Yippee it’s Spring!

Wow that felt like a long winter! Spring has been in the air for most of August and now its here! Spring means so much – more stunning wildflowers, birds arriving for summer stays, birds looking gorgeous in their breeding plumage and the bush looks super with all those beautiful flowers and gorgeous brightly coloured birds.

Prickley Hovea (Hovea pungens) bringing beautifully bright colour in late August 2021 at John Forrest National park.

All the social media seems to be full of fantastic wildflowers with many locals heading north where the amazing everlastings are literally colouring the country in white, yellow and pink! Luckily for us in Perth that means that the wave of colour is arriving here in Perth! A few months ago social media was lighting up with the colours of the Kimberly and Pilbara, now its the Gasgoyne, Northern Wheatbelt, Northern Goldfields and eastern Goldfields. The wave of colour will roll all the way into the deep south west of Australia before Christmas.

Masses of Swan River Daisy see on tour with Kathy and Doug at the begining of September 2021

Every patch of bush has a nice variety of flowers showing in central, eastern and southern WA in spring! Including in and all around the suburbs in Perth.

Granite Boronia (Boronia cymosa) bringing delicate pink to the Darling Scarp. Photographed in late August 2021.

It will make you feel better to walk down the road to your nearest patch of bush and really look at the flowers. Get down and smell them. Look for Spring Green Beetles in the Wattles (Acacia species) and Buttercups (Hibbertia species).

A green shiny beetle in yellow Acacia flowers.
Spring Green Beetles (Diphucephala species) in Prickly Moses (Acacia pulchella) shine bright and reflect different colours when they move!

Of course, we are more than happy to take you on a Wildflower Tour to show you some super places!

Bright orange flowers
Orange Stars (Hibbertia stellaris) is just starting to emerge near Manjimup. It looks like the road side is on fire!

Just get outdoors, feel the warmth of the sun, smell the wildflowers and listen to those marvelous birds! Spring will disappear before we know it!

Numbat!

Numbats are an Australian endemic and endangered species with an estimated population of less than 1000 individuals. They were once found in five Australian states but massive declines in the population has resulted in them now only being found in a small part of Western Australia. These gorgeous critters deserve our respect and protection!

A Numbat searching for food.

The closest places to Perth where you are likely to see a Numbat are in Drandra Woodland Reserve and Boyagin Rock. These are a few hours drive from Perth. But before you hit the road I recommend having a good look at the information on the Project Numbat Website. The good people at Project Numbat are raising funds to help research and conserve the species as well as rise community awareness. They have some absolutely adorable products on their website shop so that you can also help raise funds for this important work! You can also become a member and give them a donation. All these things will assist with protecting some of the most amazing and beautiful characters on the planet!

Numbats eat termites, termites and only termites! They are pretty small and measure from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail about 32 to 50 cm. But they have a comparatively long and thin tongue that is about 10 cm long so they can lick up termites out of logs, dirt etc.

A less cropped photo gives a better idea of the Numbat’s small size.

Numbats are carniverous marsupials but feeds during the day. This is very unusual for marsupials. It means that you can see these from Perth on a day trip. But their small size and small population make them not the easiest to find. I spent a full day driving from Perth to see this Numbat from my car for about 2 to 3 minutes. Watching them from a car enables you to see the Numbat going about it’s business without frightening it. Stressing animals is not the aim of enjoying natures wonders!

Numbat foraging for termites.

Numbats only come together as a pair to breed. So mainly you will only see one at a time.

A Numbat digging for termites near a log.

Three Different Bird Photography Tours

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.

Geoff had a great chance to photograph this Spelndid Fairy-wren male in full breeding plumage as it walked closer to us. This wren was perhaps 5 meters from us. My photo is not very crisp as the bird was a little distant and I don’t use a tripod. Nikon D7100, sigma 1.4 converter and Nikon 70 to 300mm lens, f5.6, 1/1600s, ISO 640.

Geoff had a great opportunity to photograph a Western Yellow Robin out in the open. We would have been about 5 meters from this bird but it only stayed in the open for a short time. If we had stayed at this location longer we may have got better photos with the light on the bird etc. I had the same camera set up as above.

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.

While not one of Donna’s target species, this White-breasted Robin posed a few meters from us while we were looking for Gilbert’s Honeyeater. Unfortunately, I had my camera in my bag when Donna photographed her target birds! But she was within 3m to 15m for the three species on her list that she was looking for. Nikon D7100 Sigma 150-500 lens, f6.3, 1/400s ISO 1600, handheld.

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!

This Splendid Fairy-wren was only a 2 to 3 meters from us when I took this photograph. The sun was low in the sky and the wren was lit up beautifully. I am sure Grace got better photos as she was using a tripod! Nikon D7100 Sigma 1.4x converter, Nikon 70 – 300mm lens, f5.6, 1/3200s, ISO 500 handheld.

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!