TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
Wednesday 13 - Sunday 31 October 2004
This was an exciting holiday thanks to the expert leadership of Richard Jordan, a lively, enthusiastic group and excellent weather. It was a delight to travel to so many different locations. The fact that this was Richard's last trip in his sixteen years of wildlife touring made it even more enjoyable. My thanks go to Richard for his skilful leadership and to Roz for her hospitality. We wish them a long and happy retirement and hope that they will visit us when they are in the United Kingdom. I am also grateful to all those local guides who added their skills and zest to the trip. My special thanks go to you for making this trip such fun.
WEDNESDAY 13 OCTOBER
Flight to Melbourne. Stan celebrated his birthday with champagne, thanks to British Airways.
FRIDAY 15 OCTOBER
Arrived Melbourne 04.30. Flight to Hobart, arrived 10.30
We were met by Richard who was full of smiles and by the weather, which was not. Having said that, the weather varied from sunny to sleet showers for the rest of the day.
En route to the ferry terminal at Kettering we noted three Swamp Harriers, Little Corellas, Galahs, Brush Wattlebird and Eastern Rosellas. We really had 'arrived' in Australia.
We had lunch and then caught the ferry 'Mirambeena' to Bruny Island. Black-faced Cormorants were at Kettering to see us off.
Once on Bruny our first stop was a pond inhabited by Pacific Black Duck and Tasmanian Native-hen. Scarlet Robin caught our eye, as did Black-headed Honey-eater, Dusky Woodswallow, Striated Pardalote and Yellow-rumped Thornbill. We then enjoyed wonderful views of two Swamp Harriers being mobbed by a Forest Raven. It then saw off a pair of Brown Falcons. A White-bellied Sea Eagle and then a Wedge-tailed Eagle joined the fray. As we pressed further into the island we encountered three distant Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and a variety of shore birds as we crossed 'The Neck', a tombolo between the two halves of the island.
An early dinner and early to bed was the order of the evening.
SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER
WEATHER Hail storms overnight. 4/8 Cu. Sunny spells, cold SW 2
We spent most of the morning exploring the Inala Estate with its owner Dr. Tonia Cochran. It was obvious that the wonderful forest and open pastures dotted with ponds were Tonia's passion. We were soon watching three species of Robins; Flame, Scarlet and the duller Dusky. We then spent time looking at Yellow-throated and Strong-billed Honeyeaters, both species endemic to Tasmania. Then it was time to compare Brown with Tasmanian Thornbill. As we walked through the wet eucalytus forest we admired the orchids: Maroon, Mayfly, Nodding Greenhood, Bird and Caledinea cracens.
We then had good views of Shining Bronze Cuckoo and fleeting views of Crescent Honeyeater and Tasmanian Scubwren.
We had lunch at Adventure Bay.
On the way to the Mavista Trail we stopped to look at a pair of somewhat elusive Pink Robins. The highlights of the walk on the trail were Pink Robin, Tasmanian Scrubwren and Black Currawong.
After dinner, again at Adventure Bay, we drove to the Neck Beach where we watched Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters returning to their nest sites. As we returned to Inala we saw Bennetts (Red-necked) Wallabies and two Tasmanian Pademelons.
A Southern Boobook called in the night.
SUNDAY 17 OCTOBER
WEATHER 3/8 Cu, sun, SW 1
At 07.45 we set off towards the ferry. En route we noted Brush and Common Bronzewings and a variety of more familiar bird species.
By 08.30 we were at Mc Cracken's Gully, a fine woodland glade, looking for Forty-spotted Pardalote, an endemic bird species with a very restricted range. At first we could only find the rather more attractive Spotted and Striated Pardalote. We were then treated to a number of brief sightings of Swift Parrot, another local speciality. Eventually two diminutive Forty-spotted Pardalote appeared. They were very active flitting from branch to branch and from tree to tree. With persistence we had good views of this little gem.
While waiting for the 10.15 ferry we encountered a Bottle-nosed Dolphin in the bay and more Swift Parrots feeding in a flowering tree. It was a good conclusion to our stay on Bruny Island.
Lunch was taken at a picnic site half way up Mount Wellington.
We then drove on to the Pinnacle (1,270 m.a.s.l.), which was still partially snow covered. The view from the Pinnacle was spectacular, setting Bruny Island and Eagle Hawk Neck in context. We then set off for Eagle Hawk Neck. We stopped at the Midway Point Causeway to look at wetland birds. Apart from a large collection of cormorants there were Great Crested and Australian Grebes, a flock of Bar-tailed Godwit and a few Chestnut Teal. The greatest prize though was a lone Musk Duck.
Our onward journey was punctuated by sightings of Australian Pipit, Pacific Gull and a flock of eighty or so Crested Terns. We then stopped briefly at a lookout point in the Tasman National Park. This gave us a spectacular view of our destination, Pirates Bay, Eagle Hawk Neck.
After dinner we went to the beach to renew our acquaintance with Little Penguins.
MONDAY 18 OCTOBER
EAGLE HAWK NECK
WEATHER 4/8 Cumulus, sunny, N3
Sea temp. 12.9 degrees. Sea state 2
The group split into two smaller groups.
By 07.00 we were aboard 'MV Pauletta' with our captain John and guide Bill.
As we set sail the dominant bird was Black-faced Cormorant. As we sailed further into the bay the most common species became Short-tailed Shearwater. This situation held for the rest of the day; about one thousand birds passing by the boat.
