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Field Guides Tour Report
Australia - Part One 2018
Oct 5, 2018 to Oct 25, 2018
Chris Benesh & Doug Gochfeld

The dramatic landscape in the outback west of Alice Springs. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

It is often said that birders obsess about the weather. Without a doubt weather played a large part of the Australia experience in part one of the Australia tour. We managed to bring rains to several drought stricken areas, an odds defying feat to be sure. Despite the need to layer up and waterproof ourselves, the wildlife was nonetheless wonderful, and aside from a lost day at Hattah-Kulkyne, the worst of it mostly held off while we were out seeking our target birds.

How does one begin to quantify all of the amazing experiences from nearly three weeks spent exploring the southern portion of Australia? One of the things I love most about the Australia tour is the diversity of habitats. From coastal heathlands, tall eucalypt forests, to arid, rocky desert landscapes carpeted with porcupine grass and acacias, it is an awesome place. Of course Doug and I asked of you the impossible task of picking your three favorite birds and favorite non-bird thing or activity, and you were up to the task. Among the birds, the Splendid Fairywren came out ahead in votes, not surprising as it is a shockingly colorful bird! A close second was the wonderful closer by way of the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos seen on our way back to Perth. Not only were they wonderful, but the nearby group of Baudin’s Black-Cockatoos added to the experience. Other multi-vote getters included our fortuitous encounter with the Malleefowl just as the next rains were arriving; the songs of Eastern Whipbird; Spinifex Pigeons walking around underfoot; a close encounter with the ear-piercing Rufous Bristlebird; and our pursuit of the Rufous-crowned Emuwren south of Alice Springs. The Short-beaked Echidna were the runaway winners of the non-avian highlights, with Koala a close second! The flying-foxes in Sydney, the Shinglebacks, and our rotten log exploration in Rocky Gully also made mention.

As always, Australia is as much about the people and culture, and we met many wonderful ones along the way. Diane and Alan did a terrific job with driving us around and entertaining us, and Mark Carter provided some fantastic guiding and interpretation in Alice Springs. Also a special thanks to Steve Howard who provided some wonderful guidance at Centennial Park in Sydney, and to Jess Bettess in the Grampians. Thanks to my mate Doug for the terrific job he did throughout. Most of all, thanks to all of you for the richness you added to the tour. It was a challenging one for me due to persistent illness throughout, and I appreciate your patience along the way. I look forward to traveling with you all again in the future and wish you all the best in birding! — Chris

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

The gang at the start of our big adventure. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)
EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) [E]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) – Great to see this species during our visit to the Western Treatment Plant. [E]
FRECKLED DUCK (Stictonetta naevosa) – A rather strange duck that is closely related to swans as well as being Australia's rarest duck species. We saw some at Eynesbury Lake west of Melbourne. [E]
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) [E]
AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides)
MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) – Known to Australians as Australian Wood Duck. [E]
AUSTRALIAN SHOVELER (Spatula rhynchotis) – Big numbers of this species at the Western Treatment Plant.
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis)
CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) [E]

The second most popular bird of the trip, the amazing Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo! Photo by guide Chris Benesh

PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) [E]
HARDHEAD (Aythya australis)
BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) – We had great looks at this species at Lake Purrumbete. [E]
MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) – One of the strangest of all ducks. We saw a fair number and could hear their weird display calls. [E]
Megapodiidae (Megapodes)
MALLEEFOWL (Leipoa ocellata) – What a lucky encounter for us considering we had been shut out of a visit to the malleefowl sanctuary. Thankfully one showed for us at the Little Desert Lodge. [E]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)
HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) [E]
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) [I]

Voted trip favorite, this Splendid Fairywren is nothing less. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) [I]
BROWN CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia phasianella) – Nice views of one along the Lady Carrington track at Royal, fairly close to the southern limit of their range.
COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) [E]
BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) – We had good views of a pair of birds standing on the road at Cheyne Beach. [E]
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes) – Despite being common enough to be largely ignored, this species is quite impressive looking. They helped get the tour off to a good start in Sydney.
SPINIFEX PIGEON (Geophaps plumifera) – Great encounter with this species at Ormiston Gorge where birds have become tame. [E]
WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) – A good look at this species at Royal National Park. [E]
PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – A quick flyover at Centennial Park was our only one.
HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx basalis) [E]

This Superb Fairywren about to dine on one of the only damselfies seen on the tour. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

