Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A selection of photos of some of the birds that live in the patchy bushland and coastal scrub around Horrocks WA, where we are currently living and working. I have compiled a list of over 80 species within a 5 km radius of the town, of which well over half have been observed in the aforementioned habitats, with many of these around the caravan park.

View of Horrocks from escarpment with caravan park at centre

A pair of Little Eagles perch in the gums in the van park occasionally, but are generally seen soaring along the edge of the limestone escarpment behind town. Nine species of raptor frequent the area, so there's plenty of tucker around, including the wild rabbits that we sometimes see scampering off into the scrub. 

Little Eagle

A pair of Kingfishers are making their presence known with their monotonous contact calls and swift, direct flights to pick up prey from the ground.

Sacred Kingfisher

Tree Martins abound with many nesting in under the eaves of some of the holiday houses, although tree hollows would be their natural preference. They also like to feed along the shoreline, a joy to watch with their aerial antics.

Tree Martins

The one below was taking advantage of a sprinkler to cool off a bit.  

Tree Martin

Conversely these swallows were welcoming the midday sun along the back of a shed. I have seen this "sunning" behavior before in other birds such as doves and magpies and of course cormorants.  
An interesting article on this phenomenon here:  http://birdlife.org.au/australian-birdlife/detail/sunny-side-up

Welcome Swallow

I've noticed a distinct lack of  parrots and cockatoos, with only two species prevalent here, Australian Ringneck, with a small group around the van park and the sporadic flocks of Galahs flying by. Probably because of the paucity of nesting hollows, with much of the native vegetation long ago removed for wheat and sheep farming.

Australian Ringneck

A very common, introduced species around the park and surrounding coastal scrub is the Laughing Dove with its somnolent chuckling call, a lovely sound that can put you in the mood for an afternoon nap.

Laughing Doves

Singing Honeyeaters are constantly on the move, and like many of their family do not need to rely solely on flowering plants to get by, with insects making up a large part of their diets.  

Singing Honeyeater

Their feisty cousins the White-plumed Honeyeaters rule the roost in the park, with this specimen one of a number of young birds constantly begging to be fed.

I was pleased to come across a lifer while exploring some thick creek side scrub, one of the Petroicidae family, and this one being unique to Western Australia. It was quite shy compared to it's relative and one of my favourites, the Eastern Yellow Robin. As we continue our travels early next year I hope to find a few more endemics in the south west of this huge state, including the Western Yellow Robin.  

White-breasted Robin

While checking out some Aboriginal rock art at Willy Gully caves, we spotted this Pardalote using an abandoned Fairy Martins mud nest to rear its own young. 

Striated Pardalote

Willy Gully Caves rock art

A couple of Fairy-wren species also utilize the abundant coastal vegetation around Horrocks with the White-winged version preferring the low lying, salt tolerant plants closer to the beach.   

White-winged Fairy-wren - male

And the Variegated liking the taller, thicker scrub along the dunes and escarpment.

Variegated Fairy-wren - female

A link here to a previous post on my experiences with these beautiful little birds in WA:

Cheers and Happy Birding

Sunday, November 10, 2013


A couple of posts back I mentioned we may take a break from our travels, so the decision was made to stay at the little beach town of Horrocks, about 600km north of Perth, WA. We both have some casual work at the caravan park here: http://www.horrocksbeachcaravanpark.com.au/ , with plenty of time for exploring.

Horrocks Beach

These Osprey nests have been erected at various sites along the coastline for the local population to utilize, and they sure make the most of them.

Eastern Osprey

At nearby Bowes River the pelicans were lining up to feed in the calm waters of the enclosed estuary.

Australian Pelican

A new bird for us was a small group of Sanderlings (the larger two birds below) that were foraging beside the river along with a some Red-necked Stints. It made for an ideal situation to compare these two feisty little shore-bird species.

Sanderling and Red-necked Stint

The variety and movement of terns kept our heads turning and the camera clicking, as I tried to get some decent shots of these efficient fishers.   

Crested Tern

The worlds largest tern species gave us a fly by.

Caspian Tern

As well as one of the smallest.

Fairy Tern

Fairy Tern

A lone Gull-billed Tern made an appearance, a much less common species in these parts. 

Gull-billed Tern and Red-capped Plover

Little Bay

Besides the ubiquitous Silver Gulls, a pair of Pacific Gulls also patrolled the beach at Horrocks, quite often perched atop the piles of sea wrack that comes and goes with the tides and wind.

Pacific Gull

Up the road at Port Gregory various waders were using the salt marsh and ponds near town for feeding and roosting. Besides the birds pictured, there were Red-necked Avocets and Black-winged Stilts making the most of the ideal conditions.

Wood Sandpiper

A very distant shot of four different waders.

L to R: Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

The salt granules, in the Pink Lakes near Port Gregory, trap a type of bacteria that give them their colourful hue.  

Pink Lake 

Cheers and Happy Birding

Friday, November 1, 2013


Early November 2012 and still in Victoria, we meandered south to spend a few days at a peaceful camp ground in the Murrindindi Scenic Reserve north-east of Melbourne. This landscape had been hard hit by the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009, and was slowly recovering.

Murrindindi is the original indigenous name for this area, meaning "living in the mountains". 

The weather had turned overcast and cool and that put a dampener on the birds, which were few and far between. So a bit of flower spotting was called for, and being spring there were some nice blooms sprouting in the plentiful open areas leftover from the fires aftermath. 

Orchid sp.?

Daisy sp.?

We walked some trails in the gloom amazed at the amount of re-growth that was occurring, but saddened by the devastation and tragic loss of life on that Black Saturday.

I had camped, hiked and birded this area thirty five years ago, and was astounded by the contrast. I couldn't believe it was the same place! Hopefully it will return to its former glory over the coming years.

At least the falls hadn't changed.

Wilhelmina Falls

Any help on the flower identification would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers and Happy Birding