Wow time has flown by and it is over halfway through Spring! With the warmer weather this spring, our wildflowers here in Perth have just gone past the peak. But they are only just past the peak flowering and most flowers are still showing their glorious colours.
The daisies in the Wandoo woodlands are at there most brilliant and dazzling in white and yellow! There are also patches of Blue Lechenaultia along the road verges in the Darling Ranges and Wandoo Woodlands. The gorgeous yellow Common Popflowers are also along some verges in the Wandoo woodlands.
Some of the beautiful flowers that have been out in the last week are:
There will be plenty of beautiful wildflowers to enjoy in the Perth area in glorious spring weather over the next few weeks. It’s well worth visiting the bush while there are still so many beautiful flowers out and before the hotter weather arrives.
Wow! The wildflowers are really looking beautiful at the moment but still not quite peaking yet. The spots that will become a blaze of colour still have quite a bit of green peaking thru the colourful blooms. Many of the carnivorous plants of the genus Drosera are flowering with Orange, Pink and White flowers (see some images below). Quite a few of the orchids are also flowering now.
The aroma as you walk through the hills is amazing! The Karri Hazel is absolutely at its best and, with the scientific name of Trymalium odoratissimum, you can understand that they have a strong perfume! The Honey Bush (Hakea lissocarpha) is also still covered in white flowers and fills the air with it’s sweet perfume.
Some of the flowers out now include:
It is great to see many people out and about enjoying our wildflowers and natural parks at the moment. Last weekend, when on a Wildflower, Waterfall and Wildlife tour, some of the carparks were very full with cars as many local families and visitors were enjoying the scenery. I urge you to get outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us here in Perth while it is looking spectacular and while the weather is absolutely brilliant!
August is not the peak wildflower season in Perth but it is a time when many of the wildflowers are starting to bloom. You will see individual flowers open from a variety of species rather than large areas of colour. There are enough flowers blooming now to fill your flower rainbow!
So what is flowering now in the Perth area? I am glad you asked! Some of the flowers out now are depicted below.
It is definitely a good time to get out into the bush to take in the beauty that surrounds us. Bush walking and looking at wildflowers is a great way to take a mindful break from our high paced lives. Be in the moment observing nature by looking, smelling, feeling the texture of the leaves and bark and listening to the sounds of our glorious natural areas!
Every birdwatcher and bird photographer is different and Perth Birds and Bush is knowledgeable enough to meet these different needs. Let me tell you about three different bird tours for each of Donna, Grace and Geoff. They were all keen bird photographers but all very different in what they wanted from their tour.
Geoff is from the UK and was more of a birder who takes photographs when the opportunity arises. He happy to see the birds and photographs are a secondary but still important part of his hobby. He booked a five hour tour with the primary focus being local endemic species as he had not visited Perth before. On the five hour tour we visited 3 bush bird locations in the Darling Range and one wetland location. The wetland spot was included as he had not seen Tawny Frogmouth and was keen to see some raptors. Geoff definitely photographed more bird species than Grace or Donna but we did not spend time letting the birds get closer to us or trying to move around the birds for better light. We saw at least 53 species on the tour.
Donna from Melbourne wanted to see and photograph 5 bird species that she had not yet seen on her many visits to Perth. These were Western Spinebill, Western Wattlebird, Western Thornbill, Western Yellow Robin and Gilbert’s Honeyeater. We visited three locations during her 5 hour tour and she saw and photographed Western Spinebill, Western Wattlebird and Western Thornbill from her target list. In total we only saw 23 birds but it was the species which mattered. Donna is keen to see her birds but wants to also get photographs of each one. But she does not need to get perfect photos, that is an amazing bonus! She was thrilled to have photographed three of her target species and the next day she went back on her own to one of the spots we visited and managed to take a beautiful photograph of a Western Yellow Robin.
Grace from Canada booked a 4 hour tour and wanted to get fabulous photographs of a fairy-wren and possibly a robin. We went to a location where there are two species of fairy-wren and two species of robins present. She uses a tripod and likes to spend time letting the birds get close to her so that she can take stunning crisp photographs. She got amazing photographs of several Splendid Fairy-wrens, Scarlet Robin and White-breasted Robin, as well as some other species. Several times during the tour the Splendid Fairy-wrens were within 2 meters of us and similarly the Scarlet Robins and White-breasted Robin were within 2 meters of us at least once. We only saw 14 species in the four hours but only need to walk about 100 meters to find the species at the location we were at!
