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Field Guides Tour Report
Australia Invitational 2015
Nov 10, 2015 to Nov 29, 2015
John Coons & John Rowlett

Western Bristlebird in song and showing its stiff rictal bristles for which it is named (amazing photo by participant Max Rodel)

It’s no exaggeration to exclaim--confirmed by the sobering length of three moon-passings--that this wonderful tour to the land Down Under simply brightened our existence! Our group of exceptional participants numbered 12, eight of whom had joined Kingfisher and Pepper on our stellar Invitational to eastern Australia two years ago, another three of whom we were delighted to introduce to the land of honeyeaters and parrots, and another of whom, already knowledgeable of Aussie ways, added a sharp eye and botanical expertise. In order to make this Invitational as different as possible from the last adventure, our itinerary began in Tasmania, continued from there to Alice Springs, thence to Perth and the wild southwest, before concluding with a full day back across the continent out of Sydney, making it a humdinger of a trip!

Meeting up in Launceston, we enjoyed our first Tasmanian endemic, the Yellow Wattlebird, our first Little Wattlebird, and our first Gray Butcherbird. We drove south to lovely Mountain Valley Lodge where we had sympathy for the Devils for two nights, along with some relaxed yet exciting birding in beautiful surroundings. Kingfisher and Pepper stayed 15 minutes up the road at the Kaydale Lodge Gardens B&B with Daryl, our driver, and the voluptuous farmer’s daughters. Afterward, we headed south to Hobart, having encountered all the endemic birds except Forty-spotted Pardalote, which we saw nicely on Bruny Island. Among the highlights on Bruny were nesting Hooded Plovers and the remarkable Swift Parrots at Adventure Bay.

Our flight to Alice Springs, connecting through Melbourne, set us down in the middle of the country where we met our driver, Ian, and immediately visited the Olive Pink Botanic Garden to see Western Bowerbirds, Red-browed Pardalotes, and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters. After checking into the Aurora Motor Inn, we went to the famous sewage treatment facility where we had arranged to have the key for the gate. We arrived to find the gate double locked and a “closed” sign warning of a pack of wild dogs. Though we saw a few birds through the fence, we cursed the luck that cost us entry and several species. We then drove a loop birding Honeymoon Gap, where Marsha spotted a bird sitting out on the edge of the cliff that remained in the scope just long enough for a few in the group to glimpse a Dusky Grasswren! On the way back to town four Major Mitchell (Pink) Cockatoos were drinking along the roadside and we ended up watching them perched in trees in a residential area--our only ones. Birding Simpson’s Gap the next morning, we found one Budgie, Gray–headed Honeyeater, Black-footed Rock-Wallabies, and a single Pied Honeyeater. On the entrance road to Ormiston Gorge we stopped for a Red-backed Kingfisher and Lisa spotted a bird that turned into a Golden-backed Honeyeater. We went on to Glen Helen as it got hotter for a nice lunch and a few birds along the waterhole including Baillon’s Crake. We returned to Ormiston Gorge where we studied a splendid pair of Spinifex Pigeons in the campground.

The next morning we headed out the Santa Teresa Road to track down some specialties that Chris and Jesse had on Part 1, a month earlier. To our delight, we found about eight Chiming Wedgebills right along the road, along with Crested Bellbirds, Cockatiels, and Southern Whiteface. We dipped on a couple of species before getting to the spinifex ridge where we found the only decent habitat on the south side of the road. It was getting hot-hot before we came upon a great pair of Dusky Grasswrens skittering along the ground in front of us. This was the way to see them! On the way back we stopped again at Chris’s Gray-fronted Honeyeater spot and one bird, responding to playback, came blasting right in! Where had it been two hours earlier? We also had a soaring Black-breasted Kite here and a brief White-backed Swallow for some. After a break in the afternoon we drove north to the Tanami Highway and Hamilton Downs, where we came upon a couple of Crimson Chats. There were a few birds around the dry Kunuth Bore, including a nicely perched Little Eagle, our only group of Gray-crowned Babblers, and a fly-by Bourke’s Parrot that only Robert managed to nab. Walking in to the mulga we had fleeting looks at Slaty-backed Thornbill and some got on a Gray Honeyeater. We then hurried to Hamilton Downs where we beat a pink sunset and saw scores of Crested Pigeons and Galahs drawn to water at the Bore.

We were met in Perth by Diane Webster, Field Guides’ traditional driver in the southwest. After a quick lunch we headed to the roadside park at Glen Eagle. We got into our first of the twenty-or-so southwestern specialties with Western Spinebill, Gilbert’s Honeyeater, Red-winged Fairywren, and Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo. We drove on to Narrogin where we were staying for two nights to make the following day more relaxing. Diane showed us a pair of displaying Common Bronzewings (which were not only playing) behind the hotel, and we snagged our first Red-capped Parrots in the trees just across the street. Following that travel day we had a full day in the Dryandra State Forest where we got to see Rufous Treecreeper, several Elegant Parrots, a fascinating western form of Crested Shrike-tit at the nest, many Western Rosellas, and Blue-breasted Fairywren. It took some looking to find Western Yellow-Robin, and though there was no Numbat for us, Diane had seen one cross the road while we were robining. After a picnic lunch we got back to the hotel in time for a break before going across the road to Fox’s Lair Reserve, a nice county park where we saw our only Red-capped Robin. That evening we celebrated Rita and Max’s birthdays together, though Max’s fell on the following day--that was the only way to surprise him!

“With nothing left to see” we loaded up and left Narrogin for Albany to look for Regent Parrots along the way. A pit stop in Wagin (of Giant Ram fame) yielded as many laughs as White-cheeked Honeyeaters, and we had a few close fly-by Regent Parrots before Katanning, where we also saw Brown-headed Honeyeater and White-browed Babbler. We went on to the Stirling Range and birded the entrance area where we found separate groups of black-cockatoos, finally deciding that most, if not all, were Carnaby’s. There at the ranger’s house we found perched a magnificent pair of Regent Parrots. We went to the café in Porongurup for lunch where we saw our only Varied Sittella of the tour, along with Gilbert’s Honeyeater, White-breasted Robin, and more Red-winged Fairywrens. We drove on to Albany and the Ace Motor Inn (for three nights), then stopped at Lake Seppings in town where we had Musk and Blue-billed ducks, more Western Rosellas, Great Cormorants, and a heard-only Little Grassbird.

Our first morning here was a very important day for some hard-to-see specialties. We did breakfast trays in the rooms, then were off at 5:30am to Cheyne’s Beach. We heard no Noisy Scrub-birds where Jesse and Chris had had them so we headed up the sandy track and could hear one way up the hill. We were fortunate that it was close to the track and after many minutes we got it to scurry across the sandy track. The scrub-bird continued to sing as we scoped a brilliant Western Whipbird sitting up and singing in the coastal scrub. And this after enticing a Western Bristlebird to approach us and finally sit out! The scrub-bird, a notoriously difficult bird to see, kept singing as it moved to the base of a runty tree: after much intent looking most were able to watch it belting out its rich song through the scrub. Several of us saw it sing three times--an amazing feat. A thrilling trifecta, just like that!

After a brief but stinking encounter with Red-eared Firetails near the restrooms and some great Splendid Fairywrens, we went to Torndirrup National Park where we knew from Chris that the road to the lighthouse was closed for bridge repair. We arrived to find the place had just had a large fire that had burned a lot of the vegetation. The Blow Hole road was closed so we only got a peak at a sea-watch from the Salmon Hole overlook.

We went to Two People’s Bay the next morning and found the entrance road closed for fire danger, though we were in a light rain. We birded along the road and found Southern Emu-wren and more Red-capped Parrots and a large group of magnificent Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos. Once Diane had called and learned that Two People’s Bay had just reopened, we blasted back only to look around and find the whole western hillside at “John’s Beach” burned up from a very recent fire. At least the beach was still intact! Kingfisher heard a Western Bristlebird singing from the few bushes that were still green at the top of the ridge and gave it some playback just to make the poor thing feel better. But by golly, not ten minutes had elapsed before it was right in the car park singing away. Surely it must have been lonely to have come from so far. We went back to Albany for lunch at the Dome Café in town before going toward Muttonbird Island. We stopped at Lake Powell where Rita found proper Red-eared Firetails for us, one male carrying Pepper’s long stalk of grass which was presented before the female. Really cool.

