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6 Grasswren Tour

The 6 Grasswren tour continues as one of Australia’s epic birding adventures, during which we search for half of all of Australia’s current Grasswren species: Grey, Striated, Short-tailed, Thick-billed, Western and Eyrean Grasswren. We will travel through exceptionally remote areas including Birdlife Australia’s Gluepot Reserve, the Flinders Ranges, the vast Strzelecki desert and endless stony ‘gibber’ plains.

On the Final Day of our 6 Grasswren tour, we found Western Grasswren within seconds of arriving at the site! Following this highlight we visited the Arid Lands Botanical Gardens with Pied and Black Honeyeaters before returning to Adelaide to reflect on an amazing tour over a final dinner.

Day 6 brought us Short-tailed Grasswren in the Flinders Ranges today. We also had sightings of the rare Thick-billed Grasswren, as well as Grey-fronted Honeyeater, Redthroat, Black-eared Cuckoo and Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. An Australian Hobby chasing 2 Elegant Parrots was an unexpected highlight.

Day 5 No less than 30 Letter-winged Kite on Merty Merty Station (SA), an amazing spectacle to see these elusive, desert-dwelling semi-nocturnal raptors! We also had further sightings of Gibberbird and Cinnamon Quail-thrush as well as the rare & elusive Thick-billed Grasswren.

Day 4 Eyrean Grasswren played at our feet on day 4 of our 6 Grasswren tour! We had many sightings of this interesting species along the Strzelecki track, together with Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Rufous Fieldwren, Orange Chat, Gibberbird, Dingoes and 3 species of Kangaroo.

Day 3 Grey Grasswren was the highlight of today in the NSW-Qld border region, where we also saw Bustard, Pied Honeyeater, Little Buttonquail, Black-breasted Buzzard and impressive Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Day 2 a fabulous morning in Hattah with Chestnut Quail-thrush and prolonged views of the two main targets, Mallee Emu-wren and Striated Grasswren. The group checked out the junction of the Murray and Darling rivers where a few regent parrots were seen, before we headed to Broken Hill for the night.

Day 1 of the tour started with a bang with great views of Red-lored Whistler, Black-eared Miner, Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrubrobin and a host of other mallee specialties.

Great Southern tour

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.

Tour Tweets

BellbirdBirdingTours @BirdsTours
Morning spent on the river floodplain forests - Superb Parrot, Western Gerygone, Crested Shrike-tit, Pied Honeyeate… https://t.co/w62C4mdIca
h J R
BellbirdBirdingTours @BirdsTours
Sunrise of Day 7 we found Mallee Emu-wrens and Striated Grasswrens. An evening spotlighting session yielded no less… https://t.co/ZdavbMLCLy
h J R
BellbirdBirdingTours @BirdsTours
Sunrise Day 6 found ourselves witnessing a pair of Chestnut Quail-thrush just out of Berri. Afterwards, more Freckl… https://t.co/CkzPQCe1q6
h J R
BellbirdBirdingTours @BirdsTours
Day 5 In the “mallee” wilderness north of the Murray we quickly racked up a lot of specialised species including Bl… https://t.co/NEggvM6PDU
h J R
BellbirdBirdingTours @BirdsTours
Day 4 of our Great Southern Tour started around the area of Wilpena Pound, yielding Southern Scrubrobin, Inland Tho… https://t.co/7rlE9kREww
h J R
BellbirdBirdingTours @BirdsTours
Another full day birding in the Darwin area. Highlights included Beach Stone-Curlew, Rainbow Pitta, Silver-backed B… https://t.co/so5PZfuX2B
h J R

