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Field Guides Tour Report
Sep 30, 2016 to Oct 20, 2016
John Coons & Tom Johnson

The "Port Lincoln" subspecies of Australian Ringneck is part of a larger complex that was recently lumped together. Photo by participant Bill Byers.

John and I were delighted to travel through a big chunk of southern and central Australia with this group - we had a good time finding some of the world's great birds, with good weather for the most part. The tour started off a bit cooler and breezier than normal, with a lot of extra freshwater at Werribee left over from recent torrential rainstorms. Conditions were settled and excellent in inland Victoria, and warm and breezy in the Red Centre around Alice Springs. The end of the trip in Western Australia was a mix of sun and clouds with fairly cool conditions overall - quite pleasant!

The birding ranged from good to fantastic throughout our tour. We began with an exploration of the area around Sydney, clearly highlighted by our visit to Royal National Park. Two male Superb Lyrebirds strolled around, feeding in the leaf litter while we watched from across a stream - what a start! Later, during a coastal visit, we enjoyed close views of the range-restricted Rockwarbler (endemic to New South Wales) as well as a tableau of seabirds swarming over the ocean.

We transitioned to Melbourne and birded the Western Water Treatment property in Werribee as well as the St. Kilda Breakwater near our hotel. Werribee had high water levels that limited the productivity of our shorebirding, but we still found Musk Duck, Red-necked Avocet, Brolga, and more. An evening walk out on the breakwater at St. Kilda took us to a delightful scene full of Little Penguins poking out of the rocks and swimming alongside us in the harbor.

Next we cruised the Great Ocean Road of southern Victoria, picking up Koala and stunning birds like Rufous Bristlebird and White-capped Albatross. Then we turned the bus inland and made tracks across the drier interior of Victoria from the Grampians to Little Desert and the Outback-like conditions of Hattah-Kulkyne and Wyperfeld National Parks. Gang-gang Cockatoo, Speckled Warbler, Gilbert's Whistler, the magical Malleefowl (walking around her nest mound), Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush, Striated Grasswren, Mallee Emuwren, and a host of other specialties helped to fill out our days in this diverse part of the continent.

We flew from Adelaide to Alice Springs and spent a few days birding in the hot Outback of the Red Centre. Spinifex Pigeon, Western Bowerbird, Black-breasted Buzzard, Pink Cockatoo, Rufous-crowned Emuwren, Dusky Grasswren, and Chiming Wedgebill were some of the highlight birds, and that doesn't even include the large diversity and abundance of waterbirds and shorebirds that we saw at the Alice Springs sewage ponds (including lots of Pink-eared Ducks and the first nesting record of Australian Shoveler for the well-watched pond system).

Passing by the sacred rock of Uluru (Ayers Rock) on our Qantas flight to Perth, we journeyed to the biologically isolated and rather interesting southwest corner of Australia. Many birding tours of this massive continent skip the southwest, but there are over 15 endemic species (including some real amazing ones like Red-capped Parrot and Noisy Scrub-bird) and lots of fascinating regional flavor that can't be experienced elsewhere. Our time in the coastal scrublands helped us find Western Bristlebird, the incredibly tough and loud Noisy Scrub-bird, and the elegant Western Whipbird. Rock Parrots, Baudin's and Carnaby's Black-cockatoos, and Purple-crowned Lorikeets (nesting en masse in the Dryandra Woodland) helped us cap off an amazing tour for parrots, too.

Mammals were pretty spectacular on the tour - we saw lots of bounding "macropods" (kangaroos and wallabies) including Eastern and Western Gray Kangaroos and the small but elegant Black-footed Rock-Wallabies. Koalas were a huge highlight near Kennett River, and our offshore scans turned up several spouting Humpback Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins, too.

After we finished our tour, some of the group continued on to Darwin for the Part II tour of the Top End and Queensland, while others headed on home after this exciting survey of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, the Red Centre of the Northern Territory, and Western Australia. We'd like to thank everyone for contributing to a solid group experience with lots of enthusiasm, help with spotting, and great conversation. As they say in Australia, good on'ya!

Until next time,


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

White-capped Albatrosses were within binocular range when we birded along the Great Ocean Road of southern Victoria. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)
EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) – We had a great time with these huge feather dusters, seeing them daily between Halls Gap and Adelaide. A human-tolerant bird gave us some close studies at Little Desert Lodge, too. [E]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) – A few wild breeders were hanging around at the Serendip Sanctuary near Werribee. [E]
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) – This huge black waterbird with the crinkled wing feathers and the white primaries was a frequent sight on freshwater sites and coastal estuaries alike. [E]
AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides) – These beauties showed nicely at many scattered sites through Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia.
MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) – Common and widespread, often seen during our drives. [E]
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa) – One of the most common dabblers on the tour.
AUSTRALIAN SHOVELER (Anas rhynchotis) – A female attending 12 chicks at the Alice Springs sewage ponds was a rare site indeed for the Northern Territory. This was apparently the first breeding record for this frequently birded site. A few others were seen in Western Australia, too.
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis) – Scattered in small numbers throughout the tour except for the 150+ at Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

We couldn't have asked for a better look at Golden Whistler. Photo by participant Alan Pohl.

CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) – Common and seen more commonly than Gray Teal on the tour. [E]
PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) – Roughly 80 of these true stunners were paddling around at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. [E]
WHITE-EYED DUCK (Aythya australis) – 15 were at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds and another 25 were out in WA at Busselton.
BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) – Good views of these Ruddy Duck look-alikes, especially at Purrumbete and Busselton. [E]
MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) – This is one weird species - we saw them really well at Purrumbete and again at Busselton, where a male showed off his strange hanging bill flap. [E]
Megapodiidae (Megapodes)
MALLEEFOWL (Leipoa ocellata) – The female that attended a mound near Little Desert Lodge was particularly amazing. She ignored us as she kicked around on the mound and then wandered around the periphery of our group as we learned about the biology of the mound-builders. [E]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) – 70 were at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, and then we found a few more scattered individuals out in WA.
HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) – Excellent views of these frosted grebes at Alice Springs and again in Busselton. [E]
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus) – The pairs that interacted on Lake Purrumbete were particularly wonderful. A few more were at a distance at Alfred Cove in Perth.