On the 25th we headed out to Mt. Barker, then to Rocky Gully, and our first Emus and Western Corellas, which we found early in a light rain before seeing the corellas again at Rosella Corella’s house. Recovering from Kingfisher’s small-world story of Rosella Corella, we did an early lunch at the Déjà vu Café in Manjimup and headed on west with a stop at the Four Aces giant eucalypts. We encountered a few groups of Emus along the roadsides which gave us good views. We went in to Hamelin Beach in hopes of picking up Rock Parrot in the afternoon but found none. We blasted on to Cape Leeuwin and the lighthouse, arriving just as the inner gate was closing. We walked the area and had some Rock Parrots fly over in the high wind before heading north to Margaret River and The Grange Motel, which featured the name of a different type of wine above each room’s door. As we walked back to our respective vineyards, the moon’s pull was enchanting.

A bit tipsy perhaps, we had made plans to return, pre-breakfast, to Hamelin Bay for the parrots. After covering the area Kingfisher spellbound us by finding a single, mesmerized Rock Parrot on the sand under the vegetation along the beach. We had fabulous studies as it was slow to wake, then deliberate about eating the Senecio fruit it had found. We returned to Margaret River for breakfast at another Dome Café. We headed on to Sugarloaf where we spent some time sea-watching from the overlook. We saw a single Humpback Whale, Bottle-nosed Dolphins, and a few Australian Gannets, but no tropicbird. From here it was back to Perth and the Bel Eyre Inn where we had dinner under the watchful eye of a magnificent, unforgettable ripe moon.

Our final foray of a couple of days in Sydney kept us from flying straight through from Perth to Sydney to LAX. Our long flight to Sydney arrived at 2:30pm with the three-hour time change. We transferred to the Holiday Inn where we repacked and rested up for our last day in the field. After an early buffet breakfast, we met Geoff, our driver, to set off for Royal National Park. We did Lady Carrington Drive on a Saturday and were fortunate there were not more people walking, running, and biking. It was birdy along the way with many first-time, eastern-forest species including Green Catbird and Channel-billed Cuckoo. Kingfisher got us close to a fancy, long-tailed Superb Lyrebird singing in dense vegetation, finally getting it to cross the track--twice--before us! This amazing lyrebird was imitating every bird in the forest. We had no satisfactory luck with Rockwarbler along the cliffs here, so after lunch we went to Wattamolla, where we found two Rockwarblers precisely where Jay had found them on the NAZ Field Guides tour. We had fabulous studies as these two hopped around the rocks in front of us! A subsequent stop in the heath produced a nice, if brief, look at Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and a heard-only Chestnut-rumped Heathwren; and a final stop near the south end of Lady Carrington yielded Scarlet Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, and Crested Shrike-tit. We enjoyed a lovely final dinner which concluded with Laura’s arrangement for witty limericks to be read by several participants, herself included, and Kingfisher’s arrangement for a birthday celebration for Pepper with his favorite dessert: “cheese cake”!

Once again, each of you richly deserves our gratitude for your many contributions to our remarkable Invitational. You are the kind of birders that make tour-guiding the greatest career, as well as the toughest to leave. An aesthetic thanks goes to Max and Robert for their great photos that adorn the html version of this triplist and to Laura, Steve, Kathe, Marsha, and Allison--our limerick mates--whose endless wit adorns the tail end of the list!

Neither of us wishes to close here, so let us simply say that with these words we acknowledge no more than an interruption of our convivial birding, to be resumed on the next tour we can enjoy together.

--Pepper and Kingfisher

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

Dromaiidae (Emu)
EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) – Related to cassowaries, the Emu constitutes a monotypic family endemic to Australia. The male alone guards and incubates a clutch of blackish-green eggs, and "during the eight weeks of incubation," according to HBW, "he hardly ever eats, drinks, or defecates"! "Conscientious" it is called! And who would dispute that? It was west of Albany in the deep southwest before we saw our first--then at nine more sites (as tabulated by Robert), about 40 birds in all. [E]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) – This lovely "anomaly," as Europeans referred to these "black sheep," were common throughout most of our trip save for the xeric Alice Springs area. [E]
AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides) – Big, heavy ducks the size of geese seen well on several occasions.
MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) – Known to Aussies as Wood Duck, this small, rather goose-like duck was seen almost daily. [EN]
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa) – Widespread and seen in many areas. [N]
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis) – Seen well on numerous occasions.
CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) – Seen frequently, several times with chicks. [EN]
WHITE-EYED DUCK (Aythya australis) – Also known as Hardhead, this diving duck was seen in Tasmania and on Lake Seppings (Albany) which was declared a Botanic Garden in 1888.
BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) – Five birds seen on Lake Seppings, Albany. This species is closely related to our Ruddy Duck. [E]

Musk Duck (photo by participant Max Rodel)

MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) – Our best looks at this bizarre-looking duck were at Lake Seppings, Albany. Often partially submerged as it swims, it is a powerful diver and is seldom seen to fly. The generic name, Biziura, refers to the pincushion-like undertail coverts exposed in spectacular splashing displays by the drake. Lobata obviously refers to the drake's large, black lobe of distensible gular skin hanging from the bill. So the scientific name honors this duck from one end to the other. [E]
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
BROWN QUAIL (Synoicus ypsilophorus) – One glimpsed by some on the day we did Two Peoples Bay.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) – Most of the small grebes we saw belong to this species; we happened to see the most in the southwest.
HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) – Seen on Lake Seppings, a sufficiently deep-water location for this deep-diver. [E]
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche melanophris) – The two albatrosses on the water that Robert spotted at that Providence Point overlook at Royal National Park were almost surely this species.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER (Ardenna carneipes) – The "shearwater sp." we saw at Cheyne Beach and Two Peoples Bay were presumably of this species.
WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna pacifica) – The numerous (50+) shearwaters we saw from the ocean vista at Royal National Park were, we believe, predominantly Wedge-tailed.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
AUSTRALASIAN GANNET (Morus serrator) – Though we had two earlier in the trip (the first off Bruny Island, the next off Sugarloaf), the one we had at Providence Park, Royal National Park may have been the best.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

Australian Pelicans (photo by participant Max Rodel)

LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) – A few scattered on three days.
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – Common on Lake Seppings, Albany.
PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius) – Seen on most days in Western Australia.
BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) – Seen very nicely on Bruny Island! Clean-cut look. [E]
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) – Largest number on Lake Seppings, Albany. [N]
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae) – One seen on the 18th.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus) – Seen in Launceston and on most of our days in Western Australia.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica) – Mostly singletons along the highways in Western Australia.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – One in the wet swell behind the restaurant at Glen Helen where we had lunch.
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – Singletons mostly; seen throughout our trip, this was the most frequently encountered Ardeid.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – One seen on the 24th.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Also, one seen on the 24th. Imagine, only one Cattle Egret on the trip!
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Seen at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis moluccus) – Common in Western Australia where seen almost daily. [E]
STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) – A dozen seen at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds and seen regularly in some numbers in Western Australia. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) – Three scattered on our Two Peoples Bay day. A cool bird! [E]
Pandionidae (Osprey)

White-bellied Sea-Eagle (photo by participant Max Rodel)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – On a couple of days, three at Royal Natural Park, one flying over vocalizing in typical fashion.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
AUSTRALIAN KITE (Elanus axillaris) – A few seen, both in the Northern Territory and in Western Australia. This kite often hover-hunts at crepuscular hours. Black-shouldered Kite is one of its former names. [E]
BLACK-BREASTED KITE (Hamirostra melanosternon) – Alright! Great bird. Seen on our final full day of birding around Alice Springs. The monotypic "Hamirostra" refers to the hooked bill (don't all Accipitridae have hooked bills?). Often hunts from the ground breaking eggs of large, ground-nesting birds with its beak, or hurling stones at them from a standing position! [E]
LITTLE EAGLE (Hieraaetus morphnoides) – Great sighting of a bird at Kunuth Bore en route to Hamilton Downs. Nice to see it settled as well as in flight.
WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE (Aquila audax) – Seen first in Tasmania where we had five birds; then in the Northern Territory and in Western Australia. Not uncommon.
SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans) – Seen in Tasmania and Western Australia in varied locations.
GRAY GOSHAWK (Accipiter novaehollandiae) – Two sightings in Tasmania, both of them white morphs! How thrilling.
BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus) – Two in Tasmania, with great looks at one bird!
COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus) – Several seen, some in Tasmania, some in Western Australia.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – Common in Alice Springs; one also seen our last day birding between Margaret River and Perth.
WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus) – Several seen around Alice Springs, one right overhead at the Sewage Ponds.
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – Seen in all areas; seen on the nest in Tasmania! A good-looking raptor. [N]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

Tasmanian Native-Hen, a Tasmanian endemic (photo by participant Max Rodel)

