A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Australia Part 1 2022

September 30-October 20, 2022 with Chris Benesh & Phil Gregory guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had a wonderful experience watching this odd male Musk Duck at the Werribee Treament Plant as he dived beneath the duckweed. Such a strange bird! Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

The first post pandemic tour of Australia, since 2019, and it was very good to be back, despite sundry covid-related issues with vehicles, drivers and accommodations. It was my first trip out of Queensland since 2019, and it was great to be back working with Chris Benesh; full circle for me, as we did my very first Australia Tour with Field Guides back in 2001.

There were many highlights; our first gentle introduction day saw us getting great looks at Powerful Owl and nesting Tawny Frogmouth, and amazing views of Eastern Whipbird displaying at Cumberland State Forest.

Royal NP is always a big highlight, and we were lucky enough to get former park ranger Steve Anyon-Smith to come along with us along Lady Carrington Drive, where highlights were many. They included displaying male Superb Lyrebird, the NSW endemic Rock Warbler, Green Catbird, Satin Bowerbird, Beautiful Firetail, King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, and more. A Koala out at Engadine was a big thrill, sitting up remarkably well and well worth the short bush scramble to access him.

Werribee treatment plant is Melbourne's equivalent of Royal NP, and local guide Scott Baker was very helpful in navigating us around it. Highlights included Banded Lapwing, Sharp-tailed and Pectoral Sandpiper, Musk Duck, Blue-billed Duck, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Striated Fieldwren, a pair of Brolga with a small chick, Little Grassbird and White-fronted Chat. The weather was overcast and windy but not raining, we just missed the big flood events of a few days later!

Point Addis was very windy, but gave two species of albatross and Australian Gannet, and brief looks at Rufous Bristlebird. Coalmine Road nearby got us the elusive Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, but Point Roadknight in gale force winds only yielded Sooty Oystercatcher. Happily, Airey's Inlet gave a marvelous co-operative Rufous Bristlebird calling from someone's front yard, and we then enjoyed the spectacular views of the Great Ocean Road down to Apollo Bay.

Next day gave us another Koala, singing Rose Robin and then the amazing huge, mammalian Musk Ducks at Perrumbete, along with snazzy Blue-billed Ducks.

Hall's Gap in the rain was hard work, but Asses Ears Road was thankfully dry, and gave some excellent honeyeaters -- Brown-headed, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous, Yellow-faced and Brown, with the first Emu not far away. A stop at the world famous climbing site of Mt. Arapiles gave Gilbert's Whistler and Diamond Firetail in a lovely setting, but the Banded Stilts at White Lake were inaccessible to us and we had very distant views only.

Wyperfeld NP was the first major mallee habitat stop, with Chestnut Quail-thrush found by Suzy, and a viewable Malleefowl mound, sadly without the builder. Blue-bonnet and Brown Songlark were nice additions en route.

Hattah-Kulkyne NP in the mallee was really good. We got onto two of the mega birds of the spinifex without too much trouble, namely Mallee Emuwren and Striated Grasswren. Ouyen Lake gave us Major Mitchell's (Pink) Cockatoo at some distance, and a bonus White-fronted Honeyeater, a very elusive nomadic species that is easily missed, and a drive down a sandy track proved exciting with a large puddle successfully forded, but a ridiculous bogging whilst attempting a turn, happily easily remedied with our able-bodied pushers! Red-rumped Parrot showed nicely, it had been remarkably scarce thus far, and a White-backed Swallow made an unexpected appearance, too.

Next day back at Hattah, we got Chestnut-crowned and White-browed Babbler and another absurd bogging, thankfully resolved by Chris enlisting a 4WD owner with brand new snatch strap from the nearby campsite; never a dull moment with Roc driving. Shy Heathwren was quite obliging, and Red-capped Robin had a nest nearby, whilst Eastern Mallee Dragon was a diminutive reptile addition, about the least dragon-like beast you can imagine.

Adelaide next day saw us out in the samphire flats to get Slender-billed Thornbill, with a large colony of Black-faced Cormorant on the breakwater at the port. Adelaide Rosella also showed quite well, and part of an afternoon at leisure was a welcome break.

The flight up to Alice Springs was nice and early, and we met up with Martin and his lovely 4WD small bus, a welcome change to the coaster and trailer with city driver Roc. We did very well over our 3 nights here, with great desert scenery and good birding. Super close views of Pink Cockatoo, Spinifex Pigeons running around the cafe, a great find of Dusky Grasswren, the very scarce Slaty-backed Thornbill, Redthroat, Phil's lifer Grey Honeyeater at long last, finally some migrant woodswallows with a noisy flock of Masked and White-browed, Crimson Chat, Grey-fronted Honeyeater and Red-browed Pardalote. Alice Springs sewage ponds was a very productive 2 hours with local birder Mark Carter, with the only Pink-eared Ducks of the trip plus some rare shorebirds in Ruff and Long-toed Stint, with Marsh, Wood and Common sandpipers, Red-kneed Dotterel, Black-fronted Dotterel and a lone Black-tailed Godwit. Australian Crake made a guest appearance at very close range, and a Black Falcon directly overhead was a terrific send-off. Red Kangaroo and Black-footed Rock Wallaby were nice mammal additions from the Alice too.

Covid has wrought havoc with flights, so we had to go back to Adelaide and have a long layover before going over to Perth, where another surprise awaited us in a very large coach plus a by-the-book driver on a strict 12 hours a day. We had to make some hasty adjustments but thankfully were able to make it work. Dryandra forest got us the rare Western Shrike-tit, Western Yellow Robin, Western Thornbill, Western Whistler, lovely views of White-browed babblers, Dusky Woodswallow, Gllbert's Honeyeater and Rufous Treecreeper.

The next day was Big Three day at Cheyne's Beach and Argenteur NP, with 3 mega-skulkers to aim for. It began in fine style with a vagrant Beach Thick-knee on the the beach and a mum and baby Southern Right Whale in the bay. Noisy Scrub-bird sang very close by and we eventually lured it into crossing the track several times. Western Whipbird (split by most as Black-throated Whipbird) is often one of the hardest, but after a slow start, we got a couple singing and one proved to be a bit of a show-off, with scope views no less. Western Bristlebird began singing nearby, and this too proved very amicable with scope views of it sat up singing on a flowering bush. We were truly blessed with fine weather and only a light wind; it's a different story here in rain and wind.

Torndirrup NP gave us Flesh-footed Shearwater and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, plus some wonderful coastal scenery. Heading SW, we picked up Western Corella and Baudin's Black Cockatoo at Rocky Gully, plus Western Rosella and Red-capped Parrot later, and Rock Parrot was a star at Hamelin Beach. The last hurrah was the site for Freckled Duck, which has been missing in action due to the huge amounts of water everywhere, so a pick-up of 5 on the way back to Perth was terrific.

Our thanks to everyone for coming on the trip, for helping spot good stuff, getting some nice photos and generally being good company. Very sorry Bob Ake was unable to come due to covid, hope he can make it next year. Thanks to the drivers Roc, Martin and John; they tried hard and we managed to work around the various bus issues. Post pandemic tourism is a different ball game, but thankfully the accommodations, cafes and restaurants worked out and also the flights, although the one to Perth was far from ideal. Thanks to Karen at FG Office for her hard work pulling it all together and dealing with issues as they arose. Great to be back working with Chris again, both of us with long lay-offs from this trip, I commend his expertise, technical savvy and e-bird mining prowess, good on yer mate.