This handsome Superb Lyrebird strode along a sandstone-lined river in Royal National Park on one of the first days of our trip. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Spheniscidae (Penguins)
LITTLE PENGUIN (Eudyptula minor) – Our evening walk out to the pier in St. Kilda was windy and wild, but once we were in the lee of the breakwater, the penguin-watching was amazing! These small penguins nest in the cracks between the rocks of the breakwater, and many were swimming around and coming ashore as light faded away. A great experience!
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) – Two showed at a distance with White-capped Albatrosses in Point Addis, Victoria. The better views, however, came at Cape Naturaliste in WA, when at least 8 individuals soared by our seawatching point.
WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta) – The views from Point Addis, Point Roadknight, and Kennett River were actually pretty good! These stocky albatrosses seemed completely in their element as they sailed and soared around just offshore, completely dwarfing flocks of shearwaters.
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche melanophris) – One with dark underwings passed by at Point Addis when we were watching the White-capped Albatrosses.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER (Ardenna carneipes) – This was the common dark shearwater in WA. We saw a feeding frenzy that included ~200 of this species.
WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna pacifica) – Plenty of dark morph birds streamed past Wattamolla at Royal National Park.
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna tenuirostris) – Our best views of these sleek, silvery-underwinged dark shearwaters were from the beach at Kennett River.

This Sulphur-crested Cockatoo had a few things to say to the giant and otherworldly Channel-billed Cuckoo at Royal National Park near Sydney. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

FLUTTERING SHEARWATER (Puffinus gavia) – This is the small shearwater that we saw flashing by in groups of Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters early in the tour in NSW and Victoria.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
AUSTRALASIAN GANNET (Morus serrator) – Fairly common offshore in NSW, Victoria, and WA.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos) – Common and widespread. Very small and stubby compared to Pied.
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – This was the large, dark cormorant that we saw regularly on the tour.
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) – Fairly common, often favoring smaller bodies of water than Great Cormorant.
PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius) – Large, contrasty, and lanky - this was typically the least common cormorant that we saw in most places.
BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) – Around 200 of these southern specialties were on the Outer Harbour Breakwater near Adelaide. [E]
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae) – At first, we only saw one quick flyby in Sydney, but later in WA, we crossed paths with several of these strange snakebirds, including 10 at the King River.

A sharply appointed Rainbow Bee-eater flew in front of the sun at Little Desert, giving an unusual photo opportunity. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus) – Quite common and widespread (and HUGE).
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica) – One sat on a fencepost near Lake Purrumbete, and another was in the reedy channel at Glen Helen near Alice Springs.
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta) – Just a few popped up at coastal stops in SA and WA.
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – These slim, striking herons were seen regularly throughout the tour, often in farm fields and wet ditches.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Our best views were along the Port Gawler Road.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis moluccus) – Common and widespread. [E]
STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) – Still common, but we found them on fewer days than Australian Ibis. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) – Four of these fine waders were in a roadside section of marsh in Geographe near Busselton, WA. [E]
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Several sightings in Western Australia.

Topknot Pigeon was another prize of our time in the forests of Royal National Park. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
AUSTRALIAN KITE (Elanus axillaris) – Seen in Victoria, SA, NT, and WA, with our best views probably coming around Alice Springs. [E]
BLACK-BREASTED KITE (Hamirostra melanosternon) – Two were near Alice Springs in the Red Centre. One individual was checking out a bit of rubbish along the side of a highway, and we enjoyed some spectacular flight views as it cruised over. [E]
SQUARE-TAILED KITE (Lophoictinia isura) – A true highlight of our time in the Dryandra Forest was the sight of these lovely, low-flying forest kites. One in particular circled right over us at treetop level, allowing us to ogle it closely. [E]
LITTLE EAGLE (Hieraaetus morphnoides) – One backlit individual made a few lazy circles over us as we birded the Walumarra Fire Trail in Royal National Park.
WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE (Aquila audax) – We lucked out with quite a few good looks at these huge, distinctive eagles. Most memorable were the two that flew over us at our hotel in the Grampians (chased by some excited magpies).
SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans) – Fairly common in large wetlands including Werribee and the Busselton area of WA.
GRAY GOSHAWK (Accipiter novaehollandiae) – One white morph bird flew by us on the Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park.
BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus) – This large Accipiter put in some good flyovers during the tour, but the best was the nest we located at Little Desert Lodge.
COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus) – This Accipiter showed twice for us - once at Centennial Park in Sydney and another time at Little Desert Lodge.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – Fairly common in the south and also around Alice Springs where we saw ~50 around the sewage ponds.
WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus) – Our best numbers and views were in the Northern Territory around Alice Springs.

Musk Lorikeets showed off on multiple occasions for us along our journey. These beauties were feeding on flowers in several town centers. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – Two close birds passed by us at Mistral Point in Maroubra on the first day of our tour. Others were seen later at Lake Purrumbete and in coastal WA.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis) – One appeared briefly in front of the bus at the edge of a small swampy area when we pulled into our breakfast cafe at Kennett River.
AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus) – Fairly common at freshwater sites - our best counts came from Lady Carrington Drive in Royal NP, Werribee, and Lake Purrumbete.
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa) – Common at freshwater wetland sites, including in urban areas such as Sydney and Perth.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) – Our best counts of this common waterbird were 35 at Lake Purrumbete and 45 at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.
Gruidae (Cranes)
BROLGA (Antigone rubicunda) – One was in a wetland cell at Werribee, near Melbourne.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus) – A few were at Werribee and Alfred Cove, but our highest count was 100 at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

Eastern Gray Kanagaroos doing what kangaroos do. Photo by participant Charlotte Byers.