BLACK-EARED CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx osculans) – There was one elusive bird at Wartook State Forest. [E]
SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)
PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus) – This species shows up in peculiar places and is rather unpredictable. We connected with it this year at Wyperfeld National Park. [E]
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis) – We saw and heard some around Sydney and again in the southwest.
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides) – We were fortunate to run into local Steve Howard, who showed us a family of frogmouths at Centennial Park as they turned out to be the only ones encountered!
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis) – Why did the rail cross the road? No idea, but this one did east of Albany.
BLACK-TAILED NATIVEHEN (Tribonyx ventralis) [E]
AUSTRALIAN CRAKE (Porzana fluminea) – Good view of this species at the Western Treatment Plant where one walked out into the open. [E]
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa)
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

This composite photo illustrates the recent split of Variegated Fairywren. The bird at left remains Variegated and is found in easternmost Australia, while the Purplish-backed at right is the widespread form throughout much of southern Australia. Notice the paler, less purplish cast to the blue on the head on the Variegated. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus) – Now named after the fairly recent breakup of Purple Swamphen.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
BUSH THICK-KNEE (Burhinus grallarius) – One of the real highlights of the trip was encountering a cryptic family of these at Dryandra.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus)
BANDED STILT (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) – It was a good year for this species with many present at St. Kilda near Adelaide. [E]
RED-NECKED AVOCET (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) [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) – This is a very localized species; we had some distant birds in their normal paddock near Werribee and then Doug spotted a pair while driving through Bunbury that was much closer. [E]
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)

A Rufous Fieldwren showing well for us at Little Desert National Park. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Charadrius ruficapillus) [E]
RED-KNEED DOTTEREL (Erythrogonys cinctus)
HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus) – The analog to our Piping Plover, this beach breeder is highly endangered. We had great looks along the Great Ocean Road. [E]
BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
FAR EASTERN CURLEW (Numenius madagascariensis)
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris)
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus)

The Rockwarber from Royal National Park. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata)
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)
SWINHOE'S SNIPE (Gallinago megala) – Likely the species involved in our snipe hunt in Alice Springs.
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

We watched this Rufous Bristlebird blasting out its song along the Great Ocean Road. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) [E]
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons placens) – We scoped some of these at the Western Treatment Plant. Much like our Least Tern.
AUSTRALIAN FAIRY TERN (Sternula nereis) – A few of these were present at The Chimneys near Mandurah.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – Doug had one at the Alice Springs STP that a few folks got on to.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)
Spheniscidae (Penguins)
LITTLE PENGUIN (Eudyptula minor) – Quite a show at St. Kilda near Melbourne with perfect weather conditions.
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche chlororhynchos)
WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta)

Out west it was the Western Bristlebird that showed amazingly well for us! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche melanophris)
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna tenuirostris) – Absolutely mind-blowing numbers of these were present just off of the beach along the Great Ocean Road in the high winds. Likely more than 50,000.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius)

For most of us it was a quick flash as it darted across the track, but Doug captured this Noisy Scrubbird mid-stride.

BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) – The Outer Harbour in Adelaide has traditionally been a reliable place to see this species, but nothing prepared us for the massive numbers that were concentrated there during our visit, where we estimated 1400! [E]
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica)
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta)
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis molucca) [E]
STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) [E]
ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)

Another highlight of Cheyne Beach was this stunning Red-eared Firetail. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) [E]
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus axillaris) – Known by several names, this Australian endemic is now called Black-shouldered Kite while the Old World species is called Black-winged Kite. [E]
SQUARE-TAILED KITE (Lophoictinia isura) – One was spotted while driving through good forest southwest of Nannup. [E]
LITTLE EAGLE (Hieraaetus morphnoides)
SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans)
SPOTTED HARRIER (Circus assimilis) [E]
BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus)
COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus)

This family of Powerful Owls was a great way to start off the tour in Sydney. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)
WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – We marveled at one that was circling around grasping a pufferfish in its talons.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (EASTERN) (Tyto alba delicatula) – Our friend Steve helped us locate this secretive species. Some authorities split this form.
Strigidae (Owls)
POWERFUL OWL (Ninox strenua) – Despite gloomy conditions, we had great looks at this species with a family group hanging out at Centennial Park. [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) – One of Australia's iconic species, this one lived up to its billing. [E]
RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) – Good views of this one along the Santa Teresa Road south of Alice Springs. [E]
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus)
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus)

A wonderful treat from our day at Dryandra was discovering this family of Bush Thickknees. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

