Birds of Western Australia- Birding on Penguin Island

Birding is also possible even when doing touristy activities! 😛 But to beat the human traffic, we took the earliest ferry to Penguin Island…and sure enough, birds were roosting along the coastal shoreline, nicely laid with strandlines of pebbles! 😛

It was a delight just to see Crested Terns (Thalasseus bergii) and Pied Oystercatchers (Haematopus longirostris) stamped on the sandy beach, Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) flew in close proximity to find a good landing spot on the beach, and  flocks of Australian Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) nicely distributed on the Northern cliff of the island. And of course  Silver Gulls (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) who love sun-sparkled beaches were seen everywhere, I am very sure their numbers outnumbered the people on the island!!

Crested Terns, Pied Oystercatcher

Crested Terns, Pied Oystercatcher

Pelicans with chicks, Caspian Tern in flight

Pelicans with chicks, Caspian Tern in flight

Coming from a concrete jungle, wildlife is sparce if any!! As our boat cruised towards the Seal Island,  we had excellent views of a group of Pied Cormorants, also known as the Pied Shag, basking under the hot sun! Ospreys and Whistling kite were also seen flying from cliff to cliff! It was a cool boat ride and while we savoured fish and chips at the pier, a Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens) came close to check us out! 🙂

Pied Cormorants!

Pied Cormorants!

Ospreys, one with fish!

Ospreys, one with fish!

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

singing honeyeater

singing honeyeater

And oh…we did not get to see any wild Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) at Penguin Island, they probably went out fishing…but its still cool to see a few at the feeding centre! 🙂 And here’s a picture of a seal..! hehe!

little penguin

little penguin

seal enjoying the sun.. zz

seal enjoying the sun.. zz

Birds of Western Australia- Stirling Range National Park

Stirling Range was one of the National Parks we stayed to do some bird watching and bushwalks! Accommodation was fairly basic, and there weren’t any cafes in that area, except getting food at the gas station or frozen dinner sold at the office! But birds were plentiful and they capered around the vicinity. The weather was more than delightful when we arrived! And immediately we were greeted by Dusky Woodswallows, Elegant Parrot, Grey Shrike-thrush, Tree Martins, Restless Flycatcher, Yellow Plumed Honeyeaters, Black faced Cuckooshrike, Tawny crowned honeyeater and many more that lingered around the office waiting for their bath!

From left to right- Grey Shrike-Thrush, Elegant Parrot, Black-Faced Cuckooshrike

From left- Dusky Woodswallows, Tree Martin

From left- Dusky Woodswallows, Tree Martin

From the left- Rainbow Bee-eater, Restless Flycatcher

From the left- Rainbow Bee-eater, Restless Flycatcher

From left- Tawny Crowned Honeyeater, Yellow Plumed Honeyeater

From left- Tawny Crowned Honeyeater, Yellow Plumed Honeyeater

Stirling Range is great for exploration as its complemented with many trails and creeks! Hoping to see more birds, we registered with Birdlife Australia who provided a birdwalk around that vicinity and we were shown the Tawny frogmouth nesting, Willie Wagtail nesting, Restless Flycatcher nesting, Grey Teals and Tree Martins, Welcome Swallows and even the nest of Little Eagle. But what caught my eye was a flock of  black- colored birds that protruded screeching calls during flight!! I would have thought they were just Ravens or Crows if the guide hadn’t corrected me that those were the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos, and they are endangered partly because they only lay 1-2 eggs every 2 years! :-/ Here’s the link for more information about this rare bird and its recovery project! http://birdlife.org.au/projects/carnabys-black-cockatoo-recovery

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo in Stirling Range National Park!

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo in Stirling Range National Park!

From left- Willie Wagtail, Tawny Frogmouth, Restless Flycatcher

From left- Willie Wagtail, Tawny Frogmouth, Restless Flycatcher

And of course Kingfishers were common sight at the creek! Sacred Kingfisher and the Laughing Kookaburra were residents at the creek area!  Stirling Range National park is definitely worth visiting- not only birds of Spring were very accommodating, the blossoms of wildflowers and seeing other wildlife made my stay here a truly unforgettable one! 😛

Sacred Kingfisher!

Sacred Kingfisher!

