Saturday 20 July 2024

Western Australia Days Twenty one to twenty two and twenty five to twenty nine, Perth and arounds

Apart from a couple of days on Rottnest, the last week of our WA trip has been family based at Mitch and Arthur's in Barragup by the Black Lake. I managed to pop out a few times to local sites including Victoria Dam, Bibra Lake, Thompson Lake, Lake Clifton, Yangebup Lake and walks from the house around Black Lake too. 

Family days out while being based here have included trips to Perth Zoo, the Red Zoo, Hillary's Aquarium, the Reptile Centre at Armadale, the Thrombolites at Clifton Lake and while Jacob and I were in Broome we visited the Crocodile park there too so there's been plenty of wildlife stuff for the kids too. The animal collections are interestingly Australia based too so we've so loads of endemic animals in the collections too including Bilbies, Dibblers, Wombats, Devils and Dugites. 

Have added a few more species to the trip list. Ebird trip report HERE.

Back to Singapore tomorrow and already planning a return trip to Oz, hopefully a year long trip which is what is needed to explore properly out here. It's been a nice little introduction though but only scratched the surface of this mind blowing continent.  

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (male) 

The closest I've got to Baudin's Black Cockatoos are these at Victoria Dam. Couldn't quite see the bills on them as these cockatoos often fluff their feathers up round their bills in colder conditions but a local birder said they were calling like Baudin's and they had been reported in this area a few days before too. 
Australian ducks at Lake Bibra- got Pink-eared Duck here which was on the wish list
Whistling Kite at Mitch and Arthur's
Red Wattlebird
Black Swans on Black Lake
Flipped over an iron sheet at Mitch and Arthur's and found this hibernating Bobtail - great to see as we have had very little herp action as it's mid-winter here
The Thrombolites at Lake Clifton- one of the most prehistoric life forms still living on the planet
Jacob (above) and Isaac (below) at the zoos 

The biggest dip of the trip was Numbat- here's one at Perth Zoo. The top reason to plan another trip back to Oz- next time for much longer. Feels like we've barely even started exploring round here and also there is loads more at different times of year. 

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Western Australia, Days Twenty-three to Twenty-four, Rottnest Island

We did a family two day trip to Rottness Island, offshore from Perth this week, primarily to see the Quokkas (Short-tailed Scrub Wallaby) that are abundant on the island (having become very rare on the mainland). Rottness Island is predator free and the Quokkas are thriving there with a population of over 10,000. 

The island is only a few miles off Perth but has a subtly different micro-climate influenced by a warm sea current and there are a few bird species there which are also not common on the nearby mainland including Red-capped Robin and White-fronted Chat. During the summer months (our winter) there are several decent wader species present on the salt lakes and Fairy terns are around (but unfortunately not this time of year). 

There are also Australian Sea Lions and New Zealand Fur Seals on the island and the island is also important for reptiles. The only species we saw was King's Skink as we are mid-winter here and there are not many reptiles around anywhere at the moment. 

Updated Trip Report HERE. Now on 210 bird species and still about 20 or 30 regular SWA species to target in the last week including three endemics- Baudin's Black Cockatoo, Western Shrike-tit and Western Corella but running out of time now and lots of family commitments in our last week but hoping to sneak in a bit more targeted birding. 

Quokkas (above) 
Australian Sea Lions- one of the rarest sea lions in the world. Another mammal lifer on this trip. Had a pretty good haul of Oz mammals over the last few weeks including Western Grey Kangaroo, Western Brush Wallaby, Tammar Wallaby, Agile Wallaby, Echidna, Honey Possum,  Quenda, Woylie, Quokka, Common Brush-tail Possum, Dugong, Indopacific Bottlenose Dolphin and Humpback Whale.   
Female Red-capped Robin 
White-fronted Chat
Indopacific Bottlenose Dolphin- in addition to several pods of 'Bottlenose Dolphins' (I'm assuming the small ones we have seen in the Swan River and in the Mandurah estuary are Indopacific but not sure if the ones offshore Rottness are too- presumably Common and Indopacific Bottlenose occur further offshore?)  we also had several Hump-backed Whales far off shore. I must have seen well over 50 Hump-backs on this trip as they are seemingly off shore anywhere round here but most were down south gathering in the bay at Cheyne Beach. 
Little Pied (above) and Pied Cormorant (below) 

Crested Tern
Red-capped Plover 
Pied Stilt on the Salt Lakes 

Saturday 13 July 2024

Western Australia, Days Thirteen to Twenty, Broome and the Dampier Peninsula

 Back from an epic 'holiday within a holiday' to Broome and the Dampier Peninsula in NW Australia with Jacob.

We stayed at Broome Gateway Caravan Park which is about 20 minutes out of town and explored the local area including Broome Bird Observatory, the Mangroves and the coastline. The main objective of the trip was to take Jacob to see the dinosaur footprints which the area is famed for, we took a tour for that.

We also took an outback drive to the tip of the Dampier Peninsula and overnighted at the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. 

Updated Ebird trip report HERE. Now on over 200 species for the trip and over 150 lifers. 

A few photo highlights below: 

Australian Bustard- the farmer next to the caravan park was ploughing the field which attracted up to 21 Australian Bustards in addition to over 300 Little Corellas and a load of Agile Wallabies. 
Mangrove Gerygone- the mangroves in the Broome area host several mangrove specialists. Dusky Gerygone (below) is a northwest endemic. 

Female Black-tailed Whistler (above) and male White-breasted Whistler (below)- both northwest mangrove specialists 

Mangrove Robin 
White-gaped (above) and Red-headed Honeyeaters (below) 

Lemon-bellied Flyrobin
Broad-billed Flycatcher 
Double-barred Finches 
Gouldian Finches (above) at the Water Treatment Plant at One Arm Point 
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater
Hooded Robin - had this while waiting for a traffic light to change on the outback road on the way back to Broome- a bonus lifer
Rainbow Bee-eaters
White-breasted Wood Swallow 
Pied Butcherbird 
Red-collared Lorikeet
Little Corellas
Brown Falcon
Female Red-tailed Black Cockatoo- numerous in the area 
Bar-shouldered Dove 
Great Bowerbird 
Dark phase Pacific Reef Egret 
Although in the austral mid-winter there were still several thousand shorebirds in Roebuck Bay from the Broome Bird Observatory. Mainly young birds that are not ready to breed yet or possibly old birds too. Most of the waders on the eastern flyway are currently in high Siberia. Eastern Curlews (above)
Spot the Asiatic Dowitcher in with the Great Knots and Bar and Black-tailed Godwits
Terek and Marsh Sand with Greenshank, Grey-tailed Tattler and Australian and Gull-billed Terns 
How many species in here? 
Terek Sandpipers, Grey-tailed Tattler and Turnstone 
Agile Wallaby- common in the area around Broome 
Dugong- had a few of these 'seacows' in the bay 
Presumably a Green Turtle- there was tens of these in Cygnet Bay 
Ray sp from the Town jetty 
Highlight of the trip was this Estuarine Crocodile out in the bay from the Jetty (above and below). After visiting the Crocodile Park that hosts captured Estuarine and Freshwater Crocodiles which have become public nuisances it was great to actually find a local croc in the wild. 

Green Tree Frog- we found this in our accommodation toilet. 
Jacob standing in a Brachiosaurus footprint  (above and below) and examining a theropod footprint (below that)- some kind of Megalasaurus