BANDED STILT (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) – This nomadic shorebird was tough to find on the tour - that is, until we found them - then there were plenty! 765 were at the St. Kilda salt ponds, and 1100 more were in WA at Lake Parkeyering. [E]
RED-NECKED AVOCET (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) – Due to high water levels, we only saw 1 at Werribee; however, 50 put on a good performance for us at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. [E]
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris) – Fairly common at coastal sites in Western Australia, especially. [E]
SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus) – One flew by at Point Addis in Victoria, and 6 more were at Augusta Beach in WA. [E]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Two were at Alfred Cove near Perth.
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles) – These large, loud plovers were common in NSW and Victoria, but we did see them at isolated sites in South Australia and the NT as well.
RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Charadrius ruficapillus) – 13 of these dainty plovers were tucked in on the dikes at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. [E]
HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus) – John found a pair at Point Roadknight in Victoria that showed rather well. Later, 2 more were at Cape Hamelin in WA. [E]
BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops) – 6 were along the dikes at Werribee; 22 more were at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

Gray-headed Flying-foxes played the part of the flying monkeys in our journey through Oz. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (SIBERIAN) (Numenius phaeopus variegatus) – One was on the seashore rocks at Augusta Beach.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – 4 of these long-distance migrant athletes were at Augusta Beach and another was at Alfred Cove, WA.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – One was at Point Roadknight, and another was at Cape Hamelin.
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata) – One of these heavily streaked sandpipers was at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – This sandpiper's long, droopy bill and long legs helped give its ID away in the sewage ponds at Alice Springs.
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis) – These small sandpipers were all in their drab, winter plumage, but we did find them several times, including a flock of ~100 at Werribee.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Scattered around freshwater wetland sites throughout our route.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – A few were widely scattered - we saw these Old World Greater Yellowlegs look-alikes at St. Kilda, Alice Springs, and Alfred Cove.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – 24 of these small, lovely Tringa were along the edges of the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) – Common in the coastal stretches of our adventure.
PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) – Scattered around several coastal locations; our first was at Point Roadknight, and then we saw more in WA. [E]

This Eastern Rosella sat outside the front door of Little Desert Lodge after taking a bath in the driveway. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BRIDLED TERN (Onychoprion anaethetus) – About 25 of these tropical terns were flying around an offshore islet at Cape Hamelin, WA.
AUSTRALIAN FAIRY TERN (Sternula nereis) – Two were flying along the coastline at Werribee; another 9 were on the sandbars offshore at Alfred Cove Nature Reserve in Perth.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Fairly common, especially in WA. 10 were together at Augusta Beach.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – Six of these strange marsh terns were coursing over the sewage ponds at Alice Springs.
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – Seen regularly along the coastline, especially early on in our journey in New South Wales and Victoria.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common in settled areas. [I]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – These introduced doves were seen widely during the first part of the tour. [I]
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – A few of these attractive, introduced doves showed for us in WA. [I]
COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) – Seen very well on several occasions in WA, including walking around in the parking lot at our hotel in Margaret River. [E]
BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) – One of these skulky doves made a brief flyby at Cheynes Beach, WA. [E]
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes) – Common and widespread.

When we were exploring the spinifex of the Red Centre, we discovered the nest of a nomadic Painted Finch. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SPINIFEX PIGEON (Geophaps plumifera) – After an initial brief and unsatisfactory sighting, these magnificent pigeons ended up walking all around us at Ormiston Gorge, showing down to distances of about 3 feet. WOW! [E]
WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) – We heard these forest pigeons at Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park. [E*]
DIAMOND DOVE (Geopelia cuneata) – About ten of these small, lovely doves were in the spinifex patch we birded along the Santa Teresa Road near Alice Springs. [E]
TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus) – About 8 of these striking pigeons sat out in the open for us in a fruiting fig tree in Royal National Park. [E]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
PACIFIC KOEL (AUSTRALIAN) (Eudynamys orientalis cyanocephalus) – We heard this loud cuckoo several times around our airport hotel in Sydney, often in the pre-dawn hours. [*]
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – This massive, almost scary cuckoo flew in and perched above the fruiting fig tree we had staked out at Royal National Park. The action reached its peak when a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo challenged the cuckoo and the two fought for a few seconds in plain view.
HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx basalis) – Our first experience was with a responsive, singing bird at the Malleefowl site near Little Desert. Later near Alice Springs, we had the privilege of watching a marvelous aspect of nest parasitism cuckoo biology when we found a recently fledged juvenile begging food from its diminutive foster parents - two adult Rufous-crowned Emuwrens! [E]

One of the lovely honeyeaters from New South Wales was this Eastern Spinebill, common in the forests near Sydney. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus) – These small cuckoos are quite easy to whistle in so we were able to see a few of them well. Best views were at Royal National Park, Little Desert Nature Lodge, and the Dryandra Woodland of WA.
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis) – Fairly commonly heard; seen a few times, including in the Dryandra Woodland of WA.
Strigidae (Owls)
POWERFUL OWL (Ninox strenua) – On our first tour day, we found two of these massive owls in two different urban parks in Sydney. One was even day-roosting on top of a snack, a big rat! [E]
SOUTHERN BOOBOOK (Ninox novaeseelandiae) – One called at night outside our hotel in the middle of Alice Springs.
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides) – The nest outside Little Desert Nature Lodge was pretty neat to watch through the scope.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
AZURE KINGFISHER (Ceyx azureus) – We eventually had pretty good views of one along the riverbank at Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park.
LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) – Common on the first portion of the tour, where the species is native. We also saw members of the introduced population out in Western Australia. [E]

