Wow it was a wonderful two days of birdwatching and bird photography with Alan from Sydney. It was Alan’s first visit to Western Australia, so he had not seen any of the south-west endemic species and also had a number of other species that he had not managed to photograph elsewhere in Australia.
Every client who contacts Perth Birds and Bush for a birdwatching tour is emailed a list of birds that can be seen in and around the Perth area and Alan returned the list with notes about which species he would like to see. Perth Birds and Bush then plans the tour day or days to ensure the best chance to see the most birds that the client is interested in seeing. For Alan it was best to have the first day in the Darling Range and Wandoo woodlands and the second day in the Darling Range, Banksia woodlands, and wetlands in the Perth suburbs.
Day 1: Darling Ranges and Wandoo Woodlands
The first two hours of the morning was spent in the Darling Ranges just to the east of Perth. We saw many bush birds including Australian Ringneck parrot, Red-capped Parrot, Splendid Fairy-wren, Red-winged Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin and Red-eared Firetail.
We then drove to the Wandoo woodlands further to the east of Perth. These woodlands are in an area which receives less rainfall than Perth and is the area where much of the forest has been cleared to grow wheat and raise sheep. It is a beautiful habitat that is very different to the Marri and Jarrah forests of the Darling Scarp and attract a number of different bird species.
In the Wandoo Woodlands we saw Painted Button-Quail, Western Rosella, Australian Ringneck parrot, Red-capped Parrot, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit, and Western Yellow Robin, as well as, other species. There seemed to be quite a few Painted Button-Quail present and we even managed to photograph one as it skulked away from us. We had both morning tea and lunch in this area to ensure that we made the most of this beautiful and species diverse area that is quite distant from the city.
On the way back into Perth we stopped briefly in the Darling Ranges again and had great views of Red-tailed black-Cockatoo, Western Yellow Robin and a variety of other more common species.
Day 2: Darling Range, Banksia woodlands and wetlands in Perth
The second day was spent looking for birds in the Darling Range that we couldn’t find on the first day and other bush and water birds that Alan wanted to see. We visited different sites in the Darling Range partly as these sites are slightly better for the birds in question and provided other places for Alan to experience. But as Alan was staying in Perth for about 1 week it allowed him to familiarize himself with these sites, so that he could go back again on his own, to take more photographs.
Our first stop was at Lake Monger in Perth, as a few days earlier I had seen Spotless Crake there and this was a target species for Alan. We never saw any but on the next day he went back to this location on his own and managed to see and photograph a Spotless Crake at the location I had shown him. We saw a large group of Blue-billed Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks and a number of Black-fronted Dotterel which are all very beautiful water birds!
Our second stop was a patch of Banksia woodland on our way to the Darling Scarp and almost immediately we had great views of Western Wattlebird feeding and calling. We saw this species several other times on the second day. Once we reached the Darling Scarp we soon were able to see and photograph Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Western Gerygone, Western Thornbill, Western Spinebill, and Scarlet Robin.
We then visited a large wetland for lunch and to start looking for some of the other water birds that Alan wanted to photograph. He was very pleased to see a large group of Musk Duck close to the edge of the wetland, a very large number of Pink-eared Ducks basking at the edge and we were both thrilled to see a Quenda or Southern Brown Bandicoot foraging out in the open! We saw a number of other species including: Glossy Ibis, Red-necked Avocet, Whistling Kite and Swamp Harrier. After this we went to another Banksia woodland site and saw a large variety of honeyeaters as well as a pair of Brown Goshawk.
Our biggest disappointment on the second day was that the Fairy Terns had left their nesting areas within the last week as the chicks had obviously fully fledged. However, Alan was visiting Rottnest Island during his stay and had a good chance to see them there. We finished the day at one more wetland site were we had excellent views of Nankeen Night Heron and Freckled Duck. We had distant views of a group of Purple-backed (Variegated) Fairy-Wrens including one male with some breeding plumage. We could hear some crakes calling and Alan had a quick glimpse of one but they were hiding from us too well!
In total over the two days we had both seen 91 species of birds and this included over 20 species that were lifers for Alan that he had managed to photograph.