FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS: Australia - Part One 2017
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Field Guides Tour Report
Australia - Part One 2017
Oct 9, 2017 to Oct 29, 2017
Chris Benesh & Jesse Fagan


Simpsons Gap, well captured in early morning light by Cliff Hensel.

We started off the tour in Sydney with a visit to Centennial Park, where we were fortunate to meet up with Steve Howard, who took us to several of his favorite birding sites and got us onto a Powerful Owl which would have otherwise been impossible to find. Several of us also enjoyed feeding figs to a Common Brushtail Possum roosting in the area. We then headed over to the Sydney Botanical Garden for another Powerful Owl and a nice view of the Sydney harbour.

The next morning, we headed over to Royal National Park and had a great morning walking along the Lady Carrington Drive. Lots of wonderful birds, with Superb Lyrebird being the most memorable. After a cafe lunch, we tracked down a wonderful pair of Rockwarblers.

After our flight to Melbourne, we headed to the Western Treatment Plant for a tour with Paul. We had a great tour of Werribee, with some good shorebird action and a nice mix of ducks and waterbirds. From there we made our way back to St. Kilda, and an evening visit to the harbor to watch Little Penguins come ashore.

The following morning we made a brief stop at the Serendip Sanctuary to see the Cape Barren Geese before heading on to Pt. Addis on the Great Ocean Road, where we had fantastic views of a Rufous Bristlebird family. A couple stops in Anglesea got us Striated Fieldwren, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, as well as a big flight of Black-faced Cuckooshrikes. Point Roadknight was great, with a handsome pair of Hooded Plovers. Then it was on to Apollo Bay for the night of festivities.

The next morning, we headed to Kennett River for some Koala sightings before heading north through the Great Otway National Park and a stop at Lake Purremete before heading on to Hall’s Gap. We did a short after dinner owling, which turned up a nice Southern Boobook.

The next morning we birded Hall’s Gap early for Gang-gang Cockatoo before breakfast. We then headed over to the west side of the Grampians where we spent some time at Asses Ears Road, finding a variety of drier woodland species, including Speckled Warbler, Buff-rumped Thornbill, and a Black-eared Cuckoo. Jess and Willy took us to their patch in Wartook Forest where we had some great honeyeaters, Blue-winged Parrots, and Diamond Firetails. We were then off to lunch in Horsham, followed by a visit to Lake Natimuk, which had a variety of birds including two Freckled Ducks and thousands of Black-tailed Native-hens. We said goodbye to Jess and Willy and headed to Mt. Arapiles, which was a bit slow in the afternoon, but got us our first White-browed Babblers.

The next day was spent birding around Little Desert and the malleefowl block. Graeme took us out and showed us two wonderful Malleefowl, pointing out how we were the first group that the male actually felt comfortable enough with to stick around. We also connected with Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrub-Robin, and Purple-gaped Honeyeaters here. In the afternoon we managed to track down Slender-billed Thornbill and Rufous Fieldwren.

The next morning we were off to Wyperfeld National Park with stops for Bluebonnet and Spotted Harrier. It was a decent morning in the park, with killer views of Chestnut Quail-thrush, and the barbie put on by our driver Alan. Then it was off to Ouyen in the afternoon.

Hattah-Kulkyne was productive, with as many as nine Mallee Emuwrens and a Striated Grasswren. Other highlights include amazing Major Mitchell's and Striped, White-fronted, and Black honeyeaters. After another tasty barbie, it was off for the long drive to Adelaide.

We had a good morning birding a few spots in Adelaide, where we connected with Banded Stilt, White-winged Fairywren, and Black-faced Cormorants. In the afternoon we had some time off to walk around town or catch up on sleep, laundry, etc.

An early flight to Alice Springs started our next day. After meeting Harry, we headed out to the Olive Pink Botanic Garden to observe the Western Bowerbirds there. After lunch, we headed over to the Telegraph Station where we saw a few nice birds, including wonderful Red-backed Kingfisher and Red-browed Pardalote.