Coraciidae (Rollers)
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – Seen by some folks at Royal NP.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides)
AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) [E]
BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora)
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) – As is often the case, one of the last new birds for part one, with an exciting encounter of a pair of birds. [E]
YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus) – Best seen in the Grampians. [E]
CARNABY'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) [E]
BAUDIN'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) – Good views of this species on a couple of occasions, giving us practice on using bill differences and voice to separate it from the similar Carnaby's. [E]
GANG-GANG COCKATOO (Callocephalon fimbriatum) – Nice views of this distinctive species in Hall's Gap. [E]
PINK COCKATOO (Lophochroa leadbeateri) [E]

We were so fortunate to come across this Malleefowl in the restoration area at Little Desert Lodge. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) – Another rather iconic bird of Australia, this one has the misfortune of being a pest to farmers and as such, the name Galah is commonly used as a pejorative term meaning a fool. [E]
LONG-BILLED CORELLA (Cacatua tenuirostris) – Impressive to see huge flights of these flying through Hall's Gap in the Grampians. [E]
WESTERN CORELLA (Cacatua pastinator) – Rocky Gully once again proved to be the place to see this local species. [E]
LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea)
COCKATIEL (Nymphicus hollandicus) – Not a great year for them around the deserts we visited, but we were fortunate to connect with a small flock of them along the Santa Teresa Road. [E]
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
REGENT PARROT (Polytelis anthopeplus) – I love the way this species just rockets past, darting effortlessly through the air. [E]
AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) – We had some really close encounters with this species at Kennett River! [E]
ELEGANT PARROT (Neophema elegans) – Some good looks at this species at Dryandra Woodland where there is a healthy population. [E]
ROCK PARROT (Neophema petrophila) – A wonderful treat to see this species on their favorite lawn in Hamelin Bay despite conditions there. This species breeds on tiny offshore islands but regularly visits favored coastal sites to feed. [E]

Mind-blowing views of an often secretive Gilbert's Whistler. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (Barnardius zonarius) [E]
AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (MALLEE) (Barnardius zonarius barnardi) [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (CRIMSON) (Platycercus elegans elegans) [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (YELLOW) (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) – While no longer considered a separate species, it was fun to see these at Hattah-Kulkyne. [E]
EASTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus eximius) [E]
WESTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus icterotis) [E]
GREATER BLUEBONNET (YELLOW-VENTED) (Northiella haematogaster haematogaster) – We ended up seeing some pretty well on our journey north from Little Desert Lodge to Wyperfeld. A few more were there and at Hattah-Kulkyne the following day.
RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) [E]
MULGA PARROT (Psephotus varius) – Quite a few were seen along the road to Santa Teresa south of Alice Springs. [E]
RED-CAPPED PARROT (Purpureicephalus spurius) [E]

This Spinifex Pigeon in display was a highlight of Ormiston Gorge. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus) – A flock could be heard in the distance. [E*]
MUSK LORIKEET (Glossopsitta concinna) [E]
PURPLE-CROWNED LORIKEET (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala) [E]
RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus haematodus)
Menuridae (Lyrebirds)
SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) [E]
Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)
NOISY SCRUB-BIRD (Atrichornis clamosus) – Almost like clockwork, we had the experience of seeing this reclusive species dash across a path in the middle of its territory at Cheyne Beach. Restricted to just to small patches of coastal heathland east of Albany. [E]
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) [E]
SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) [E]
WESTERN BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera guttata) – We enjoyed the antics of this species working its bower in Alice Springs on our first afternoon there. [E]
Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)
WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) [E]

We had a magical time with Rock Parrots at Hamelin Bay. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

WHITE-BROWED TREECREEPER (Climacteris affinis) – A great treat to see this species on the road to Santa Teresa. This is a scarce species on our tour route. [E]
BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus) [E]
RUFOUS TREECREEPER (Climacteris rufus) – This species brightens up the landscape in Western Australia. They were all over Dryandra Woodland and one super tame one was at the Diamond Tree. [E]
Maluridae (Fairywrens)
DUSKY GRASSWREN (Amytornis purnelli) – Some nice encounters with this species thanks to Mark Carter's expertise in Alice Springs. [E]
SOUTHERN EMUWREN (Stipiturus malachurus) – Smashing views of this species at Hamelin Bay, was a nice cherry on top to the Rock Parrots. [E]
RUFOUS-CROWNED EMUWREN (Stipiturus ruficeps) – A tough species to track down but we had some real success with it south of Alice Springs. [E]
MALLEE EMUWREN (Stipiturus mallee) – Sadly, this one was left a heard only despite our efforts. [E*]
RED-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus elegans) – This western specialty was well seen at Gleneagle and again near Albany and Cheyne Beach. It has a very pale blue crown and ear tufts. [E]
BLUE-BREASTED FAIRYWREN (Malurus pulcherrimus) – Rather local, we had some great views at Dryandra where this is the common species. We noted the much deeper purple color to the crown and ear tufts, the best way to distinguish it from other fairywrens. [E]
PURPLE-BACKED FAIRYWREN (Malurus assimilis) – A newly designated species, this one is the widespread form of the formerly broad ranging Variegated FW. We saw this species at Mount Arapiles in Victoria and again at a few spots near Alice Springs. [E]