Our views of the elegant Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush were pretty special. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) – We found this attractive Outback kingfisher near Ellery Creek and on the Santa Teresa Road near Alice Springs. [E]
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus) – These "land kingfishers" were hunting forest clearings at Royal National Park, Simpsons Gap, and Alfred Cove.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus) – This amazing predator put in lots of good appearances for us on the tour. Perhaps the most memorable ones were those that were hawking insects near Simpsons Gap in the Red Centre.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides) – Quite common overall; seen on most days. Also called "Nankeen Kestrel".
BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora) – This big, slow falcon was seen on several occasions, with the best views coming in the Northern Territory. The individual that perched up at Kunoth Bore was particularly nice, showing off for over fifteen minutes.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – One was at St. Kilda, and two more were on the rocks at Simpsons Gap.
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) – Several perched up in the distance on the Santa Teresa Road near Alice Springs. A few more were seen during our drives in WA. [E]

This Emu was having a bad "hair" day in inland Victoria. We saw plenty of Emus on this tour - a nice surprise. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus) – These large, showy cockatoos flapped by on deep wingbeats a few times in inland Victoria. [E]
CARNABY'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) – These were the "white-tailed black-cockatoos" with the short-tipped bills. We enjoyed a raucous group of 95 individuals that were swarming a lawn near the south edge of Stirling National Park in WA. [E]
BAUDIN'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) – A pair of these long-billed black-cockatoos perched up for us in the Dryandra Woodland; another flock of 11 flew by us right after we saw the big flock of Carnaby's Black-cockatoos in Stirling NP. [E]
GANG-GANG COCKATOO (Callocephalon fimbriatum) – Mt. Difficult turned into Mt. Easy after we found a pair of these lovely, owly cockatoos near the parking lot in Grampians National Park.. [E]
PINK COCKATOO (Lophochroa leadbeateri) – We had distant sightings of these "Major Mitchell's" Cockatoos on two occasions on the outskirts of Alice Springs. Unfortunately we didn't get to see these magnificent parrots up close, but we COULD see the pink pretty well. [E]
GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) – These handsome cockatoos are common and widespread. [E]
LONG-BILLED CORELLA (Cacatua tenuirostris) – A few were at Centennial Park in Sydney with Little Corellas; later we saw LOTS in the Grampians of Victoria. [E]
WESTERN CORELLA (Cacatua pastinator) – While we didn't get to meet the famous Rosella Corella, we did see about a dozen of these localized cockatoos in Rocky Gully, WA. [E]
LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea) – Fairly common on several days, including around the Sydney area and at a few sites in WA.
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita) – Very common in the southern and eastern portions of our tour route.

Hooded Plover is a gorgeous, imperiled shorebird that we looked for (and found!) along the narrow and wild beaches of southern Victoria. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
REGENT PARROT (Polytelis anthopeplus) – Two yellowish birds showed very well as they investigated nesting sites near Lake Hattah at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in Victoria. Later, in WA, we found at least 3 greenish birds at the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) – The swooping flight and sharp callnotes of these forest parrots gave away their presence in forested parts of New South Wales and Victoria. [E]
ROCK PARROT (Neophema petrophila) – About a dozen of these tiny, uncommon parrots were feeding on seeds in the grass at Cape Hamelin. It was amazing to watch their blue diadems sparkling as they shuffled around in the afternoon sunlight. [E]
AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (Barnardius zonarius) – "Mallee" Ringnecks were the birds that we found in the interior of Victoria. In Alice Springs and in some of WA, we found "Port Lincoln" Parrots, and in the extreme SW part of WA, we even ran into "Twenty-eight" Ringnecks. Many of the birds we found in WA seemed to be intermediate between "Port Lincoln" and "Twenty-eight" Ringnecks. [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (CRIMSON) (Platycercus elegans elegans) – These predominantly red Crimson Rosellas were the ones we found in New South Wales and Victoria. [E]

A Rainbow Lorikeet begs the question: can a bird be too colorful? Photo by participant Linda Rudolph.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (YELLOW) (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) – These were the two yellow Crimson Rosellas that we found near Lake Hattah at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. [E]
EASTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus eximius) – A few flew past us on several occasions while we drove through Victoria. Our best views of these stunningly colored parrots came along the driveway at Little Desert Nature Lodge and in the city park near our hotel in Adelaide. [E]
WESTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus icterotis) – A group of six of these regional specialties climbed around in the trees above our lunch spot along the King River in WA. [E]
GREATER BLUEBONNET (YELLOW-VENTED) (Northiella haematogaster haematogaster) – These parrots are scarce along our tour route, but we found some swooping between isolated trees along the road through an agriculture area near Rainbow, Victoria.
RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) – These small, slim parrots showed well for us in roadside trees at Werribee and Wyperfeld National Park. [E]
MULGA PARROT (Psephotus varius) – Though a few showed briefly at Wyperfeld National Park and Simpsons Gap, our best view was of a pair perched up at Kunoth Bore. [E]
RED-CAPPED PARROT (Purpureicephalus spurius) – These elegant WA specialties first showed up in the trees above our hotel at Narrogin; we saw a few more during our travels through the forests of Western Australia. [E]
BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus) – It was exciting to find these tiny, adorable parrots at widely scattered locations around Alice Springs in the Red Centre. Water conditions seemed favorable for nesting, and most of the birds we saw appeared to be paired up. [E]
MUSK LORIKEET (Glossopsitta concinna) – About 50 of these tiny parrots fed in flowering trees near the middle of Horsham, and we had nearly eye-level views. 14 more were in flowering trees near our hotel in Adelaide. Our experiences with these multi-colored gems were simply marvelous! [E]
PURPLE-CROWNED LORIKEET (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala) – These small, screechy parrots flew over us on many occasions, but the numbers around the Dryandra Woodland were truly staggering. We saw them at every stop, and it was clear that they were about to undertake a mass colonial nesting attempt. Fantastic views! [E]
RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus haematodus) – Quite common in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. We also saw introduced birds in Alice Springs (where newly arrived) and Perth.
Menuridae (Lyrebirds)
SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) – The two males that we saw at Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park were tough to find at first, but they were eventually delightful to watch across the river as they foraged on a leaf-covered slope. These remarkable songsters are some of the largest songbirds in the world. [E]
Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)
NOISY SCRUB-BIRD (Atrichornis clamosus) – We heard several of these extremely loud but secretive songbirds at Cheynes Beach. With some extreme patience and vigilance, we eventually saw one cross a small track like a tiny roadrunner. [E]
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) – One popped up briefly in front of us on the Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park. [E]
SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) – Several females fed on figs in a fruiting tree in Royal National Park on the first day of the tour. Later, we saw both males and females near the cafe in Kennett River. [E]