At 07.50 we came across birds in a feeding frenzy. They were dipping into the sea catching fish; a Shy Albatross, Australian Gannets, cormorants, shearwaters and gulls were wheeling over the sea. They were soon joined by five Common Dolphins. At 08.00 we reached Hippolyte Island, a small rocky island with steep cliffs. It was here that we gained our best views of Australian Fur Seals basking on the rocks. Two immature White-bellied Sea Eagles then launched themselves from the cliff top alarming flocks of gulls and cormorants.
Bill was of the opinion that the sea was too calm and that we were experiencing poor results compared with usual. We were quite happy to enjoy the total experience and gain good views of fewer species. The watching was dominated by the Albatrosses; Shy, Black-browed and a single Wandering. Although there were only a handful of individuals we were treated to multiple views.
These huge birds were soon joined by Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, a group of White-chinned Petrels and the ever present Short-tailed Shearwaters. A single Cape Petrel was also present. The species we did see well because of the calm sea was the Fairy Prion.
The sailors returned to hear how the landlubbers had fared.
The Landlubbers confined themselves to exploring the Tasman Peninsula. They found a number of attractive birds including Cape Barren Goose, Australian Shelduck, Purple Swamphen, Hooded Plover, Black-fronted Dotterel, Swift Parrot, Shining-bronze Cuckoo and Pallid Cuckoo.
At 15.30 we all set off for New Norfolk.
En route we stopped at road works and were delighted to find a Short-nosed Echidna on the verge.
TUESDAY 19 OCTOBER
WEATHER A dull start but most of the day : 4/8 Cu, sunny, cool SW 2
Some 'early-birds' were rewarded with sightings of two Peregrine Falcons.
The day was spent enjoying the mountain scenery. By 09.30 we were at the entrance to the Mount Field National Park. We were greeted by a stunning pair of Eastern Spinebill. We walked to the Russell Falls. En route we discovered Tasmanian Scrubwrens and a Scrubtit. The waterfall was spectacular in the morning sunshine.
We then drove on up the mountain.We stopped briefly to look at the subalpine vegetation and then again at Lake Dobson (1030 m.a.s.l.). As we returned to the entrance to the park we stopped at Wombat Moor (1100 m.a.s.l.), an area of alpine heath. Here we spent some time searching for Striated Fieldwren, but without success.
Having lunched in the park we then set off to view two of the mountain lakes.We stopped to admire Lake Gordon where it was still possible to see the tops of trees submerged when the area was flooded to create a huge hydro-electric scheme.
By 14.20 we had arrived at the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail, a fully boarded educational trail in a fascinating piece of forest. We were intent on birdwatching, particularly enjoying good views of Pink Robin. We did enjoy the trail though. It was set up as a murder mystery. A swallowtail butterfly had been killed. We were taken through a list of local invertebrates which could have been the killer; each species was illustrated on a series of boards. Gradually the list of suspects was narrowed down. So, who was the killer? Well, who would have guessed it? Man!
We then moved on towards Lake Pedder, another flooded valley.Just before the lake was a Buttongrass plain. Some of us attempted a walk across the plain in search of Ground Parrot, but the going was hard, and the bird missing! The heathland surrounding Lake Pedder was a magnet to a variety of butterflies. The drive back to New Norfolk was largely uneventful.
WEDNESDAY 20 OCTOBER
WEATHER 4/8 Cu. Sunny, SW 2
We drove to Hobart Airport. Once we had checked in some of the group explored the local gardens discovering Musk Lorikeets and a Wedge-tailed Eagle.
By 12.20 we were in Richard's vehicle making for the motel in Werribee. By 14.00 we were being greeted by local birdwatcher Dave Torr who was to be our guide to the wonders of Werribee Sewage Farm. Dave had been out since 08.00 looking for the most interesting birds. It is hard for us British to appreciate a sewage complex of one hundred square km with an all-time bird list of two hundred and seventy species!
We were soon watching a flock of Banded Lapwing, a scarce bird locally. We then went off to see a pair of Brolga with two young, a recent addition to the breeding birds of the area. As we searched the area flocks of Straw-necked Ibis were overflying us, some eight hundred in all. Watching the shoreline resulted in views of waders, terns, gulls and a lone Australian Gannet, whilst the shallow ponds were home to grebes, duck, Royal Spoonbill, Australian Pelican and more waders. Pink-eared Duck and Red-necked Avocet proved to be two of our favourite sightings. Brown Falcon, Swamp Harrier and Australian Black-shouldered Kite were seen hunting over this rich habitat. The birds were not all aquatic species, though; we had good views of the skulking Striated Fieldwren, the delightful Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo and the striking White-fronted Chat. Perhaps the most surprising record was of a Golden-headed Cisticola which perched within four metres of the group in bright sunlight. It was a photographer's dream.
It was a very exciting afternoon.
THURSDAY 21 OCTOBER
WEATHER 2/8 Cirrus,sun,SW 1
We were greeted at the Western Treatment Centre (Werribee Sewage Farm) by Kirsten, one of the Education Officers. Kirsten was to guide us from pastures, to ponds to the sea.
Before we set off we watched birds on a small pond by the Education Centre. Familiar Wood Duck mingled with Australasian Grebe and White-faced Heron. Then we discovered two Black-fronted Dotterel, Dusky Moorhen and, on the muddy edge, Crested Pigeon. In the nearby trees were White-plumed Honeyeaters, two Red-rumped Parrots and a Red Wattlebird. Overhead was a Black Kite.
