Saturday, November 24, 2012


On our way across the Nullarbor we stopped at a couple of vantage points just off the Eyre highway to take in the vistas along the coastline of the Great Australian Bight.

The Bight

Giant sand dunes

Bunda cliffs

We also detoured to the Head of Bight, where for 5 dollars you can stroll along the boardwalk there and  enjoy the views. We were too early to see any migrating whales, but I did manage to spot a couple of Nullarbor Quail-thrush in the salt bush alongside the road in. They are actually a race of the Cinnamon Quail-thrush, found only along the Nullarbor Plain. 

Nullarbor Quail-thrush country

We took our time crossing and enjoyed some free camping at some of the numerous rest stops along the way.

Sunset at Domblegabby rest area

Near Norseman we had another species of Quail-thrush not far from our campsite and this one, another lifer, I was able to capture in action.

Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush

A detour to Kalgoorlie gave us the chance to see a different sort of landscape to that we had just come through. A man made hole in the earth of gargantuan proportions, the Super Pit at Boulder is a gold mine, 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 370 metres deep.

The Super Pit

On the way to Kalgoorlie

Cheers and Happy Birding

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


After our Port Lincoln visit it was onwards to Coffin Bay National Park on the other side of the Eyre Peninsula, in South Australia. After savouring a couple of dozen succulent oysters fresh from the farm we savoured some of the coastal scenery and birdlife in the area.  

First time oyster shucker

Yangie Bay

Point Avoid

Pied Currawong

Sooty Oystercatcher

Red-capped Plover

Pacific Gull

On our way to Ceduna we overnighted at Murphy's Haystacks, a type of granite rock formation known as inselbergs. They were mistaken for giant haystacks by a distant traveller early last century and were named after the properties owner.

Murphy's Haystacks

Ceduna - aboriginal name for "a place to sit down and rest," which we were looking forward to -
was our last stop before crossing the Nullarbor Plain. We walked the 368 metre long and nearly century old jetty in Murat bay. A lone Crested tern was using the railing as a perch to do a spot of fishing.

Crested Tern

Great Egret

Common Greenshank

Cheers and Happy Birding

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Continuing on with our travels in SA earlier this year we made our way down the Eyre Peninsula with our first stop at Fitzgerald Bay where we sat out the Easter long weekend, with access to flushing loos, fresh water, peace and quiet.  

High tide at Fitzgerald Bay 

Sunset over our camp

After trying unsuccessfully to spot one of these little buggers in the Botanic Gardens at Port Augusta, I snagged some half decent views of some in the saltbush not far from our camp and snapped a record shot of one.

Rufous Fieldwren - lifer

I drove out to a conservation park not far from Whyalla to search for Thick-billed Grass-Wrens and Slender-billed Thornbills, with no luck. Did see plenty of Chestnut-rumped Thornbills and they were much more confiding than the Fieldwrens.

Chestnut-Rumped Thornbill 

Wild Dog Hill

Full moon over Fitzgerald Bay

From the bay it was on to Port Lincoln National Park where we stayed at Surfleet Cove and enjoyed the lovely scenery and varied birdlife.

On the beach at SurfleetCove

Coastal rock formation


Pied Oystercatchers

Sooty Oystercatcher

The Yellow Robins here were just as photogenic as their Eastern cousins.

Western Yellow Robin - lifer

View from Stamford Hill lookout

The Port Lincoln race of the Australian Ringneck were common around the campground and it didn't take me long to get on to a small flock of Rock Parrots, a member of the Neophema family confined to the coasts of southern WA and SA.

"Port Lincoln" Ringnecks

Rock Parrot - lifer

Australian Pelicans wait for a handout

Pacific Gull

Cheers and Happy Birding

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We had the chance to revisit the Capertee Valley a couple of weeks ago due to the circumstances of our interrupted travels earlier in the year. It was a great opportunity to look for the Regent Honeyeater again after our previous caper back in late January as described in this post:

Unbelievably we found some on our first afternoon, after setting up camp at Glen Davis and driving out to a location where we were told one had been seen that morning. I spotted a female first, getting pretty excited and also relieved knowing they were really there!

Regent Honeyeater - female

After a while of watching this mega-rarity moving around in the treetops I mentioned to Clare "even if I don't see a male I am absolutely rapt", then she just happened to glimpse one and before long we had great bino views of the bird with its striking black and yellow plumage. Needless to say we were both impressed and sat quietly for over an hour watching them feeding on the mistletoe and insects in the casuarinas and chasing other honeyeater species.    

Regent  Honeyeater - male

Male feeding in mistletoe

To top it off, when I went back the next morning to have a better look at some of the other breeding birds present, I bumped into a couple of members of the Regent Honeyeater Recovery team who had been surveying the local population. They mentioned a pair were nesting nearby and after scanning the trees for a while I was able to locate the nest with two fledglings, being attended by the said pair. I watched, fascinated and privileged to be able to glimpse a view into the lives of these critically endangered birds, less than 1000 estimated to be left in the wild:

Male at nest

Most of the images taken here were at the extent of my camera lens magnification and we were careful not to disturb the birds at any time.
All in all a memorable couple of days and up there with the best of my many birdwatching experiences!

Striped Honeyeater and nest

Olive-backed Oriole with nesting material 

Restless Flycatcher at nest