A commotion outside our hotel in the Grampians caused us to look up to the sight of Australian Magpies chasing a pair of massive Wedge-tailed Eagles - right overhead! Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WESTERN BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera guttata) – The male that we watched at his bower in Olive Pink Botanic Garden put in a remarkable performance. Several others were bopping around the gardens as well, but it was the homebody male that took top honors. [E]
Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)
WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) – Our first sightings were at Royal National Park; later, we saw more in the Grampians (great view at Mount Difficult) and at Little Desert Nature Lodge. [E]
BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus) – A few of these incredibly active treecreepers appeared at Little Desert Lodge and in Wyperfeld and Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks. [E]
RUFOUS TREECREEPER (Climacteris rufus) – 12, mostly divided up in pairs, were in the open forest in the Dryandra Woodland of WA. [E]
Maluridae (Fairywrens)
STRIATED GRASSWREN (Amytornis striatus) – It took a whole lot of effort and walking, but we eventually saw one of these master skulkers at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. [E]
DUSKY GRASSWREN (Amytornis purnelli) – After outstanding views of 5 individuals along the trail at Simpsons Gap, the two that we saw along the Santa Teresa Road were truly icing on the cake. [E]
SOUTHERN EMUWREN (Stipiturus malachurus) – We found these little sprites at Cheynes Beach and Augusta Beach in WA. [E]

This sleepy Koala (one of the world's great animals!) was waiting for us in a gum tree at Kennett River in Victoria. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RUFOUS-CROWNED EMUWREN (Stipiturus ruficeps) – It took us quite a bit of effort to track these guys down in the spinifex south of Alice Springs, but once we did, they popped out several times. The brilliant blue of the male was especially exciting to see, and it was surprising to find our first pair feeding a huge baby Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo. [E]
MALLEE EMUWREN (Stipiturus mallee) – We only saw one of these in spinifex at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, and it did not stick around for long before melting back into the outback. [E]
RED-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus elegans) – This species is restricted to the southwestern corner of WA. Our first pair was at the Gleneagles Rest Area, but the best views were at Lake Powell Nature Reserve. [E]
BLUE-BREASTED FAIRYWREN (Malurus pulcherrimus) – A pair climbed around in shrubs mere meters in front of us in the Dryandra Woodland of WA. [E]
VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) – Eventually, we had some nice looks at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. [E]
SPLENDID FAIRYWREN (Malurus splendens) – Perhaps the most shocking of Australia's fairywrens, the brilliant blue males are true wonders. Though we saw a few at Wyperfeld and Simpsons Gap, the pair at Cheynes Beach that sat on the front of our bus and hopped around on the ground were clearly the most memorable. [E]
SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) – Fairly common during our travels around New South Wales, Victoria, and St. Kilda near Adelaide. [E]
WHITE-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus leucopterus) – Ours were at the St. Kilda salt ponds and also at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. [E]
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) – These delightful honeyeaters were in Royal and Grampians National Parks. [E]

How many shades of blue are there? Splendid Fairywren was named by understatement. This is one FINE bird. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WESTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus superciliosus) – Our only experience with this range-restricted honeyeater came at Cheynes Beach in WA. [E]
LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) – These drab honeyeaters were fairly common on our second day of the tour in Royal National Park. [E]
WHITE-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Purnella albifrons) – On consecutive days, we found up to 5 of these scarce and unpredictable honeyeaters at Little Desert Lodge. Though they were initially really good at hiding in the treetops, we eventually all had nice views of this surprising bird. [E]
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) – Ours were early in the tour at Royal National Park and also in southern Victoria. [E]
NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) – These common honeyeaters were nearly ubiquitous on the first half of our tour between Sydney and Adelaide. [E]
YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) – This was the miner that we found during our adventures in the Red Centre around Alice Springs. [E]
SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Acanthagenys rufogularis) – We saw this very fancy honeyeater pop up regularly during our travels between Victoria and Alice Springs. [E]
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) – These slender, demure wattlebirds were at several sites around Royal National Park and also around the cafe at Kennett River. [E]
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) – These large, bulky wattlebirds were nearly everywhere along our route except for in the Red Centre. [E]

