Feb. 27th, 2006

gemfyre: (Default)
I've REALLY gotta respond to a load of e-mails.
gemfyre: (Default)
I've REALLY gotta respond to a load of e-mails.
gemfyre: (Tawny Frogmouths)
Yesterday I got up at 5am, drove 300 kilometres and saw around 80 species of birds. 3 of them were lifers.

The first interesting sighting came near Kenwick on Tonkin Hwy. On the traffic island sat a Common Bronzewing. It was before the sun had officially risen.

After turning off the main highway towards Lake McLarty I sighted 3 Regent Parrots flying overhead and a small flock of Black-faced Woodswallows.

Once we arrived at the Lake, the leader informed us that we'd be going straight to see the crakes, which were out in force yesterday. Now crakes are the bane of many birdwatchers. I'd only previously seen Spotted Crakes and even then it was just a second's glimpse as they ran into the undergrowth. The prospect of seeing Spotless Crakes, which I've dipped on multiple times and maybe even a Baillon's had me excited. We walked down to the lake and there they were along the edge of the reeds. First I got a look at through a scope was a Spotted, but a much better look than I previously had of these fellows. Then someone got a Little Grassbird, I took a look at this guy too - first time I've actually seen one of these, but I have heard them plenty of times around the place. Next crake I got to look at was a Baillon's, tick! Then someone called me over to look at the Spotless Crakes in their scope, two of them foraging. We walked closer and I even managed to watch them through my binoculars. Crakes EVERYWHERE! And they were still around at 11am when the sun was well up. So much for being dawn and dusk birds.

We walked quite a way out on to the lake (my mud boots stunk out my car for the rest of the day, even though I did put them in the boot). Many ducks, loads of swans, a few waders. One weird long-necked duck that no-one agreed on. Some were adamant that it was just a weird female Hardhead. Some of us thought it looked most like a Wandering Whistling Duck, which can pop up as a vagrant down here, but doesn't swim much and certainly doesn't dive - our long-necked duck was diving a lot.

After morning tea (and seeing about 50 thousand Grey Fantails), I drove around the corner to an area of bushland and added Scarlet Robin to the day's list. At the nearby Harvey Estuary I got a lone Crested Tern.

Seeing as I was already 1.5 hours from home I figured I better make the most of it while I was here. So I drove back into Pinjarra and out to South Yunderup - at the mouth of the Murray River. Not much new in the way of waterfowl at the boat ramp, just the regular species of Cormorant and Caspian Terns, but in the nearby bush I could hear various calls so I went to investigate. Splendid Fairy-Wrens, these were actually in abundance at all the places I visited today. I caught a glimpse of a Mistletoebird. I heard an Inland Thornbill then spotted it not long after, and near the Thornbill was another bird - a White-Browed Scrubwren! This was the first time I'd ever seen them in the trees. There were about 3 up there, great views of a bird that prefers to hide in the undergrowth. Hunger overtook then and I headed to a cafe to grab something for lunch. As I pulled in, I saw a Rufous-Night Heron alight in a tree over the carpark, there were at least 3 herons up there. I then popped around the corner to the "lagoon", an area of water cut off from the main estuary. There I found Yellow-rumped Thornbills, a couple of Red-capped Plovers out on the mudflats and still more Splendid Fairy-Wrens.

I then decided to start heading home. Earlier in the day I'd heard some other people discussing a good spot for Red-Eared Firetail, a bird that has eluded me many times. At the Lions Lookout on Welshpool Road. So I decided to go check it out and try my luck. I also got to explore the new extension of Tonkin Hwy - this will be very useful when I'm travelling south in the future.

I got to the lookout and started up the bushwalking track there. MORE Fairy-wrens bouncing around, then a small bird flitted onto a bare stem. "It can't be..." I thought as I brought my binoculars to my eyes. It was, one juvenille Red-eared Firetail. I watched it for a while, among the fairy-wrens before deciding to finally head home.

So, four and a half new birds!

Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis)
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Little Grassbird (Megalurus gramineus thomasi) - this I'm counting as a half-tick, finally saw it after hearing plenty of times.
Red-Eared Firetail (Stagnopleura oculata)

The day's list )
gemfyre: (Tawny Frogmouths)
Yesterday I got up at 5am, drove 300 kilometres and saw around 80 species of birds. 3 of them were lifers.

