Birds and wildlife in Exmouth, Australia

Where is a better place to see a Whale shark than Exmouth, Australia? Being the largest fish and an endangered species, Whale Shark made it into my bucket list and its this summer in Exmouth, I was very fortunate to swim and monitor this massive filter-feeding shark. Words cannot describe the overwhelming feelings of seeing one swim up close. Below is a photo taken by my Gopro!

whaleshark

Whale shark in Exmouth

Apart from Whale sharks, Sting rays, leopard sharks, Humpback whales and Dugongs are regular visitors in the waters of Exmouth.

dugong

Dugong at Monkey Mia!

echidna

Echidna rolled up into a spiky ball near the Dolphin resort in Monkey Mia

Our main stops and along the way to Monkey Mia, Exmouth, Karijini National Park yielded many birds and many are region-specific. 🙂 Its a wonder the desert areas produce quality birds and wildlife! These include the Australian Bustard, Spinifex pigeon, Chiming Wedgebill, Grassbird, scrubwren, Painted finch,Red-backed Kingfisher etc.!

Despite the long drive, each stop was unique, each stay was memorable. When in rural areas without light pollution.. one can clearly see the glittering stars! Exmouth and Beyond, a magical place to be with wonders above, on land and underwater. 🙂

spinifex pigeon

A regal looking Spinifex pigeon from Karijini National Park

Australian bustard

Australian Bustards are common in Exmouth region

ecolodge

Accommodation in Karijini National Park

Birds of Western Australia- Busselton, birding while whale watching

We were almost late for our whale watching tour as our GPS took us the wrong way! But as our car hurtled towards Busselton jetty, I could clearly see ducks, ibis, and even oystercatchers covered the wetlands at the sides of the road at close distance! But, I was too late to make any stop for any photos!!! 😦

Everyone onboard was high spirited, hoping to see Humpback whales with calves! Its the season to see them as they en-route to the Antarctic Ocean! But the sea was rough that day, and many onboard were seasick! Luckily for me, I was “immune” and kept my eyes wide open for any signs of wildlife! I was not disappointed to spot 2 lifers- Flesh footed Shearwater, and Gannet! And of course the Humpback whales showed up!! 🙂

flesh footed shearwater

flesh footed shearwater

Gannet

Gannet

Humpback whale with calf

Humpback whale with calf

As we head back, I also saw a Pacific Gull , Sandpiper, and a handful of terns roosting on rocky cliffs! As we moved on to our lunch appointment (haha!), I couldn’t help but made a short stop for Straw Headed Ibis at the wetland along the roadside!

Straw headed ibis

Straw headed ibis

Birds of Western Australia- Margaret River

Who loves a good wine? I do!! At the Margaret River Region, I whet my own appetite and savored good wines at some wineries-nearly soused! My accommodation was a very unique building- once a chapel, later transformed into Bed and Breakfast! It was a very comfortable and cozy place to stay, but the best part about this place was feathered friends who lived in the forest close by, make daily morning visits to the garden!! Almost as early as 5am, I could hear birds chirping outside! Quickly I made myself some hot coffee, grabbed my gears, and sat at the porch area! Talk about armchair birding! 🙂

Some of the birds I have seen and taken photos in the garden were-

  1. New Holland Honeyeater
  2. Galah
  3. Australian Ringneck
  4. Common Bronzewing
  5. White Naped Honeyeater
  6. Western Gerygone
  7. Little Corella
  8. Red Wattlebird
  9. Western Rosella
  10. Unknown flying duck that landed in neighbour’s pool!
White Naped Honeyeater

White Naped Honeyeater

 Red Wattlebird

Red Wattlebird

New Holland honeyeater

New Holland honeyeater

From left- Western Gerygone, Galah, Common Bronzewing

From left- Western Gerygone, Galah, Common Bronzewing

A short drive from my Bed and Breakfast place landed me at the Rotary Park! It was only a short visit and I only walked along the trail near the car-park area! Already I could here  rustling of leaves and while I was still trying to make sense of what was moving behind those scrubs…a huge flock of fairywrens popped out of nowhere! They all looked kind of different in colour, but since Variegated Fairywren (Malurus lamberti),  Red-winged Fairywren (Malurus elegans) and Blue-breasted Fairywren (Malurus pulcherrimus) can be found here, I tried to take photos of everyone of them…! But they outnumbered me and moved on too quickly for me to take photos of everyone of them!!!! Anyway, it was still an extraordinary sight to see them in large numbers!

Red-winged Fairywren, male and female

Red-winged Fairywren, male and female

Red-winged Fairywren but with a white back

Red-winged Fairywren but with a white back

Blue-breasted Fairywren

Blue-breasted Fairywren

Birds of Western Australia- Walpole National Park

The exciting bit about staying at Walpole was staying with the Kangaroos!! And of course seeing these wonderful kangaroos at close range was an awesome experience! The cottage was well equipped with cooking utensils and grill! We did a little cooking of our own- we bought steak, chicken wings, olives, cup noodles for dinner and breakfast! Oh yes, we also bought bananas and red wine! 🙂

Waking up to a wet morning where birds hardly chirped could mean a fruitless day!  Fortunately, rain ceased quickly and out came the birds who were eager for their first meal of the day!! Talk about luck!! 🙂  Birds in this area include-

  1. Western Rosella
  2. Scarlet Robin (male and female)
  3. Grey Wagtail
  4. Splendid Fairywren (male in molt, and female)
  5. Golden whistler
  6. Silvereye
  7. Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Walpole

Walpole

Baby kangaroo in pouch

Baby kangaroo in pouch

From right- Golden Whistler, Scarlet robin

From right- Golden Whistler, Scarlet robin

splendid fairywren

splendid fairywren

From right- grey wagtail, western rosella

From right- grey wagtail, western rosella

Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Birds of Western Australia- Gloucester National Park, Pemberton

The Gloucester National Park at Pemberton was one of our brief stops before we further hurtled down South. It was a soggy mid-morning, but light drizzles however, awakened the birds of Spring and at the car park, we were greeted by Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius), Rufous Treecreepers (Climacteris rufus) and even a few Red-Winged Fairywrens (Malurus elegans) peeked out from their hiding scrubs!

From right- Australian Ringneck, Rufous Treecreeper

From right- Australian Ringneck, Rufous Treecreeper

Red-Winged Fairywren

Red-Winged Fairywren

“One could not leave the park without climbing the Gloucester tree”, said my friend! And so while my buddy stood in line waiting to climb up the majestic tree (apparently 61m above ground! gasp!), I took the 800m trail walk hoping to see something special. As I trekked deeper, I heard some rustling sounds coming from the ground and soon spotted a mid-sized bird with a long, pointed curved bill and white throat foraged on the ground, turning almost every leaf to find food! It should be a babbler of some sort! The babbler probably saw me as it swiftly jumped onto a tree to join the others! Wow, there must be atleast 10 of them! One soon came close to me and I quickly pressed my shutter! Its later confirmed as a White-Browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus), another endemic ticked! 😛

White-Browed Babbler at Gloucester Tree

White-Browed Babbler at Gloucester Tree

Gloucester National Park is a bird-loving place. Though there were tourists who came to see the Gloucester Tree, birds were exceptionally close and friendly. I would love to spend a full day here, but we had a Tree-Top walk at Walpole in our itinerary, even though I have height phobia, after-all, not everything is about birds! And oh, we saw a Fan-tailed cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis) as we head back to collect our car! 😛

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Fan-tailed Cuckoo