The range-restricted Origma (or Rockwarbler) was very showy on some seaside cliffs near Sydney. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SINGING HONEYEATER (Gavicalis virescens) – A few were in Victoria and around Adelaide, but we saw many more in scattered locations around Alice Springs. [E]
YELLOW-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula ornata) – Our first experience with these yellow-collared honeyeaters was at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park; later we saw plenty more at the Dryandra Woodland in WA. [E]
WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula penicillata) – Common in inland Victoria and also around Alice Springs. [E]
FUSCOUS HONEYEATER (Ptilotula fusca) – One was a nice find on Asses Ears Road in the Grampians. [E]
GRAY-HEADED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula keartlandi) – Two of these interior honeyeaters appeared atop a nearby shrub while we were searching for emuwrens and grasswrens along the Santa Teresa Road. [E]
GRAY-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula plumula) – Roughly six of these scarce honeyeaters were along the Santa Teresa Road southeast of Alice Springs. One in particular sat on top of a low treetop in the full sunshine for a few minutes, offering a look at the namesake tiny gray forehead patch. [E]
WHITE-FRONTED CHAT (Epthianura albifrons) – These odd honeyeaters were fairly common in open wetlands from Werribee all the way west to WA. [E]
TAWNY-CROWNED HONEYEATER (Gliciphila melanops) – Our stops along the southern edge of the Stirling Range National Park turned up about 20 of these fine honeyeaters. [E]
BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) – We saw these drab honeyeaters first around Alice Springs and then more regularly in WA. [E]

A wonderfully bizarre Black-breasted Kite was checking out a "roadkilled" bottle on the side of the highway near Alice Springs when we drove up to it. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) – Our only Crescents were along the "koala side road" in the Otways of southern Victoria. [E]
NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) – This was a very common and highly "pishable" honeyeater of New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. [E]
WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) – We saw our first few around the giant ram statue in Wagin, but they were downright common in the coastal scrub at Cheynes Beach. [E]
WHITE-EARED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis leucotis) – These highly contrasting honeyeaters were in the Grampians and also at Little Desert Nature Lodge. [E]
GILBERT'S HONEYEATER (Melithreptus chloropsis) – This western specialty is a recent split from White-naped Honeyeater and we searched for them in WA. Our first encounter was at the Gleneagles Rest Area, and then we found a few more in the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) – Our only observation of the species was at the Little Desert Nature Lodge. [E]
BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus brevirostris) – These distinctive, goggle-faced honeyeaters were fairly common at Little Desert Nature Lodge in the mallee of inland Victoria. We also found a few during a bathroom break in Cranbrook, WA. [E]
Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds)
WESTERN BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis longirostris) – At least five were singing extremely loudly from the coastal scrub at Cheynes Beach. We eventually had fantastic views of a pair at the edge of one of the paths through the scrub - so close, in fact, that we were able to easily see their bristles through our binoculars. A recording of one of these is archived online here: [E]

How is this even a real bird? Spinifex Pigeons paraded around in front of us at Ormiston Gorge in the Red Centre near Alice Springs. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

RUFOUS BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis broadbenti) – Though it took quite a while of playing cat-and-mouse, we eventually managed some excellent views of this localized and tough bird along the Great Ocean Road in southern Victoria. [E]
Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) – We heard these and saw them briefly a few times in Royal National Park and at Otway Reservoir in Victoria. [E]
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge) – This subspecies of Spotted Pardalote showed off nicely for us at Wyperfeld National Park in inland Victoria. [E]
RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) – These well-dressed pardalotes put on a good performance a few times around Alice Springs including at Olive Pink Botanic Garden and Ormiston Gorge. [E]
STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) – This was the common pardalote of our journeys through Victoria and WA. [E]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
ROCKWARBLER (Origma solitaria) – Also known by its genus name of "Origma", this highly specialized member of the Thornbill family is restricted to a patch of the coastal Hawkesbury Sandstone formation around the Sydney area of New South Wales. We saw it beautifully during a coastal outing in Royal National Park. [E]
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) – This was the common scrubwren along the majority of our tour route. [E]
LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra) – Our only sightings were along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park. [E]

The Malleefowl, king (queen in this case) of the mound-builders, showed off admirably near her mound in the mallee near Little Desert National Park, sometimes walking with a few feet of members of our group. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SPECKLED WARBLER (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus) – This small, odd songbird was a lucky find along Asses Ears Road in the Grampians. [E]
RUFOUS FIELDWREN (Calamanthus campestris) – We found a "Western" Rufous Fieldwren due to our excellent stop in the southern reaches of Stirling Range National Park in WA. [E]
SHY HEATHWREN (Hylacola cauta) – Though a few sang and skulked in mallee near Mount Arapiles, our best views came on a brushpile at Little Desert Nature Lodge. [E]
BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza reguloides) – A few Buff-rumps bounced around through the mallee at Little Desert - and we didn't have to go over any ruff bumps to find them! [E]
WESTERN THORNBILL (Acanthiza inornata) – About five of these western specialties appeared for us in the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
SLENDER-BILLED THORNBILL (Acanthiza iredalei) – These drab thornbills were at Little Desert and also in St. Kilda. [E]
BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) – Quite common in New South Wales and Victoria. [E]
INLAND THORNBILL (Acanthiza apicalis) – A few were at the Dryandra and also at Lake Powell in WA. [E]
YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) – These thornbills were at several sites in Victoria - over a dozen were along Asses Ears Road in the Grampians. [E]
CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza uropygialis) – One was at Wyperfeld National Park near where we saw the Red-capped Robins. [E]

We were very pleased to find the nomadic and scarce White-fronted Honeyeater at Little Desert. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

SLATY-BACKED THORNBILL (Acanthiza robustirostris) – Also known to Tom as the Salty-backed Thornbill - we took a walk through the outback scrub at Simpsons Gap and found a few of these thornbills kicking around with other small passerines. [E]
STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata) – The below-eye level views at Mount Difficult in the Grampians gave us a wonderful perspective on this streaky, diminutive songbird. [E]
WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) – These oddly named birds were regular in interior Victoria and were also common in the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) – Common along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park. [E]
WESTERN GERYGONE (Gerygone fusca) – Our first were in the Alice Springs area, but we found more in forest and edge habitat in WA. [E]
SOUTHERN WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala leucopsis) – Several family groups included recently fledged young in open plains bordering Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. [E]
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)
GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis) – Fairly common in the outback around Alice Springs. [E]
WHITE-BROWED BABBLER (Pomatostomus superciliosus) – Good views at Mount Arapiles, Little Desert, and Kunoth Bore. [E]
CHESTNUT-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus ruficeps) – About fifteen of these fine babblers were streaming around in flocks in the sparsely vegetated flats along the edge of Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. [E]
Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)
EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) – These whipbirds (that actually sound like whips cracking when they sing) were fairly easy to find along the Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park. [E]