An amazing capture of a Rufous Treecreeper. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) – We had good views of this species at Royal NP. After the split, this species is now restricted to the eastern coastal plain of Australia.
SPLENDID FAIRYWREN (Malurus splendens) – We saw this amazing species in three different regions, climaxing with the splended-ist form in the southwest. [E]
SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) – A particularly welcome part of the avifauna in much of Victoria where we enjoyed it on several occasions. [E]
WHITE-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus leucopterus) – After some disappointing views of female plumaged birds near Adelaide, we connected with a stunning male south of Alice Springs! [E]
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) [E]
WESTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus superciliosus) – A good year for this species with several sightings. [E]
LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) [E]
WHITE-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Purnella albifrons) – One of the nomadic species of the interior, we had several sightings in the region of Little Desert and again in Alice Springs. [E]
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) [E]

South of Alice Springs we connected with the Red-backed Kingfisher. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld

YELLOW-TUFTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus melanops) – A bit furtive but seen in Wartook State Forest on the west side of the Grampians. [E]
NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) [E]
YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) [E]
SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Acanthagenys rufogularis) – A large and distinctive honeyeater that is impressive in voice and appearance when seen well. [E]
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) [E]
WESTERN WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera lunulata) [E*]
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) [E]
SINGING HONEYEATER (Gavicalis virescens) [E]
WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula penicillata) [E]
FUSCOUS HONEYEATER (Ptilotula fusca) [E]

The male Blue-billed Duck is quite a handsome duck. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

GRAY-HEADED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula keartlandi) [E]
GRAY-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula plumula) – Another species that has a patchy distribution. We connected with it south of Alice Springs at a favored site. [E]
CRIMSON CHAT (Epthianura tricolor) – While out running around for Banded Whitefaces and such we came across a pair of these foraging. [E]
WHITE-FRONTED CHAT (Epthianura albifrons) [E]
BLACK HONEYEATER (Sugomel nigrum) – Another real nomad of the interior. We connected with it at the Nurcoung Floral Reserve south of Little Desert and were surprised by another at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden in Alice Springs. [E]
SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta) [*]
TAWNY-CROWNED HONEYEATER (Gliciphila melanops) [E]
BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) [E]
CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) – Seen in the coast range heading inland from the Great Ocean Road.

This Baudin's Black-Cockatoo is showing off the long nailed bill structure to good effect. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) [E]
WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) – Another flashy species, this one has a very peculiar range with populations divided by two thousand miles! [E]
WHITE-EARED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis leucotis) [E]
GILBERT'S HONEYEATER (Melithreptus chloropsis) – This one is a relatively newly recognized species, being split from White-naped. [E]
WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) [E]
BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus brevirostris) [E]
STRIPED HONEYEATER (Plectorhyncha lanceolata) – A rather distinctive honeyeater which we saw well at Wyperfeld NP. [E]
Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds)
WESTERN BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis longirostris) – What a stunning experience seeing this species belting out its song at close range at Cheyne Beach! [E]
RUFOUS BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis broadbenti) – After being a stinker during our initial searching for it, we connected well with it near Anglesea and again in the coast range as we were heading north into the interior. [E]
Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) [E]

Voted favorite mammal of the trip, we had a couple of great encounters with Short-beaked Echidna. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

SPOTTED PARDALOTE (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge) [E]
RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) – A nice study of this species at the Olive Pink Garden in Alice Springs. [E]
STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) [E]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
ROCKWARBLER (Origma solitaria) – After quite a bit of searching one appeared for us at a puddle in Wattamolla. This species is restricted to New South Wales. [E]
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) – Some authorities (e.g. IOC) have recently split the spotted western forms that we saw out west as Spotted Scrubwren, S. maculatus. [E]
LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra) – Seen by some at Royal NP. [E]
REDTHROAT (Pyrrholaemus brunneus) – Encountered on our second full day in Alice Springs. [E]
SPECKLED WARBLER (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus) – Fleeting views along Asses Ears Road. [E]
RUFOUS FIELDWREN (Calamanthus campestris) – We tracked down this species in Little Desert NP and then ran into more of them at Lake Tyrrell. [E]
STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus) – After a bit of searching we saw this species well at Anglesea. [E]

