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.
Our birding and wildlife extension to our Eastern Australia birding tour takes us to the island of Tasmania in search of several extremely localized endemic species, including Tasmanian Nativehen, Yellow Wattlebird, Green Rosella and Dusky Robin. This Australia birding tour offers an excursion to Bruny Island that will hopefully also provide us with Forty-spotted Pardalote, Black Currawong, Scrubtit and maybe even the nocturnal Tasmanian Devil!
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.
Little Penguin, Musk Duck, Black-faced Cormorant, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Tasmanian Nativehen, Hooded Plover, Banded Lapwing, Pacific Gull, Kelp Gull, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Long-billed Corella, Swift Parrot, Green Rosella, Superb Fairywren, Southern Emu-wren, Forty-spotted and Striated Pardalote, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Striated Fieldwren, Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated, Strong-billed & Black-headed Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Flame, Scarlet, Pink & Dusky Robin, Black Currawong & Beautiful Firetail
Duck-billed Platypus, Short-beaked Echidna, Eastern & Spotted-tailed Quoll, Tasmanian Devil, Southern Brown & Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Common Wombat, Little Pygmy & Eastern Pygmy Possum, Common Ringtail Possum, Sugar Glider, Common Brushtail Possum, Southern Bettong, Tasmanian Padamelon & Red-necked Wallaby
woodland, wet forest and coastal scrub
cool in mornings and evenings, warm during the day
Day 1: Arrival in Launceston and drive to Cradle Mountain
On arrival in Launceston, we will be collected by our local Tasmanian bird guide before making our way to the Cradle Mountain National Park area. Having checked into our accommodation, we shall bird the grounds with what remaining daylight we have.
One of the first birds we may find is the massive (and very loud!) Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, while a number of more widespread Australian species and even the odd endemic could show themselves. Amongst the many highlights, we may find Swamp Harrier, the endemic Tasmanian Nativehen, Masked Lapwing, Laughing Kookaburra, noisy Australian Magpie, both Grey and the endemic Black Currawong, Grey Shrikethrush, Forest Raven, Welcome Swallow and Australian Pipit.
Our lodge is perfectly placed to find a number of incredible Australian mammals with Common Wombat and Tasmanian Pademelons often seen in the late afternoon. After dark, we shall search for wild Tasmanian Devils, Spotted-tail Quolls and Common Brushtail Possums which often attend the veranda in search of food, but are also regularly seen outside our rooms! We spend two nights at this fabulous lodge, affording us excellent opportunities to view and photograph these normally elusive creatures.
Day 2: Cradle Mountain area
Today we have a full day of our Australia birding tour to explore the nearby Cradle Mountain National Park. The well-preserved habitat makes this a perfect area to find a number of Tasmania’s endemic bird species. We have our first opportunity of finding Crescent Honeyeater, endemic Black Currawong, Tasmanian Nativehen and Tasmanian Thornbill. In addition to the great birding, we will also enjoy some of the interesting plants found here. Notables are ancient rainforest species and Gondwana relics such as King Billy Pines, Myrtle and the famous Fagus, which is Tasmania’s only deciduous tree.
While admiring the flora, we shall keep our eyes peeled for new birds, with further endemics such as Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Green Rosella, Yellow Wattlebird, Scrubtit, and Tasmanian Scrubwren all viable here. We also have good chances of seeing Brown Falcon, Galah, Laughing Kookaburra, Crescent Honeyeater, Striated Pardalote, Striated Fieldwren, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Tree Martin, Silvereye, Common Blackbird, Australian Pipit and European Goldfinch.
This is also a good area to find Common Wombat and if we are fortunate, we may locate a Platypus, one of Australia’s most bizarre mammals. Time permitting, we will visit the replica of ‘Waldheim’, the home of the Austrian Gustav Weindorfer, whose love of the area inspired the establishment of the national park.
Day 3: Cradle Mountain to Bruny Island
After some final birding this morning on our Australia birding tour, we will begin our scenic drive to Hobart. (This drive is roughly 4 to 5 hours in length.) From Hobart, we will then drive to the harbour to catch our afternoon ferry to Bruny Island.
While heading to Hobart, we will make a few stops at several rivers and lakes to view waterfowl, as well as forest birds in the surrounding vegetation. Highlights are likely to include a large number of ducks, with previous trips finding Black Swan, Maned Duck, Mallard, Australian Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Grey and Chestnut Teals, Hardhead and Musk Duck. A number of widespread Australasian species may also be seen here, including Hoary-headed Grebe, Great and White-faced Herons, Swamp Harrier, Australasian Swamphen, Eurasian Coot and Masked Lapwing.
The surrounding forests and scrub may produce large flocks of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Long-billed Corella, Eastern Corella, Musk Lorikeet, Black-headed, Yellow-throated and New Holland Honeyeaters, White-fronted Chat, Galah, Noisy Miner, Pallid and Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Yellow Wattlebirds and Tasmanian Thornbill and the delectable Superb Fairywren.
The ferry crossing to Bruny can be quite productive for birds, and we will be on the lookout for a number of marine species, including a quartet of cormorants, the endemic Black-faced, Little Black, Little Pied and Great. Other species of interest include Silver, Kelp and the huge Pacific Gulls, Australian Pelican and Australasian Gannet.
From here we will drive the short journey to ‘INALA’, a privately owned 500-acre wildlife reserve on south Bruny Island, which is a refuge for a number of threatened birds and home to all of the Tasmanian endemic birds. This afternoon, if time permits, we will visit Bruny’s southern coastline to search for Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Grey Butcherbird, Forest Raven, Brown Thornbill, Olive Whistler and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, and possibly the bizarre Short-beaked Echidna (Tasmanian subspecies), among others. Tonight after dinner, we will visit a Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater rookery to view these species at their burrows.
Day 4: Bruny Island
This morning we continue our quest to find further Tasmanian endemics. Species we shall be on the lookout for include the delicately patterned Forty-spotted Pardalote, Strong-billed, Yellow-throated and Black-headed Honeyeaters, the skulking Scrubtit, Black Currawong, Green Rosella, Dusky Robin and Tasmanian Nativehen. Other more widespread species we might see include Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, flashy Blue-winged and Swift Parrots, Olive and Australian Golden Whistlers, Grey and Brown Goshawks, Dusky Woodswallow, stunning Scarlet, Flame and Pink Robins, Yellow-rumped and Brown Thornbills, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Striated Fieldwren, Eastern Spinebill, extravagant Yellow Wattlebird, Striated and Spotted Pardalotes, and Beautiful Firetail.
This afternoon we will then explore a number of different habitats, from coastal beaches where there is a possibility of finding Hooded Plover, Australasian Gannet, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers and Kelp Gull, to rainforest areas to search for the endemic Scrubtit and Tasmanian Thornbill. We might also come across Red-necked Wallaby and we have further opportunity on our Australia birding tour to stumble across the Short-beaked Echidna. A nocturnal outing tonight will give us a chance of seeing some of Tasmania’s nocturnal marsupials, including and Common Brushtail Possum, as well as Eastern Quoll and Tasmanian Pademelon. Tawny Frogmouth, Western Barn Owl and Morepork also occur and we may very well see these nocturnal species.
Day 5: Bruny Island to Hobart and departure
This morning after breakfast we will return to Hobart to connect with our flights back home. En route, we may add a few extra species to the list – keeping our eyes open for Brush Bronzewing and Australian Hobby and Pacific Gull. By now we will undoubtedly have accumulated incredible sightings of many special birds, mammals and unforgettable experiences from our travels across the great red continent of Australia!