Friday, January 05, 2007

Ta Ta Tasmania

Contrary to popular belief, the island of Tasmania does actually exist and is not simply of product of the Warner Brothers overfertile imagination. However it seems like the tasmanian devil may well be, having just spent 2 days looking for it on Bruny island before being told that actually they dont get them there, doh.
Really the main purpose of the visit to Bruy was to look for the 12 tasmanian endemic bird species. Tasmanian native hen was seen from the bus running around the roadside fields like big demented chickens and then again in the campsite at Adventure bay as I arrived. Then followed a superb bit of birding by myself, using all my pateince and fieldcraft. After getting the tent set up i lay down for a bit of rest and over the course of about an hour had seen green rosella, black headed and yellow throated honeyeater, yellow wattlebird and brown scrubwren from the tent without even standing up, skills! I had obviously chosen a good corner of the cmapsite as it turned out that the elderly couple in the neighbouring tent were also english birders, and then after going down the shope to buy some food, i returned to see fellow brit birder Graham Etherington setting up camp as well, and he had some more birding friends arriving the next day, we were taking over the place! Over the rest of the first day, birding around adventure bay added Swift parrot and pink and scarlet robins.
The next morning Graham and I headed off to Cape Bruny lighthouse, at the far south of the isalnd. The drive out through the forest produced Olive Whistler, Black Currawong and Tasmanian thornbill. The garden/horse paddocks at the Lighthouse was an excellent spot, holding several Dusky Robins, Tawny Crowned Honeyeater, Beautiful Firetail, Brown Quail. White fronted chat and black headed honeyeater. a quick seawatch off the cape was rewarded with a few Shy Albatross, several Short tailed shearwaters and a White bellied Sea Eagle and 3 Sooty Oystercatchers on the rocks.
On the way back to the campsite, a stop off at Mavista nature walk in the failing light gave good views of Scrubtit and more fleeting views of Bassian Thrush and Pink Robin.

Overall an excellent few days on the island with all the endemics apart from Forty Spotted Pardalote seen (this was always going to be difficult for me as the best sites are a bit out of the way).
Just a few days left on australia now, and the stopover in Thailand on the way back is looking a bit worrying thanks to dickhead terrorsits having fun with bombs in Bangkok.

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