These tours were all very different but all three people were very happy with their tours. Communication when booking a tour is the key thing to ensure Perth Birds and Bush will plan the best tour for you. When you book using the booking form please include a comment about what you want from the tour. I always send a bird list back to you from the initial bird tour booking to check what you want to see to make sure that I can plan your tour to meet your wishes!
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.
It was a superb spring day when I took Alexandre birdwatching well east of Perth! I picked him up in South Perth where the city views over the river were gorgeous! He was working in Perth for a few weeks and it was his first time to Western Australia.
Alexandre had already enjoyed a 5 hour “maximum birds” tour with Perth Birds and Bush and had seen 66 species on that tour. He discussed having a full day tour to see some more bird species but to get further out of Perth to see a different landscape. We decided together to travel east visiting a few Wandoo sites and a Wheatbelt Town on the Avon River – Brookton.
With the long distance to travel we only stopped at four birdwatching sites. The first was a one hour drive east of Perth and we were lucky to see some super birds including: Painted Button-Quail, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Western Rosella, Rufous Treecreeper, and the gorgeous Blue-breasted Fairy-Wren. We were also lucky to see some Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo’s on our way to the reserve and able to stop and enjoy good views of this endangered species.
Next stop was a small park in Brookton it was a good spot for honeyeaters but unfortunately the Brown-headed Honeyeaters were darting around too quickly for Alexandre to get good views of them.
We bought lunch at a local café and then went to the river to eat and have a walk along the river to look for some birds! We saw a quite a few but the best was a number of Western Corella’s and a young Rufous Treecreeper.
We then went to a very large nature reserve called Boyagin Rock. This is a great patch of Wandoo tucked away among the large wheat, sheep and canola farms. On the way to the rock we were lucky to notice a farm with several Australasian Pipits and White-winged Trillers feeding. But this was especially lucky as when we stopped to look at them, we were able to watch a Brown Falcon flying low over the farm! It made several sweeping flights while we watched.
At Boyagin Rock Nature Reserve we saw quiet a few bird species. Even though it was a warm afternoon the birds were still busy calling and feeding. Alexandre was very taken with the Red-capped Robins. Who wouldn’t be? But he also liked the Crested Pigeons, Red-capped Parrots, Galahs. Australian Ringnecks, Splendid Fairy-Wrens, and Scarlet Robins.
It had been a long day and time to return to Perth. We had seen a total of 59 species during the day and had added 23 new bird species to Alexandre’s bird list. Including a majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle on the return journey!
Vickie and Murray were visiting from Queensland and wanted to get out to see some of Perth’s wildflower and parklands. They booked on a 4 hour Wildflower, Waterfall and Wildlife tour which was a shortened version of the one advertised on the tours page. The shortening of the tour meant that the Zig Zag Scenic drive was taken out of the 5 hour tour package as Vickie was keen to see Wildflowers and the two waterfalls as they were flowing well and Queensland is in the middle of a terrible drought.
First stop was the Wildflowers in the Ellis Brook Valley which is part of Banyowla Regional Park. On the drive into the park we saw a large group of Western Grey Kangaroos, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos and Baudin’s Black-Cockatoos. The wildflowers are not at their peak yet in August but there were still a lot of wildflowers blooming beautifully. Parts of the distant hillside at Ellis Brook were whitened with the many white flowering hakeas (Hakea Trifurcata and Hakea lissocarpha).