Phil, in Topaz, Oct 2022


Sept 30 Depart from US

October 1 arrive in Sydney

Tour proper commences

Day 1 Sunday Oct 2 2022

Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens. Centennial Park/ Cumberland State Forest.

Day 2 Monday Oct 3

Royal NP Lady Carrington Drive till 1430, then Engadine Waterboard State Forest.

Day 3 Tuesday Oct 4

Depart Sydney for Melbourne, then out to the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee 1245-1600.

Day 4 Wednesday Oct 5

Point Addis 0800-0900/ Coalmine Road, Anglesea/ Point Roadknight/ Airey's Inlet/ Great Ocean Road via Lorne to Apollo Bay.

Day 5 Thursday Oct 6

Great Otway NP Elliot Road/ Mounts Bay// Otway NP roadside stops/ Lake Colac boat ramp/ Perrumbete Caravan Park lakeside.

Day 6 Friday Oct 7

Hall's Gap Park in the rain/ Asses Ears Road/ Mt. Arapiles/ White Lake stilt site.

Day 7 Saturday Oct 8

Wyperfeld NP till 1400/ Tyrell Lake

Day 8 Sunday Oct 9

Hattah-Kulkyne NP visitor centre/ Nowingi Track/ Nowingi State Forest/Ouyen Lake and McIntyre Road.

Day 9 Monday Oct 10

Hattah-Kulkyne NP Mournpall Track/ Nature Trail// Lunch at Walpeup/ Tailem Bend on Murray River/ Adelaide.

Day 10 Tuesday Oct 11

Port Gawler Road and St Kilda/ Port Adelaide breakwater, North Haven Marina lunch stop.

Day 11 Wednesday Oct 12

Flight to Alice Springs/ Jessi Gap Yepenye NP/ Spencer Hill Community Park/ Jessi Gap late pm.

Day 12 Thursday Oct 13

Simpson's Gap 0615-0700/ Cassia Hill area 0715-0800/ Desert Park Alice Springs 0900-1000/ Ormiston Gorge/ Glen Helen/Telegraph Station. Alice Springs.

Day 13 Friday Oct 14

Emily Gap/ Santa Teresa Road 25 km east/ Alice Springs sewage ponds 1400-1600/ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens 1630-1700.

Day 14 Saturday Oct 15

Early flight to Adelaide, then long stopover before mid pm flight to Perth, drive to Narrogin.

Day 15 Sunday Oct 16

Dryandra NP till lunch in Narrogin/ Wagin Big Ram/ Albany Banksia Apartments

Day 16 Monday Oct 17

The Big 3 Day Cheyne's Beach till 1100/ Lower Kalgan River at Coraki/ Torndirrup NP at Cable Beach 1415-1500/ Rushy Point Nature Reserve.

Day 17 Tuesday Oct 18

Rushy Point NR/ Mt Barker/Rocky Gully/Manjimup/ Diamond Tree karri forest/ Brockman Highway stops in Blackwood NP/ Hamelin Bay/ Margaret River.

Day 18 Wednesday Oct 19

Margaret River/ Coodanup Reserve/ The Chimneys/ Yangedi Lake/ Perth 1630.

Day 19 Thursday Oct 20

Depart Perth for various destinations and Australia Part 2 Darwin.

—Chris Benesh and Phil Gregory (writer)

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

Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)

EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) [E]

The first was in a paddock in the Grampians, then great looks at Wyperfeld and Hattah-Kulkyne, including some big dark juveniles. They can run at over 50 km/h!.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Zebra Finches are well known in the pet-bird world, but it was great to see them in their proper habitat. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.
Anseranatidae (Magpie Goose)

MAGPIE GOOSE (Anseranas semipalmata)

Half a dozen at Perrumbete; it seems odd to see them so far south as this is a characteristic tropical species.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) [E]

Just one at Werribee, another strange primitive-looking creature.

FRECKLED DUCK (Stictonetta naevosa) [E]

E-Bird gave us a site for this rare and elusive nomad which has been in short supply this year, and we had very good looks at 3 males and 2 females on a small wetland reserve. The pink bill base was very bright, but the birds were wary and soon moved off into cover.

BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) [E]

Small numbers were widespread; quite spectacular in flight with that big white wing stripe.

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides)

Nice looks at Werribee, Perrumbete and other Victorian wetlands.

MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) [E]

Small numbers at many sites including Alice Springs.

AUSTRALIAN SHOVELER (Spatula rhynchotis)

Just 4 at Werribee.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)

The widespread Aussie duck, but no big flocks.

GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis)

Widespread later in the trip from Ouyen on; there were 150 or so at Alice Springs.

CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) [E]

Nice looks at Werribee, Lake Colac and Perrumbete.

PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) [E]

Just 5 of this strange and strikingly marked zebra duck at Alice Springs; the pink ear spot can be very hard to see.

HARDHEAD (Aythya australis)

First at Werribee, then at Perrumbete, and lots at Alice Springs.

BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) [E]

Seen at Werribee, then great looks at some including blue-billed males at Perrumbete. This is an uncommon and very local species. Also a single male at Lake Seppings.

MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) [E]

Females seen at Werribee, than an astonishing male behaving like an otter at Perrumbete, diving and swimming in the duckweed. It's a huge great duck and astonishingly primitive looking; this was one of the highlights of the day as it was so close.

Megapodiidae (Megapodes)

AUSTRALIAN BRUSHTURKEY (Alectura lathami lathami) [E]

One at Cumberland State Forest; right at the southern end of the range but they are continuing to spread south, maybe aided by gardeners relocating troublesome birds.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

BROWN QUAIL (Synoicus ypsilophorus) [*]

Heard at Werribee and Port Gawler Road, then at Argenteur NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This snoozing Koala was one of two that we saw on the tour. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

STUBBLE QUAIL (Coturnix pectoralis) [E*]

Heard in fields near Rainbow.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

A few at Alice Springs sewage ponds; this taxon has a yellow eye.

HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) [E]

The first at Werribee, then at Lake Colac and Alice Springs Sewage Ponds

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)

Great views at Lake Colac and Perrumbete Caravan Park lake.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Seen every day in the urban areas.

SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) [I]

A few around Werribee and Adelaide.

LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) [I]

We only saw them at Rushy Point NR near Albany.

COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) [E]

Four day records of one or two in the east, the best views from Hall's Gap and Telegraph Station at Alice Springs. Then in WA, it was frequent by roadsides; I got counts of 50 on one day. Also heard hooting long before dawn and again at dusk at Albany.

BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) [E]

Just one by the beach scrub at Cheyne's Beach, a fine view.

CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes)

Seen most days of the trip; a lovely looking bird with a complex plumage and fetching crest.

SPINIFEX PIGEON (Geophaps plumifera) [E]

Fantastic at Ormiston Gorge, where 9 of them were wandering about the cafe patio amongst the school girls. This is a white bellied taxon, and it showed beautifully.

WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) [E*]

Heard at Cumberland State Forest and again at Royal NP.

DIAMOND DOVE (Geopelia cuneata) [E]

Great looks at this attractive diamond-spangled small dove around Alice Springs.

PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)

I think this was only seen by some at Walpeup as we headed for the SA border.

TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus) [E]

Just one flying over at Lady Carrington Drive.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae)

One flew by calling at Sydney Botanic Gardens and it was heard briefly at Royal NP. It's a migrant from New Guinea and only just returning.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Australia has some very fancy pigeons, including the Spinifex Pigeons that we saw so well at Ormiston Gorge. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx basalis) [E]

Very nice looks at Port Gawler Road near Adelaide and again at Jessi Gap near Alice Springs.

SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)

One seen along Lady Carrington Drive, and heard at 3 sites in the SW.

PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus) [E]

One very responsive bird came in to the recording at Wyperfeld, flying past several times.

FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

Seen nicely and calling well along Lady Carrington Drive, and heard at Dryandra.

Podargidae (Frogmouths)

TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides)

A pair nesting at Centennial Park in Sydney; this nominate race is much larger and darker than northern birds.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis)

Two confiding bird were wandering about the flower beds at the Banksia Apartments in Albany.

AUSTRALIAN CRAKE (Porzana fluminea) [E]

Alice Springs Sewage Ponds did the trick, with a distant bird, then one very close by that came in to investigate the recording.

DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa)

Seen around Sydney and at some of the Victorian wetlands, often just singles.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

Most at Lake Colac and the Alice Springs sewage ponds.

AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus)

Small numbers around Sydney and 30 at Lake Colac.

Gruidae (Cranes)

BROLGA (Antigone rubicunda)

A pair with a small fluffy juvenile were a nice find at Werribee as we were heading out.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

BEACH THICK-KNEE (Esacus magnirostris)

Stu found one at Cheyne's Beach, a vagrant this far south and a very good pick-up. It was a pity it flew before some of the group got back from a pit-stop.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus)

Widespread at most wetlands, starting at Werribee.

BANDED STILT (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) [E]

A very distant large flock at White Lake looked like a salt crust, and were sadly not accessible on the damp sandy roads, much better views desired.

RED-NECKED AVOCET (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) [E]

Good looks at Werribee, then some on White Lake and 17 at Alice Springs sewage ponds.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris) [E]

Small numbers at various coastal sites.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This dapper Royal Spoonbill at Centennial Park posed well for participant Gary Bowman.

SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus) [E]

Two in strong winds at Point Roadknight, and one at Adelaide breakwater.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

A few at Rushy Point NR and at The Chimneys.

BANDED LAPWING (Vanellus tricolor) [E]

One in a paddock near Avalon was a useful pick-up of what is often an elusive species.

MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)

Widespread except in WA. Most birds were the southern form novaehollandiae, with the black breast patches and small yellow wattles, but Alice Springs birds are the nominate, with large yellow wattles and no black on the chest. There was one hybrid there too, with just some black on the chest. These are two incipient species and are split by BirdLife.

RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Charadrius ruficapillus) [E]

Two at Werribee and a couple at Port Gawler Road, then 2 at Coolanup in WA.

RED-KNEED DOTTEREL (Erythrogonys cinctus)

A single at Alice Springs sewage ponds; this is an odd nomadic species in a monotypic genus.

HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus) [E]

One on the beach at Apollo Bay, thanks to Lisa for spotting the sign about them, but views were brief and quite distant. Conditions were too windy at our earlier site.

BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops)

Another odd monotypic genus, an attractively marked bird with a maroon shoulder patch. We saw them well at Alice Springs sewage ponds.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

7 at The Chimneys in WA were the only record.


One at Alice Springs SP was a surprise.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

Suzy saw this at Rushy Point whilst we were engaged with emuwrens.

GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris)

Four at the Chimneys, initially deceptive, but the longer bill and darker chest distinguished them from Red Knot.

RUFF (Calidris pugnax)

A great find at Alice Springs SP, a pale-headed non-breeding bird with a buffish wash on the chest and long grey legs. This was an Oz birthday tick for Chris; they are a rare migrant and this might be the same bird that has been seen here for the last 9 years.

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata)

Seen at Werribee and Alice Springs SP, mostly juveniles with the chestnut cap.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

A few at Werribee.

LONG-TOED STINT (Calidris subminuta)

One fine bird at Alice Springs SP; they are a rare annual migrant from Siberia. They resemble diminutive Sharp-tails with a well marked gorget, seeing it beside one was very nice. Long yellow legs with very long middle toes are also distinctive.

We did not see many reptiles or other herps because the weather was rather cold and wet, but one we did see was this tiny Eastern Mallee Dragon. Video by guide Phil Gregory.

RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)

A few seen at Werribee and again at Port Gawler Road and Coolanup NR.

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)

One with Sharp-tails at Werribee, the well-marked gorget distinctive plus a yellow base to the bill and pale tram-lines on the mantle. Another scarce migrant here; this was a lucky pickup of the bird which has been around for a fortnight, albeit not terribly exciting for American visitors.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

We saw several of the Uncommon Sandpiper at Alice Springs SP, and singles at Cheyne's Beach and near Busselton.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

One at Port Gawler Road.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)

One of this uncommon migrant was at Alice Springs SP.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

Two of this uncommon migrant were at Alice Springs SP, the disyllabic "chiff chiff" flight call very distinctive.

Turnicidae (Buttonquail)


One very briefly for a few at the Alice Springs community park, vanishing into the long grass, and Ed saw another along the Santa Teresa Road.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

The default small coastal gull, also seen on the Murray River and at Perrumbete, and again in WA.

PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) [E]

Several at Apollo Bay and a dark immature eating a crab at Port Adelaide; this is our largest gull and has a huge heavy bill. A couple of other sightings near Albany.


Ten pretty distant birds off Coolangup NR, then much better looks at some off The Chimneys, with a significant count of about 130 birds there.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Seen at Point Addis by some, then at Apollo Bay, Port Gawler, Rushy Point NR, Lower Kalgan River and The Chimneys.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)

A few at Alice Springs SP, and off The Chimneys in WA.

GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)

The large dark coastal tern with the greeny-yellow bill, though some off The Chimneys were decidedly orange.

Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)

YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (INDIAN) (Thalassarche chlororhynchos carteri)

Two off Point Addis, and one off Torndirrup; this taxon is split by other authorities as Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross.

WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta)

Usually known as Shy Albatross, with the nominate race as White-capped; we saw a couple off Point Addis.

Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)

NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL (Macronectes halli)

A distant dark giant petrel off Point Addis is most likely this species and photos suggest a dark tip to the bill.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Superb Fairywren was the first species in this lovely group that we saw. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.


About 20 off Torndirrup NP, scope views were helpful here.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)


One or two off Point Addis and Torndirrup NP.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae)

Small numbers at several sites.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

Widespread, the short stubby bill is a good field character.

GREAT CORMORANT (AUSTRALASIAN) (Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae)

Uncommon and only seen at Werribee, Apollo Bay, Rushy Point NR and Hamelin Bay.

LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

Widespread, usually in small numbers.

PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius)

The common coastal cormorant in the south and west.

BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) [E]

Five very distant birds off Apollo Bay were identifiable from Chris's photos only, but we had great looks at a large colony at the Port Adelaide breakwater.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Widespread and sen at many sites; this is the largest of all the pelicans.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica)

Astonishingly we saw just one near Ormiston Gorge; usually widespread in WA but not this year. Known as White-necked Heron here.

GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta)

A few seen at wetland sites, the most noteworthy being 17 at Rushy Point Reserve in WA which had two in dark-billed green-lored breeding plumage, something only worn briefly and not often seen. It is likely there are 3 species in this complex, this one being the Australasian one, Eastern Great Egret.