The first interesting sighting came near Kenwick on Tonkin Hwy. On the traffic island sat a Common Bronzewing. It was before the sun had officially risen.

After turning off the main highway towards Lake McLarty I sighted 3 Regent Parrots flying overhead and a small flock of Black-faced Woodswallows.

Once we arrived at the Lake, the leader informed us that we'd be going straight to see the crakes, which were out in force yesterday. Now crakes are the bane of many birdwatchers. I'd only previously seen Spotted Crakes and even then it was just a second's glimpse as they ran into the undergrowth. The prospect of seeing Spotless Crakes, which I've dipped on multiple times and maybe even a Baillon's had me excited. We walked down to the lake and there they were along the edge of the reeds. First I got a look at through a scope was a Spotted, but a much better look than I previously had of these fellows. Then someone got a Little Grassbird, I took a look at this guy too - first time I've actually seen one of these, but I have heard them plenty of times around the place. Next crake I got to look at was a Baillon's, tick! Then someone called me over to look at the Spotless Crakes in their scope, two of them foraging. We walked closer and I even managed to watch them through my binoculars. Crakes EVERYWHERE! And they were still around at 11am when the sun was well up. So much for being dawn and dusk birds.

We walked quite a way out on to the lake (my mud boots stunk out my car for the rest of the day, even though I did put them in the boot). Many ducks, loads of swans, a few waders. One weird long-necked duck that no-one agreed on. Some were adamant that it was just a weird female Hardhead. Some of us thought it looked most like a Wandering Whistling Duck, which can pop up as a vagrant down here, but doesn't swim much and certainly doesn't dive - our long-necked duck was diving a lot.

After morning tea (and seeing about 50 thousand Grey Fantails), I drove around the corner to an area of bushland and added Scarlet Robin to the day's list. At the nearby Harvey Estuary I got a lone Crested Tern.

Seeing as I was already 1.5 hours from home I figured I better make the most of it while I was here. So I drove back into Pinjarra and out to South Yunderup - at the mouth of the Murray River. Not much new in the way of waterfowl at the boat ramp, just the regular species of Cormorant and Caspian Terns, but in the nearby bush I could hear various calls so I went to investigate. Splendid Fairy-Wrens, these were actually in abundance at all the places I visited today. I caught a glimpse of a Mistletoebird. I heard an Inland Thornbill then spotted it not long after, and near the Thornbill was another bird - a White-Browed Scrubwren! This was the first time I'd ever seen them in the trees. There were about 3 up there, great views of a bird that prefers to hide in the undergrowth. Hunger overtook then and I headed to a cafe to grab something for lunch. As I pulled in, I saw a Rufous-Night Heron alight in a tree over the carpark, there were at least 3 herons up there. I then popped around the corner to the "lagoon", an area of water cut off from the main estuary. There I found Yellow-rumped Thornbills, a couple of Red-capped Plovers out on the mudflats and still more Splendid Fairy-Wrens.

I then decided to start heading home. Earlier in the day I'd heard some other people discussing a good spot for Red-Eared Firetail, a bird that has eluded me many times. At the Lions Lookout on Welshpool Road. So I decided to go check it out and try my luck. I also got to explore the new extension of Tonkin Hwy - this will be very useful when I'm travelling south in the future.

I got to the lookout and started up the bushwalking track there. MORE Fairy-wrens bouncing around, then a small bird flitted onto a bare stem. "It can't be..." I thought as I brought my binoculars to my eyes. It was, one juvenille Red-eared Firetail. I watched it for a while, among the fairy-wrens before deciding to finally head home.

So, four and a half new birds!

Spotless Crake (Porzana tabuensis)
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Little Grassbird (Megalurus gramineus thomasi) - this I'm counting as a half-tick, finally saw it after hearing plenty of times.
Red-Eared Firetail (Stagnopleura oculata)

The day's list )
gemfyre: (Anal-retentive)
Yes, I am in a tizz over a piece of stationery. I want to cross out my three new birds in my almanac, and I need my yellow highlighter for that!

In other news. Mmmm, shiny new debit card. Shopping sprees online for me! (When I get money).
gemfyre: (Anal-retentive)
Yes, I am in a tizz over a piece of stationery. I want to cross out my three new birds in my almanac, and I need my yellow highlighter for that!

In other news. Mmmm, shiny new debit card. Shopping sprees online for me! (When I get money).

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