This exquisite Diamond Firetail flew in above a waterhole that we were watching at Little Desert Nature Lodge. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

WESTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes nigrogularis) – This localized western specialty was one of several prizes of our time at Cheynes Beach in coastal WA. [E]
CHIMING WEDGEBILL (Psophodes occidentalis) – A rare outback addition to our trip list played very nicely along the Santa Teresa Road southeast of Alice Springs. A few called back and forth and eventually posed for scope looks off the side of the road. [E]
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)
CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma castanotum) – Tracking this bird through the dry forest of Hattah-Kulkyne National Park was one of the highlights of our time in Victoria - especially when it teed up in a tree and sang out in the open, giving great looks for everyone! [E]
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus) – Two perched up high over our hotel in Ouyen.
BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) – This was a regular roadside sight during our time in the Red Centre. [E]
DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) – Two pairs of these dark woodswallows were on territory in the Dryandra Woodland, where they battled with Purple-crowned Lorikeets for our attention. [E]
LITTLE WOODSWALLOW (Artamus minor) – Half a dozen were flying around high overhead at Simpsons Gap. [E]
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) – Our primary experience came around Alice Springs. [E]

We had to walk a lot of circles through the spikey spinifex, but eventually it paid off with good views of this Striated Grasswren in Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in Victoria. Later, we saw quite a few Dusky Grasswrens near Alice Springs, too! Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) – Fairly common in the Red Centre. [E]
AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen) – Very common and widespread - one of the most familiar birds of Australia.
PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) – Fairly common in New South Wales and Victoria. [E]
GRAY CURRAWONG (Strepera versicolor) – Ours were all in Western Australia, including a few sightings in the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae) – Common; seen on most days of the tour.
WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor) – During our search for the Pink Cockatoo at Honeymoon Gap near Alice Springs, we turned up one of these peculiar songbirds. Later, another showed briefly near the small paddock at Kunoth Bore.
Neosittidae (Sittellas)
VARIED SITTELLA (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) – Three of these nuthatch look-alikes were in the forest along Lady Carrington Drive through Royal National Park; another two were in the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) – Fairly regular in inland woodlands, and especially common around Little Desert, where we found a nest near one of the waterholes.
OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea) – We saw one along the "koala trail" in the Otways of southern Victoria. [E]

Gang-gang Cockatoos were the prizes of our time in the Grampians of southern Victoria. The combination of those wispy red head plumes and the olive cast to the gray upperparts is a pattern unmatched by any other bird species. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

GILBERT'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala inornata) – We spent a while searching for this scarce resident at Mount Arapiles, and eventually struck gold with great views. [E]
GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis) – This handsome bird was fairly common in the woodlands of Victoria and New South Wales.
WESTERN WHISTLER (Pachycephala occidentalis) – This western specialty was split recently from Golden Whistler. We heard this bird's loud song throughout WA and also saw it very nicely at Dryandra Woodland and also at Lake Powell. A recording of one of "our" birds is now archived here:
RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris) – We saw these striking whistlers on a number of occasions at Little Desert; two others were also at Kunoth Bore.
Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)
CRESTED BELLBIRD (Oreoica gutturalis) – We heard this odd songbird in the scrub forest at Hattah-Kulkyne, but our best views came at the Chiming Wedgebill site along the Santa Teresa Road. [E]
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) – This familiar fantail was seen widely except in the Red Centre.
GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa) – We found these redstart-like songbirds at many forested sites in New South Wales, Victoria, and WA.

This rodent-like bird is a Noisy Scrub-bird, one of the planet's most challenging birds. Challenging to see, that is - they were loud enough to hear hundreds of meters away, but seeing one cross a roadway was a real stroke of fortune. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) – Just before we tracked down the Superb Lyrebirds at Royal National Park, this wonderful gray, black, and orange monarch put in a great streamside showing. [E]
MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca) – A peculiar monarch flycatcher that often strides around on manicured lawns! Seeing one of these is a great clue that you're no longer in North America!
LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula) – Two perched just above us along the river on Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru) – Regular around Alice Springs, though difficult to separate from the very similar Little Crow.
LITTLE CROW (Corvus bennetti) – Ours were near Alice Springs, where they invite confusion with the similar Torresian Crow. [E]
AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides) – This was the common and widespread big, black Corvid on our route, especially around New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. [E]
LITTLE RAVEN (Corvus mellori) – These ravens were near Werribee and also in coastal areas near Adelaide. [E]
FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus) – Just a few of these range-restricted Corvids were around Kennett River on the southern Victoria coast. [E]
Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)
WHITE-WINGED CHOUGH (Corcorax melanorhamphos) – These wildly unique Corcoracids appeared for us between the Grampians and Little Desert. Their glowing red eyes, curved bills, white wing patches, highly social behavior, and mud cup nests all combine for a highly distinctive species - it was truly great to see this one so well. [E]

New Holland Honeyeaters respond remarkably well to squeaking. Photo by participant Linda Rudolph.

Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
JACKY-WINTER (Microeca fascinans) – These small, dull robins were flycatching from low perches at Little Desert and Wyperfeld.
SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) – We located these attractive black, white, and red robins in the Grampians and also in the Dryandra Woodland. [E]
RED-CAPPED ROBIN (Petroica goodenovii) – Good, close views at Little Desert and also at Wyperfeld. [E]
HOODED ROBIN (Melanodryas cucullata) – Our only one made a brief showing in a burnt area of mallee at Little Desert National Park. [E]
EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) – We quickly moved out of the range of this attractive forest robin after seeing several nicely in Royal National Park. [E]
WESTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria griseogularis) – One perched up for excellent views along the roadside in the Dryandra Woodland in WA. [E]
WHITE-BREASTED ROBIN (Eopsaltria georgiana) – Though none of us made it very far up the Diamond Tree, we DID see White-breasted Robin very well at that WA site (close to ground level). [E]
SOUTHERN SCRUB-ROBIN (Drymodes brunneopygia) – These bizarre, un-robin-like robins ran across the ground like thrashers in the mallee at and near Little Desert. [E]
Alaudidae (Larks)
EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) – Some were walking around the mudflats at Werribee, and a few others were skylarking (fancy that!) at Lake Purrumbete. [I]

We saw Australia's largest owl species, Powerful Owl, on day roosts in two different parks within the city of Sydney. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena) – Extremely common and widespread. The common Barn-type swallow of Australia.
FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) – These small swallows were flying over us at several locations, but nowhere were they as common as at Werribee near Melbourne. [E]
TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans) – Our first great views were at Little Desert; later we saw the species regularly at many sites in WA.
WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW (Cheramoeca leucosterna) – Three flew past the bus near the turnoff to Ormiston Gorge in the Red Centre. [E]
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis) – We heard these large reed-warblers chattering from the reeds at several wetlands including Werribee, Lake Purrumbete, Alice Springs, and Glen Helen.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
SPINIFEX-BIRD (Megalurus carteri) – A pair made a brief appearance in a patch of spinifex along the Santa Teresa Road southeast of Alice Springs. [E]
LITTLE GRASSBIRD (Megalurus gramineus) – Several were skulking around the grassy edges of the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds; another sang from the marshy river edge at Glen Helen.
RUFOUS SONGLARK (Megalurus mathewsi) – We encountered a few in the Red Centre; the best sighting was in roadside scrub near Simpsons Gap. [E]

This lovely Square-tailed Kite patrolled the treetops of the Dryandra Woodland in Western Australia. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola exilis) – One called and popped up briefly at Werribee.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
SILVER-EYE (Zosterops lateralis) – This snazzy white-eye book-ended our tour at the beginning and end - our sightings were around Sydney and again in WA.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BASSIAN THRUSH (Zoothera lunulata) – We made a special stop at a picnic area in Royal National Park to watch these well-marked thrushes hopping around in the grass.
EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) – A few were singing at Point Addis; another showed along the Port Gawler Road near Adelaide. [I]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Fairly common around towns in the southern and eastern parts of our tour route. [I]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – Common in habitated areas in New South Wales and Victoria. [I]
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) – We found our first at Mount Arapiles, but several others were in the Red Centre around Simpsons Gap.

Participant Bill Byers shared this image of a Pied Stilt in flight.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis) – These streaky, nondescript birds of grassy scrub were at Little Desert and along the Santa Teresa Road near Alice Springs.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
EUROPEAN GREENFINCH (Chloris chloris) – One flew up briefly and passed overhead at Werribee. [I]
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) – A small group fed in marshside bushes during our visit to Werribee. [I]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Common in towns and cities. [I]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
PAINTED FIRETAIL (Emblema pictum) – These scarce finches were nesting in spinifex along the Santa Teresa Road. We flushed one from a nest cavity in a clump of dead spinifex and then watched as it brought new material in to the nest. [E]
RED-EARED FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura oculata) – Two perched atop waterside trees at the Lake Powell Nature Reserve in WA. [E]
DIAMOND FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura guttata) – We saw these amazingly patterned finches on repeated occasions at the waterholes at Little Desert Nature Lodge. [E]
ZEBRA FINCH (AUSTRALIAN) (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis) – Common around the Red Centre.

As far as "little skulky brown birds" go, the Rufous-crowned Emuwren is a pretty classy species. This male was busy helping to feed a growing baby Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo in the spinifex-covered hills near Alice Springs. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) – We found the big eucalypts in Kennett River to be an excellent site for this iconic mammal; one other was along a small trail that we checked out elsewhere in the Otways of southern Victoria. [E]
BLACK-FOOTED ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale lateralis) – These were the small macropods bounding through the rock slide at Simpsons Gap. [E]
EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) – This was the large, pale kangaroo of southern Victoria including the ones on the lawn at the Grampians Motel. [E]
WESTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus fuliginosus) – From Little Desert on to the west, this was the big showy kangaroo that we found. [E]
COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus) – These "Euros" were seen at least twice in the Alice Springs area. [E]
SWAMP WALLABY (Wallabia bicolor) – These were the wallabies we found en route to Halls Gap in southern Victoria. [E]
GRAY-HEADED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus poliocephalus) – We went out of our way to see a big roost of these massive bats in Centennial Park in Sydney, and even got to see them pulling their "flying monkey" routine in broad daylight. [E]
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) – Commonly seen on roadsides. One provided food for a scavenging Wedge-tailed Eagle near Little Desert. [I]
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – One fled the roadside near Little Desert. [I]
WATER-RAT (Hydromys chrysogaster) – This special mammal, also called "Rakali," was in the rocky breakwater at St. Kilda and swimming in the adjacent harbor. [E]

Near the conclusion of our tour, we delighted in these tiny Rock Parrots on the lawn at Cape Hamelin in Western Australia. Photo by guide Tom Johnson.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus) – Swimming offshore from Royal National Park.
HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae) – We found these familiar whales during seawatches from Royal National Park as well as the Cape Naturaliste area of WA.
RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) – One was along the roadside during our drive from interior Victoria to Adelaide. [I]


Totals for the tour: 276 bird taxa and 13 mammal taxa