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)

Widespread in small numbers at the wetland sites.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

Three day records from Werribee, Port Gawler Road and The Chimneys, max. 5 birds.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

8 at Werribee and 2 at The Chimneys; very scarce this far south.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Just a single at Port Gawler Road.

AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis molucca) [E]

20 at Sydney Centennial Park, where it has the unfortunate name of "bin chicken", and small numbers at many other coastal sites.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had a great view of this male Western Bowerbird, including the pretty purple nape, captured here by participant Gary Bowman.

STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) [E]

300 at Werribee, flying over in small v-shaped flocks, and small numbers in WA.

ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)

One at Centennial Park was very close by and confiding and in full breeding dress, then 21 at Werribee and one at Port Gawler Road.

YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) [E]

One at Werribee, one at Rushy Point and one at Coolanup NP. Oddly uncommon this trip.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

One at Kalgan River and 2 at Coolanup NP.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus axillaris) [E]

Widespread in small numbers throughout.

LITTLE EAGLE (Hieraaetus morphnoides) [E]

One near Ormiston Gorge, and a few saw one as we neared Perth on the last day.


A great view of one at Werribee, one at Ormiston Gorge, one at Santa Teresa Road and 4 on the Cheyne's Beach day.

SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans)

Five day records, the first at Werribee.

GRAY GOSHAWK (Accipiter novaehollandiae)

Just a single at the Sydney Botanic Gardens, quite rare on this tour. It has a white morph that mimics cockatoos and corellas.

BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus)

5 day records but again, views were often very brief, and not easy to tell from Collared Sparrowhawk. One had a nest at Engadine and you could see the frowning face pattern.

COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus)

We had 7 day records of singles, often brief views as they flashed by, the first being one from Royal NP.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)

3 at Werribee and quite common around Alice Springs, with up to 70 at the sewage ponds, many resting on the grassy fields outside.

WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)

Small numbers from the Grampians and again around Alice Springs, one had a nest at Ormiston Gorge.

WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

One at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, and one at Werribee.

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (EASTERN) (Tyto alba delicatula)

A roadkill bird along the Santa Teresa Road, very sad,

Strigidae (Owls)

POWERFUL OWL (Ninox strenua) [E]

A nice view of one in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, roosting in a dense macadamia tree, and another near the cafe in Centennial Park the same day, as reported by a local birder we met. This is our largest owl and it preys on possums and birds.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Long-billed Corellas were common near Hall's Gap, and we saw a few at Werribee and Adelaide as well. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)


One on the river at Royal NP.

LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) [E]

Quite a lot of day records starting at Sydney, and even a few in WA where it is an unfortunate introduction; highly deleterious to local birds due to its predatory habits.

RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) [E]

One at Simpson's Gap and one along the Santa Teresa Road; an uncommon species of dry country.

SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus)

Heard at Royal NP, then seen at Hattah-Kulkyne and one or two around Alice Springs before a couple in WA.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus)

One or two at Wyperfeld and Hattah, and also at Jessi Gap.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

NANKEEN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides)

Seen in small numbers most days of the trip, the most widespread falcon by far.

AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) [E]

Three sightings of singles, from Glen Helen, Santa Teresa Road and Margaret River for a couple of us.

BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora)

7 day records, with 6 at Werribee the most.

BLACK FALCON (Falco subniger) [E]

A single from Alice Springs SP, right overhead for great views; this is an elusive bird.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

Two at Ouyen on a silo allowed scope views, and one was high over Lake Seppings. This race macropus is rather distinctive and maybe a split in waiting.

Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)

RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) [E]

Dea found us some 8 birds in Blackwood Forest NP, the only ones of the trip. This is the SW race naso and sounds a bit different to northern birds.

YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus) [E]

4 in Royal NP, and 12 in the Grampians.

CARNABY'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) [E*]

Heard at Dryandra but we could not lure it back, and we saw no others. There is always one troublesome WA endemic, and this was it this trip.

BAUDIN'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) [E]

Seen nicely in flight at Rocky Gully, and one at Margaret River which Chris unfortunately saw well enough to eliminate the hoped for Carnaby's- this species has the long upper mandible!

PINK COCKATOO (Lophochroa leadbeateri) [E]

One distantly at Ouyen Lake, then a fabulous bird at Cassia Hill that came back and sat up posing for us; a terrific species and pretty thin on the ground.

GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) [E]

Seen almost every day of the trip, sometimes in quite large numbers. If someone calls you a Galah they are not being complimentary.....

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Gary Bowman got this nice portrait of one of the Buff-banded Rails at the apartment complex in Albany.

LONG-BILLED CORELLA (Cacatua tenuirostris) [E]

Two near Werribee, then common around Hall's Gap where it was very vocal as it flew over. Some saw one in Adelaide too.

WESTERN CORELLA (Cacatua pastinator) [E]

Uncommon and restricted range, we got 15 at Rocky Gully and 2 in Blackwood NP.

LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea)

A couple at Centennial park in Sydney, then small flocks in the Grampians and common around Alice Springs.


Small numbers daily until we left Adelaide, none around Alice or in WA.

COCKATIEL (Nymphicus hollandicus) [E]

13 along the Santa Teresa Road, flying very fast and calling the shrill "klee-up" note.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

REGENT PARROT (Polytelis anthopeplus) [E]

15 in Hattah, with some nice close flight views, then one at Dryandra and finally 3 in flight near Margaret River on the way back to Perth.

AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) [E]

Just two in Royal NP, a spectacular large bird.

BLUE-WINGED PARROT (Neophema chrysostoma) [E]

7 flew across the Great Ocean Road, but it was a very brief look for just a few of us near the front of the bus.

ELEGANT PARROT (Neophema elegans) [E]

Nice views of one in Dryandra, sitting perched up for scope views, a subtle little bird.

ROCK PARROT (Neophema petrophila) [E]

Fantastic at Hamelin Beach, where we had one sat up on a tree snag as we arrived, then had great looks at some 5 of them perched up, and coming down onto the weeds by the lawn. An uncommon coastal species with a beautiful silvery tinkling call.

AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (Barnardius zonarius) [E]

A complex taxonomy here and likely two species- the black-headed birds with the green bellies from Alice Springs and west are Port Lincoln Parrot, and they intergrade with the yellow-bellied bird south of Perth and into the SW corner, this being the Twenty-eight Parrot. Both forms bear the nickname twenty-eight parrot, though only the coastal SW birds have a disyllabic call supposed to sound like this (and I for one just can't make it out!)

AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (MALLEE) (Barnardius zonarius barnardi) [E]

The dry country birds in the mallee are the distinctive Mallee Ringneck, with no black head and complex colorful plumage; I was very surprised when a review some years back pronounced them all one species.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (CRIMSON) (Platycercus elegans elegans) [E]

Another complex taxonomy here, with 4 very distinctive forms subsumed into one species. Nominate Crimson Rosellas were seen at Sydney, Werribee and in the Grampians.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (YELLOW) (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) [E]

This was troublesome this trip, and we got brief views of just one by the visitor centre at Hattah-Kulkyne NP.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (ADELAIDE) (Platycercus elegans adelaidae) [E]

Seen near the hotel in Adelaide by some, and then quite good looks at 4 out near St Kilda, they form a complex intergrade with Yellow and then Crimson Rosella as you head east.

EASTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus eximius) [E]

One at Centennial Park in Sydney, then 10 around Hall's Gap and 4 at Wyperfeld.

Guide Phil Gregory got this video of the White-browed Babblers at Dryandra.

WESTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus icterotis) [E]

We left it late for this beautiful colorful western endemic, but got one briefly at Lower Kalgan River, then next day one one flew across and emerged for scope views near Manjimup, and we had a couple at the Diamond Tree.

GREATER BLUEBONNET (YELLOW-VENTED) (Northiella haematogaster haematogaster)

Seen on two days, near Wyperfeld and then en route to Hattah; this nominate race is one of the yellow-vented forms.

RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) [E]

Unusually scarce this trip, with just three sightings; the best were a pair perched up on McIntyre Road near Lake Ouyen.

MULGA PARROT (Psephotus varius) [E]

Just two records, from Wyperfeld and Hattah, very sparse this trip.

RED-CAPPED PARROT (Purpureicephalus spurius) [E]

Very late in coming, but finally got great looks at The Chimneys on our last day; it really is a very distinctive colorful species.

BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus) [E]

Small numbers only this trip, the first at Jessi Gap, and the most about 60 along the Santa Teresa Road. Wonderful to see them in the wild.

PURPLE-CROWNED LORIKEET (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala) [E]

Vocal and showed nicely in the flowering bushes by the Vietnamese cafe in Nhill, a beautiful small species. Also very vocal and seen well in Dryandra where they were nesting.

MUSK LORIKEET (Glossopsitta concinna) [E]

Great views by the Vietnamese cafe in Nhill, where the bushes were flowering, a very noisy species.

SCALY-BREASTED LORIKEET (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) [E]

A nice pick-up at Cumberland State Forest, at the very southernmost limit of the range.

RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus)

Common and noisy in Sydney, but very few later in the trip.

Menuridae (Lyrebirds)

SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) [E]

A great treat along Lady Carrington Drive, with a female sat quite close on a rocky slope, then a male scratching about and doing some displays in the undergrowth by the river. One of the must-see birds of the trip, the world's largest passerine too.

Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)

NOISY SCRUB-BIRD (Atrichornis clamosus) [E]

The big one at Cheyne's Beach; an endemic family, mega-skulking and very restricted range. Happily one began singing right by us, and we eventually lured him across a wide track on 4 occasions, so everyone got reasonable albeit brief views of this very difficult to see species as it scuttled across.

Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)

GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) [E]

Nice looks along Lady Carrington Drive, quite large and attractively green colored too.

SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) [E]

Seen along Lady Carrington Drive, then a fine male complete with violet eye in a Norfolk Pine in someone's garden at Engadine; Lisa was very pleased to get a good look eventually.

WESTERN BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera guttata) [E]

Excellent experience with this one, first at Emily Gap, then a ridiculously obliging and tame one at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, tending his bower and oblivious to us. The lavender pom-pom on the nape was showing unusually well.

Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)

WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) [E]

Seen very nicely along Lady Carrington Drive.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Laughing Kookaburra is an Australian icon that we saw well a number of times. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

RUFOUS TREECREEPER (Climacteris rufus) [E]

This striking western species was seen very well at Dryandra and again at the Diamond Tree, where they had a nest in a broken off dead tree.

Maluridae (Fairywrens)

STRIATED GRASSWREN (Amytornis striatus) [E]

A good view of at least one female in the spinifex at Hattah-Kulkyne, it was apparently visiting a nest, and I think the male was seen too by some of the group. This species was recently broken up into 3 species, Rufous, Opalton and this one from NSW and Victoria only. Highly prized, declining and elusive, a good tick!

DUSKY GRASSWREN (Amytornis purnelli) [E]

A great find at Jessi Gap, it just appeared on the hillside with no spinifex, so unexpected but very nice; all grasswrens are very highly prized.

SOUTHERN EMUWREN (Stipiturus malachurus) [E]

A pair at Rushy Point NR near Albany were a surprise find, and we had seen another pair at Argenteur NP the day before.

MALLEE EMUWREN (Stipiturus mallee) [E]

Great looks at Nowingi State Forest near Hattah-Kulkyne; this is an Endangered range-restricted species only found in spinifex in a tiny area of Victoria and SA. It is very vulnerable to fires and much of the population has been burnt out in recent years.

RED-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus elegans) [E]

Great looks at Rushy Point NR; the pale blue head of the male is quite distinctive, much paler than Blue-breasted Fairywren.

BLUE-BREASTED FAIRYWREN (Malurus pulcherrimus) [E]

Excellent looks at Dryandra; this one has a dark blue crown and lovely royal blue chin and throat in the males.

PURPLE-BACKED FAIRYWREN (Malurus assimilis) [E]

Seen well at Emily Gap; this is a split from Variegated Fairywren of the east, and the females have bluish tails.

VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) [E]

Nice looks along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal NP. This family has just so many crowd-pleasers!

SPLENDID FAIRYWREN (Malurus splendens) [E]

This is one of the most striking of the family; the first were at Hattah-Kulkyne, with pale bellies, the males around Alice Springs are bluish below, and those in the far west a gorgeous deep violet blue.

SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) [E]

Our first fairywren, seen nicely at Centennial Park in Sydney, and then daily up to Asses Ears Road, with a couple more sightings near Adelaide.

WHITE-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus leucopterus) [E]

Seen at Lake Ouyen, Port Gawler Road and along the Santa Teresa Road, the males are lovely things with bright blue plumage and big white wing patches. It likes dry, rather saline habitats.

Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)

EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) [E]

Nice looks in Royal NP and in the Otways.

WESTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus superciliosus) [E]

Even more striking than the Eastern Spinebill, and quite low-density; we finally saw them at Argenteur NP and then at Rushy Point.

LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) [E]

Nice looks in Royal NP; a big honeyeater with a large yellow ear spot.

WHITE-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Purnella albifrons) [E]

A great find by Chris at Lake Ouyen; this is a well-known nomad and not often seen. The late Phoebe Snetsinger took about 6 trips here before she got it......

Field Guides Birding Tours
These Gray-headed Flying-Foxes were part of a small camp we saw in Centennial Park in Sydney. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) [E]

Seen in Royal NP, the Otways and at Asses Ears Road.

YELLOW-TUFTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus melanops) [E]

An uncommon and very striking honeyeater; we saw them at Engadine and then at Asses Ears Road.

BELL MINER (Manorina melanophrys) [E]

A special trip up to Cumberland State Forest saw us hearing them tinking away, and getting good looks. The orange legs and feet and green plumage are quite distinctive.

NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) [E]

Common and noisy in Sydney, and again in Adelaide at the western limit of the range. They are an unpopular bird as they are aggressive and compete for nest sites with other native species.

YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) [E]

Seen in the mallee and and around Alice Springs. The name is just awful as they don't usually have yellow throats, but always have a large pale rump. Vote for Pale-rumped Miner.....

SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Acanthagenys rufogularis) [E]

Large, quite noisy and strongly patterned; we saw them well in the mallee and and around Alice Springs.

LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) [E]

Seen at Royal NP, then at Werribee and Point Addis.

WESTERN WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera lunulata) [E]

Low density and late in coming, but good views at Argenteur NP at Cheyne's Beach.

RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) [E]

Seen most days in Victoria and NSW, and again in WA; large sized and very vocal, the first at the Sydney hotel.

SINGING HONEYEATER (Gavicalis virescens) [E]

Small numbers in the drier areas.


This mallee special showed well at Wyperfeld and Hattah.

WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula penicillata) [E]

Vocal and seen well at Wyperfeld and again around Alice Springs.