We then set off in the vehicle to patrol the ponds. There were hundreds of wildfowl of twelve species. Grey Teal were soon found as was Blue-billed Duck, a species only seen briefly on the day before. A single Cape Barren Goose gave cheer to the 'Sailors'. Waders were also a feature of the morning; eleven species were noted, including the spectacular Red-necked Avocet and Black-winged Stilt. Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers and Red-necked Stint were also seen well. Australian Pelican and Royal Spoonbill were also seen in all their splendour.
Raptors were also well represented: Swamp Harrier (22), Whistling Kite (10), Australian Black-shouldered Kite (3) and a lone Brown Falcon. Clamorous Reed Warbler was also seen after a period of patient waiting. It had been a great morning, the culmination of which was a picnic lunch on the spacious lawns of the education centre.
We left for Apollo Bay at 13.15. By 14.00 we were on the scenic Great Ocean Road.
The event of the afternoon was the viewing of a family party of Koala which were already being watched by other passers by. That was a bit of luck!
FRIDAY 22 OCTOBER
WEATHER 8/8 Cu. Dull, drizzle, still early. By 09.30 the weather had cleared to 2/8 Cu. Sunny, S2.
It was to be a 'parrot day'. After breakfast we drove to Hall's Gap. In the first few km of the journey we noted Galah, Little Corella, Red-rumped and King Parrots. Brief walks in the forested areas produced Streaked Thornbill, White-throated Treecreeper, Pink Robin and White-browed Scrubwren. Gang-gang Cockatoos were heard flying around the forest but were always out of sight. The Myrtle Beeches in the cool temperate forest at Mait's Rest were particularly impressive.
By the time we reached Castle Cove the sun emerged. White-naped and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were seen as was a male Nankeen Kestrel. By 10.30 we were at the Twelve Apostles, a series of twelve sea cut stacks off the cliffs. Here, on the heath we encountered Singing Honeyeater and the very local Rufous Bristlebird. We also searched Loch Ard Gorge for Rufous Bristlebird. There was plenty of song but no sightings.
We had a picnic lunch on the seafront at Port Campbell and then drove inland. Before long we came across a huge breeding colony of White and Straw-necked Ibis. As we approached the Grampian Mountains we saw our first Long-billed Corella. Then came sightings of Musk Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. The most surprising record though was of a Blue-winged Parrot feeding on the roadside. As the vehicle approached it flew off so only a lucky few saw the bird. Nearby we found the decapitated corpse of a Powerful Owl, how we would have liked to have seen this fine bird in the flesh.
Roadside ponds were the home of many wetland species including White-necked Heron and seven species of wildfowl. We were also excited to see the first Emu of the trip. Birds of Prey included Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon and Nankeen Kestrel.
As we approached the Grampians we saw both Red-necked and Swamp Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo. We also saw Red Deer out in the open which was something of a surprise. On our arrival at Hall's Gap we saw huge evening movements of Long-billed Corella.
Eleven species of parrot were recorded during the day.
SATURDAY 23 OCTOBER
WEATHER a.m.1/8 Cu. Sunny, E1. p.m. 7-8/8. Dull, cold SE 3
A good variety of birds were noted in the area around the hotel, including Rainbow Lorikeet.
We spent the whole day in the Grampian area. The first stop of the day was at Fyan's Creek. We were delighted to find a thriving Fairy Martin breeding colony under a river bridge. We were soon enjoying views of Jacky Winter, Restless Flycatcher and Wee-bill.
While we were watching a flock of Long-billed Corella feeding in a meadow they were scattered by two overflying Wedge-tailed Eagles. A few minutes later we had fine views of a Little Eagle. Rufous Songlark was our next find, closely followed by Rufous Whistler, Eastern Yellow Robin and Sacred Kingfisher. A small herd of young male Red Deer were then admired.
The water level at Lake Lonsdale was so low it had become a huge wet meadow. Around seven hundred and fifty Black Swans were there, some of them nesting. We were also amazed to find about one hundred and twenty White-necked Herons. The highlights of the site were two Brolga and half a dozen Rainbow Bee-eaters feeding next to a sandy bank. It was a great place to have lunch.
We then drove through the Grampian Forest on the Redman Road. We stopped at one point to look at two Shingle-backed Lizards that were crossing the road. Soon after we had another stroke of luck, two Blue-winged Parrots flew up from the roadside. One perched in a dead tree, giving splendid views to all of us.
The weather began to 'close in'. A little further on we stopped to admire an adult Swamp Wallaby that stood looking at us for a minute or two. Perhaps that was because within a hundred yards was a youngster.
The main walk of the afternoon was at Delly's Dell, a fine area of wet eucalyptus forest. Two Bassian Thrushes were seen amongst the ground cover. There was also a good variety of Honeyeaters. The find of the afternoon, though, was a Rose Robin. That was if you could find it; it led us a merry dance, singing from the top of the canopy and moving constantly. Eventually we found what was deemed to be another male that was happy to come close to the group. The afternoon closed with views of Gang-gang Cockatoos feeding over our heads. Unbelievably they were not easy to see either but eventually we all had good views of this splendid bird.
SUNDAY 24 OCTOBER
WEATHER 1/8 Cu. Sunny SE 2-3
The first part of the morning was spent in further exploration of the fringes of the Grampian Area. Soon after we left Hall's Gap we came across a Gang-gang Cockatoo perched by the roadside. It stayed there long enough for us all to see it at close range.