Up early the next day to Simpsons Gap and Cassia Hill. It was super quiet at Cassia Hill and a bit better at the Gap. Red Kangaroos (unusual there) and Black-footed Rock-Wallabies were a couple of non-avian treats. We then headed west toward Ormiston Gorge, making a few brief stops along the way. The gorge was great for Spinifex Pigeon and a mind-blowing Perentie! Then it was off to lunch at Glen Helen. A few good birds were around, including our only Little Woodswallows.

Then, we were off early down the Santa Teresa Road with some nice finds. Highlights included some nice Budgies, Banded Whiteface, Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Dusky Grasswren, Spinifexbird, and Mulga Parrot. We were back in town to meet Mark Carter for a visit to the sewage ponds. A nice mix of birds including Australian Spotted Crakes and a pair of Crimson Chats.

We had a final partial morning in Alice Springs where we were able to add White-browed Treecreeper, Gray Honeyeater, and Slaty-backed Thornbill before heading to the airport for our flight to Perth. Arriving in Perth, we met up with Dianne and headed south to Gleneagle Rest Area, where we scored a variety of western specialties.

The next day was spent in the wonderful wandoo woodlands of Dryandra, a magical spot with so much to offer. We took in the Western Gray Kangaroos that were plentiful and relished a Short-beaked Echidna. The birding was grand, too, with a nice mix of western specialties. We then headed south with a stop in Wagin for White-cheeked Honeyeaters, as well as a mix of other non-avian critters. Then it was on to Albany for the night.

We got an early start with stormy weather looming. We made it to Cheyne(s) Beach in time to track down some of the specialties before the rains came. Our views of Noisy Scrub-bird were incredible! The Western Bristlebird and Whipbird were not too bad, either. Eventually, the weather drove us out and we headed back to Albany. We did make a stop at the Kalgan River, where we picked up a few shorebirds and got great looks at Red-capped Parrots and Western Rosellas.

A pre-breakfast outing to Lake Seppings got us a Red-eared Firetail and a few ducks. After breakfast, we headed west along the Muir Highway to Rocky Gully. Parrots featured big today, with Baudin’s and Red-tailed black-cockatoos, and Western Corellas among the highlights. We watched Jesse climb the Diamond Tree in record time. We then headed out to Hamelin Bay to try for Rock Parrots but the winds were just too intense. We did see Southern Emuwren and Splendid Fairywren. Then off to Margaret River for the night.

Back out to Cape Leeuwin, where we were invited in to look for parrots. No luck, but scenic and we enjoyed hot beverages before heading to Hamelin Bay for a second go at parrots. Winds were still howling, so we decided to head to Busselton for lunch and a search for parrots there. No parrots, but a nice Pacific Gull and close-up terns. Then it was off to Perth for our final dinner and checklist.

Thanks to all of you for coming along and making the tour special. We hope your travels are safe and enriching. Good birding all! — Chris & Jesse


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
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



What better place to see our first Laughing Kookaburra than atop a cannon at Centennial Park? Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

BIRDS
Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)
EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) – It took us a while to get our first, but we did connect with this iconic Australian species. [E]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) – I know seeing these at a zoo seems a bit odd, but word on the street is that this population was self establishing and can come and go. [E]
FRECKLED DUCK (Stictonetta naevosa) – We eventually picked up a couple of these at Natimuk Lake. [E]
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) – Plentiful in southern wetlands. There were hundreds at the Western Treatment Plant. [E]
AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides) – A handsome duck well seen from the Western Treatment Plant.
MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) – Also known as Australian Wood Duck. [E]
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
AUSTRALIAN SHOVELER (Anas rhynchotis) – An amazing number of these were at the Western Treatment Plant.
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis)


A Tawny Frogmouth does its best to blend in. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) [E]
PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) – Huge numbers of these at the Western Treatment Plant and a few scattered birds elsewhere. Perhaps better called zebra-striped duck. [E]
WHITE-EYED DUCK (Aythya australis)
BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) – We had our first looks at Lake Purrumbete. Also seen out west. [E]
MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) – One strange duck. We even got to see them displaying at Lake Seppings in Albany. [E]
Megapodiidae (Megapodes)
MALLEEFOWL (Leipoa ocellata) – Graeme took us right to an active Malleefowl mound near Nhill and gave us a wonderful talk on their biology. He also mentioned we were the first group to see the shy male as well as the female. [E]
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
STUBBLE QUAIL (Coturnix pectoralis) – One has to be very lucky to sight one of these. [E*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)


One of the Little Penguins living among the breakwater rocks at St. Kilda Harbour in Melbourne. Photo by participant Randy Siebert.

HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) [E]
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)
Spheniscidae (Penguins)
LITTLE PENGUIN (Eudyptula minor) – Great looks at some coming to their breeding colony at St. Kilda Harbour in Melbourne. Some of us even witnessed a copulation under the appropriate red filtered light of an interpreter.
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche chlororhynchos)
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche melanophris)
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
GREAT-WINGED PETREL (Pterodroma macroptera) – A few seen from shore in the extreme high winds not far from Margaret River.
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER (Ardenna carneipes) – Some seen distantly on the west coast.
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna tenuirostris) – One spotted at Pt. Addis.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
AUSTRALASIAN GANNET (Morus serrator)


The wonderful Powerful Owl hanging out at the Botanic Garden in Sydney. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius)
BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) – We had great views of this species eventually at the Outer Harbour in Adelaide. A couple more were seen along the Great Ocean Road. [E]
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae)
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica) – Also known as White-necked Heron.
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta)


After some searching, we connected with this Rockwarbler in Sydney. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

INTERMEDIATE EGRET (PLUMED) (Mesophoyx intermedia plumifera) – One was at Centennial Park that showed quite well for us.
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
RUFOUS NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus) – We had an immature bird at Centennial Park and an adult at Ormiston Gorge.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – A few were at the Western Treatment Plant.
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis moluccus) [E]
STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) [E]
ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)


One of the amazing Superb Lyrebirds in Royal National Park. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) [E]
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
AUSTRALIAN KITE (Elanus axillaris) [E]
LITTLE EAGLE (Hieraaetus morphnoides)
WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE (Aquila audax)
SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans)
SPOTTED HARRIER (Circus assimilis) – Nice scope studies of a couple of young birds on our way north to Wyperfeld NP. [E]
COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus)
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)


A Rufous Bristlebird pauses momentarily as it darts from cover to cover. Photo by participant Cliff Hensel.

WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AUSTRALIAN CRAKE (Porzana fluminea) [E]
SPOTLESS CRAKE (Zapornia tabuensis)
AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus)
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa)
BLACK-TAILED NATIVE-HEN (Tribonyx ventralis) [E]
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus)
BANDED STILT (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) – Whew! We were fortunate to find one small group of these huddled together at St. Kilda, South Australia. [E]


We had great looks at this Striated Fieldwren at Anglesea. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

RED-NECKED AVOCET (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) – Quite an attractive shorebird. Unlike the American Avocet, this species keeps its red head year round. [E]
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris) [E]
SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus) [E]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
BANDED LAPWING (Vanellus tricolor) – Good scope looks at some near the Western Treatment Plant. [E]
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)
RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Charadrius ruficapillus) [E]
RED-KNEED DOTTEREL (Erythrogonys cinctus)


One of Australia's most charismatic birds, Willie-wagtail. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus) – Smashing looks at a pair of birds at Point Roadknight. [E]
BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata)
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)
SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
LATHAM'S SNIPE (Gallinago hardwickii) – Scope views of one at Centennial Park.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)


Superb Fairywrens truly are. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)
Turnicidae (Buttonquail)
PAINTED BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix varius) – One was found at Dryandra that put on a good show for some. [E]
LITTLE BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix velox) [E]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)
PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) – We eventually tracked down this species in the southwest, with a terrific look at one on the beach in Busselton. [E]
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons placens) – Eight of these were feeding over the bay at the Western Treatment Plant.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Quite a few seen at various locations.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)


The Shy Heathwren, also known fittingly as the Mallee Heathwren. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) [I]
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) [I]
BROWN CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia phasianella) – Heard at Royal. [*]
COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) [E]
BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) – Good looks at one as the weather worsened at Cheyne Beach. [E]
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes) – Quite a beautiful species enjoyed on numerous occasions.
SPINIFEX PIGEON (Geophaps plumifera) – Ormiston Gorge paid off once again with terrific looks at this species. [E]
WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) – Heard at Royal. [E*]


Little Grassbirds can be difficult to photograph, but this one was posing nicely. Photo by participant Randy Siebert.

PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)
TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus) – Good views of this species on our walk along the Lady Carrington Drive in Royal. [E]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
PACIFIC KOEL (AUSTRALIAN) (Eudynamys orientalis cyanocephalus) – heard at Centennial Park on the first day of birding. [*]
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – We had one high flying bird at Royal.
HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx basalis) [E]
BLACK-EARED CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx osculans) – One spotted by Jess at Asses Ears Road in the Grampians was a rare treat. [E]
SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)
PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus) – We eventually connected with this species south of Alice Springs on our final morning there. [E]
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis)


We lucked into this Black-eared Cuckoo at Wartook State Forest. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

BRUSH CUCKOO (Cacomantis variolosus) – One at Royal NP was a bit of surprise.
Strigidae (Owls)
POWERFUL OWL (Ninox strenua) – We started off with horrendous views of one at Centennial Park which we would never have found were it not for our local guide pointing out its roost. We had better views of another at the Botanic Gardens thanks to intel from the shop keeper. [E]
SOUTHERN BOOBOOK (Ninox novaeseelandiae) – Great views of one at Hall's Gap after a bit of searching around.
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides) – One pointed out to us at Centennial Park turned out to be the only one we encountered. Such wonderful birds.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
AZURE KINGFISHER (Ceyx azureus) – Good scope views of this species in Royal NP.
LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) – Surely one of Australia's most iconic birds, we enjoyed some time with this species throughout much of the tour. [E]
RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) – Great studies of one on our first afternoon in Alice Springs. This species is well adapted to desert life. [E]
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus) – The most widespread small kingfisher in Australia.


A wonderful shot of this Southern Boobook near our hotel in the Grampians. Photo by participant Cliff Hensel.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus) – A treat to see this colorful species. Our first were in the dry interior of Victoria.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – A few of these were in Royal NP.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides) – Also known as Nankeen Kestrel.
AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) – One quick flyby ended up being the only one seen this time around. [E]
BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora) – Plentiful and widespread, this peculiar falcon has a rather harrier like flight.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Two seen on the tour.
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) – A exciting encounter with about eight of these on the drive west from Albany. Quite a spectacular bird. [E]
YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus) – A few encounters in Victoria with our first ones in the Anglesea heathland. [E]
CARNABY'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) – Scarcer than in some years, the only ones we saw were feeding along railroad tracks near Tambellup. [E]


One of the finest of Australia's parrots, the Gang-gang Cockatoo. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

BAUDIN'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) – Also scarce this year, there were a few furtive ones in Rocky Gully and a big flock further west along the Muir Hwy. [E]
GANG-GANG COCKATOO (Callocephalon fimbriatum) – After some searching we had great looks at a pair of birds in the botanic garden in Hall's Gap. One of my favorites. [E]
PINK COCKATOO (Lophochroa leadbeateri) – What a mind-blowing encounter with this species at Hattah-Kulkyne!! Fantastic views of a curious bird. [E]
GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) – Handsome birds that are the most successful of all of Australia's parrots. [E]
LONG-BILLED CORELLA (Cacatua tenuirostris) [E]
WESTERN CORELLA (Cacatua pastinator) – Rocky Gully once again proved to be the spot to see this scarce species. [E]
LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea)
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita)
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
REGENT PARROT (Polytelis anthopeplus) – Some good flight views of this species at Hattah-Kulkyne. [E]


The Pink Cockatoo or Major Mitchell, is quite a striking bird as well. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) – Seen at Royal and along the Great Ocean Road. [E]
BLUE-WINGED PARROT (Neophema chrysostoma) – A nice find at Jess & Willy's birding spot west of the Grampians. [E]
ELEGANT PARROT (Neophema elegans) – Eventually well seen at Dryandra. [E]
AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (Barnardius zonarius) – We had numerous birds in Alice Springs and throughout Western Australia. [E]
AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (MALLEE) (Barnardius zonarius barnardi) – This form was seen at Wyperfeld, though flighty and elusive. [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (CRIMSON) (Platycercus elegans elegans) [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (YELLOW) (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) – Hattah-Kulkyne was the place to see this yellow form. [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (ADELAIDE) (Platycercus elegans adelaidae) – Seen by some in Adelaide. [E]
EASTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus eximius) [E]