Recent Photos

Bellbird Birding Tours

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Bellbird Birding ToursSunday, November 19th, 2017 at 12:55pm
Spent the morning of Day 8 on the river floodplain forests around Deniliquin. 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 #bellbirdtours www.bellbirdtours.com
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Bellbird Birding Tours
Bellbird Birding ToursSaturday, November 18th, 2017 at 12:40pm
Sunrise of Day 7 of the Great Southern Tour we found Mallee Emu-wrens and Striated Grasswrens. 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 Owl #bellbirdtours www.bellbirdtours.com
   View on Google
Bellbird Birding Tours
Bellbird Birding ToursFriday, November 17th, 2017 at 12:15pm
Sunrise Day 6 found ourselves witnessing a pair of Chestnut Quail-thrush just out of Berri. Afterwards, more Freckled Ducks, a cute Owlet-nightjar and Blue Bonnets along the roadsides. In the evening a Malleefowl was observed near Ouyen, Vic #bellbirdtours www.bellbirdtours.com
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Bellbird Birding Tours
Bellbird Birding ToursThursday, November 16th, 2017 at 12:20pm
Day 5 In the “mallee” wilderness north of the Murray 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. Returning to the Murray we witnessed the declining Regent Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Yellow Rosellas and Freckled Ducks #bellbirdtours www.bellbirdtours.com
   View on Google
Bellbird Birding Tours
Bellbird Birding ToursWednesday, November 15th, 2017 at 12:15pm
Day 4 of our Great Southern Tour started around the area of Wilpena Pound, yielding Southern Scrubrobin, Inland Thornbill, Redthroat, White-eared Honeyeater and Collared Sparrowhawk as highlights #bellbirdtours www.bellbirdtours.com
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Bellbird Blog

  • Far North Queensland Tour – May 2017 - This was a tour with returning guests from South Africa birding the Iron Range region in Far North Queensland. The aim was to see as many of the endemic bird species in the Far North as well as visit the Atherton Tablelands. The 9 day tour took us down to Etty Bay, south of Cairns, up into the Tablelands and then north to Iron Range concluding at Weipa. It was just after the wet season so the grass was high and the rainforest and woodlands were pristine. Some of the migratory birds that should have normally headed further north were still around which was a bonus.
  • Great Southern tour 2016 - The Great Southern Tour concentrates on the many specialties of the southern coastal region of Australia and the South Australian outback. Coastal birding north of Adelaide and along the Great Ocean Road; the outback deserts and dry watercourses, with the rugged escarpments of the Flinders Ranges; Birdlife Australia’s splendid Gluepot reserve, the Murray River, we wander the plains around Deliniquin and marvel at the masses of waterbirds in Werribee to finish in the tall, hill forests near Melbourne.
  • Six Grasswren tour report September 2016 - The September 2016 Six Grasswren tour was already the 11th year that we have done these tours. The aim was to see Striated, Short-tailed, Western, Thick-billed, Eyrean and Grey Grasswren and other wonderful outback bird species. The 6.5 day tour took us along the Strzelecki track through the outback of South Australia. It had been a wet winter and spring which means that the conditions were great for birding – probably the best I’d seen it in 5 years. There were plenty of wildflowers and birds breeding wherever we went.
  • Highlights of South Australia tour September 2016 - The Highlights of South Australia birding tour provides an insight into the range of habitats present in South Australia, which contain some unique bird species including a small number of endemics. From the lush and green Mt Lofty Ranges around Adelaide to the outback deserts with spectacular mountain ranges, the bird-rich wetlands along the Murray River, beautiful coastal scenery and vast expanses of the famous semi-arid mallee scrublands, tour has it all.
  • Red Centre tour report July 2016 - The “Red Centre”, as Australia’s outback around Alice Springs is named, hosts a variety of exciting bird species. Using Alice Springs as a base, this 4-day tour took daily trips out to different areas targeting enigmatic birds such as Dusky Grasswren, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Spinifexbird, Grey Honeyeater, Western Bowerbird, Painted Finch and more. Guided by Mark Carter, the tour visited the Eastern and Western MacDonnell Ranges, the sewage works, the Old Telegraph Station, the Tanami Road, Kumoth Bore and the Deep Well Road.

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