BAILLON'S CRAKE (Porzana pusilla) – One emerged from the wet swell below the restaurant where we had lunch at Glen Helen Homestead. Not a bad look for a crake! Same genus as our Sora.
AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus) – Singletons and pairs seen in Tasmania and also in Western Australia at various sites. This bird is now split from Purple Swamphen.
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa) – Seen at Royal National Park, Sydney, on our last day.
TASMANIAN NATIVE-HEN (Tribonyx mortierii) – This Tasmanian endemic is everywhere over the island! We had many good encounters. Fide Tim Low ("Where Song Began"), this bird violates a "global rule that flightless rails keep to islands without predatory animals." [E]
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) – Widespread.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus) – Seen at the Alice Springs Sewage Pond.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris) – Fairly common in all coastal areas where we had good looks. [E]
SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus) – Seen along the coast on our four days in the Albany-Hamelin Bay area. Similar in appearance, as we noted, to the other black oystercatchers (five species, plus one black morph of Variable) except for the noticeably longer tail. [E]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

Sooty Oystercatcher (photo by participant Max Rodel)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Robert (only) had one on the 23rd. [b]
BANDED LAPWING (Vanellus tricolor) – Two beauties in the pasture/field in the Damper Creek-Mole Creek area en route to Mountain Valley Lodge. Brilliant endemics that reveal an astonishingly white underwing! [E]
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles) – A pretty lapwing seen daily in Tasmania.
HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus) – Another striking endemic plover enjoyed on the sandy beach at Kettering where we saw a bird sitting on a clutch. What a little beauty! One of K-fisher's favorite plovers. [EN]
BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops) – Another pretty plover seen in Tasmania and at the wet swale, Glen Helen.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Not uncommon; we saw several, one in Tasmania and several in Western Australia. [b]
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – A couple seen at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds and one on the 24th in the southwest. [b]
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – Three or four of these boreal migrants were seen at the Sewage Ponds, Alice Springs. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) – The common gull in all coastal areas, with some seen inland. A very attractive gull.
PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) – A huge gull with a huge bill. We had six on Bruny Island, Tasmania, before enjoying others along the coast (both oceans!) in the southwest. This endemic is currently considered Near-Threatened. [E]

Crested Pigeon (photo by participant Max Rodel)

KELP GULL (Larus dominicanus) – The commoner large gull in Tasmania, a gull that ironically we saw only in the Pacific, seeing the Pacific only on the Southern and Indian oceans. This is a widespread gull making it across the oceans to coastal South America, Africa, and Antarctica. [N]
BRIDLED TERN (Onychoprion anaethetus) – About a dozen of these graceful terns were seen in Hamelin Bay.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Three seen on the coast at Torndirrup National Park.
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – The common tern of coastal areas, first seen in Tasmania, then many times in the southwest.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – In most urban areas; is Alice too dry? [I]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – The common Streptopelia in Tasmania. Also in Perth.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – This Streptopelia replaced Spotted in Western Australia. [I]
COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) – Not uncommon in the southwest; Diane pointed out our first in Narrogin, with a pair copulating at the hotel aptly named for Albert Facey and his "A Fortunate Life." [E]
BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) – We had a couple of these subtly fancy pigeons in Tasmania, but they were more common in the southwest. The three members of the genus "Phaps" (Greek for Wood Pigeon) are terrestrial pigeons that, like almost all other pigeons, suck water as opposed to scooping and head-tilting like most other birds. This procedure is thought to enable them to better exploit limited water sources. [E]
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes) – Widespread, particularly in drier areas. We had many wonderful views.

Spinifex Pigeon (photo by participant Max Rodel)

SPINIFEX PIGEON (Geophaps plumifera) – WOW. Now that's a pigeon! We had remarkable studies of a pair at Ormiston Gorge, where many photos were taken. This and the related Crested Pigeon are the only two Australian pigeons with permanently erect crests. This was among the "favorite species" seen on our trip. [E]
WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) – Karen got us on one of these at Royal National Park, Sydney. This species does not occur in the southwest or Alice Springs. [E]
DIAMOND DOVE (Geopelia cuneata) – Just one of these delicate doves was seen near Hamilton Downs on November 19th. [E]
PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida) – Common around Alice Springs.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus) – Seen at our stop at Mole Creek, Tasmania; also heard on Bruny Island. [E]
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis) – Heard daily in Tasmania and finally seen on the 16th of November at Kettering.
HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx basalis) – ??? [E]
SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus) – Seen at Mountain Valley Lodge and at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania; also seen in the southwest.
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – Two of these massive cuckoos seen at Royal National Park, one in flight. Channel-billed is the largest of all brood-parasites, its hosts primarily currawongs and crows. Reversing the usual sexual dimorphism, female Channel-bills are larger than the males. Their huge bills are used for plucking fruit, especially figs.
Strigidae (Owls)

Peppershrike and Laughing Kookaburra (photo by laughing participant Robert McNab)

SOUTHERN BOOBOOK (Ninox novaeseelandiae) – Heard at Mountain Valley Lodge, Tasmania. [*]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
AZURE KINGFISHER (Ceyx azureus) – One seen along the river at Royal National Park.
LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) – What an icon! Happily we had many wonderful studies just about daily, including a remarkable, well-documented encounter with three at the Providential Parking Area, Royal National Park! [E]
RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) – YES. Very nice looks at our first alongside the road to Ormiston Gorge; we had another nice look the next day. This "social" species has been recorded nesting in White-backed Swallow colonies! [E]
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus) – Seen well near Alice Springs and on a couple of days in the southwest. Sanctus is the common woodland kingfisher of Australia. As it happens, all of the four kingfishers we saw on our tour cannot be distinguished (if you know what I mean) from the Quaternary remains of their respective ancestors that lived one million years ago! Now that's lineage.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus) – Seen very nicely in the Alice Springs area where we had our best, most leisurely looks at the site of our Chiming Wedgebills. Also seen in Western Australia where we had them in the Dryandra forest, among other areas.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides) – Seen almost daily in Western Australia, with four on one day being our high count.
AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) – Seen nicely on several days, our best looks being the settled bird we saw at Honeymoon Gap, as we tried to find the grasswren again. [E]
BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora) – Singletons seen in all areas. Berigora is the English literation of the aboriginal word for this species.
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos (photo by participant Robert McNab)

RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) – Ah, black-cockatoos! We did great with them. So exciting to see a bunch in choreographed flight! This species can sometimes be difficult in the area we birded, but we had about 10 at Glen Eagle and a few birds between Albany and Margaret River. The female of this species was the first psittaciform to be sketched (1770) on Cook's first voyage to the continent. [E]
YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus) – Long-lived, black-cockatoos have much of their vice-like bills hidden, hence their generic name. Yellow-tailed Blacks feed principally on insect larvae, though its diet includes seeds as well. We saw them almost daily in Tasmania, including at Mountain Valley Lodge. This species is not found in Western Australia or the Northern Territory. [E]
CARNABY'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) – Also known as Short-billed Black-Cockatoo. This lovely Psittacid was the more numerous of the two similar species on our trip, yet both are Vulnerable. The range of both is strictly limited to the southwest, Baudin's, or Long-billed, even more restricted. Tim Low comments that black-cockatoos "float as much as if they were big black butterflies." And so they do, as the big groups behaved at Cheyne's Beach and Two People's Bay. [E]
BAUDIN'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) – Also known as Long-billed Black-. After some confusion studying the bills of these very similar black-cockatoos, we finally saw the real thing, four decidedly Baudin's, on November 24th. Males of all four black-cockatoos we saw have dark bills, whereas the females have pale bills. [E]

Galahs (photo by participant Max Rodel)

PINK COCKATOO (Lophochroa leadbeateri) – What a great snag! We glimpsed four "Major Mitchell's" Cockatoos drinking water in a ditch as we sped along the highway. We circled round, headed into the small neighborhood where they had retreated and had fabulous looks at this splendid parrot on Lara Pinta Road outside Alice Springs. The black-cockatoos and the other Cacatuids are placed in their own family, apart from the Psittacids. [E]
GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) – These gregarious Cacatuids were plentiful and seen almost every day of our trip from Alice Springs throughout the southwest. What pinks! [E]
WESTERN CORELLA (Cacatua pastinator) – About 20+ of these corellas feeding in the field where we saw our first Emus! It was a little wet seeing them properly out of the bus, but we did well, even getting them in the scopes. That curious "pastinator" means "ditch-digger" and refers to the manner in which large flocks of this terrestrial Cacatua dig up roots, insects and their larvae. [E]
LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea) – This Cacatua, though seen on several occasions, was never certifiably a native to the area seen; many are introduced broadly.
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita) – Many fine views in Tasmania; then a veritable dinner party with them along the trail at Royal National Park where some of you got superb photos. Those crests, when fully raised forward, are simply royal! Parrots and songbirds are by far the most intelligent birds and are each other's closest relatives, as can be seen from recent taxonomic ordering.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (photo by participant Max Rodel)