Melbourne’s western water treatment plant- What a huge supermarket!

cape barren goose and pelican

cape barren goose and pelican

When I was in Melbourne, I think I spent 70% of the time indulging in food! But surely I had to do some birding :P…and where’s a better place to bird than the Western Water Treatment Plant! It was truly an eye-opening experience (well, for me it was) to bird in Western Water Treatment Plant, which was only an hour drive from the city! This place was filled with lagoons, grasslands and coastline that provided an ideal and varied habitat for all sorts of birds! To bird in the water treatment plant, you need a permit! Click here for more information about permit application. 😛 😛

Pink eared duck and banded lapwing

Pink eared duck and banded lapwing

To beat the heavy traffic, I headed off at 0630, and arrived at the plant around 0740. There were gates to open to enter each zone area in the plant! So every time you opened the gate and drove your car in, you would have to lock the gate. Once in the plant, there were no shortages of birds- raptors, water birds, shore birds, bush birds, you just name it!! Having only spent 1/2 day in the area, I saw abt 50 birds, but I only took photos of  30 odd species (all new ticks!)… As I am writing this, I feel like going to Melbourne again, this time to do some serious birding! 😛

Royal spoonbill and Yellow Billed spoonbill

Royal spoonbill and Yellow Billed spoonbill

peregrine falcon and spotted harrier

peregrine falcon and spotted harrier

straited field wren and straw headed ibis

straited field wren and straw necked ibis

hard head, Musk duck and Black fronted plover

hard head, Musk duck and Black fronted plover

zebra finch and white fronted chat

zebra finch and white fronted chat

australian crake and white necked heron

australian crake and white necked heron

fairy martin, bushlark, golden headed cisticola

fairy martin, bushlark, golden headed cisticola

red capped plover, banded stilt, red necked advocet

red capped plover, banded stilt, red necked advocet

Sydney Botanical Gardens

It’s not my first time visiting Sydney but definitely the first time as a birder. It was Christmas when i visited and as I predicted the shops were closed for the festival and not many people seen on streets. “Great, less people means more birds”, I anticipated with hope. 😛 Afterall I am not into shopping…hehe

On the day of arrival, I quickly made a trip to the park in the late afternoon; To my surprise, I saw many flying foxes hanging on trees….flapping their wings and making loud noises. I stood under a tree to get some photos (BAD IDEA)! Apparently one flew out and pooped on me (Grrr….)! Anyway, after cleaning up the mess, I made my way to the central pond area. Below were some of the birds seen. 😛

Indian myna and noisy miner

Blue billed Duck and Australian Magpie

Pacific black duck and Bell myna

Golden whistler and little pied commorant

I read about a frogmouth and buff banded rail being residents in the park, but I didnt get to see them that afternoon. I knew I have to go back again. On the morning before I head off to Melbourne, I went to the park again and saw a park ranger. My instincts told me that I should ask him if he knew the whereabouts of the frogmouth (I was so smart!)… he pointed at the Pyramid and told me to search there. I took his advice  and soon found them! YAY!

tawny frogmouth

After bagging the frogmouth, I headed back to the store to get some soveniors for my friends…but the store is still closed. And as i walked around the back of the store, I suddenly saw this rail scurrying off! I sneaked behind him and to my delight, I found a family of buff banded rails! What luck!

Mission accomplished, and moving on to the next city- Melbourne! 😛 😛

buff banded rail

Australia- Sydney, Cattai National Park- Part 2 of 2

When I drove in the park, I didnt really know where to go. Fruiting trees and shrubs were plentiful, but no signs of birds. As I sat in the car, windows down- gazing dreamingly at the blue sky, I saw something gliding gracefully. “It’s a small plane gliding” I thought to myself. “Hmm, doesnt look like a plane….and it’s not Superman…” Only many seconds later did I realise its a Pelican. 😛

flying plane…I mean pelican!!

As I watch the “plane” glide away from me, a raptor flew towards the direction of the big bird! I just couldnt afford to miss this one! Grey Goshawk!

grey goshawk!

As I head back to my car, birds flew in from all directions, as if in a concerted behavior and landed in the patch of green right in front of me. Perhaps they were too busy with their breakfast…they didnt seem to be daunted by my appearance!

eastern spinebill

Red browed Finch

rufous whistler

Varigated Fairy Wrens

After an exciting hour ( there were more than 10 species), I was soon joined by a local birder (forgot his name, sorry!). I was truly amazed at his skills of pishing…something I have yet to learn. The guy was really friendly and knowledgeable- he helped me with some birds ID, and even pished a few birds for me!

scarlet honey eater

mistletoe bird

spotted pardalote

brown thornbill

As we drove on, we came to a golf course. On the other side of the course was a marsh wetland. We couldnt get into the wetland as it’s fenced all round.  But still, I managed to get the Australasian Grebe, Little Black Commorant and White Faced Heron. 😛

white faced heron

little black commorant and Australasian grebe

When noon arrived, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. My drive back to Sydney downtown was 1.5 hours ( I made a wrong turn somewhere ). >.<“