This exciting 13 day tour specifically concentrates on the many specialties of the southern regions of Australia, parts of the outback and the great inland rivers. During the main tour we are likely to find over 250 species and experience an amazing variety of landscapes and habitats. The trip includes some of Australia’s hardest to find, yet most sought-after species.
Day 13: A highlight of the trip with great scenery and some fantastic birds. The skulking Rufous Bristlebird showed well; the elusive Southern Emu-wren and Chestnut-rumped Heathwren; a pair of Gang-gang Cockatoos perched in a tree; a glossy male Satin Bowerbird; and many more added to a total trip tally of 268 bird species! A celebratory final dinner was enjoyed by all back in Melbourne.
Day 12: We birded the Western Treatment Plant at Werribee for the morning racking up a total of 66 species! These included highlights such as almost all southern Australian duck species, Cape Barren Geese, dozens of Australian and Baillons Crakes, Banded Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Red Knot and ‘little brown jobs’ such as Striated Fieldwren and Golden-headed Cisticola. We ended up in Anglesea, at the start of the scenic Great Ocean Road, for the night.
Day 11: The morning was spent in the forests near Healesville: Pilotbird, Rose Robin and Satin Flycatcher before we visited a family of Powerful Owls in Melbourne. The parents and their 2 white-ish young showed well on their daytime roost. At our destination for the night, Geelong, we had Rainbow, Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeet all in one tree.
Day 10: A return to the Chiltern forests this morning where we observed Crested Shrike-tit, Eastern Yellow Robin, Diamond Firetail, nesting White-throated Gerygones, nicely showing Painted Buttonquail and 3 Speckled Warblers. We then headed to the Yarra ranges around Healesville. The tall Mountain Ash forests here gave us a first taste of their birdlife with Red-browed Treecreeper, King Parrot, Flame Robin and Fan-tailed Cuckoo.
Day 9: An early morning visit to extensive reedbeds yielded Australian Little Bittern and Baillon’s Crake. Grey-crowned Babblers were found in trees in the endless farmlands on the way to Chiltern. Once there, we commenced birding the box-ironbark forests where we found 4 new honeyeaters for the trip, Little Lorikeet and Shining Bronze-cuckoo.
Day 8: The river floodplain forests around Deniliquin were the focus of the morning. Superb Parrot, Western Gerygone, Crested Shrike-tit, Pied Honeyeater and Long-billed Corellas were the highlights. In the afternoon, thousands of waterbirds provided a spectacle at the sewage ponds including hundreds of Plumed Whistling-ducks.
Day 7: A big day: at sunrise we found ourselves watching Mallee Emu-wrens and Striated Grasswrens near Ouyen, Vic. We then travelled to Deniliquin on the plains of NSW while observing more Regent Parrots along the way. A small remnant patch of bushland held a surprising variety of birds: White-browed Treecreeper, Black Honeyeater, White-winged Triller and nesting Rainbow Bee-eaters. Once at Deniliquin, we witnessed a Square-tailed Kite pair at their nest and the first of many Superb Parrots. An evening spotlighting session yielded no less than 8 Plains Wanderers as well as many other goodies: Horsfield’s Bushlark, Inland Dotterel, Stubble Quail, Southern Boobook and Eastern Barn Owls.
Day 6: At sunrise we found ourselves witnessing a pair of Chestnut Quail-thrush just outside Berri. Afterwards, more Freckled Ducks were seen near Berri and a cute Owlet-nightjar, followed by White-backed Swallows nesting in the Murray’s cliffs and Blue Bonnets along the roadsides. In the evening, a Malleefowl was observed near Ouyen, Vic.
Day 5: The “mallee” wilderness north of the river Murray which contains exciting reserves such as Gluepot and Calperum, were the focus of the morning. Here we quickly racked up a lot of specialised species including Blue Bonnet, 100s of Mulga Parrots, Southern Scrubrobin, Gilbert’s Whistler and 3 species of Fairy-wren. For the afternoon we returned to the Murray where we witnessed the declining Regent Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Yellow Rosellas and Freckled Ducks.
Day 4: The area around Wilpena Pound yielded Southern Scrubrobin, Inland Thornbill, Redthroat, White-eared Honeyeater and Collared Sparrowhawk as highlights. After an uneventful drive we reached the Murray river, where the group saw many waterbirds, including Yellow-billed and Royal Spoonbill, Red-necked Avocet, Australian Shoveler, 3 species of Grebe, and Little Grassbird to finish in the riverside town of Berri.
Day 3: Chirruping Wedgebills, Cinnamon Quail-thrush and Rufous Fieldwren were observed around Lyndhurst, before the group explored the rugged Flinders Ranges, with great views of the rare Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby as well as Redthroat, Inland Thornbill, Elegant and Ringneck parrots. A pair of the very rare Short-tailed Grasswrens showed well on the spinifex-covered slopes.
Day 2: A days birding around Lyndhurst yielded great views of the rare Thick-billed Grasswren and Rufous Fieldwren. At a waterhole, large flocks of Zebra Finches came in to drink as well as Sacred and Red-backed Kingfisher. Nesting Black-breasted Buzzards and Little Eagles provided great photographic opportunities.
Day 1: The group travelled from Adelaide to Lyndhurst in the SA outback, birding along the way. A long day but almost 90 species were recorded, with highlights good numbers of Black-tailed Native-hen, 2 Blue-winged and 2 Elegant Parrots, a flock of Banded Stilt, the elusive Slender-billed Thornbill and a Pied Honeyeater.