FUSCOUS HONEYEATER (Ptilotula fusca) [E]

This nondescript honeyeater showed nicely near Asses Ears Road.

GRAY-HEADED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula keartlandi) [E]

Only seen near Alice Springs, one of the less common members of the family.

GRAY-FRONTED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula plumula) [E]

We got these along the Santa Teresa Road, coming in nicely at the one area where there was some small bird activity.

GRAY HONEYEATER (Conopophila whitei) [E]

Woo hoo! Phil's lifer was at Alice Springs Desert Park and took a while to come into play, luckily heard calling and then tracked down. Small, nondescript, slightly decurved bill, rather sparrowy disyllabic call invaluable for tracking it. Readily confused with thornbills and gerygones, and a very low density seldom seen species of desert mulga type habitats.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Gary Bowman's photo of this Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater nicely shows the bristly feathers that the species is named for, just below the white cheek-stripe.

CRIMSON CHAT (Epthianura tricolor) [E]

Great looks along the Santa Teresa Road at the site with all the activity.

WHITE-FRONTED CHAT (Epthianura albifrons) [E]

This distinctive little bird was seen well at Werribee, Ouyen and then at Port Gawler.

BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) [E]

First seen around Alice Springs, then a few in WA.

CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) [E*]

Heard in the wet forest as we headed across the Grampians, but stayed out of view and it was the only one we encountered.

NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) [E]

Common from Melbourne onwards and seen at most mallee and coastal WA sites.

WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) [E]

A special detour to Wagin and the Giant Ram got us the distinctive western subspecies; then seen again at Cheyne's Beach.

WHITE-EARED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis leucotis) [E]

Beautiful looks along Coalmine Road, then at Wyperfeld and Dryandra, a striking bird.

GILBERT'S HONEYEATER (Melithreptus chloropsis) [E]

Small, drab and with a whitish eye crescent; first seen at Dryandra then at the Diamond Tree. It's a WA endemic that was split from White-naped Honeyeater.

WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) [E]

Seen in the Otways and around Hall's Gap, the red eye crescent is distinctive.

BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus brevirostris) [E]

Very vocal at Asses Ears Road, and seen again at Dryandra and in the mallee.

LITTLE FRIARBIRD (Philemon citreogularis)

One for some at Lake Tyrell was the only one of the trip.

NOISY FRIARBIRD (Philemon corniculatus)

This was seen or heard early in the trip at Engadine.

Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds)

WESTERN BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis longirostris) [E]

Fantastic at Argenteur NP, calling from the dense heath and eventually perched up singing on a flowering bush for great views. A very rare bird restricted to a handful of sites, and very vulnerable to fire.

RUFOUS BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis broadbenti) [E]

One skulked right by as we were seawatching at Point Addis and many of us got quick looks; happily a bird in someone's front garden at Airey's Inlet was very responsive and showed beautifully. The western taxon littoralis went extinct about a century ago due to fires and clearance of the dense habitat.

Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)

SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) [E]

Good looks along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal NP and heard at Coalmine Road and Asses Ears Road.

SPOTTED PARDALOTE (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge) [E]

This beautiful little bird showed well in Hattah; this mallee taxon has a bright yellow rump and is a potential split.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Tawny Frogmouth was one of a pair we found at Centennial Park. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) [E]

Heard at Alice Springs Desert Park then a Grey Honeyeater interrupted..... Happily, we got a responsive bird in gums along the Santa Teresa Road next day.

STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) [E]

Seen well at Wyperfeld and Hattah-Kulkyne; this taxon has white streaks on the blackish crown.

Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)

ROCKWARBLER (Origma solitaria) [E]

Great views of this hard-to-find bird at Jersey Spring. Just after our local guide Steve said he had not had one there for years, it began calling well. It came in quite high up in some saplings too; it's endemic to the Hawkesbury Sandstone of New South Wales.

YELLOW-THROATED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis citreogularis) [E]

Seen well at Royal NP.

WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) [E]

Seen well along Lady Carrington Drive.

WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (SPOTTED) (Sericornis frontalis maculatus)

The birds at Port Gawler Road and St KIlda are this taxon with the dark streaked throats, split by the IOC and new Australian Field Guides as Spotted Scrubwren, a tick in waiting for Clements folks.

LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra) [E]

Good looks at this classic LBJ along Lady Carrington Drive.

REDTHROAT (Pyrrholaemus brunneus) [E]

Good looks at a female along the trail at Jessi's Gap; a very nondescript bird easily confused with thornbills or gerygones. This one was singing well which was helpful!

SPECKLED WARBLER (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus) [E]

Two elusive birds at Asses Ears Road in the Grampians.

RUFOUS FIELDWREN (Calamanthus campestris) [E*]

Heard at Lake Tyrrell, but did not come in.

STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus) [E]

Great looks at Werribee Treatment Plant; this can be elusive.

CHESTNUT-RUMPED HEATHWREN (Hylacola pyrrhopygia) [E]

Two very skulking furtive birds out along Coalmine Road were a very good pick-up.

SHY HEATHWREN (Hylacola cauta) [E]

Great looks along the Nature Trail at Hattah-Kulkyne.

BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza reguloides) [E]

This one showed well at Asses Ears Road in the Grampians.

WESTERN THORNBILL (Acanthiza inornata) [E]

Good looks at Dryandra, a western endemic.

SLENDER-BILLED THORNBILL (Acanthiza iredalei) [E]

Seen well in the samphire at Port Gawler Road, then again later at St KIlda; this race rosinae is endemic to the samphire habitat.

Here is a video of the nesting Apostlebirds at the visitor center at Hattah-Kulkyne, by guide Phil Gregory.

BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) [E]

Lady Carrington Drive at Royal NP.

INLAND THORNBILL (Acanthiza apicalis) [E]

Seen at Asses Ears Road in the Grampians, and around Alice Springs and the Diamond Tree in WA.

YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) [E]

A small twittering group of the butterbutt were near Werribee.

CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza uropygialis) [E]

Quite vocal at Hattah-Kulkyne.

SLATY-BACKED THORNBILL (Acanthiza robustirostris) [E]

A great pick-up near Cassia Hill at Simpson's Gap; this one is low density and easily missed, and readily confused with other thornbills or Grey Honeyeater!

YELLOW THORNBILL (Acanthiza nana) [E]

This one showed well at Mt Arapiles.

STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata) [E]

Lady Carrington Drive and in the Grampians.

WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) [E]

Australia's smallest bird is quite vocal and says its name: "I'm a weebill". We saw them at Asses ears Road and various other woodland sites.

BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) [E]

Lady Carrington Drive at Royal NP.

WESTERN GERYGONE (Gerygone fusca) [E]

Good looks at Cassia Hill near Simpson's Gap and at Alice Springs Desert Park, and heard at several sites in WA.

SOUTHERN WHITEFACE (Aphelocephala leucopsis) [E]

Just a couple along the Santa Teresa Road, and no sign of its rarer Banded cousin.

Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)

GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis) [E]

Very nice views at Simpson's Gap.

WHITE-BROWED BABBLER (Pomatostomus superciliosus) [E]

One seen briefly in Hattah-Kulkyne then a very responsive group at Dryandra.

CHESTNUT-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus ruficeps) [E]

Good views of a small flock at Hattah-Kulkyne, the wing bars and chestnut crown are very distinctive.

Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)

CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma castanotum) [E]

Great looks at one found by Suzy at Wyperfeld, and heard at Hattah-Kulkyne. A female had a nest there too but snuck off before most of us saw her.

