Monday, September 20, 2010

Birding around Perth

Bickley Brook

After picking up the car from the airport I headed straight for this location on the eastern edge of Perth. It is an area of heathy vegetation along a small creek below a reservoir. My friend Jim had advised it is one of the best areas close to Perth for Red-eared Firetail. As soon as I stepped out from the car I heard the call of the Western Gerygone which was to be a common sound during my stay around Perth, quite novel coming from Victoria where they are uncommon. Unfortunately the wind was quite strong which made tracking down the birds difficult. I walked down the creek where Western Wattlebird was the first local endemic of the trip. Brown Honeyeater was the common honeyeater of the reserve, particularly in the creek. In the thicker vegetation of the creek I heard the distinctive low whistle of a firetail between the gusts of wind. Soon enough I had great views of a number of Red-eared Firetails which appeared to be in full breeding mode. I had a great 15 minutes watching them chase each other with lengths of grass and they seemed quite unconcerned by my presence. Working my way back to the car I found a group of fairy-wrens which kept a good distance ahead of me. Eventually I had great views of a very nice male Splendid Fairy-wren. Back near the carpark I had my first Red-capped Parrots, a very beautiful bird. From here I headed down the highway towards Serpentine.

Serpentine National Park

Mark Stanley had recommended Serpentine National Park as a good place to see the wetter forest endemic so I headed here next. I hadn't really researched where to go and my map was rather large scale so I ended up at the Serpentine Dam where I got out for a walk. First bird I noticed was a raptor quartering over the trees near the water, it took me a moment to realise but I had my first Square-tailed Kite, which has been a real bogey bird of mine. It gave great views for about 10 minutes as it worked around the forest below where I was standing before eventually sailing away over the ridge. Also here were my first Western Spinebills and Western (White-naped) Honeyeaters. Not quite sure where I was going I drove back to the highway and found the entrance to Serpentine National Park proper. As I paid my 11 dollar entry fee, I had the privilege of having debris rained on my head by a feeding flock of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos. I parked the car and walked the short distance to the waterfall which proved to be a good move. Along this short stretch of track I very quickly had Red-winged Fairy-wrens and a very curious White-breasted Robin.  At the weir I had another Square-tailed Kite circling over head giving more brilliant views.

Back at the car I heard White-tailed Black-Cockatoos of some sort a fair distance away. I tracked these down and found a feeding group wich paid me little heed. From the call and observation I was fairly certain they were long-billed so I went back to the car and got the camera. Photos confirmed they were Baudin's Black-Cockatoos. Also around here were more fairy-wrens, Red-winged in the creek and Splendid higher up the hill.

With the wind picking up I decided to head to Dryandra where I would be staying the next couple of nights. The highlights of the drive were a Wedge-tailed Eagle feeding on road kill and a number of small groups of Black-Cockatoos


Northam - Wongan Hills

Herdsman Lake
Hillary's Pelagic

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