But there was a lot of other colourful blooms. Yellow was well represented with Buttercups (Hibbertia hypericoides), Golden Hibbertia (Hibbertia aurea), Many-flowered Honeysuckle (Lambertia multiflora) and Prickly Moses (Acacia pulchella), all covered in bright yellow flowers. The dense purple flowerings of Prickly Hovea (Hovea pungens) and Native Wisteria (Hardenbergia comptoniana) are always hard to ignore! There were stunning red flowers on the Candle Cranberry (Astroloma filiosum), Moss-leaved Heath (Astroloma ciliatum) and Fushia Grevillea (Grevillea bipinnatifida). Vickie was taken with the beautiful soft pink grey flowers of Granite Petrophile (Petrophile biloba) and we found one bush of Pincushion Coneflower (Isopogon dubius) covered in bright pink flowers. Many other Pincushion coneflowers were covered in buds as were the Verticordia acerosa indicating we are weeks away from the hillside being covered in yellow with dots of bright pink. We found several orchids out including the Bluebeards (Cyanicula deformis), Midge Orchid (Cyrtostylis huegelii) and Common Donkey Orchid (Diuris corymbosa).
We went to the Sixty Foot Falls in Banyowla Regional park and walked up to the first lookout. The falls are flowing well and were lit in beautiful sunshine while we were there. We were very lucky too that there was only one group of other people in the area so virtually had the place to ourselves! This enabled us to relax and enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere to the fullest!
Next we had afternoon tea at Bickley Brook Reservoir and on the way there saw another much larger group of Western Grey Kangaroos! At Bickley Brook the water was flowing well and it was nice to hear its cascade as we enjoyed out drinks and snacks while be entertained by some caroling Australian Magpies!
Our final stop was the Lesmurdie Falls in Lesmurdie National Park. The Falls are just in spectacular form this year as there has been good rains. The tracks to the waterfall were surrounded with flowering Hakeas and Karri Hazel (Trymalium odoratissimum). These falls are the best in Perth and it was surprising that there were only a few people there enjoying the spectacular scenary. Thanks to Vickie and Murray for their wonderful company and for booking on this new nature tour being offered by Perth Birds and Bush!
Walter from Hawaii had visited Australia before but had never been to Perth. He is a keen bird photographer and was interested in seeing and photographing a wide variety of species when he came on two full day tours with Perth Birds and Bush. Top of his wish list were a number of ducks, parrots, cockatoos, raptors and the fairy-wrens in breeding plumage.
On our first day we headed north east of Perth to the Wandoo Woodlands in the Avon Valley, with morning tea at Northam Weir in the heart of Northam. We meandered along the Avon looking for raptors and other target species and finally had lunch in Toodyay. On the way back into Perth we visited Noble Falls briefly before some time at Herdsman Lake and Lake Monger. It was a great day of sunshine and no wind perfect for birdwatching and enjoying the sights and sounds of our beautiful bushland and wetlands! We saw a total of 64 species on our first day.
On our second day we headed south visting several wetlands before heading east to the Jarrah/Marri Forests of the Darling Range in Jarrahdale. We had morning tea at Wellard Wetlands and lunch in the garden of a local café in Jarrahdale. After lunch we headed back onto the Swan Coastal Plain and drove thru farming areas to see birds that are more prominent in farms and then went back up into the Jarrah/Marri forest of the Darling Range. We managed to see another 23 species on our second day bringing the total for the trip to 87 species. Many of these species were photographed by Walter!
A few weeks ago I went to a long weekend campout at Dongara with BirdLife WA members. A wonderful relaxing weekend for me birding with friends and being organized by the wonderful campout leader Sue!
We visited lots of sites but the highlights were definitely:
Coal Seam Conservation Park
And the 4.6 km Dongara River Mouth walkway.
As a group we saw 110 species of birds after visiting a wide variety of different habitats in the area. This included quite a number of year first birds for myself and many others on the trip!
Bird highlights were: Mulga Parrots, Australian Ringneck subspecies zonarius, White-winged Fairy-Wren (in breeding plumage), Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Redthroat, White-plumed Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Red-capped Robin, Little Woodswallow, and Zebra Finch.
We stayed at the Sea Spray Caravan Park which has a variety of accommodation options and is located right on the beach and next to the river mouth. So it is well located for birdwatchers! I found the caravan park to be well maintained, clean, and the owners were welcoming and helpful. Their most basic camping option is a powered site with ensuite which was very luxurious for this Aussie camper!
BirdLife WA have campouts most long weekends but are for members only. You can become a member by visiting the BirdLife Australia website at http://www.birdlife.org.au/ . Unfortunately, I don’t have time to go on many of the campouts but I always have a wonderful time when I do!