobook, Eastern Barn and Australian Masked Owls, Tawny Frogmouth and the tiny Australian Owlet-nightjar. We will also undertake at least one night drive that might yield some exciting mammals, with possibilities including Western Quoll, Western Barred Bandicoot, Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Common Brushtail Possum, Western Grey Kangaroo and Western Brush Wallaby. We may even see the marsupial Quenda or Brown Bandicoot, which is often active during the day.
Day 6: Albany to Perth.
Today is our last full day and we have a fairly long drive back to Perth. En route to Perth, we’ll deviate towards Rocky Gully, where we’ll find the geographically limited population of Western Corella (known as Muir’s Corella). Time permitting, we may drop in at the Wagin Sewage Ponds where we could find Black-fronted Dotterel and a host of waterbird species, including Pink-eared Duck, Australasian Shoveler, White-faced Heron, and possibly also Wood Sandpiper and Black-tailed Native-hen, White-fronted Chat and perhaps even Stubble Quail.
Day 7: Herdsman Lake and departure (or flight to Cairns for those doing the main Eastern Australia tour)
Depending on flight times, we may make a quick visit to one of Perth’s best urban wetlands where we can see Blue-billed and Musk Ducks, along with many other birds such as Glossy and Australian White Ibis, Purple Swamphen, Little Grassbird, Swamp Harrier, Whistling Kite, Little Corella and Singing Honeyeater. We may quite possibly also encounter coiled Tiger Snakes sunning themselves on the grassy banks! From there we will then head to the airport where our endemic-filled south-western Australia birding tour will conclude. Those joining the main Eastern Australia trip will connect with their domestic flight to Cairns for the start of this exciting birding and wildlife adventure.