By 09.00 we were Boroke Lookout. Here we had a great view of the area in which we travelled on the previous day. We also saw Gang-gang Cockatoo yet again. Our next port of call was Zumstein. The highlights here were a male Mistletoe Bird and Red-browed Finches.
At the Cooinda Burrong Junction we found a good variety of bird species including Rainbow Lorikeet, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-tufted and Fuscous Honeyeaters and White-browed Babbler. At 11.30 we started the drive through the agricultural landscape leading to the Little Desert National Park. En route we noted Brown Songlark and Black Kite.
We lunched in the National Park and then walked the Sanctuary Nature Trail. This gave us an insight into the structure of, and species diversity, of the mallee. Birds seen included a Little Eagle, White-winged Chough, an adult Red-capped Robin, Spiny-cheeked and White-eared Honeycreepers, Yellow Thornbill and Southern Scrub-robin. A rather striking Lace Monitor and another Shingle-backed Lizard were also noted.
By 17.00 we were being greeted by 'Whimpey', the owner of Little Desert Nature Lodge.
In the evening we celebrated Clive's Birthday.
MONDAY 25 OCTOBER
LITTLE DESERT NATURE LODGE
WEATHER a.m. Clear, sunny, still,cold. (Three degrees overnight.) p.m. Clouding over, dull, SE 2
At 06.30 we met for a walk around the grounds. Gordon Rich, the Manager, was our guide. Almost immediately we were overflown by a pair of Purple-crowned Lorikeets. Then we found a flock of about two hundred wood-swallows feeding on nectar prior to a day on the wing. Most of them were White-browed, but a lesser number were Masked Wood-swallow.
Gordon was in the middle of a ringing session and was able to show us Brown Treecreeper and Buff-rumped Thornbill in the hand. Other local species recorded were White-winged Triller, Grey Currawong, a flock of Varied Sittella, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and Peaceful Dove. We also had another encounter with Rainbow Bee-eaters.
After breakfast 'Whimpey,' the owner, took us to a Yellow Gum. There in a fork in the tree was a fine adult Tawny Frogmouth. Nearby in another Yellow Gum was the nest containing an adult and a chick still in fine down: a wonderful surprise!
By 09.30 we were at the Malleefowl Santuary. The whole area was protected by a high electric fence. Once inside the reserve we set off in search of Malleefowl. Soon we were standing in the shade by a nest mound looking at a pair of them. Instruments buried in the mound told us that the internal temperature was 30°C (ambient temperature 14°). Whimpey told us that when the mound reached 32° the eggs would be laid. The mound had been in use for over one hundred years.
Good views were also had of Australian Ringneck and a pair of Golden Whistlers. Purple-gaped Honeyeater was heard but not seen. On our return to the Lodge for lunch we saw Black-tailed Native-hen at Whimpey's Pond.
After lunch we drove out onto the heath in Whimpey's four wheel drive vehicle. We were hoping to see Slender-billed Thornbill but that eluded us. We did, though, see two Striated Fieldwrens, a Brown Falcon carrying a snake, a Wedge-tailed Eagle, a Peregrine Falcon and a Black-shouldered Kite. A fine Western Grey Kangaroo was also noted.
We then transferred to our vehicle and drove to Glen Lee Reserve. En route two Peregrine Falcons, a Black Kite and four Brown Falcons caught our attention. Almost as soon as we entered the Glen Lee Reserve, an area of open forest, we saw a pair of Hooded Robins and four Brown-headed Honeycreepers.
By 16.45 we were back at the Malleefowl reserve in search of Purple-gaped Honeyeater. A number of honeyeaters were seen at a drinking pool, including Purple-gaped. We were also lucky enough to see a male Golden Whistler and a male Gilbert's Whistler.
After dinner Gordon took us on a night walk around the grounds of the lodge. We had wonderful views of a hunting Tawny Frogmouth and of one at another nest with two juveniles. Southern Boobook Owl was also heard. Gordon then took us inside the aviary where we saw some captive animals, including Southern Brown Bandicoot, Brush-tailed Betong, Sugar Gliders, Malleefowl and Brush Stone Curlew, all local species. The aviary is widely used by school children, who, one hopes, are the next generation of conservationists.
TUESDAY 26 OCTOBER
LITTLE DESERT NATURE LODGE
WEATHER 7-8/8 Cu. Dull. NW 1 freshening 3-4
Before breakfast we walked the grounds once again. The highlight of the walk was the chance to see the wood-swallows again and views of feeding Purple-crowned Lorikeets.
The morning was spent driving to Terrick-Terrick National Park near Echuca. We hadn't been on the road long though before we arrived at the roadside Nhill sewage pond. To our surprise it was full of birds. Ten Australian Shelduck stood guard over avocets, stilts, sandpipers, plovers, grebes, native-hens and two Silver Gulls. Amongst the waders were fourteen Red-kneed Dotterel, a Black-fronted Dotterel, a Red-capped Plover, two Sharp-tailed and two Common Sandpipers.
Other birds seen en route included an Azure Kingfisher, two Grey Teal, four Black Kite, three Nankeen Kestrel, two Brown Falcons and five Black-shouldered Kites. We also counted some fifty Red-rumped Parrots during the day.