A close second was this amazing Koala encounter near Kennett River. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

CHESTNUT-RUMPED HEATHWREN (Hylacola pyrrhopygia) – Also secretive bird we came across at Anglesea. [E]
SHY HEATHWREN (Hylacola cauta) – Good views of this species at Mount Arapiles. [E]
BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza reguloides) – Seen at Asses Ears Road and again at the Little Desert Lodge. [E]
WESTERN THORNBILL (Acanthiza inornata) [E]
SLENDER-BILLED THORNBILL (Acanthiza iredalei) – Cooperative birds seen in Little Desert National Park. [E]
BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) [E]
INLAND THORNBILL (Acanthiza apicalis) [E]
YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) [E]
CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza uropygialis) [E]
YELLOW THORNBILL (Acanthiza nana) [E]

A Western Gray Kangaroo peers out from the coastal heath at Cheyne Beach. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata) [E]
WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) – The tiniest of Australia's birds. [E]
BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) [E]
WESTERN GERYGONE (Gerygone fusca) [E]
SOUTHERN WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala leucopsis) [E]
BANDED WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala nigricincta) – A true outback specialist, we tracked down a pair of these south of Alice Springs. [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) – Decent views of one singing on a song perch at Cheyne Beach. [E]

This Snake-necked Turtle was a surprise. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

CHIMING WEDGEBILL (Psophodes occidentalis) – A tough bird, we had one in the scope for a bit. [E]
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)
CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma castanotum) – A thrilling species to see well and we sure did at Wyperfeld. [E]
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus) – We saw a few of these in the town of Rainbow, at the southern edge of their range.
MASKED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus personatus) – Well seen in mixed flocks with the next species. These two form roaming flocks in the outback. [E]
WHITE-BROWED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus superciliosus) [E]
BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) [E]
DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) [E]
LITTLE WOODSWALLOW (Artamus minor) [E]
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) [E]
PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) – This species has one of the most beautiful songs of the Australian birds. [E]

We marveled over the giant Bull Ants seen in the southwest. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen)
PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) [E]
GRAY CURRAWONG (Strepera versicolor) [E]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae)
WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor)
Neosittidae (Sittellas)
VARIED SITTELLA (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) – Sadly these trunk creepers stuck around only a brief period of time before heading off. [E]
Falcunculidae (Shrike-tit)
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (EASTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus frontatus) [E*]
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (WESTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus leucogaster) – Great to see this species in Dryandra. It is such a distinctive and striking species. The shrike-tits are an interesting clade, each population being separated by roughly 1000 miles. These have been considered three species at times. [E]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica)
OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea) [E*]

While in Rocky Gully we took a bit of time to explore some rotting logs looking for critters. This is a composite of a few things we saw. Clockwise from upper left, Marbled Gecko, Orange-legged Centipede, Australian Flatworm, and a huntsman spider, Isopeda sp. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

GILBERT'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala inornata) – This can be a tough species to see well but we had mind-blowing views this time at Mount Arapiles! [E]
GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis)
WESTERN WHISTLER (Pachycephala occidentalis) – This cryptic species is a recent split from Golden Whistler and is best identified by its mostly gray tail. [E]
RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris)
Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)
CRESTED BELLBIRD (Oreoica gutturalis) [E]
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus)
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) – Widespread and sometimes overlooked, this is one of the most charismatic of Australia's birds.
GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa)
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) [E]
MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca)

Charley Walker captured this evocative scene of a spinifex covered hillside at Ormiston Gorge. Sadly, extreme temperatures and fire swept through this same area in January.

RESTLESS FLYCATCHER (Myiagra inquieta) – We had restless individuals at Wartook State Forest and again at Dryandra. [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) [E]
Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)
WHITE-WINGED CHOUGH (Corcorax melanorhamphos) [E]
APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea) – We had a wonderful encounter with a group of these at Hattah-Kulkyne with just shy of a dozen present. [E]
Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
JACKY-WINTER (Microeca fascinans)
SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) – It is hard to pick of favorite of these little gems. We sure had some wonderful looks at them. [E]

The group heading off through the spinifex in search of emuwrens and grasswrens. Photo by Charley Walker.