CINNAMON QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma cinnamomeum) [E*]

Heard at a spinifex clad ridge along Santa Teresa Road, but did not come in.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A handsome Pink Cockatoo posed for participant Gary Bowman at Cassia Hill.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae)

Singles at Royal, Werribee and most days in Victoria.

WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor)

Just one along the Santa Teresa Road at the spot with all the activity, curiously scarce this trip.

Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)

EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) [E]

A fine and very responsive bird at Cunningham's gap, it came and perched high in a tree and even did some display with quivering wings and drooped tail; an unusually good view of this skulker.

WESTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes nigrogularis) [E]

Amazing views at Argenteur NP. They began the scratchy song from dense cover, and we were lucky enough to pick one up several times, even getting scope views. This is split as Black-throated Whipbird by most checklists, and is restricted to a handful of sites in WA where it is one of the most elusive birds.

Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)

CRESTED BELLBIRD (Oreoica gutturalis) [E]

Wonderful at Nowingi State Forest, where a pair showed really well after brief views of a male nearby earlier.

Falcunculidae (Shrike-tit)

CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (WESTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus leucogaster) [E]

Great views of a male in Dryandra after quite a long search; a rare bird and a long overdue split.

Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)

GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica)

Lady Carrington Drive, Asses Ears Road and again at the samphire along Port Gawler Road.

GILBERT'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala inornata) [E]

A wonderful view of a singing bird at Mt Arapiles.

GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis)

Great looks along Lady Carrington Drive.

WESTERN WHISTLER (Pachycephala fuliginosa) [E]

First at Dryandra; the females are more distinctive than the males, which look like regular Golden Whistler but have a weaker song. We saw a pair at Cheyne's Beach. The species extends as far as western Victoria, but you need to see the females to identify it.

RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris)

Seen at Asses Ears Road and Simpson's Gap.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)

OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus)

Only seen at Lady Carrington Drive.

AUSTRALASIAN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres vieilloti)

A few of the greenish southern race at Sydney Botanic Gardens, and some saw it at Royal NP.

Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)


Fine views of two at Rainbow out in the mallee.

MASKED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus personatus) [E]

A small group at along the Santa Teresa Road at the spot where all the activity was concentrated. Highly nomadic.

WHITE-BROWED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus superciliosus) [E]

Another nomad and often with Masked woodswallows; we saw a handful along the Santa Teresa Road with that species, but they went straight through.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We thought we might go without a good view of the skulky Rufous Bristlebird, but this individual in someone's front garden decided otherwise. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) [E]

Seen well at Lake Tyrrell and around Alice Springs.

DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) [E]

Nice views in the dry forest at Dryandra.

LITTLE WOODSWALLOW (Artamus minor) [E]

Seen at Jessi Gap, an uncommon bird of rocky escarpments in the drier regions.

GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) [E]

Seen at Sydney Botanic Gardens, Lady Carrington Drive and Hattah-Kulkyne, and a few in WA.

PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) [E]

The best were a singing pair at Hattah-Kulkyne, this is a a beautiful songster.

AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen)

Widespread, with white backed birds around coastal Victoria and black backed ones inland.

PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) [E]

A few at Sydney and in the Grampians. The latter is the very dark SW Victorian subspecies ashbyi, which is quite similar to Grey Currawong with its grayish underparts, but has a hook tipped bill, not the blunt chisel of its congener.

GRAY CURRAWONG (Strepera versicolor) [E]

Good views from the Grampians and Hattah-Kulkyne.

Rhipiduridae (Fantails)

WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys)

Small numbers most days and in most habitats.

GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa)

Widespread, even in the saline habitats near Adelaide.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) [E]

Nice looks in Royal NP at this summer breeding migrant from New Guinea.

MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca)

Seen most days and very vocal.

LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula)

Nice looks at a tail-shivering male along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal NP.

RESTLESS FLYCATCHER (Myiagra inquieta) [E]

Seen well in Dryandra, and giving its scissor-grinding call.

Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)

WHITE-WINGED CHOUGH (Corcorax melanorhamphos) [E]

This strange mud-nester was seen in small groups along the roadsides in the mallee, and heard giving its curious whistled calls in the mallee parks.

APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea) [E]

A nesting group at the visitor centre at Hattah-Kulkyne had a at least 3 babies in the cup shaped mud nest, being fed by the noisy group. They are often in groups of 12, hence the name, and have helpers at the nest.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Rock Parrot is rather plain compared to some of the Aussie parrots, but when seen well, this uncommon species is quite lovely. We had a great view at Hamelin Beach, where participant Gary Bowman got this nice image.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru)

Quite common around the Alice.

LITTLE CROW (Corvus bennetti) [E]

Also quite common in Alice, and noisy birds were by our hotel each night. All these similar corvids are best identified on vocals and range,

AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides) [E]

The common raven in Sydney with the loud rather wailing calls. Birds in WA are also meant to be this species, but they seem smaller, have different calls and are often in groups, so I strongly suspect yet another cryptic corvid may be here.

LITTLE RAVEN (Corvus mellori) [E]

This is the small raven from Melbourne and Adelaide, with the quite nasal call.

FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus) [E]

One flew across the road near Apollo Bay but few got onto it from the bus; it's bigger than Little Raven and looks shorter tailed. This is the only corvid in Tasmania, so if you missed it and are heading there no worries!

Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)

JACKY-WINTER (Microeca fascinans)

Good looks at Wyperfeld NP, this odd little flyrobin has declined a lot of late.

SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) [E]

Gil saw one at Asses Ears Road, inexplicably absent later in the trip.

ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea) [E]

A fine vocal male as we came across the wet forest in the Grampians, the breast a curious shade of pink.

RED-CAPPED ROBIN (Petroica goodenovii) [E]

A nesting pair had a juvenile in a tiny cup nest along the Nature Trail in Hattah-Kulkyne.

HOODED ROBIN (Melanodryas cucullata) [E]

Some female-plumage birds showed in Wyperfeld.

EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) [E]

Seen nicely along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal NP.

WESTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria griseogularis) [E]

This uncommon bird took some tracking down, but we finally got good views in Dryandra.

WHITE-BREASTED ROBIN (Eopsaltria georgiana) [E]

Seen at Cheyne's Beach, and again at the Diamond Tree; an uncommon western endemic.

Alaudidae (Larks)


I think a few folks saw one flying at Port Gawler Road.

EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) [I]

Singing very well at Werribee and hanging on the breeze as it did so. This is an essentially benign introduced species.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)


Calling and seen in the clouds-scraping display at Werribee, just below a singing Skylark!

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Red-capped Robin has a food item ready to deliver to the nest we saw in Hattah-Kulkyne. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

AUSTRALIAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis)

Vocal and showing well in the Phragmites reeds at Lake Colac and Perrumbete, and heard at Glen Helen.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

SPINIFEXBIRD (Poodytes carteri) [E]

A nice pick-up out in the spinifex near Ormiston Gorge, calling well and coming in nicely.

LITTLE GRASSBIRD (Poodytes gramineus)

This skulker of the reed-beds showed quite well at Werribee and was heard at Lake Colac and Perrumbete before being seen again at Alice Springs SP.

BROWN SONGLARK (Cincloramphus cruralis) [E]

This odd bird has one of the greatest size differentials between the males and the much smaller females. We saw and heard it giving the scratchy display in grassy weedy fields near Wyperfeld.