Terrick-Terrick National Park, open eucalyptus forest on granite soils, proved to be of great interest. Olive-backed Oriole was seen well, as was Diamond Firetail. Gilbert's Whistler proved more elusive, however. Both Little and Wedge-tailed Eagles flew over as we were out on foot. At one point a mixed feeding flock of Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Zebra Finches and Southern White-face had us looking in all directions not knowing which bird to look at first. As we left we saw Singing Bushlark.
As we approached Echuca we were surprised once again; we discovered a pair of Cockatiel on a roadside wire. As this species is a wanderer we were very lucky to set eyes on it.
We arrived at Echuca in time to explore the historical area alongside the River Murray.
WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER
WEATHER 7-8/ Cu. Rain SW 3. Sunny spells, wind increasing to 5-6
We entered New South Wales to the accompaniment of rain.
By 08.45 we had met Phil Maher, our local guide, and were watching a female Superb Parrot in a tree. Regretfully it soon flew off.
We were soon in the shelter afforded by Gulpa Island State Forest. Despite the wind we found lots of birds including the local sub-species of Crimson Rosella (Yellow Rosella), a Varied Sittella, Little Friarbird, Noisy Friarbird, Rufous Whistler and a pair of Sacred Kingfishers. As we were about to leave we noticed a movement in the grass. There at close range were five Splendid Parrots feeding on seed heads. The two males were resplendent, outshining the pictures in the field guide. As we crossed the bridge to leave the reserve an Azure Kingfisher flashed by. Eventually we managed to find the kingfisher at rest and also the most attractive Crested Shrike Tit.
On our way to Deliniquin we saw yet another Wedge-tailed Eagle. Phil then took us to the east of the town to explore the farmland. White-backed Swallows and a Striped Honeyeater were particularly notable.
After lunch and a mid-day rest we went out with Phil again. We drove onto the Hay Plain, the wind still howling. Despite the weather we eventually had good views of a party of White-winged Fairy-wrens. Red-capped robins and Chestnut-rumped Thornbills were then noted. The sighting of a lone male Emu with twelve young in tow was also much appreciated.
As the day lengthened we enjoyed a picnic supper in the shelter of a gnarled eucalyptus stand. As Richard prepared the meal Phil took us to a group of hollow trees. As he gently stroked one of the trees with a stick an Australasian Owlet-Nightjar emerged from a hole. It sat there long enough to have its portrait taken before returning to its nest hole. This was a thrilling moment. The Owlet-Nightjar is not particularly rare but can be very elusive.
Phils's wife, Trish, arrived in her four wheel drive vehicle in time for supper. After we had eaten, Robert, the son of the estate to which we had been invited, arrived. This was the signal for us to climb into the two four wheel drive vehicles. Once settled we drove out across a thousand acre 'paddock'. The area was flat and arid with minimal low vegetation. At first we disturbed a few pipits and then we found one of the most elusive of Australian birds, a Plains Wanderer. This bird was a spectacular female. In this species the female takes no part in the care of the eggs or young so the male has the duller plumage. As though this was not exciting enough we then found three Australian Pratincole, another scarce wading bird.
Despite the wind we had won through.
THURSDAY 28 OCTOBER
WEATHER 2-4/8 Cu. Sun, SW 3-4. A calm evening.
The day was spent driving to Jamberoo. This gave us the opportunity to watch out for a wide variety of common birds en route. On arriving at Jamberoo we met Roz, Richard's partner.
After a fine pub meal in the evening we drove around the forested area spotlighting wildlife. We were lucky enough to find a Tawny Frogmouth, a fine Greater Glider and two Common Wombat.
FRIDAY 29 OCTOBER
WEATHER 8/8 Cu, dull, SW 4 cold. Lighter wind p.m.
The day started with a walk around the forest near Richard's home 'The Wollery'. We were soon watching Whipbird, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and King Parrot. Richard also showed us a magnificent bower of the Satin Bowerbird. Breakfast was taken at the house.
By 10.00 we were at Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. There was bird song to be heard but the open heath was wind swept making it hard to see the birds. Eastern Bristlebird was seen briefly but the Southern Emu-wren was only heard. We did, though, have good views of Rufous Whistler and Black-faced Monarch. The event of the day, however, involved a mammal. As we were driving out of the reserve Richard glanced down a ride, in the hope of seeing an eastern Bristlebird, only to find a feeding Long-nosed Poteroo, a tiny and very local marsupial. This was very fortunate.
We then paid a brief visit to the Budderoo Plateau, another area of heath. Once again Eastern Bristlebird was seen briefly by one or two of us.
Lunch at the 'Wollery' was divided between eating and watching a fine selection of birds including Satin Bowerbird, Black-faced Monarch, Topknot Pigeon and Grey Butcherbird.
In the afternoon we visited Minnamurra Forest. The main attraction here were the Superb Lyrebirds. We even managed to see a male imitating the songs of other local birds. Fruiting trees had attracted a host of birds including Green Catbirds and Satin Bowerbirds. An Echidna and a splendid Rufous Fantail were also seen.
We then had to drive to new accommodation in nearby Berry as the hotel in Jamberoo could only spare us one night.
In the evening we drove to the Silo Estate Restaurant and Winery. This was a special occasion as this was Richard's last night as a Wildlife Tour Agent. The meal was splendid and the wine flowed. The speech was short and the stories tall.
SATURDAY 30 OCTOBER
WEATHER 4/8 Cu, son, 0
By 08.30 we were at Bomaderry Creek Regional Park, a forested sandstone gorge. We were soon watching a pair of delightful Variegated Fairy-wrens and a male Leaden Flycatcher. We then walked the rocky paths in search of the Rock Warbler, a species only to be found in this habitat. We eventually enjoyed a close encounter with the Warbler but not before we had noted two rather sinister looking reptiles: a Diamond Python and an Eastern Water Dragon.