COCKATIEL (Nymphicus hollandicus) – Some flybys were a surprise out Santa Theresa Road near where we had the Chiming Wedgebills. We had another singleton on the 22nd. [E]
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
REGENT PARROT (Polytelis anthopeplus) – Two beautiful, sleek Regents, the male robed in gold, seen well in the Stirling Range area at the Ranger's residence. A very special bird! [E]
AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) – Quick looks at four birds in Royal National Park. [E]
BOURKE'S PARROT (Neophema bourkii) – That always-alert Robert saw one bird in flight from the bus at Kunuth Bore. Alas, it got past before any of us could see it. [E]
ELEGANT PARROT (Neophema elegans) – Some awfully nice views of this petit parrot in the Dryandra forest on the 21st of November and on the next couple of days. [E]
ROCK PARROT (Neophema petrophila) – WOW. K-fisher pulled this one out of his hat on the beach at Hamelin Bay! Just a few feet away, we were able to watch this little endemic wake up, stretch its wings and tail a bit, then begin attentively eating beachside fruit, disregarding our incessant gawking and mutterings. [E]
SWIFT PARROT (Lathamus discolor) – WOW. Another highlight of the trip was enjoying these Vulnerable parrots that breed strictly on Tasmania and spend the non-breeding season on the southeast coastal mainland. Swift in flight, these small Psittacids have scarlet wing-linings visible only while rocketing through the canopy. We had a number of lovely encounters on Bruny Island at Adventure Bay, where we had several nicely in the scope. These gregarious parrots require Tasmanian blue gums to feed on. [E]

Rock Parrot eating Senecio fruit on the sandy beach (photo by participant Max Rodel)

PORT LINCOLN PARROT (Barnardius zonarius) – This beautiful endemic was first seen in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs. We then saw it repeatedly throughout the area and through most of the southwest where it often fed on the shoulders to gather wheat spillage and gravel. It was named after Edward Barnard, zoologist and botanist, who was responsible for securing loans from the British Treasury for South Australia. He gave the type specimen to the Linnaean Society. This parrot is locally called "Ringneck." [E]
GREEN ROSELLA (Platycercus caledonicus) – Very nice encounters with this rather secretive rosella in Tasmania. Seen well several times at the Mountain Valley Lodge. The specific name, which refers to New Caledonia, is in error for Adventure Bay! This rosella is one of the twelve Tasmanian endemics. [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (CRIMSON) (Platycercus elegans elegans) – Seen in Royal National Park, Sydney, on our last day. Elegans, yes! [E]
WESTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus icterotis) – This beauty was seen daily from the Dryandra forest on the 21st through Margaret River on the 26th. The dimorphic female lacks the red head and red underparts. [E]
MULGA PARROT (Psephotus varius) – Beautiful looks at a pair of these beauties along the fence row in the Santa Theresa area. We had them eating on seeds at eye-level. [E]
RED-CAPPED PARROT (Purpureicephalus spurius) – Fancy generic name! Another marvelous parrot; there were so many! Endemic to the southwest, Red-capped was not as frequently seen as Port Lincoln, but we had gripping looks at quite a few places in the southwest, the first, I believe, at the Albert Facey Motel in Narrogin, some of the best along Two People's Bay. The specific name refers to the juve which looks so different as not to be related; hence, spurius. [E]

Western Rosella (photo by participant Max Rodel)

BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus) – One seen in flight at Simpson's Gap. [E]
RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus haematodus) – These beautiful birds, eastern Psittacids and so not seen except out of Sydney, were seen in the forest at Royal National Park.
Menuridae (Lyrebirds)
SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) – One of the birds of the trip! Seen fabulously by all as it crossed the track a couple of times in Royal National Park; this, after it had serenaded us with its extraordinary song full of imitations! The largest songbird, and many believe the best songster, is the ancestor of the world's first songbirds. As Tim Low writes, "Australia was the first continent with song," long before Europe or America. The very range of this birds imitations are deservedly legendary! [E]
Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)
NOISY SCRUB-BIRD (Atrichornis clamosus) – Our experience with this bird was awesome! We finally had great looks at it as we peered into its dense, scrub habitat at Cheyne's Beach. Closely related to the two lyrebirds, the two scrub-birds are, along with the lyrebirds, the most "ancient" surviving songbirds. The Noisy Scrub-bird's song was rich and melodious—and ventriloquial, and some of us saw its delivery! That morning on the beach in that scrub is one none of us will forget. [E]
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) – One close bird seen briefly at Royal National Park. [E]
WESTERN BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera guttata) – Two seen at their bowers at the Botanic Park, Alice Springs. What a charge! Those were the only ones we had at Alice. [E]
Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)

Red-capped Parrot (photo by participant Robert McNab)

WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) – One seen in Royal National Park on our last day. Nice to pick up another treecreeper, an endemic southeasterner. [E]
RUFOUS TREECREEPER (Climacteris rufus) – Seen best--and well--at several stops in the Dryandra forest where this treecreeper scales bark in the manner of a nuthatch. The Rufous breeds cooperatively with extra birds, mostly males, assisting in feeding the young. The foot design of treecreepers is unique among perching birds, as they lack hind-claw ligaments, allowing them to walk under limbs upside down. And they hang from trunks to sleep (fide Low). The form of their syrinx is unique among the other 4500 songbirds! [E]
Maluridae (Fairywrens)
DUSKY GRASSWREN (Amytornis purnelli) – One of my personal favorites of the tour! These little runners that we saw in the spinifex and straggly bushes out Santa Theresa Road were just fantastic--such great, subtle streaks, such a cool, difficult-to-see bird! Grasswrens are placed in Maluridae, the same family as the fairywrens, the two groups comprising subfamilies. More terrestrial than fairywrens, grasswrens use a peculiar habit of feeding referred to as "hop-search," consisting of hopping a few feet, searching and gleaning, then repeating the movement. And, I must say, what a photo, Robert! Our first grasswren was a surprise at Honeymoon Gap, though not everyone got on it and no one saw it properly until Santa Teresa. [E]

Dusky Grasswren (amazing photo by participant Robert McNab)

SOUTHERN EMUWREN (Stipiturus malachurus) – These flimsy little Malurids are a lot hardier than they appear. Though they look as if they could blow away, their coarse, erect tails twice as long as their slight bodies, they survive in a tough world. "Stipiturus" refers to the "stem-like" or "branch-like" tail, whereas "malachurus" refers to the "soft, weak" tail! Go figure... We had them dancing in the breeze on the heath-tops at Two People's Bay. [E]
RED-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus elegans) – The first, phylogenetically speaking, of the five species of Malurus that we saw on our tour, all of them delightfully delicious. Red-winged is one of the "chestnut-shouldered group" and hence not the only "red-winged" fairywren. This one is restricted to the extreme southwest where it is found in eucalypt forest and coastal heath; it is said to be long-lived, as are the other Malurus. Though they typically live in groups, our four different sightings consisted of pairs. We had our first at the park at Glen Eagle. [E]
BLUE-BREASTED FAIRYWREN (Malurus pulcherrimus) – This beauty also belongs to the "chestnut-shouldered group. We had lovely looks at a pair in the Dryandra forest. [E]
VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) – Also part of the "chestnut-shouldered group," this fairywren is the most widespread of the genus. We had it first in the Alice Springs area, then again in Royal National Park. Named for Aylmer Bourke Lambert, an acquisitive British botanist (1761-1842) for whom the Sugar Pine is named. [E]
SPLENDID FAIRYWREN (Malurus splendens) – What a lovely surprise to see these beautiful figures in blue! We enjoyed their interest in the vanity and windows on our bus. Fairywrens are highly promiscuous, "males almost never siring the chicks in their own nests, inseminating instead the faithless wives of rivals" (fide Low). [E]

Splendid Fairywren (photo by participant Max Rodel)

SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) – The sole species of fairywren in Tasmania. At Mountain Valley Lodge we had many fabulous looks at this dynamite little bird. Like other little fairys, males tend to be philopatric. ;-) The nests are parasitized by Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoos. [EN]
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) – The first of a huge, glorious family, Meliphagidae, of which we had more than 30 examples! This family is one of the most characteristic and well represented of all in Australia. [E]
WESTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus superciliosus) – We had fine looks at a beautiful male at Glen Eagle, then two more in the park lot in Narrogin as it fed in a flowering hedgerow, with others scattered in Western Australia. The spinebills, of which there are two, represent an endemic genus; the males of both dichromatic species are much more brightly colored than the females. Western Spinebill is limited in range to the coastal and subcoastal southwest. [E]
PIED HONEYEATER (Certhionyx variegatus) – One male seen at Simpson's Gap; lucky us, as Kingfisher missed this one. [E]
LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) – Quite a few of this common honeyeater, a strict easterner, seen at Royal National Park. [E]
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) – This subtly pretty honeyeater was seen in Royal National Park near the southern end of Lady Carrington Drive; another easterner. [E]
NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) – Seen best in Royal National Park. They are noisy. [E]

Noisy Miner (photo by participant Max Rodel)

YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) – First encountered in the Botanical Garden, Alice Springs, where seen very nicely; then seen most days through the southwest. The miners, among the larger honeyeaters, feed mostly by gleaning bark and foliage for lerps, honeydew, or insects. [E]
SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Acanthagenys rufogularis) – This beautiful honeyeater, Allison's favorite, eats many more fruits than others in the large family, though it will also take lerps and honeydew when available. This lover of more xeric areas we saw on several days in the Alice Springs area. [E]
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) – This subtly beautiful honeyeater was first seen in Launceston at our motel; we had it again at Royal National Park. Beautiful photos, Max. They really show off the fine streaking on this bird--and the lack of wattles! [E]
WESTERN WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera lunulata) – This western counterpart of the previous species was seen in the southwest on a couple of days. [E]
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) – The commonest wattlebird in the southwest; it's found across the coastal and subcoastal south of Australia. Not as large as the Yellow. [E]
YELLOW WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera paradoxa) – The largest of all the honeyeaters, the Yellow is one of the 12 endemics restricted to Tasmania. We had several encounters; recorded each day in small numbers. When described in 1800, this species was placed in the genus Corvus. [E]

Little Wattlebird (photo by participant Max Rodel)

SINGING HONEYEATER (Gavicalis virescens) – Mostly singletons seen in the Alice Springs area. The name "singing" is perhaps attributable to the fact that the dawn song of this species is one of the first to be heard in the morning, often 30-20 minutes before first light. [E]
YELLOW-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula ornata) – Wonderful study of a number of individuals and pairs in the Dryandra Forest. Very handsome with those yellow neck plumes and streaking below. Ptilotula was erected for six species (of which we saw four) when molecular analysis indicated that Lichenostomus was polyphyletic, or derived from more than one ancestral group. This recent discovery accounts for the genus on our checklists being inaccurate. [E]
WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula penicillata) – Seen daily in the Alice Springs area; one of the six members of a newly erected genus. Pretty. "Penicillata" refers to its white tufts or plumes. [E]
GRAY-HEADED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula keartlandi) – Seen nicely on several occasions in the Alice Springs area on the days we did Simpson's Gap and the Santa Teresa Road. This is close relative of the other three members of the genus Ptilotula for whom this genus was erected. Nests are parasitized by Pallid Cuckoo. [E]
GRAY-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula plumula) – The rarest of the four members of its genus, the Gray-fronted is the rarest and most difficult to find on our circuit. With a tip from Chris Benesh we were able to re-find the bird he had with his group along the Santa Teresa Road. And what a lovely Ptilotula it is! [E]

Endemic and uncommon Gray-fronted Honeyeater (photo by participant Robert McNab)

GRAY HONEYEATER (Conopophila whitei) – One of these plain-looking honeyeaters we were able to find in acacia scrub, or mulga, en route to Hamilton Downs. I don't believe everyone got good looks, but it was difficult to nail down. Its slightly, but noticeably hooked bill and narrow, whitish eye-ring were apparent to those who did get good views. This honeyeater is among the smallest of the family. [E]
CRIMSON CHAT (Epthianura tricolor) – Two of these beauties were seen in the Alice Springs area on our Santa Teresa to Hamilton Downs day. All the chats walk (or run) rather than hop, a peculiarity among small passerines. These short-tailed honeyeaters disclose their affinity, despite appearances, by their brush-tipped tongues which permits them to feed on nectar. [E]
WHITE-FRONTED CHAT (Epthianura albifrons) – One seen nicely in Tasmania, where we saw it sitting low on fence wiring. An early common name for this species is "Tang," onomatopoeic for its soft call note. [E]
SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta) – What a little gem! We saw this species at a final stop at the south end of Lady Carrington Drive. Though it remained high in the trees, we did get good looks, some through the scope. Myzomela means "honey-sucker." It's also known as Scarlet Honeyeater.
TAWNY-CROWNED HONEYEATER (Gliciphila melanops) – En route to Lady Carrington Drive, we had quick looks at a Tawny-crowned in the heath before it flew for a great distance and out of sight. This is a fancy honeyeater which often runs along the ground. The generic name might be translated as "having a sweet tooth." [E]
BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) – We first saw this "indistinct tongue-darter" near Alice Springs, then daily in Western Australia. For all its lack of distinct features, it does have a distinct yellow gape. [E]

New Holland Honeyeater (photo by participant Robert McNab)

CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) – Another fancy endemic honeyeater; this beauty was seen nicely in the tall eucalypt forests on Tasmania. [E]
NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) – The endemic Phylidonyris with the white iris. We saw plenty of these, first on Bruny Island, then daily in Western Australia. Striking plumage! [E]
WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) – First seen in Wagin where we saw a number in the banksia shrubs. "Wagin" is Aboriginal for "the place where emus watered," and yet it is the RAM that stands tall in the town. This close relative of the preceding species has dark eyes. [E]
YELLOW-THROATED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis flavicollis) – This Tasmanian endemic is one of the prettiest of the honeyeaters, with smartly contrasting yellow throat. Notice that the genus is newly erected to contain only two species. [E]
GILBERT'S HONEYEATER (Melithreptus chloropsis) – Many seen on our Narrogin-to-Albany day (but first at Glen Eagle), as well as a few other days in the southwest. Note that this taxon, formerly considered a subspecies, has been split from M. lunatus (as discussed on the tour) and raised to species level; it is limited to the southwest. [E]
BLACK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus affinis) – Another lovely Tasmanian endemic seen nicely on numerous occasions, some right on the Mountain Valley Lodge grounds. "Melithreptus" means "honey-fed"; naturalists came close to exhausting the multiple ways of referring to these honeyeaters' penchant for nectar and honeydew! [E]
BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus brevirostris) – At least 8-10 seen in Western Australia near Katanning on our Narrogin-to-Albany day. All members of this genus, though socially monogamous, are known to breed cooperatively, the helpers at the nest both joining in incubation as well as feeding the parents when they are incubating. [E]
BLACK-CHINNED HONEYEATER (GOLDEN-BACKED) (Melithreptus gularis laetior) – This beauty was spotted by Lisa feeding in the Eucalypts above us as we watched a Red-backed Kingfisher along the road to Ormiston Gorge. As of the latest Cornell-Clements Checklist (Aug 2015), it is still considered a subspecies of Black-chinned. The golden back of this bird, contrasting with the black head and dark wings and tail, makes it especially striking! [E]

Red-browed Pardalote, Alice Springs (photo by participant Robert McNab)

STRONG-BILLED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus validirostris) – Another Tasmanian endemic, seen feeding in the eucalypts at Mountain Valley Lodge. We saw it using its strong bill to lift bark and probe for insects and lerps. [E]
Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds)
WESTERN BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis longirostris) – One of the three incredible species we saw at Cheyne's Beach! We had remarkable looks at this guy as it strode, then ran, down the sandy path toward us. This species is extremely limited in range and one of the rarest birds we saw on the tour. It is globally threatened and considered Vulnerable. Kingfisher knew right where to find it. Max just nailed it! [E]
Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) – A few Spotteds were seen in Tasmania, though we missed seeing it in the southwest, where it also occurs. Small, stocky birds with short, stout bills and no rictal bristles, pardalotes nest in tunnels and cavities; the Spotted nests almost exclusively in the ground, whereas the Striated often nests in tree hollows as well as tunnels. [E]
FORTY-SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus quadragintus) – Seeing well this Tasmanian endemic was a coup, considering it can be difficult and is considered ENDANGERED. Though the least colorful of the group, it sports some 20 spots scattered over each wing. This species gave the rare Tasmanian gin, Forty Spotted, its name. [E]
RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) – A pale pardalote with bicolored bill and pale iris. We had very close looks at this species at the Botanic Garden in Alice Springs. Compared to the other members of the family, little is known about the biology of this species. [E]
STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) – This species has a number of taxa that are quite different in appearance. We enjoyed a number of encounters, including the pair that was nesting outside our cabins at Mountain Valley Lodge. The vocalization of pardalotes is loud and repetitive; this species at MVL reminded me so much of the call of Summer Tanager. [E*]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)

