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Birdwatching in Australia

Australia has more endemic bird species and families than any other country. This immense country covers from tropical rainforests and savannahs in the north, some of the driest and hottest deserts on earth in central parts, surrounded by semi-arid scrubland, to temperate woodlands along the southern, western and eastern coasts. Throw in a few mountain ranges, rivers and wetlands and it becomes clear that birders wishing to visit Australia will need to focus on a particular part of the country rather than attempting to cover it all. Excellent birding is to be had and the travel conditions are generally good, so an unforgettable experience lies ahead.

"Birding in the hills"   © P Waanders



Tour I.
6-day birdwatching tour to South Australia.
Tour II.
10-13 day Southern Australia birdwatching tour: Adelaide - Melbourne - (Hobart).
Tour III.
Northern Territory Top End birding tours.


Electronic map of Australia

South Australia birding tour.

South Australia offers some 450 species of birds. Habitats range from the dry red interior to the lush and green Mt Lofty Ranges; wetlands and mangroves around Adelaide and estuaries in the Coorong, floodplains along the Murray River, vast expanses of the famous semi-arid mallee, and outback deserts with spectacular mountain ranges.
Some unique bird species including a small number of endemics can be found here. Over recent years an increasing number of Australian and international visitors have discovered the birding secrets SA has to offer. This birding tour takes in a variety of habitats thereby maximizing the species list – expect around 200 species, including some highly sought-after species.

"Tasmania"   © P Waanders

Tour I

6 day birdwatching tour to South Australia

Start & Finish . Adelaide, South Australia
Summary
. River Murray
. Gluepot Reserve
. Flinders Ranges
. Outback desert
. Coastal areas
Featured Birds
. Black-eared Miner
. Red-lored Whistler
. Regent Parrot
. Malleefowl
. Chestnut-breasted Whiteface
. Gibber Chat
. Inland Dotterel
. 4 species of Grasswren
. 2 species of Quail-Thrush
. Neophema parrots


Itinerary

Day 1.
We commence the trip at 8am in Adelaide. While most of South Australia’s landscapes are arid, the Adelaide Hills are an exception. Tall, dense eucalypt forests provide habitat for many species otherwise only found in Australia’s eastern states. We will look for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, the adelaideae subspecies of Crimson Rosella (often regarded as a full species: Adelaide Rosella), Yellow-faced, White-naped and Crescent Honeyeater, and the endangered Mount Lofty Ranges subspecies parkeri of Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, White-throated Treecreeper, Flame Robin and the localised maculatus subspecies of White-throated Scrubwren. We also have a good chance of seeing a Koala. A scenic drive through the hills leads us to a small but excellent wetland where Baillon's, Australian Spotted and Spotless Crake are often seen. Late morning we get our first taste of the low, dry eucalypt scrub known as 'mallee'. We look for the ground-dwelling Southern Scrubrobin and Shy Heathwren, as well as Purple-gaped Honeyeater and the elusive Painted Button-quail. We have lunch on the banks of the Murray river where Purple-crowned Lorikeet is often found, after which we follow the river checking out a number of wetlands en-route for species as Cape Barren Goose, Freckled Duck, Baillon's, Australian Spotted and Spotless Crake, Little Grassbird and Golden-headed Cisticola. We spend the night in Waikerie.

"Little Corella"   © P Waanders



Day 2.
We leave Waikerie very early in the morning for the drive of less than an hour to Birds Australia’s Gluepot reserve, home of the critically endangered Black-eared Miner. We arrive at Gluepot just before sunrise. The next three or four hours is when Gluepot's critical species are most active. While the sun rises over centuries-old mallee eucalypts and sand dunes covered in spinifex grass, we look for Malleefowl, Red-lored Whistler, Gilbert's Whistler, Hooded Robin, Southern Scrubrobin, Black-eared Miner, Striated Grasswren, Shy Heathwren, White-browed Treecreeper and Major Mitchell Cockatoo. As the bird activity slows down, so do we, and focus on the easier species such as Chestnut Quail-thrush, Crested Bellbird, Splendid Fairy-wren, and Striped Honeyeater. Depending on the season we may also look for White-winged Triller, Pied and Black Honeyeater and Crimson and Orange Chat. From one of the bird hides that overlook a watering through, we have a chance of seeing the eastern race monarchoides of Regent Parrot and many of Gluepot's 10 species of Honeyeater. We leave the reserve late in the afternoon to be back at your accommodation in Waikerie around dusk.
Day 3.
Today we will travel some 400 km to the Flinders Ranges, an impressive range of steep hills and soaring rock formations on the edge of Australia’s outback. During the morning we visit a Regent Parrot breeding site, and search for semi-open country specialists such as Redthroat and Black-eared Cuckoo. Once we arrive in the Flinders Ranges we search the spinifex-grass covered slopes for the elusive Short-tailed Grasswren, a recent split from the Striated Grasswren and one of SA's endemic species. We will certainly see plenty of Red, Western Grey and Euro Kangaroos. Overnight at the Wilpena Pound resort.
Day 4.
Early mornings in the outback can get pretty chilly as we check nearby rocky outcrops for Southern Scrubrobin and Grey-headed Honeyeater. Once the sun starts to warm things up a little, the grasswrens become active and we head back to the spinifex slopes to search for Short-tailed Grasswren again. Mid-morning we proceed along creekbeds and through narrow gorges cut deeply into geological layers that date back 800 million years. Here we search for Elegant Parrot and Grey-headed Honeyeater. We visit the fossil site of the Ediacaran fauna, which lived a little before the great explosion of multicellular life at the beginning of the Cambrian Period. Here we’re also likely to encounter the endangered Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. We will arrive at Mt Lyndhurst, on the edge of the Strzelecki desert, later in the day and will search for Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, another SA endemic, as well as Inland Dotterel, Thick-billed Grasswren, Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Chirruping Wedgebill and Rufous Fieldwren. Overnight at the Lyndhurst Hotel, a typical outback pub.