On the drive to Sydney Airport we added a lone Cattle Egret to the list of birds.
Having wished Richard and Roz a fruitful retirement and bade goodbye to Jane, Clive, Mary and Martin, who were continuing their holiday, we set off for home.
SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER
Home safe and sound!
TASMANIA AND SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA
CHECKLIST OF BIRDS
BER Berry area
DEN Deniliquin area
ECH Echuca area
GRA Grampian area
JAM Jamberoo area
LDES Little Desert area
WER Werribee area
 Total number
() Peak count
Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae Common from GRA to DEN
Little (Blue) Penguin Eudyptula minor Noted at nest sites TAS
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae Widespread. (30) TAS
Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus Common WER and seventeen Nhill
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Very local TAS
Wandering (Gibson's) Albatross Diomedea exulans One TAS
Shy (White-capped) Albatross Diomedea cauta At least four TAS
Black-browed albatross Diomedea melanophrys One immature TAS
PETRELS & Shearwaters Procellariidae
Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus One TAS
Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli One TAS
Cape Petrel Daption capense One TAS
Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur At least fifty TAS
White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctinalis At least six TAS
Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris Estimated one thousand TAS
BOOBIES & GANNETS Sulidae
Australasian Gannet Morus serrator At least sixteen TAS and one WER
Australian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae Three records Apollo Bay area
Little Black Cormorant (Shag) Phalacrocorax sulcirostris Common TAS and WER
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Common in coastal areas
Pied Cormorant (Shag) Phalacrocorax varius Common WER and one on NSW coast
Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens Only noted TAS where common
Little Pied Cormorant (Shag) Phalacrocorax melanoleucos Scattered records in coastal areas
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus The largest concentration was at WER (75), scattered records elsewhere
HERONS & BITTERNS Ardeidae
White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica Noted from GRA onwards. Scattered records except for (120) at Lake Lonsdale GRA
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis One JAM
Great White Egret Egretta alba Scattered records, single birds or pairs
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia One TAS
White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae Scattered records throughout
IBISES & SPOONBILLS Threskiornithidae
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca Mainly WER (50) and DEN (20)
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis At least one thousand WER and (80) DEN
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia Ten noted WER
Black Swan Cygnus atratus Common in wetland. Peak count 750 Lake Lonsdale GRA
Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis Six WER
Musk Duck Biziura lobata One TAS and at least sixty WER
Cape Barren Goose Cereopsis novaehollandiae Five TAS and one WER
Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides Only in small parties (24) WER and (10) Nhill
Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata Common throughout
Grey Teal Anas gracilis Thirty Wer and scattered records in ponds and river beds
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea Noted TAS and WER where (750)
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos One, of unknown origin TAS
Pacific Black (Grey) Duck Anas superciliosus Common throughout
Australian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis Small flocks WER
Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus Up to eighty WER
Hardhead Aythya australis Up to eight hundred WER
Australian Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris Widespread VIC and NSW
Black Kite Milvus migrans Scattered records. (7) DEN
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus Mainly WER 
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster Four records TAS
Swamp (Australasian) Harrier Circus approximans Very common Tas and WER 
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus Two TAS
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax Widespread 
Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides One GRA, one LDES, one TT
FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconidae
Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides Common on the mainland 
Brown Falcon Falco berigora Three TAS, common on the mainland 
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis One TAS and one DEN
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Two New Norfolk TAS and three LDES
Brolga Grus rubicunda Two adults with two immatures wer and two adults Lake Lonsdale GRA
Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata Two pairs LDES
PHEASANTS & Partridges Phasianidae
Stubble Quail Coturnix pectoralis Four en route LDES
RAILS & COOTS Rallidae
Black-tailed Native-hen Gallinula ventralis One LDES and twenty Nhill
Tasmanian Native-hen Gallinula mortierii Common TAS
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa Only six records
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio Two TAS, twenty two WER and two Sydney
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra Common WER and eighty Lake Lonsdale GRA
PLAINS-WANDERER Charadriiformes Pedionomidae
Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus A wonderful female DEN
(Australian) Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris Common in coastal areas
Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus Four records on rocky shores
AVOCETS AND STILTS Recurvirostridae
Black-winged (Pied) Stilt Himantopus himantopus Common WER (140) and a few Nhill (9)
Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae At WER (120) and five Nhill
Australian pratincole Stiltia isabella Three DEN
Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor Twenty one WER, two DEN and one en route JAM
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles Common throughout
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva Fifteen WER
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus Fifteen TAS and one Nhill
Hooded Plover Thinornis rubricollis One TAS
Black-fronted Dotterel Elyseyornis melanops Scattered records (5)
Red-kneed Dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus Fourteen Nhill
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Forty TAS and twelve WER
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Two Nhill
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Nine WER
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis At least 250 WER