Rockwarbler, or Origma (photo by participant Max Rodel)

ROCKWARBLER (Origma solitaria) – What a delightful treat! Often referred to by its generic name since "warbler" is misleading, the Origma is endemic to the Hawkesbury Sandstone region of southeastern New South Wales. Our exciting encounter came in Royal National Park where, at Wattamolla, a spectacular overlook of the Pacific, we had two birds hopping around the rocks and vocalizing, ensuring great photos. "Origma" refers to the caves and rocky overhangs where the birds nest. [E]
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) – The genus of the scrubwrens behave much like our wrens and is named for the birds' soft plumage. White-browed, which has some dozen taxa, is quite variable; those we saw first in Tasmania are now split and called Tasmanian Scrubwren (see following). The White-browed, a taxon heavily "spotted" on the breast, was seen almost daily in the southwest. [E]
TASMANIAN SCRUBWREN (Sericornis humilis) – We recorded this Tasmanian endemic, a rather recent split from White-browed, almost daily, our best looks coming on the grounds of Mountain Valley Lodge. [E]
LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra) – A small group of this quite different-looking, plain-faced scrubwren was seen at Royal National Park, Sydney. [E]
SCRUBTIT (Acanthornis magna) – We had our best look at these toughies, one of Tasmania's 12 endemics, on the grounds of Mountain Valley Lodge. This scrubwren-like bird (it was formerly placed in Sericornis but now has its own monotypic genus) has a noticeable white supercilium and eye-ring contrasting with its dark cheeks; its short, slightly decurved bill (it appears as a slight nail) gives it a distinctive and clinching appearance, if seen well. This particular feature is accentuated in the generic name, which refers to the thornbill genus. [E]

Kingfisher looking for the Scrubtit at Mountain Valley Lodge (photo by participant Lisa Standley)

STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus) – Great looks at one of these in Tasmania in the Wilmot River area, where we found a nest. We noted at the time its similarity to pipits, which were in the same field, and indeed its generic name incorporates the pipit genus, Anthus. We noted the white-tipped, dark terminal tail-band and the frequently cocked tail. [EN]
CHESTNUT-RUMPED HEATHWREN (Hylacola pyrrhopygia) – Heard in the heath between Wattamolla and Lady Carrington where we saw the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. We couldn't budge it. [*]
WESTERN THORNBILL (Acanthiza inornata) – A pair seen nicely in scrub forest near Narrogin; this species is plain with white eyes. We saw it at either a nest or a roosting structure. [E]
BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) – This little thornbill with the red iris was seen first in Tasmania, then again in Royal National Park. Allison noted that this species "can imitate the raptor-warning calls of several bird species," in that way protecting its nest from raptor-fearing Pied Currawongs (fide National Wildlife, Dec/Jan, 2016). [E]
TASMANIAN THORNBILL (Acanthiza ewingii) – A Tasmanian endemic, this thornbill is a rather washed-out version of Brown, duller with fainter streaks on the throat and breast. Seen well at Mountain Valley Lodge and elsewhere. [E]
INLAND THORNBILL (Acanthiza apicalis) – Another red-eyed thornbill, this one sporting a chestnut rump; browner above than Chestnut-rumped, with prominent streaks on the throat and breast. We saw this endemic on most days in the southwest. [E]
YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) – Rita picked up our first ones for us on Tasmania, where we saw a group feeding on the ground; we had a different taxon of this species in the southwest between Narrogin and Albany. [E]
CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza uropygialis) – A plain thornbill with white iris; the white-tipped black tail contrast with the chestnut rump. We had nice looks at four birds in the Simpson's Gap area. [E]
SLATY-BACKED THORNBILL (Acanthiza robustirostris) – Similar to the preceding species but iris dark; we had nice looks in the mulga along en route to Hamilton Downs Bore. [E]

Ptilotus manglesii in the Dryandra State Forest (photo and ID by participant Lisa Standley)

WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) – This widespread endemic is Australia's smallest bird (which its generic name acknowledges). It was seen nicely on several occasions in the southwest; most numerous in the Dryandra Forest where we had at least 20 birds. The pale iris and the short, swollen bill are distinctive, as well as its high-pitched, double-note call. [E]
BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) – One seen in Royal National Park. "Mouki" is probably and Aboriginal name. [E]
WESTERN GERYGONE (Gerygone fusca) – The common gerygone in the drier parts of our tour. Seen in the Alice Springs area and in the southwest. [E]
SOUTHERN WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala leucopsis) – We had a pair of these endemics beside the road on and below wire fences along the Santa Teresa Road. Quite distinctive looking, leucopsis forages on the ground. [E]
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)
GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis) – A group of six of these endemic babblers seen at Kunuth Bore, where we had the Little Eagle. [E]
WHITE-BROWED BABBLER (Pomatostomus superciliosus) – We saw a tight group of eight of these endemic babblers at Katanning on our drive from Narrogin to Albany. These birds are active and often on the move. [E]
Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)
EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) – About four of these were seen in Royal National Park on our walk for the lyrebird, the latter of which imitated the song of the whipbird, among many other songs and sounds. The generic name means "noisy." The long, broad tail, tall, erect crest, and bold white cheek stripes are telling. [E]
WESTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes nigrogularis) – WOW. One of the three fantastic standouts at Cheyne's Beach. We had magnificent looks at a songster sitting up in the coastal scrub singing in response to playback! This species ranks as Near-Threatened. It's a considerably paler and somewhat smaller version of Eastern Whipbird. [E]

An exposed Western Whipbird (photo by participant Max Rodel)

CHIMING WEDGEBILL (Psophodes occidentalis) – In the same genus as the whipbirds and in the same family as the jewel-babblers, this endemic was as delightful a surprise for us to see as its taxonomic affinities! We had a good tip from Chris and Jesse on the location of these birds, and we managed to re-find them. We estimated the group numbered about eight. They stayed low in the scrub and were helpfully vocal, their descending chime said to ask "why did you get drunk?" I don't think there's any good answer to their question. [E]
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) – These swallow-like birds comprise a family of eleven species whose anatomical variability is so slight that that they constitute a single genus. Black-faced, which we saw in the Alice Springs area and in the southwest, is the plainest of the Australian lot. The genus, "butcher," reflects the erroneous conjecture that woodswallows were related to the shrikes. [E]
DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) – These pretty, dark woodswallows we saw first in Tasmania (the nominate taxon), then again in the southwest (perthi). They show prominent white stripes along the outer primaries of their wings. Woodswallows will take huge quantities of locusts and other flying insects, but they also eat nectar (for which they have a brush-tipped tongue) and lerp. [E]
LITTLE WOODSWALLOW (Artamus minor) – A small version of the previous species. Littles favor cliffs and rocky outcrops and often pack themselves into clefts or black holes when roosting. Their vocalizations are a chirping "peet-peet,"no doubt recalling the "chirping" at our universe's origin. [E]
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) – Nice looks at this large Cracticid in all areas we birded, first in Launceston on our first afternoon, then Bruny Island, the southwest, and Royal National Park. The butcherbirds and currawongs are now placed in their own family. The Gray has a very rich, melodious song. Their long, strongly hooked bills are used to eat invertebrates and small vertebrates, largely nestlings and small birds. [E]

Gray Currawong (photo by participant Max Rodel)

AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen) – One of the very few birds we saw on all but two days of the tour. Though called a magpie, this black-and-white butcher is properly placed with the butcherbirds, for in addition to their genetic affinities, they are notorious for their aggression to smaller birds as well as humans. We saw four taxa across our route, the snappy hypoleuca our first to learn in Tasmania. Magpies of this taxon were esteemed by the pet trade as the best songsters of the various taxa. Although one taxon makes it to New Guinea, all the taxa we saw are endemic. Magpies often participate in a form of group-, or bout-, singing called "Caroling" whose function is not entirely understood (HBW, Vol.14, p.318). The magpies in the southwest, of the taxon dorsalis, are the most promiscuous birds on Earth (according to Low) and are the only Australian magpies "with different male and female patterns, as if gender recognition matters more in the west."
PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) – The currawongs are Cracticids that are placed in their own genus, Strepera, which means noisy. The Pied is an easterner that we saw at Royal National Park. They are parasitized by Channel-billed Cuckoos, which we also saw at RNP ;-) [E]
BLACK CURRAWONG (Strepera fuliginosa) – We saw this Tasmanian endemic nicely on quite a few occasions, perhaps best on Bruny Island. It has a longer bill than the other currawongs and a shorter tail. These birds show no bold white spot at the base of the primaries and no white vent. Otherwise, the blackish S. f. arguta subspecies of Gray Currawong (also known as the "Clinking Currawong") is very similar. [E]
GRAY CURRAWONG (Strepera versicolor) – The largest of the butcherbirds. We saw three rather different taxa, one in Tasmania, one in the southwest, and one in Royal National Park. The taxon arguta is similar to Black Currawong, as we noted on a couple of occasions. Plumbea, the taxon in the southwest, is--well, gray! [E]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

Lambertia formosa (photo and ID by participant Lisa Standley)

BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae) – The only Coracina we saw on our tour; yet we saw it in every area and on almost every day. We noticed that this species has an undulating, woodpecker-like flight.
WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor) – One male in non-breeding plumage seen across the highway from Kunuth Bore, where we saw the Little Eagle so nicely.
Neosittidae (Sittellas)
VARIED SITTELLA (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) – One seen at the restaurant in Porongurup where we had our lunch. Sittellas are often in groups foraging nuthatch-like with heads down. Ours was alone and sitting bill-up (perhaps singing?) atop a tree! Taxa vary considerably, but all have a orange wing-bar that is prominent in flight. [E]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (EASTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus frontatus) – The three taxa of shrike-tits have been previously treated as distinct species. Currently they are lumped as one, but we have chosen to list the two we saw separately since they are quite different morphologically and are widely disjunct geographically. This taxon, which we saw at our stop near the southern end of Lady Carrington, has a green back and rump and is entirely yellow on the breast and belly. [EN]
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (WESTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus leucogaster) – This taxon, which we saw in the Dryandra forest, is greenish yellow above with a white belly; it's endemic to the southwest. This bird hopped into its conical nest in the subcanopy and snuggled in; we enjoyed it through the scopes, noting the extensive spider webs used to bind the exterior. [EN]

(Eastern) Crested Shrike-tit (photo by participant Max Rodel)

GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) – This frequent songster delivers a rich series of melodious notes; both sexes sing. It was heard or seen in all the areas we birded, though it was seen best early on in Tasmania. These birds will eat small birds and nestlings.
OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea) – Nicely seen on a couple of days in Tasmania, our best views upslope from Mountain Valley Lodge. A subtly lovely bird with a rich voice. The taxon we saw, apatetes, is endemic to Tasmania. [E]
GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis) – A striking whistler in brilliant yellow offset by black, white, and green. We had three different taxa on our tour--one in Tasmania, another in the southwest, and one in Royal National Park. It has a commanding whip-crack song which draws quick attention.
RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris) – This pretty whistler was seen on two days in the Alice Springs area. It, too, has a ringing whip-crack of a song. Some song bouts last for 15 minutes and are comprised of varied phrases and combinations that would dazzle any listener. Rufous Whistler spends more of its time foraging aerially than any of its congeners. Except for one taxon that breeds in New Caledonia, this species is an Australian endemic.
Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)
CRESTED BELLBIRD (Oreoica gutturalis) – Until recently this bellbird was placed in the whistler family. It is now placed among a small family called Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds). The generic and family name mean "mountain dwelling," not so much the case with the arid-loving species, several of which we saw foraging in mistletoe along the Santa Teresa Road. [E]
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus) – A pair of this big Oriolus seen at Royal National Park where we found a nest. This species is an exceptional mimic. [N]
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) – One of the most widespread birds in Australia, where present just about everywhere, but scarce in most of Tasmania (we missed it) where it is replaced by Gray Fantail. This bird wags its tail and throws it around in semi-circles. Usually hunts from the ground.

Magpie-Lark (photo by participant Max Rodel)

RUFOUS FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufifrons) – Several seen nicely at a roadside stop en route from Royal National Park to Sydney.
GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa) – Seen almost daily in Tasmania, the southwest, and Royal National Park. This species seemed to always be hanging around and would surprise us with its presence when we were searching for something else. Its thin, high-pitched was often heard in the forested areas.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca) – We saw the widespread "Mudlark" in every area we birded. This glossy black and white species has a shifting taxonomic history and is currently placed with the Monarch Flycatchers. It spends much of its time on the ground where it walks "plover-like."
SATIN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra cyanoleuca) – A pair seen nicely, if high overhead, in Tasmania. The sexes are dimorphic.
RESTLESS FLYCATCHER (Myiagra inquieta) – One seen in the Dryandra forest on our stroll through the woods for Numbats. The largest Myiagra of this morphologically similar genus. [E]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru) – This small crow was seen in Alice Springs and the adjoining area. The basis for the specific name is unknown.
LITTLE CROW (Corvus bennetti) – Also seen in the Alice Springs area. This species and the preceding are difficult to distinguish. It was described in 1901 and named after K. H. Bennett, a nineteenth-century Australian collector. [E]
AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides) – Seen daily in the southwest and in Royal National Park. Its long throat-hackles form a beard. All the Corvids tend to be monogamous with strong pair bonds; there is no cooperative breeding. [E]
FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus) – The Australian headquarters for this Corvid is Tasmania, where it is the sole representative of the family and where we saw it daily. Outside Tassie, it is confined to a very restricted range in the southeast. [E]
Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)

Scarlet Robin (photo by participant Max Rodel)

SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) – This lovely bird was seen in Tasmania and in the Dryandra forest of the southwest. Robins are heavily parasitized by cuckoos and fledge only about 10-40% of their brood (HBW). Probably owing to this, pairs often attempt three (and sometimes five) broods per season. [E]
RED-CAPPED ROBIN (Petroica goodenovii) – A wonderful surprise in Foxes Lair Park, across from our motel in Narrogin. This beauty has a sweet, insect-like song. Pairs of Red-cappeds have been recorded attempting as many as 10 broods in one season! Apparently cuckoos are as fond of them as we are. [E]
FLAME ROBIN (Petroica phoenicea) – We saw this flaming robin daily at Mountain Valley Lodge. Some migrate to the mainland after breeding. The species is considered Near-Threatened. [E]
PINK ROBIN (Petroica rodinogaster) – This beautiful robin we watched at the nest in Tasmania, where the nominate taxon is endemic (at least the species is not known to cross to the mainland in the non-breeding season, as does Flame Robin). It was one of the most-wanted birds in Tasmania for some. [EN]
DUSKY ROBIN (Melanodryas vittata) – This robin is a somber cousin of the Petroica robins. We had nice looks at this Tasmanian endemic in rather open country with scattered trees near Wilmot River. [E]
EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) – Representing yet another genus of robins, we saw this endemic handsomely at Royal National Park. Eopsaltria means dawn-singer. [E]
WESTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria griseogularis) – Another endemic robin, this species is closely related to Eastern Yellow; we had looks at a pair in the Dryandra State Forest of the southwest, a pair that took us a good walk to fine--meanwhile Diane is seeing a Numbat! [E]
WHITE-BREASTED ROBIN (Eopsaltria georgiana) – Nice looks at a pair of these, first at our lunch stop in Porongurup (thanks to Robert), then another pair the following day. Some of you noticed the striking golden mouth-lining of this otherwise plain-looking endemic. [E]
Alaudidae (Larks)

Pink Robin (photo by participant Max Rodel)

SKY LARK (Alauda arvensis) – Seen and heard on a couple of days in Tasmania; introduced or not, watching it pour forth from heaven's gate--as we did--is breathtaking from anywhere. [I]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena) – We were welcomed daily except in the Alice Springs area.
FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) – Seen nicely in the Alice Springs area. Ariel was a Middle Age spirit of the air. That made all of us feel better. [E]
TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans) – Seen well in Tasmania and also in the southwest.
WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW (Cheramoeca leucosterna) – One seen by Rita and Pepper along the Santa Teresa Road at the spot where most of us were understandably distracted by the Black-breasted Kite. The generic name refers to the tunnels in which their nests are built. [E]
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis) – Seen near Alice Springs; heard on a couple of days in the southwest.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
LITTLE GRASSBIRD (Megalurus gramineus) – Heard only; at Lake Seppings in Albany. [*]
RUFOUS SONGLARK (Megalurus mathewsi) – A study in grays and browns with rufous rump and uppertail coverts. We had this endemic on our two days out of Alice Springs. Seen nicely along Santa Teresa Road. [E]
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
SILVER-EYE (Zosterops lateralis) – Seen on multiple occasions in Tasmania and in the southwest. There are a number of taxa in Australia, most of which have gray backs; but the taxon endemic to the southwest, Z. lateralis chloronotus, has a green back as its trinomial indicates.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