RUFOUS SONGLARK (Cincloramphus mathewsi) [E]

Singing and displaying at Lake Ouyen, not nearly as raspy as its congener.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena)

Seen most days.

FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) [E]

Good looks as they hunted midges at Werribee; the bright white rump is very obvious.

TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans)

Most seen at Dryandra where they had a colony in an old tree, also seen at Lake Ouyen. This one has a dingy rump, not white like Fairy Martin.

WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW (Cheramoeca leucosterna) [E]

One along McIntyre Road near Lake Ouyen was unexpected and hard to pick up as it didn't stay nearby for long. Then lovely looks at Alice Springs SP and out along the Santa Teresa Road, always just singles.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

SILVEREYE (Zosterops lateralis)

A few along Lady Carrington Drive, and some of the dull western chloronotus birds at Dryandra and the Diamond Tree.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Sadly all too frequent in much of Victoria, even out in the mallee; it competes with native species for nest holes.

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]

Small numbers from Sydney; another introduced pest that competes for nest holes with native species like parrots.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) [I]

Small numbers from Apollo Bay across to Adelaide; a relatively benign introduction with an attractive fluty song.

Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)

MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)

Seen well at Jessi Gap and the community park at Alice Springs.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

DIAMOND FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura guttata) [E]

Great looks at this uncommon bird from Mt Arapiles where it was nesting.

RED-EARED FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura oculata) [E]

Lucky at Cheyne's Beach where we saw a couple of birds; this is a low density one and easily missed.

These Red Kangaroos sat up and showed nicely for us near Simpson's Gap. Video by guide Phil Gregory.

BEAUTIFUL FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura bella) [E]

Lucky with this one along Lady Carrington Drive, where we saw a pair very nicely.

RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) [E]

A few along Lady Carrington Drive and in Hall's Gap; much darker than the northern birds in Queensland.

PAINTED FIRETAIL (Emblema pictum) [E]

One flew off calling on the spinifex ridge along the Santa Teresa Road, but I think only Chris saw anything on it at all.

ZEBRA FINCH (AUSTRALIAN) (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis)

A few at Werribee were a surprise; they are quite nomadic and can turn up in unlikely spots from their dry western strongholds. Then thousands at waterholes at Jessi Gap, we were surrounded by swirling flocks, quite an experience.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Seen most days in the urban areas.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis)

Singles from Werribee, Ouyen and Santa Teresa Road.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) [I]

Seen in flight at Werribee, then a lovely singing male was at Tailem Bend on the Murray River in SA. An introduced species that seems benign.



Gil saw what must be this species at the Banksia Apartments where it is regularly seen.

KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) [E]

Steve Anyon-Smith found us a very viewable male in the forest at Engadine, a nice reward for a bush scramble there, and Chris found another in wet forest near Apollo Bay. A must-see Aussie mammal.

BRUSH-TAILED BETTONG (WOYLIE) (Bettongia penicillatus) [E]

Great good fortune in Dryandra was flushing two of this rare and endangered marsupial, one of which gave quite good looks as it dashed away. Chris had not seen it for about 15 years.

BLACK-FOOTED ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale lateralis) [E]

Wonderful looks at a well-marked animal high in the rocks at Spencer Hill Community Park in Alice, and several less striking ones on the talus slopes at Simpson's Gap.

TAMMAR WALLABY (Macropus eugenii) [E]

Ed spotted this small wallaby sat up in dense bush at Dryandra, and some of us got pretty good looks at it. It was near extinction on the mainland, but amazingly a healthy introduced population existed on Kawau Island in New Zealand and served as the stock for reintroductions here! It has now been removed from Kawau as a non-native and thus unwanted species, ironic given NZ is overrun with common non-natives.

EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) [E]

A couple of mobs seen on paddocks and golf courses in Victoria.

WESTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus fuliginosus) [E]

This much browner counterpart of Eastern Grey was seen in small numbers in the mallee and at Asses Ears Road. Then a big mob in some paddocks as we came towards Perth, over 150 animals.

COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus) [E]

Two odd pale ones in the salt scrub at Gawler Road, also known as Euros.

RED KANGAROO (Macropus rufus) [E]

Two fine animals out near Simpson's Gap, a good pick-up for the tour. They have very large long ears and a striking face pattern.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The little Striated Thornbill was one of 10 species of thornbills that we found on the tour. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

SWAMP WALLABY (Wallabia bicolor) [E]

The wet weather brought them out into the roadsides as we neared Hall's Gap late afternoon, we saw 7 one day and a couple of singles later; they are very dark, almost blackish, and like the damp gullies.

GRAY-HEADED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus poliocephalus) [E]

A camp of about 70 in Centennial Park in Sydney; this is the southernmost of the family in Australia.

OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) [I]

The introduced pest that caused so much havoc in colonial times, devastating so many farms, was seen at Werribee and a few other spots.

EUROPEAN BROWN HARE (Lepus europaeus)

One briefly at Werribee.

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus)

A dolphin in the North Haven Marina at Adelaide was most likely this species, but the newly split and almost unknown Burrunan Dolphin is also a possibility.

HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Some folks saw one distantly off Cable Beach at Torndirrup NP.

SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE (Eubalaena australis)

Amazing views of a mother and calf basking in the sheltered waters off Cheyne's Beach. They come here to calve and rest, then migrate from October onwards. The callosities on the head showed well and this creature has the most bizarre shape, with no dorsal fin. Total population is Australian waters is something like 800 animals, and increasing thanks to protection.

RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) [I]

One seen near Werribee, a huge problem for native species and subject to intense control programs using baits and traps.

CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus)

Some on the rocks off Apollo Bay are apparently this species.

WILD HORSE (Equus caballus) [I]

We saw a herd of feral horses or Brumbies out near Glen Helen.


Great to be back birding in southern and western Australia, we had many great sightings and memorable days- the Powerful Owls in Sydney, Lady Carrington Drive and the Superb Lyrebird and Rock Warbler, Engadine with Yellow-tufted Honeyeater and Koala, Werribee for the ducks and shorebirds, the Rufous Bristlebird at Airey's Inlet, all the honeyeaters at Asses Ears Road, Striated Grasswren and Mallee Emuwren at Hattah, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo at Ouyen and later near Simpson's Gap, some great trips based around Alice Springs with the sewage ponds being memorable and the sandstone and shale scenery in the various parks quite wonderful. WA was good too, with a fantastic morning at Cheyne's Beach scoring the big 3 rarities plus Southern Right Whale, and we cleaned up all the western parrots eventually, and oh yes, Western Shrike-tit (Dryandra) is now a Clements split too.


Very few, it was a late cold and wet spring so the only species were:

Macquarie Turtle in Royal NP and again at Alice Springs SP

Eastern Water Dragon in Royal,

Shingleback at Mt Arapiles

Eastern Mallee Dragon at Hattah,

Short-clawed Ctenotus the bronzy long-tailed skink at Hattah, King Skink at Lake Seppings,

Gould's Goanna near Margaret River and

a probable Dugite brown snake near Cheyne's Beach

Banjo Frog heard in Hattah as we were waiting to be towed out


Similarly amazingly sparse, the late cold and wet conditions have delayed flight times. Gil may have a few to add here from his photos

Monarch, Pea Blue, White Migrant, Caper White, Orchard Swallowtail, Australian Painted Lady, Common Brown Ringlet, Brown Argus

Totals for the tour: 312 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa