Monday, November 17, 2014


For a few weeks in the summer of  2012/13 we were based near Hobart, in our van in the backyard of my brother and his partners place at Droughty Point. The back deck of the house overlooks Ralphs Bay, a great place to unwind after sampling the scenic delights and birding opportunities of the area.

Ralphs Bay

While relaxing on the aforementioned deck we were entertained by the local swallows, which came in to rest on the railing in between their graceful insect chasing flights.

Welcome Swallow

One of the more common introduced birds in Tasmania was prevalent around the house too. 

European Goldfinch

No visit to Hobart is complete without a drive up to the summit of Mount Wellington, which at 1271 metres towers above the city and makes for one of the most outstanding viewing points in any of our capitals here in Australia.

Tasman Bridge and Derwent River

It also makes for a stunning back drop to the city, but for some reason I failed to take a snap of this brooding giant on Hobart's doorstep, on this trip. I have included an image from a brief visit a few years back, when the mountain was dusted in a light covering of autumn snow.

Mount Wellington - April 2009

With numerous walking tracks through varying habitats from temperate rainforest to alpine wilderness, the mountain is a bush walkers paradise. 

Flowering shrubs were in colourful profusion and as we wandered along one of the tracks we were greeted by the high pitched calls of Crescent Honeyeaters. These birds breed in the high country in summer and disperse to lower areas in the cooler months.  

Image below courtesy of Ian Montgomery at:

Crescent Honeyeater

The wildflower display was the highlight of our visit to the summit and combined with the breathtaking views gave us a very memorable experience.

Kerosene Bush

Mountain Pinkberry

Tasmanian Waratah

Wiry Bauera and Alpine Heath

Silky Pimelea

Most of Tasmania's twelve endemic bird species can be found within the reserve known as Wellington Park, with two of the more conspicuous ones pictured below. 

Black Currawong

The currawong is also an altitudinal migrant and the wattlebird at up to 45 centimetres in length, is the largest of the Australian honeyeaters

Yellow Wattlebird

I was able to snaffle all the endemics during our ten week sojourn and also pick up some specialities like Swift Parrot, Pink Robin, Beautiful Firetail and Forest Raven. The bird life, except for some of the more common species, is not particularly prolific and some of the smaller bush birds like the Scrubtit and the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote can be difficult to locate. But patience and time usually bring about some very rewarding birding experiences.

If the wildlife is a bit thin on the ground, there is always more incredible scenery to contemplate.   

The Organ Pipes

This rock climber was taking his viewing experience a little more seriously than most!

View to South West Wilderness from summit.

Hobart and suburbs

Not long after we departed there were some massive and destructive bush fires to the east of my brothers property, and although they weren't directly affected, some wind changes brought smoke and ash to their vicinity.  

Ralphs Bay, 4/1/13  (photo by Jo Burke)

An indispensable publication for exploring Tassie and a great companion to the field and "where to find bird" guides is "Where to See Wildlife in Tasmania" by Dave Watts & Cathy Plowman. Highly recommended!

Cheers & Happy Birding

Friday, October 10, 2014


Going back a bit in time now to early December 2012, when we were travelling around Tasmania.One of the highlights of our ten week sojourn was the stunning Freycinet National Park situated on the peninsula of the same name along the east coast.  

Hazards Range & Richardson's beach

We spent a week here enjoying the spectacular scenery and varied wildlife.

Bennetts Wallaby

Whites Skink

Wineglass Bay

Sleepy Bay

The weather here during most of our visit was excellent, and the birding was pretty good too. A total of 46 species ticked off on the Parks comprehensive checklist of well over one hundred.  

Superb Fairy-wren

Spotted Quail-Thrush

Spotted Quail-Thrush

Pied Oystercatcher

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Beautiful beaches and plenty of places to explore.

Friendly Beaches

Heathland above Friendly Beaches

On one of our  walks we came across  the carcass of a beach washed albatross. Being headless it was difficult to tell which species - possibly Shy or Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross.

This area is definitely a must visit for anyone contemplating a trip to Tassie!

Cape Tourville

The Hazards & Coles Bay

Evening at Coles Bay

Cheers & Happy Birding!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


The Pacific Baza pair are still active around our place and quite approachable. I featured them previously on a recent post and since then had a close encounter with another Baza when on a morning walk at Lake McDonald near Cooroy.

The two images below were from that outing and I was able to get a decent shot of the bird in profile showing it's funky little crest.

In complete contrast the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo sports one of the most flamboyant crests the bird world has to offer. 

At my sisters place the local cockies come in daily to snack on the seed in her feeders, with up to thirty at times winging in and disturbing the peace with their raucous calls. 

Certainly a crest to be proud of!

Cheers & Happy Birding