Australia........ 22nd September to 9th October 2018
Australia can quite safely be described as not only unique, but a world apart from other land masses, from which it has been separated, for millions of years. It has a wealth of incredible landscapes - the dry outback, rugged mountain ranges, beautiful coastline and rainforests.
As a wildlife destination it offers the chance to enter another world of fascinating species, varying from the exquisite to the bizarre. Our wide ranging itinerary commences in Western Australia’s capital City of Perth and then to the southwest, firstly into the Darling Ranges, visiting Dryandra State Forest. Our next venue is the Stirling Ranges, followed by Cheynes Beach, then the Karri Forests of Pemberton before ending our southwest adventure at Cape Leeuwin. Our epilogue will be at what is referred to as “The Top End” and Broome, well known for its bird observatory and one of the World’s top shorebird sites. We’ll focus on and experience a wealth of amazing avifauna, which includes many rare and also endemic species.
Our first birding venues will be Rottnest Island, King’ Park and Herdsman Lake, where we could be overwhelmed, with a wealth of bird species, quite a number of which from new families unfamiliar to birdwatchers that have not visited Australasia previously. We should see Maned Duck, Australasian Grebe, Rufous (Nankeen) Night Heron, Little Pied Cormorant, Banded Stilt, Spotted Dove, Laughing Kookaburra, Australian Raven, Red-capped Robin, Striated Pardalote, New Holland Honeyeater and Red Wattlebird to mention just a few. The superb environments of the Darling & Stirling Ranges support many specialties including Brush & Common Bronzewings, Elegant Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Rufous Treecreeper, Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Yellow-plumed & White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Crested Shrike-Tit, Inland Thornbill, Dusky Woodswallow and Grey Butcherbird. The delightful coastal area of Cheynes Beach is well known in birding circles for its three rare secretive/skulking species, namely Noisy Scrub-bird, Western Bristlebird and Western Whipbird, but there are other specialties including Southern Emu-wren, Splendid Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote and Western Spinebill. The Karri Forests of Pemberton have Western Rosella, Common Bronzewing, Red-winged Fairy-wren and Grey Shrike-Thrush. We’ll visit Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, which are excellent areas to observe seabirds close inshore, including Australasian Gannet, albatrosses, shearwaters and perhaps even an outside chance of Red-tailed Tropicbird. Cape Leeuwin is also a good area for Rock Parrot. Our grand finale is the marvelous shorebird show at the world renowned Broome in north-western Australia, where amongst the gathering multitude of wader species are Greater Sand Plover, Eastern Curlew, Asiatic Dowitcher, Grey-tailed Tattler, Red-necked Stint, Broad-billed & Terek Sandpipers and Great Knot. A marvelous climax to our Western Australia bird adventure!
Days 1-4: An evening departure on Day 1, from UK to Perth, where we arrive on Day 2 and then transfer to our ideally located hotel near the Swan River and King’s Park for a two night stay. There is great birding on the doorstep of our hotel, with the adjacent Kings Park and just across the road is a wetland with a superb array of species, Black Swan, Hardhead, Rufous Night-Heron, Little Black Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Australasian Darter, Rainbow Lorikeet and Red Wattlebird. A boat trip to Rottnest Island should yield a number of splendid species, including Banded Lapwing, Banded Stilt, Red-capped Plover, Laughing Dove, White-browed Scrubwren, Red-capped Robin, White-fronted Chat and Singing Honeyeater. On one day we’ll visit Herdsman Lake, one of Perth's magnificent wetlands, where we can see Blue-billed and Musk Ducks along with Australasian Swamphen, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Australian Reed Warbler, Willie Wagtail, Magpie Lark and other waterbirds.
Overnights (2) - Perth
Days 5- 6: From there it's up into the Darling Ranges where we will stop along the way to look for endemics such as Baudin's Black-cockatoo, Red-capped Parrot, Western Rosella, Western Spinebill and White-breasted Robin. The Dryandra Woodlands are our destination and it is here that we will look for Carnaby's Black-cockatoo, Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Western Thornbill, Elegant Parrot and Purple-crowned Lorikeet. If we're lucky we may also spot native animals such as Numbat, Western Grey Kangaroo and Short-beaked Echidna.
Overnights - Narrogin
Days 7-8: Heading south on Day 6 we travel into the beautiful Stirling Ranges for a two night stay. Here, we'll search for Brush Bronzewing, Australian Owlet Nightjar, Silvereye, Blue-breasted Fairywren, Western Yellow Robin, Restless Flycatcher, Weebill, Gilbert’s, Purple-gaped, Yellow-plumed and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters.
Overnights – Stirling National Park
Days 9-10: On Day 8 we’ll travel to the south coast, where we will begin our search for the notorious and often elusive trio of Noisy Scrub-bird, Western Bristle-bird and Western Whipbird. We’ll also continue our search for these 3 species at Waychinicup National Park and will also look for Southern Emu-wren, Red-winged Fairy-wren and Red-eared Firetail. Around the caravan park we'll find Splendid Fairywren, Brush Bronzewing and Western Wattlebird. Eastern Ospreys also breed in the area as do Sooty Oystercatchers. Overnights - Cheyne Beach
Days 11-13: Today we head westwards towards the tall forest country around Pemberton, but enroute we'll stop to look at Lake Muir, a Ramsar listed wetland, where we'll find the geographically limited population of the Western Corella. In Pemberton itself we'll visit the Gloucester Tree, where we'll find Western Rosella, White-browed Scrubwren, White-breasted Robin and Common Bronzewing, who are not at all camera-shy!
Our last full day and we have the opportunity to join local 4WD operators, Pemberton Discovery Tours, on a trip across the Yeagarup dunes – the highest in the Southern Hemisphere - to the mouth of the Warren River, a known breeding site for Fairy Terns and in the past Hooded Plover. There's also a good chance we'll see Rock Parrot, White-bellied Sea-eagle and Osprey.
Overnights - Pemberton
Day 14: Today we drive back to Perth for an overnight stay. We will have stops to birdwatch along the way.
Overnight - Perth
Days 15-17: On Day 14 we’ll fly to Broome. Broome is the site of a famous bird observatory and is situated on a peninsula to the north of Roebuck Bay. The habitat consists of mudflats, saltmarsh and mangroves and is a Mecca for myriads of shorebirds from late August. The superb selection of wader species usually includes: Beach Stone-curlew, Greater & Lesser Sand Plovers, Asiatic Dowitchers, Great Knots, Terek Sandpipers and Grey-tailed Tattlers. Amongst the mangrove and dry habitats we may find: Chestnut-backed Button Quail, Mangrove Robin, Broad-billed Flycatcher, White-breasted and Mangrove Golden Whistlers. Other species present around the bird observatory and on the adjacent Roebuck Plains include Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea- Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Australian Bustard, Diamond Dove, Rainbow Bee-eater, Yellow Chat, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Rufous Whistler, Double-barred & Long-tailed Finches and Yellow White-eye.
Overnights - Broome.
Days 18-19: On Day 18 we fly to Perth to connect with our return flights to the UK, where we arrive on Day 19.
Tour ref: AA1831
Tour Cost: £5,700
Single Room Supplement: £875
Leaders: Peter Scholes and Peter Dedicoat
Max. Group: 12 plus 2 leaders
Economy class scheduled return flights (UK-Perth-UK), domestic flights, accommodation & all meals, boat trip, transportation and services of leaders.
Travel insurance, Australian visa, drinks and items of a personal nature.