RED-CAPPED ROBIN (Petroica goodenovii) [E]
ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea) [E]
HOODED ROBIN (Melanodryas cucullata) [E]
EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) [E]
WESTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria griseogularis) – Always one of the scarcest of the robins, we connected with them once again in the wandoo woodland at Dryandra. [E]
WHITE-BREASTED ROBIN (Eopsaltria georgiana) [E]
SOUTHERN SCRUB-ROBIN (Drymodes brunneopygia) – We had a really cooperative bird while out looking for honeyeaters south of Little Desert. [E]
Alaudidae (Larks)
AUSTRALASIAN BUSHLARK (Mirafra javanica) – Also known as Horsfield's Bushlark, we saw one well just north of Little Desert Lodge.
EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) [I]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena)

A view along the Great Ocean Road. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) [E]
TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans)
WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW (Cheramoeca leucosterna) – It was a really good tour for this scarce species, with sightings at Lake Tyrrell and south of Alice Springs. [E]
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis)
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
LITTLE GRASSBIRD (Megalurus gramineus)
BROWN SONGLARK (Megalurus cruralis) – Fun to watch this species do its aerial song display. [E]
RUFOUS SONGLARK (Megalurus mathewsi) [E]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
SILVER-EYE (Zosterops lateralis)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BASSIAN THRUSH (Zoothera lunulata) – A cooperative one was at Royal NP.

The road through Dryandra Woodland. Photo by guide Chris Benesh

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) [I]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]
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]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
PAINTED FIRETAIL (Emblema pictum) – Great views of this species after some patience near Ormiston Gorge. [E]
RED-EARED FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura oculata) – A great find at Cheyne Beach where this is a scarce breeder. [E]
DIAMOND FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura guttata) – First seen at Wartook State Forest and again at the Little Desert Lodge. [E]
RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) [E]
ZEBRA FINCH (AUSTRALIAN) (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis)

Doug put together a few video highlights of the trip that bring back some memories.

SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA (Tachyglossus aculeatus) – This was voted the favorite mammal of the trip and we had two exceptional views of it! [E]
KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) – Another wonderful mammal to see at Kennett River and interesting to note that the closest one observed made use of a particular branch to urinate on as evidence by a well stained branch. [E]
COMMON BRUSHTAIL POSSUM (Trichosurus vulpecula) [E]
BRUSH-TAILED BETTONG (WOYLIE) (Bettongia penicillatus) – We all got to see captive Woylies in the enclosure at Little Desert Lodge and a couple of folks spotted one at Dryandra. [E]
QUOKKA (Setonix brachyurus) – Sounds like what Sharon may have seen at Cheyne Beach. There is a small population there.
BLACK-FOOTED ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale lateralis) – Great views of this rock loving species at Simpsons Gap. [E]
EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) [E]
WESTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus fuliginosus) [E]
COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus) – The interior ones we saw are better known as Euros. [E]
SWAMP WALLABY (Wallabia bicolor) [E]
GRAY-HEADED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus poliocephalus) – Impressive numbers of these were at Centennial Park in Sydney. [E]
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) [I]
WATER-RAT (Hydromys chrysogaster) – One doesn't usually get too excited about a rat, but this one acts more like an otter and was a welcome sight at the St. Kilda Harbour. [E]
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus)
RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) [I]
RED DEER (Cervus elaphus) [I]


A partial list of other critters seen:

Macquarie Turtle (Emydura macquarii)

Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii)

Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis)

Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa)

Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis)

Gould's Monitor (Varanus gouldii)

Long-nosed Dragon (Gowidon longirostris)

Burton’s Legless Lizard (Lialis burtonis)

Buchanan’s Snake-eyed Skink (Cryptoblepharus buchananii)

Marbled Gecko (Christinus marmoratus)

many frog species heard

Our rotting log exploration yielded a few treasures including the Marbled Gecko mentioned above, plus:

Orange-footed Centipede (Cormocephalus aurantiipes)

Huntsman spider (Isopeda sp.)

Australian Flatworm (Australoplana sanguinea)

And a few folks saw some scorpions:

Lychas spinatus at Little Desert Lodge and a Urodacus sp. found by Michael at Dryandra Woodland.

We also marveled over a few other insects like the Helena Gum Moth (Opodiphthera helena) hanging out near Steve's room, and a couple colonies of Bull Ants (Myrmecia sp.).

Totals for the tour: 312 bird taxa and 16 mammal taxa