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata At least 330 WER and two Nhill
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Four WER
Pacific Gull Gabianus pacificus Six records TAS and ten WER
Kelp (Dominican) Gull Larus dominicanus Common TAS
Silver (Red-billed) Gull Larus novaehollandiae Common on the coast, two Nhill
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus Common WER
Crested (Swift) Tern Sterna bergii Noted in TAS and at WER. (80) TAS
PIGEONS & DOVES Columbidae
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Common in towns
Spotted Turtle Dove Streptopelia chinensis Only WER and JAM
Brown Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis One JAM
Common Bronzewing Phaps chalcoptera One TAS and common GRA to ECH
Brush Bronzewing Phaps elegans One TAS
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps (Geophaps) lophotes Widespread on the mainland
Peaceful Dove Geopelia placida Five LDES
Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus Three JAM
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus Six GRA and LDES
Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna Five TAS and eleven GRA
Purple-crowned Lorikeet Glossopsitta porphyrocephala Six LDES
Cockatiel Nyphicus hollandicus Two ECH
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus Widespread
Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum Six GRA
Galah Eolophus roseicapillus Common
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita Common
Little Corella Cacatua sanginea Common Only noted GRA
Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris Common GRA to DEN
Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis Three GRA and one JAM
Superb Parrot Polytelis swansonii Ten DEN
Australian Ringneck Barnardius zonarius Widespread LDES, ECH and DEN
Green Rosella Platycercus caledonicus Common TAS
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans Common GRA and DEN where the yellow form was noted
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius Common TAS and LDES
Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus Common from Apollo Bay to JAM
Blue-winged Parrot Neophema chrysostoma Four GRA and six LDES
Swift Parrot Lanthamus discolor Nineteen records TAS
OLD WORLD CUCKOOS Cuculidae
Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus Common TAS
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis Two sightings but heard more widely
Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo Chalcites basalis Heard TAS, seen WER and LDES
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chalites lucidus Widespread
TYPICAL OWLS Strigidae
Southern Boobook Ninox boobook Heard TAS and LDES
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus stigoides Two breeding pairs LDES and a single bird JAM
Australian Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles cristatus One DEN
Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azureus Two records DEN area
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus One GRA, four DEN and one JAM
HALCYONS & KOOKABURRAS Dacelonidae
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae Common
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus Thirty three records Gra to DEN
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis Four JAM
Singing Bushlark Mirafra cantillans (javanica) One TT
Skylark Alauda arvensis Common TAS and WER
SWALLOWS & MARTINS Hirundinidae
White-backed Swallow Cheramoeca leucosternus Three DEN
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena Common
Tree Martin Hirundo nigricans Common
Fairy Martin Hirundo ariel A colony GRA and small numbers DEN
WAGTAILS & PIPITS Motacillidae
Australian Pipit Anthus australis Scattered records throughout. Most common in open agricultural areas
Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae Noted throughout
White-winged Triller Lalage sueurii One LDES and one DEN
Bassian Thrush Zoothera lunulata Two GRA
(Common) Blackbird Turdus merula Common throughout
Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus Two JAM
White-browed Babbler Pomatostomus superciliosus Common LDES to DEN
CISTICOLAS & ALLIES Cisticolidae
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis Several WER
OLD WORLD WARBLERS Sylviidae
Little Grassbird Megalurus gramineus Heard WER
Rufous Songlark Cinclorhamphus mathewsi Scattered records on farmland
Brown Songlark Cinclorhamphus cruralis Two LDES
Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus auatralis Four WER
AUSTRALASIAN WRENS Maluridae
White-winged Fairy-wren Malurus leucopterus A family party DEN
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus Common except JAM
Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti A pair Bomaderry Creek
Southern Emu-Wren Stipiturus malacharus Heard Barren Grounds
THORNBILLS & FLYEATERS Acanthizidae
Eastern Bristlebird Dasyornis brachypterus Two brief encounters Barren Grounds and Budderoo Plateau
Rufous Bristlebird Dasyornis broadbenti One, seen well, Twelve Apostles
Pilotbird Pycnoptilus floccosus Heard Barren Grounds
Rock-Warbler Origma solitaria One Bomaderry Creek
Tasmanian (Brown) Scrubwren Sericornis humilis Several TAS
White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis Common in mainland forests
Scrubtit Acanthornis magnus One TAS
Chestnut-rumped Heathwren Hylacola pyrrhopygia Heard Barren Grounds
Striated Fieldwren Calamanthus fuliginosus One WER and two LDES
Buff-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza reguloides Widespread LDES to DEN
Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla Widespread
Tasmanian Thornbill Acanthiza ewingii Several TAS
Yellow-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa Widespread
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza uropygialis Several DEN
Yellow Thornbill Acanthiza nana Widespread LDES to DEN
Striated Thornbill Acanthiza lineata Three GRA
Weebill Smicornis brevirostris Several GRA to LDES
Brown Gerygone Gerygone mouki Common JAM
Southern Whiteface Aphelocephala leucopsis Common TT to DEN
White-fronted Chat Ephthianura albifrons Common WER
Southern Scrub-robin Drymodes brunneopygia Elusive LDES and TT
Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae Seen well Bomaderry Creek
MONARCH FLYCATCHERS Monarchidae
Black-faced Monarch Hypothymis azurea Three JAM
Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula Two Bomaderry Creek
Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta Three GRA
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys Common on the mainland
(Grey) Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa Common throughout
Rufous fantail Rhipidura rufifrons Two JAM
AUSTRALASIAN ROBINS Petroicidae
Jacky Winter Microeca fascinans Common GRA to DEN
Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor Common TAS and a pair Budderoo Plateau
Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii Common LDES to DEN