The White-browed Woodswallow is one of the more striking members of this genus. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

WESTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus icterotis) [E]
GREATER BLUEBONNET (YELLOW-VENTED) (Northiella haematogaster haematogaster) – After some searching, we eventually found a pair that was calm enough to allow us to scope them.
RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) [E]
MULGA PARROT (Psephotus varius) – We had some good views of this species south of Alice Springs. [E]
RED-CAPPED PARROT (Purpureicephalus spurius) – Some good scope views of this western specialty. [E]
BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus) – We encountered some along the Santa Teresa Road south of Alice Springs. [E]
MUSK LORIKEET (Glossopsitta concinna) – Eventually seen in Adelaide. [E]
PURPLE-CROWNED LORIKEET (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala) [E*]
RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus haematodus)


We enjoyed a wonderful Chestnut Quail-thrush at Wyperfeld. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Menuridae (Lyrebirds)
SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) – What a show this species put on at Jersey Springs with two males chasing one another around. [E]
Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)
NOISY SCRUB-BIRD (Atrichornis clamosus) – An amazing encounter. What a rare treat to observe a bird actively singing on a perch! [E]
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) – A couple of birds coming to feed in fig trees at Royal. [E]
SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) – Also fond of figs at Royal. [E]
WESTERN BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera guttata) – Wonderful to watch the antics of this species at the Olive Pink gardens. [E]
Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)
WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) [E]
WHITE-BROWED TREECREEPER (Climacteris affinis) – What a treat to see this localized species near Alice Springs thanks to Mark Carter's tip. Not a species normally seen on our itinerary. [E]
BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus) – We saw a few of these beginning in the Grampians. [E]
RUFOUS TREECREEPER (Climacteris rufus) – Dryandra was the place for this species, being quite common in the wandoo woodlands. [E]


We had amazing luck with the rare Mallee Emuwren this year! Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Maluridae (Fairywrens)
STRIATED GRASSWREN (Amytornis striatus) – We tracked down this species at Hattah-Kulkyne, though it was not the easiest to get a long look at. [E]
DUSKY GRASSWREN (Amytornis purnelli) – We tracked down a pair of this shy species along the Santa Teresa Road. [E]
SOUTHERN EMUWREN (Stipiturus malachurus) – An amazing encounter with this species at Hamelin Bay, despite the crazy winds. [E]
MALLEE EMUWREN (Stipiturus mallee) – Our final count of nine individuals at Hattah-Kulkyne was a staggering total. Wow! A couple of good studies among these. [E]
RED-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus elegans) – Gleneagle birds were the first ones seen. More were at Lake Seppings. [E]
BLUE-BREASTED FAIRYWREN (Malurus pulcherrimus) – Some good studies in Dryandra of this wandoo specialist. [E]
VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (PURPLE-BACKED) (Malurus lamberti assimilis) – The birds we saw in Victoria and Alice Springs were of this interior subspecies.
SPLENDID FAIRYWREN (Malurus splendens) – We were fortunate to see all three subspecies of this most splendid of wrens. [E]
SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) – While not the most gaudy of species, this one was surely the most obliging! [E]


This Apostlebird was clearly used to visiting picnickers at Hattah-Kulkyne. Photo by participant Randy Siebert.

WHITE-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus leucopterus) – After a great deal of searching, we tracked down a colorful male at St. Kilda. [E]
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) [E]
WESTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus superciliosus) – Often a scarce one on our itinerary, we had several good views of this species this year. [E]
LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) [E]
WHITE-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Purnella albifrons) – This nomadic species is not seen every year. We observed it at the malleefowl block near Nhill and again at Hattah-Kulkyne. [E]
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) – Not much to look at but its loud calls are a distinctive part of eastern woodland soundscapes. [E]
YELLOW-TUFTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus melanops) – Jess and Willy got us on to a great spot for this scarce species west of the Grampians. [E]
PURPLE-GAPED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus cratitius) – We had one pop up at sit for several seconds so that we could see enough to identify it. [E]
NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) [E]


