Friday, October 31, 2014

Perth and South Western Australia, 8-16 October 2014

After birding in Cairns’s Atherton Tableland our interest was piqued to see more of Australia’s bird species many of which are endemic to the continent.  With an offer on Singapore Airlines special fare of $610 return to Perth it was a quick decision to do second driving trip from Perth and southward to Albany for the South-west specialties.

We gathered information from others who had done bird trips from the internet and made our itinerary to visit the various nature reserve/national parks from Perth.  We then checked for hotels/motels near to the areas we would visit.

Bookings for our car was done through Europcar which we had used in the Cairns trip and accommodations were either directly with the establishments or through
Musk Duck

We arrived early in the morning of Wed 9th October and collected our Camry at Perth airport.  Using the GPS we arrived at Murray Hotel which was conveniently located for our first birding spot the King’s Park and Botanic Gardens.  There was also the free city bus just outside Murray hotel that we took for shopping later in the day.   The first bird we saw at King’s Park was the Red Wattle Bird which was a lifer but we found it almost everywhere we went and noticed it can be aggressive as it often mobs the bigger Torresian  Crow.

Hoary-headed Grebe 
Driving out of Perth to the lakes Monger, Herdsman and Perry we found we need more time to explore the walking paths and trails near the water.  Ducks and cormorants can be observed at closer range than we experienced in Cairns.  These lakes and nature reserves are just 20 minutes away from the city center, well worth visiting on any future trip to Perth.

On Friday we left Perth for Wungong  Dam and the vicinity for some forest birding.  We found Bungedore  Park interesting where we saw our first Scarlet Robin.

Rainbow Lorikeet

While on our way to Narrogin we had to detour due to a serious accident on the highway; we drove back to Armadale and took a longer route to Albert Facey Motel.  On arrival, there was a wild life tour bus at the car park and we found a group of UK visitors were also staying there.   Just across from the motel the Foxes Liar produced a nice surprise of another Robin, the Red-capped Robin. The next morning we drove to the Dryandra Woodlands where we saw tree-creepers, robins and more species of parrots/cockatoos in the forest.

On Sunday we left for Stirling Range Retreat and this would take us further into the highlands.  We did not full appreciate the remoteness of the area and on the way and did not stock up on food that we were advised to bring to the retreat. 
New Holland Honeyeater
On arrival we were told the nearest “town” would be where we came from or 2 hours drive to Albany.   We bought some frozen food packs from the retreat and checked into our chalet.  We explored the compound of the retreat and were pleasantly surprised to see many birds with 3 nests  very closed to the chalets.

Next morning we drove to Albany as there were a couple of sites that we could visit and on the way back we would get some supplies for our 3 nights stay at Stirling Range Retreat.

On Tue 14th October after preparing our packed lunch we explored Mt Trio, the  Mabinup Nature Reserve, Camel Lake, Salt River.  Later drove to Cranbrook, a quiet town with only a cafĂ© open.  The off-roads were hot and dry with no traffic, except the occasional farm vehicles.  We saw at least 6 road-kills of mainly kangaroos among other wildlife along these unpaved roads.
We visited a bigger town Mt Barker, on the way for a break, before driving to Popongorup National Park in the late afternoon. 
Australian Golden Whistler
This site was promising but we only had time to walk along the road, outside the park, where we saw a lot of birds and  a family of  kangaroos.

Wed 15th October we checked out of Stirling Range Retreat for a long drive back to Perth.  We selected a B&B at Gooseberry Hill which is 15 minutes to the airport. At Grandview B&B we had a grand view of the city from the deck, a perfect culmination to our 9 day trip to Perth, where we saw 57 lifers out of a total of 82 bird species.

Shingleback Skink

Gould's Monitor

Red-capped Robin
Willie Wagtail

Common Bronzewing
Scarlet Robin
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo
Rainbow Lorikeet 

Rufous Treecreeper 
Western Spinebill

Sunset from Gooseberry Hill