Flame Robin Petroica phoenicea Common TAS and two LDES
Pink Robin Petroica rodinogaster Three pairs TAS and a male GRA
Rose Robin Petroica rosea Two males GRA
Hooded Robin Petroica cucullata A pair LDES
Dusky Robin Melanodryas vittata Two TAS
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis Widespread GRA to JAM
Crested Shrike-Tit Falculnculus frontatus One DEN
Olive Whistler Pachycephala olivacea Heard TAS
Gilbert's Whistler Pachycephala inornata Elusive LDES and TT
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis Common on the mainland
Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris Noted GRA to JAM
Grey Shrike-Thrush Colluricincla harmonica Widespread throughout
Varied Sittella Daphoenositta chrysoptera Flocks LDES to DEN
AUSTRALIAN CREEPERS Climacteridae
Brown Treecreeper Climacteris picumnus In very mature woodland GRA to DEN
White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea Widespread GRA to JAM
FLOWERPECKERS + PARDALOTES Dicaeidae
Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum Only LDES
Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus A pair TAS
Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus Widespread
Striated Pardalote Pardalotus substriatus Widespread
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis Scattered records throughout
Lewin's Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii Only JAM -BER
Singing Honeyeater Lichenostomus virescens Only GRA and DEN
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops Confined To GRA, LDES and JAM
Purple-gaped Honeyeater Lichenostomus cratitius Two LDES
Fuscus Honeyeater Lichenostomus fuscus Four LDES
White-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus Common and widespread on the mainland
White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis Ten records LDES
Yellow-throated Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavicollis Common TAS
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops Six GRA
Brown-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris Common LDES
White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus Elusive from Castle Cove to GRA
Black-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus affinis Common TAS
Strong-billed Honeyeater Melithreptus validirostris Common TAS
Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus One DEN
Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis Three DEN and several BER
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater Phylidonyris melanops Common LDES
Crescent Honeyeater Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera Common TAS and GRA
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae Common throughout
Striped Honeyeater Plectorhyncha lanceolata One DEN
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris Two TAS and scattered records on the mainland
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala Widespread, especially in towns
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Acanthagenys rufogularis Common LDES to DEN
Brush Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera Only TAS
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera paradoxa Common on the mainland
Yellow Wattlebird Anthochaera paradoxa Common TAS
Magpie-Lark Grallina cyanoleuca Common
White-winged Chough Corcorax melanoramphus Common from LDES onward
Masked Woodswallow Artamus personatus Up to a hundred LDES to DEN
White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus Up to five hundred LDES to DEN
Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus Mainly TAS but records from GRA and JAM
Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus Two TAS and one JAM
Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis One en route JAM
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen Common
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina Common Gra and DEN to JAM
Black Currawong Strepera fuliginosa Widespread TAS
Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor Two LDES
Green Catbird Ailuroedus crassirostris Several Bomaderry Creek
Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus Several JAM and Bomaderry Creek
JAYS & CROWS Corvidae
Australian Raven Corvus coronoides Thinly spread over farmland
Forest Raven Corvus tasmanicus Common TAS
Little Raven Corvus mellori Common. Flocks in farmland
OLD WORLD ORIOLES Oriolidae
Olive-backed Oriole Priolus sagittatus One TT
Common (European) Starling Sturnus vulgaris Common
Common/Indian Myna Acridotheries tristis Common, especially in towns
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris A handful of records TAS
(European) Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Common TAS to GRA
WAXBILLS AND ALLIES Estrildidae
Beautiful Firetail Stagonopleura bella Three TAS
Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata One LDES and two TT
Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis Four GRA
Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata Common DEN 
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Common
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Two WER
MONOTREMES - Spiny Anteaters Monotremata - Tachyglossidae
Short-nosed Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus Two TAS and one Bomaderry Creek
MARSUPIALS - Marsupial Mice Marsupiala - Dasyuridae
Fat-tailed Dunnart Sminthopsis crassicauda One DEN
MARSUPIALS - Wombats - Vombatidae
Common Wombat Vombatus ursinus Two JAM
MARSUPIALS - Phalangers Marsupiala - Phalangeridae
Brush-tailed Possum Trichosurus vulpecula Three TAS
MARSUPIALS - Ringtail Possums Marsupiala - Petauridae
Greater Glider Peteuroides volans One JAM
MARSUPIALS Koala Marsupiala - Phascolartidae
Koala Phascolarctos cinereus Four Great Ocean Road
MARSUPIALS - Kangaroos Marsupiala - Macropodidae
Long-nosed Poteroo Potorous tridactylas One Barren Grounds
Tasmanian (Red-bellied) Pademelon Thylogale billardierii Two TAS
Western Grey Kangaroo Macropus fuliginosus Four LDES and one DEN
Eastern Grey Kangaroo Macropus giganteus Several GRA
Red-necked Wallaby Macropus rufogriseus Several TAS and one GRA
Swamp Wallaby Wallabia bicolor Five GRA and one JAM
CARNIVORES - Dogs Carnivora - Canidae
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes One LDES and JAM
CARNIVORES - Sealions Carnivora - Otariidae
Australian Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus Eleven TAS
CETACEANS - Marine Dolphins Cetacea - Delphinidae
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis Five TAS
Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus One TAS
LAGOMORPHS - Rabbits & Hares Lagomorpha - Leporidae
European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Common TAS and scattered records on the mainland
DEER - Cervidae
Red Deer Cervus elaphus Several GRA
Tiger Snake One TAS
Diamond Python One Bomaderry Creek
Shingle-backed Lizard Eight records GRA and LDES
Eastern Water Dragon One Bomaderry Creek
Lace Monitor One LDES and one TT