Australia has some wonderful robins, including this Red-capped Robin. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) [E]
SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Acanthagenys rufogularis) [E]
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) [E]
WESTERN WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera lunulata) [E]
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) [E]
SINGING HONEYEATER (Gavicalis virescens) [E]
YELLOW-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula ornata) [E]
WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula penicillata) [E]
FUSCOUS HONEYEATER (Ptilotula fusca) [E]


Jesse tracked down this mostly silent Spinifexbird at home in its porcupine grass habitat. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GRAY-HEADED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula keartlandi) – Barely seen. This species seems to be doing poorly at the moment perhaps due to the proliferation of aggressive White-plumed Honeyeaters. [E]
GRAY HONEYEATER (Conopophila whitei) – Tough to see well, but we certainly all heard well this species at Mark's site near Alice Springs. Considered to be one of the tougher honeyeaters to track down. [E]
CRIMSON CHAT (Epthianura tricolor) – We had a pair of this colorful species at the sewage ponds in Alice Springs. [E]
WHITE-FRONTED CHAT (Epthianura albifrons) [E]
BLACK HONEYEATER (Sugomel nigrum) – Another nomad often missed on tours, we had three separate individuals this year. [E]
SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta) – Nice views of this species at Royal NP. It has one of the wonderful, lilting songs.
TAWNY-CROWNED HONEYEATER (Gliciphila melanops) – Our best view was of the one near Albany. [E]
BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) [E]
NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) [E]


One of the cooperative Spinifex Pigeons enjoyed at Ormiston Gorge. Photo by participant Randy Siebert.

WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) – Wagin and Cheyne Beach again proved to be reliable sites for this species in the west. [E]
WHITE-EARED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis leucotis) [E]
GILBERT'S HONEYEATER (Melithreptus chloropsis) – One of the more recent splits, we had nice views at Gleneagle. [E]
WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) [E]
BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus brevirostris) [E]
BLACK-CHINNED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus gularis) – Another scarce species, we had a pair of birds in the Wartook State Forest west of the Grampians. [E]
STRIPED HONEYEATER (Plectorhyncha lanceolata) – A snazzy honeyeater we saw well at Hattah-Kulkyne. [E]
LITTLE FRIARBIRD (Philemon citreogularis)
NOISY FRIARBIRD (Philemon corniculatus)


Thanks to a tip from Mark Carter, we had great views of a White-browed Woodcreeper. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds)
WESTERN BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis longirostris) – An amazing look at this species at Cheyne Beach. Wow! [E]
RUFOUS BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis broadbenti) – We had a really cooperative family at Pt. Addis at the start of the Great Ocean Road. An added treat to see a juvenile bird following around its parents. [E]
Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) [E]
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge) [E]
RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) – What an amazing look at this species in Alice Springs on our first afternoon there. [E]
STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) [E]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
ROCKWARBLER (Origma solitaria) – A last minute check of an old territory paid off with great looks at a pair of birds. This species is restricted to New South Wales. [E]
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) [E]
SPECKLED WARBLER (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus) – After a lot of searching, Jessie tracked down a bird near Asses Ears Road in the Grampians. [E]


This Red-browed Pardalote is showing off its tiny red brow to good effect. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

RUFOUS FIELDWREN (Calamanthus campestris) – We connected with this species in Little Desert NP. [E]
STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus) – Great views of one in Anglesea. [E]
CHESTNUT-RUMPED HEATHWREN (Hylacola pyrrhopygia) – We spent some time with one in the Anglesea heathland. [E]
SHY HEATHWREN (Hylacola cauta) – We had killer views of one in the mallee-broombush habitat in the malleefowl block near Nhill. [E]
BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza reguloides) – Our best looks were at Asses Ears Road and we had them again at Little Desert Lodge. [E]
WESTERN THORNBILL (Acanthiza inornata) – While not much to see, we saw these well at Dryandra. [E]
SLENDER-BILLED THORNBILL (Acanthiza iredalei) – After some searching, we connected with this species in the heathland of Little Desert NP. [E]
BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) [E]
INLAND THORNBILL (Acanthiza apicalis) [E]


A spectacular shot of a Rufous Treecreeper from Dryandra. Photo by participant Randy Siebert.

YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) [E]
CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza uropygialis) [E]
SLATY-BACKED THORNBILL (Acanthiza robustirostris) – We got some poor looks at this species at Mark's spot south of Alice Springs. [E]
YELLOW THORNBILL (Acanthiza nana) – We had our first ones right in Sydney on the first afternoon (Centennial Park) and again at Little Desert Lodge. [E]
STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata) – We connected with this species in a variety of habitats. [E]
WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) – This is the smallest of Australia's birds. [E]
BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) [E]
WESTERN GERYGONE (Gerygone fusca) [E]
SOUTHERN WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala leucopsis) [E]


Jesse Fagan captured this western form of Crested Shrike-tit in the Dryandra Woodland.

BANDED WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala nigricincta) – One of the biggest surprises for me, we encountered at least a pair of these in a small group of Southern Whitefaces along the Santa Teresa Road. Its range has shifted slightly northward in recent years. [E]
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)
GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis) [E]
WHITE-BROWED BABBLER (Pomatostomus superciliosus) [E]
Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)
EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) [E]
WESTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes nigrogularis) – After a bit of searching, we had really good looks at a pair of birds at Cheyne Beach. [E]
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)
CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma castanotum) – An amazingly cooperative bird at Wyperfeld NP. [E]
CINNAMON QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma cinnamomeum) – A quick glimpse of a bizarre patterned bird flushing from the edge of the road led to us tracking down a pair of this dry country quail-thrushes on the Santa Teresa Road. Wow! [E]
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus)
MASKED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus personatus) – Some nice flocks of this and the next species at Little Desert and Hattah-Kulkyne. [E]


What a relief to track down this scarce Red-eared Firetail near Albany. Photo by participant Cliff Hensel.

WHITE-BROWED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus superciliosus) [E]
BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) [E]
DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) [E]
LITTLE WOODSWALLOW (Artamus minor) – Not very evident this year, we eventually saw four of these at Glen Helen. [E]
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) [E]
PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) – A wonderful songster. We got just a taste of its vocal ability. [E]
AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen) – Widespread and variable in appearance, its fluty song was a part of many morning soundscapes.
PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) [E]
GRAY CURRAWONG (Strepera versicolor) [E]


A Western Bristlebird singing its heart out. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae) – Most memorable was the big flight of this species we observed over the Anglesea heathland.
WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor)
COMMON CICADABIRD (Edolisoma tenuirostre) – Well heard at Royal NP. [*]
Neosittidae (Sittellas)
VARIED SITTELLA (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) – We lucked into a small flock at the Little Desert Lodge. This species creeps along limps in the manner of a nuthatch. [E]
Falcunculidae (Shrike-tit)
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (EASTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus frontatus) – We found one near M's Pond at Little Desert Lodge. [E]
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (WESTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus leucogaster) – Nice views of this species at Dryandra. This white-bellied form has been considered a good species by some. [E]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica)
OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea) – One at Skenes Creek put on a good show for us eventually. [E]
GILBERT'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala inornata) – We all heard it well, but just a couple of folks sighted this sneaky individual. [E]


The recently split Western Whistler showing its mostly grayish tail. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis)
WESTERN WHISTLER (Pachycephala occidentalis) – A recently split endemic, based on some divergent genes, this gray-tailed version of a golden whistler was well seen. [E]
RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris)
Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)
CRESTED BELLBIRD (Oreoica gutturalis) – Hattah-Kulkyne was a good spot for this inland species. [E]
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus)
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) – This little bird has a lot of spunk, standing up to some much larger species.
GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa)
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) [E]
MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca)


We had an amazing look at a Short-beaked Echidna at Dryandra. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula)
RESTLESS FLYCATCHER (Myiagra inquieta) [E]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru)
LITTLE CROW (Corvus bennetti) [E]
AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides) [E]
LITTLE RAVEN (Corvus mellori) [E]
FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus) – Several along the Great Ocean Road. [E]
Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)
WHITE-WINGED CHOUGH (Corcorax melanorhamphos) [E]
APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea) [E]


A most cooperative Koala seen near the Koala Cafe in Kennett River. Photo by participant Randy Siebert.

Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
JACKY-WINTER (Microeca fascinans)
SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) – We finally connected with this species in Dryandra. [E]
RED-CAPPED ROBIN (Petroica goodenovii) [E]
ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea) – One was along Skenes Creek. [E]
HOODED ROBIN (Melanodryas cucullata) [E]
EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) [E]
WESTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria griseogularis) – Dryandra was the place to see this species. [E]
WHITE-BREASTED ROBIN (Eopsaltria georgiana) [E]


The reptile highlight of the tour was seeing this amazing Perentie at Ormiston Gorge. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

SOUTHERN SCRUB-ROBIN (Drymodes brunneopygia) – Decent views of this species at the malleefowl block near Nhill. [E]
Alaudidae (Larks)
EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) [I]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena)
FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) [E]
TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans)
WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW (Cheramoeca leucosterna) – It was a really good year for this species with several sightings. [E]
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis)
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
SPINIFEX-BIRD (Megalurus carteri) – After a great deal of searching, Jesse spotted one along the Santa Teresa Road. [E]


This Water Dragon was hanging out at Royal National Park. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

LITTLE GRASSBIRD (Megalurus gramineus)
BROWN SONGLARK (Megalurus cruralis) [E]
RUFOUS SONGLARK (Megalurus mathewsi) [E]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola exilis)
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
SILVER-EYE (Zosterops lateralis)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) [I]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]


This Long-nosed Dragon munches down on a water-scorpion it had snatched from right beneath me. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
EUROPEAN GREENFINCH (Chloris chloris) [I]
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) [I]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) [I]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
RED-EARED FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura oculata) – Lake Seppings was once again the spot for this scarce species. [E]
DIAMOND FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura guttata) – We had good views of this species on the west side of the Grampians, and another sighting at the Little Desert Lodge. [E]
RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) [E]


We saw a few colorful butterflies, including this Black Jezebel. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

ZEBRA FINCH (AUSTRALIAN) (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis)

MAMMALS
SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA (Tachyglossus aculeatus) – A thrill for everyone at Dryandra. [E]
SOUTHERN BROWN BANDICOOT (Isoodon obesulus) [E]
KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) – Great looks at a few of these along the Great Ocean Road. [E]
COMMON BRUSHTAIL POSSUM (Trichosurus vulpecula) – Some of us fed figs to one in Centennial Park. [E]
COMMON RINGTAIL POSSUM (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) – Randy spotted one that was being mobbed. [E]
BLACK-FOOTED ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale lateralis) – Great views of this rock adapted species in Simpsons Gap. [E]
EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) [E]


We also had several dragonflies and damselflies, such as this Common Flatwing. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

WESTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus fuliginosus) [E]
COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus) – Better known as Euro, we had good views of this species in Alice Springs. [E]
RED KANGAROO (Macropus rufus) – A couple of great sightings of this species near Alice Springs, including the road into Simpsons Gap where it is considered rare. [E]
SWAMP WALLABY (Wallabia bicolor) – A couple of roadside sightings. [E]
GRAY-HEADED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus poliocephalus) – Quite a few hanging out at Centennial Park. [E]
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) [I]
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – A few good sightings. [I]
WATER-RAT (Hydromys chrysogaster) – Seen swimming at the penguin show at St. Kilda. [E]
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus) – A few seen from the Great Ocean Road.


We also took a moment to enjoy these amazing Bull Ants. These ants have amazing vision and can follow ones movements. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) [I]


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Herps:

Lace Monitor (Varanus varius)

Perentie (Varanus giganteus)

Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii)

Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa)

Southern Blind Snake (Anilios australis)

Long-nosed Dragon (Gowidon longirostris)

Mallee Dragon (Ctenophorus fordi)

Buchanan’s Snake-eyed Skink (Cryptoblapharus buchanani)

Macquarie Turtle (Emydura macquarii)

Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus)

Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textillis)

Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)

Sedge Frog (Littoria fallax)

Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella)

Clicking Froglet (Crinia signifera)

Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii)


Totals for the tour: 311 bird taxa and 17 mammal taxa