White-breasted Robins (photo by participant Max Rodel)

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) – Seen daily, but only, in Tasmania. [I]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Seen in Tasmania and in the Sydney area. [I]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – Seen in Alice Springs and in the Sydney area. [I]
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) – This striking beauty was seen at Simpson's Gap and along the Santa Teresa Road. This species is the sole representative of the large flowerpecker genus, Dicaeum, and is found throughout most of Australia wherever mistletoe grows, especially where it is fruiting. Though it feeds its young on insects, its diet as an adult is primarily fruit. It plays a crucial role as a disperser of plants since seeds pass quickly through the digestive system without distortion. Hirundinaceum must refer to the "swallow-like," aerial sallying the birds make in feeding.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis) – Seen well in Tasmania, in the Alice Springs area, and in the southwest. Technically, the trinomial indicates the Group of five taxa, four of which occur in Australia; in addition to the exact taxon australis (Alice Springs), we also saw bistriatus (a Tasmanian endemic) and bilbali (southwest).
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) – Seen daily in Tasmania; this introduced species brightens the roadways as males sing from the fences. [I]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Daily in Tasmania only. [I]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

The remarkable Red-eared Firetail (photo by participant Robert McNab)

RED-EARED FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura oculata) – What a great bird! What a great experience with it, seeing it with that lover's grass stem! What a great spot, Rita. We had seen three birds poorly the preceding day near Cheyne's Beach, but here at Lake Powell we saw six accommodating birds in all their regalia. Oculata is a range-restricted species, endemic to the far southwest. The fancy two-step with the long grass stem is an enticing, pre-copulatory performance characteristic of the three-member genus. [E]
RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) – This endemic firetail was seen in Royal National Park on our final day. The Red-browed also has a long-stem-grass dance--a two-step typical of its four-member genus--a bit different from that of the previous genus. [E]
ZEBRA FINCH (Taeniopygia guttata) – We saw swirling hundreds of this finch on both days of our Alice Springs adventure. The species is currently lumped with Timor Zebra Finch; if split, the taxon T. guttata castanotis (which is endemic to Australia) becomes T. castanotis, Australian Zebra Finch.

SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA (Tachyglossus aculeatus) – Seen daily in Tasmania, including a very personal encounter with one at Mountain Valley Lodge. I think everyone got photos and we had excellent opportunities to study its feeding behavior from a few feet away. [E]
PLATYPUS (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) – This bizarre beast was seen swimming in the river at Mountain Valley Lodge, Tasmania. [E]
SPOTTED-TAILED QUOLL (Dasyurus maculatus) – Rob was the lucky one to see this carnivorous marsupial outside his and Rita's cabin while watching for the Devils. [E]
TASMANIAN DEVIL (Sarcophilus harrisii) – One of the highlights of our visit to Tasmania was seeing this extraordinary beast, the largest carnivorous marsupial, tearing at the chicken meat distributed in front of each cabin for the two nights we were there! Some of us fell asleep the first night and were determined to stay up the following night to be assured of seeing the Devils. It was a pleasure to see that so many of the individuals we saw had few, if any, tumors. Most were clean of any noticeable infections, only bearing wounds from internecine battles. [E]

Short-beaked Echidna at Mountain Valley Lodge (photo by participant Max Rodel)

NUMBAT (Myrmecobius fasciatus) – Alas, we watched carefully for the Numbat, but only Diane, our driver, managed to see one in the Dryandra forest of the southwest. [E]
COMMON WOMBAT (Vombatus ursinus) – Seen well in Tasmania; and how about that baby poking its head out of the mother's pouch--the only marsupial pouch to face backwards! The Wombat is the largest burrowing herbivorous mammal on Earth. Of the three endemic species, the Common is the largest. Wombats have rodent-like teeth and powerful claws for digging the extensive tunnel systems they construct. The backwards-facing pouch allows them to dig mightily without throwing dirt into the pouch. Pretty cool. [E]
COMMON BRUSHTAIL POSSUM (Trichosurus vulpecula) – One seen on a couple of days in Tasmania. Of course possums are the only marsupials to make it to the Americas, probably to South America originally. [E]
TASMANIAN PADEMELON (Thylogale billardierii) – This genus is the smallest of the macropods, the kangaroo group. We saw several of these at Mountain Valley Lodge and some dead on the roads, as well. In addition to being smaller than the wallabies, they differ also in shorter, thicker, and sparsely haired tails. [E]
BLACK-FOOTED ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale lateralis) – Great looks at these terribly--sorry, but--CUTE wallabies at Honeymoon Gap and Simpson's Gap. Female rock-wallabies--as are the females of some 100 other species of 7 or 8 orders!--are furnished with a useful reproductive strategy known as "embryonic diapause," which permits the embryo to cease developing temporarily until environmental conditions become more suitable for healthy completion! Rock-wallabies have highly textured feet to prevent them from slipping on the steep cliff faces among which they live. [E]
RED-NECKED WALLABY (Macropus rufogriseus) – The common wallaby in Tasmania. Unfortunately these suffer greatly from collisions with vehicles, most at night. We saw more of their carcasses on the road than we saw live wallabies. This one is larger than the [E]

Black-footed Rock-Wallaby (photo by participant Robert McNab)

WESTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus fuliginosus) – One of the two largest (along with Reds) species of kangaroo. We had some fine views of these in the southwest. [E]
COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus) – We had one of these in the Alice Springs area; it (especially this subspecies, erubescens) is often called "euro." A rather small macropod (but evidently "robust"!). [E]
RED KANGAROO (Macropus rufus) – Four of these huge macropods seen in the Santa Teresa-Hamilton Downs area of the southwest. Considered the largest terrestrial mammal native to Australia, and the largest extant marsupial, Reds are active mostly at crepuscular and nocturnal hours, spending much of the day resting in the shade of trees. [E]
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) – Quite a few seen, both in Tasmania and in the southwest. [I]
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – One seen in the southwest on Nov. 23rd. [I]
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus) – About 10 seen swimming below us at Sugarloaf. They were our consolation prize for missing the Red-tailed Tropicbird. ;-)
HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae) – One to three of these behemoths were seen by some of us, their backs silver-shining off the water at Sugarloaf.
RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) – One seen in the Dryandra forest, another seen the following day. [I]
CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus) – One seen on our Bruny Island crossing.
SOUTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL (Mirounga leonina) – One of these huge seals seen lounging on the beach off Bruny Island at the Swift Parrot place.
FALLOW DEER (Dama dama) [I]


In addition to the mammals, we had a few reptiles: one, a Stumptail Lizard; another unidentified lizard; and a venomous snake at Simpson's Gap.

Then, of course, we can't neglect the tour limericks, instigated by Laura and Steve Roberts! Let us just say...

These two Roberts (among the tour’s four)

Had been to the west of Australia before.

But pros though they were,

Lyric verse they'd defer

Till sending up the guides evermore!

Four by Laura and Steve Roberts


There once was a bird guide named Coons, 

Searching forests, ponds, and lagoons

With hands to his ears, 

He says y'all come here

And plays calls on his i-Pod, not tunes. 


A bird guide who's name is Rowlett,

Each bird on our list he must get. 

With each and each squeak, 

The birds take a peek

And into the scope they are set.


There once were two bird guides named John, 

Of whom we have all grown quite fond. 

Their knowledge of birds

Isn't told in few words, 

And their fervor goes far beyond. 


A young man named Robert McNab,

Into birds he didn't just dab.

They're huge in his life

And Caryn, his wife 

Thinks he might have to go to rehab.

One by Kathe Rodel

Two guides of an avian passion

Packed a bus full of gear and contagion.

Y’all, said the Lead,

To the Gates of Hell! With great speed,

We’ll go anywhere for a Spinifex Pigeon!

One by Marsha Salett

Australia with Pepper and Kingfisher,

The finest of spotters and pishers,

Gave us fine birds and `roos,

And Tas Devils, too—

Gee, what more can you wish for?

One by Allison Barnes

Our leaders, we followed their word

Through states of which we had heard

Devil, Wombat, Roo,

Chat and Cockatoo

High Five for both mammal and bird!

Totals for the tour: 244 bird taxa and 21 mammal taxa