Short-tailed Grass Wren   © G Etherington



Day 5.
We start with another visit to Mt Lyndhurst where we search for any species still needed after yesterday. The endless open stony plains of the Strzelecki desert are traversed by the Strzelecki Track which we will follow for most of the day, looking for species such as Budgerigar, Crimson, Orange and Gibber Chat, Eyrean Grasswren, and if we’re lucky, Ground Cuckoo-shrike, Letter-winged Kite and Black-breasted Buzzard. We will spend the night again at Lyndhurst.
Day 6.
Today we’ll travel the almost 700 km back to Adelaide. Our first stop will be the Arid Lands Botanical Gardens with White-winged Fairy-wren, Chirruping Wedgebill, Rufous Fieldwren and Redthroat. A nearby coastal lake usually has Banded Stilt. Further south along the coast we look for the rosinae race of Slender-billed Thornbill, the rosina race of White-browed Scrubwren, Elegant and Blue-winged Parrot and if we’re lucky, Rock Parrot. Time (and tide) permitting we pull in at the saltfields near St Kilda to scan through flocks of migratory waders and another chance of Banded Stilt. Arrival back in Adelaide will be late afternoon.


6 Days tour price is: 2 pax Aus$2625 per person. 4 pax Aus$2000 per person.
Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Tour II

10 to 13 day Southern Australia birding tour. Adelaide – Melbourne (Hobart)

This exciting new tour has been specifically designed to concentrate on the many specialties of the southern coastal region of Australia and the South Australian outback. The tour will begin in the elegant city of Adelaide from where it is less than a day’s drive to the outback, where sandy and stony deserts are traversed by mostly dry watercourses. Traversing this remote area is the Strzelecki Track, where we search for Thick-billed Grasswren and the very rare Chestnut-breasted Whiteface. From here we pass through the Flinders Ranges, where rugged escarpments rise dramatically out of the wide open plains, and deep gorges and watercourses lined with tall river red gums provide rich birdlife. Here we search the spinifex-grass covered slopes for the recently split Short-tailed Grasswren. Heading further south we venture into the semi-arid ‘Mallee’ eucalypt scrubland, within which Birds Australia’s splendid Gluepot reserve is located. Here we aim to find Malleefowl, Striated Grasswren, the endangered Black-eared Miner, Southern Scrub-robin, Striped Honeyeater and the very rare Red-lored Whistler. In similar habitat we look for the elusive Mallee Emu-wren. Australia’s largest river, the Murray, will provide us with plenty of excitement with Freckled Duck, Yellow Rosella and Regent Parrot. We then leave South Australia behind us and in the wide -open grasslands of northern Victoria look for the endemic and very rare Plains-wanderer during an evening spotlighting session. The dry eucalypt woodland nearby is home to Grey-crowned Babbler and Speckled Warbler. We take the spectacular coastal route to Melbourne, along the way picking up, with a bit of luck, Rufous Bristlebird, Gang-gang Cockatoo and Koala. Near Melbourne we visit the tall, wet sclerophyll hill forests of the Dandenong Ranges, home to Superb Lyrebird and many other forest birds, before our extension to Tasmania. Here we bird ancient mountain forests on Bruny Island for endemics ranging from Green Rosella, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Forty-spotted Pardalote and Black Currawong while in the evening we spotlight for Little Penguins coming ashore. To top it all of we will take a flight over seemingly endless wilderness to view one of the worlds rarest birds, the Orange-bellied Parrot.
This itinerary provides a perfect balance between maximising the species count (expect around 280 including Tasmania) and the number of days we will be on the road. It is flexible enought to be able to accommodate clients’ specific requests and we will be happy to discuss your wishes, including potential for alterations to the itinerary, prior to finalising a booking.

Summary
. Australia's greatest river: the Murray river
. Birds Australia's Gluepot Reserve
. Outback mountains in the Flinders Ranges, and nearby deserts
. Spectacular coastal scenery along the Great Ocean Road
. Pristine wilderness of Tasmania

Featured Birds
. Malleefowl, Musk Duck, Freckled Duck
. Plains Wanderer
. Gilberts, Rufous, Olive and Red-lored Whistler
. Rufous Bristlebird, Black-eared Miner
. Chestnut-breasted Whiteface
. Striated and Thick-billed Grasswren
. Chestnut and Cinnamon Quail-Thrush
. Tasmanian endemics including Forty-spotted pardalote, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Scrubwren 8 species of Parrot including Elegant, Blue-winged, Orange-bellied and Regent Parrot
. 15 species of Honeyeater incuding Tawny-crowned, Strong-billed and Black-headed
. 7 species of Robin including Hooded, Red-capped, Scarlet, Pink and Dusky Robin
. Expect around 280 species, 68 families, for the entire tour

Inclusions
. All meals
. Accommodation (double or twin-share room)
. Transport using comfortable minibus or 4WD depending on the season
. Expert Guiding
. Entry fees

Exclusions
. Pre- & post trip accommodation
. Breakfast on first day, dinner on last day
. Drinks
. Personal expenses eg. phone calls, souvenirs, tips

Optional extension:
. Tasmania including Bruny Island for 12 endemics & Melaleuca for Orange-bellied Parrot (in season)

Itinerary

Day 1.
We commence the trip in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. While leaving the city we are likely to encounter Musk Lorikeet, and the adelaideae subspecies of Crimson Rosella (often regarded as a full species: Adelaide Rosella). On the outskirts of Adelaide are some excellent wetlands, where we may encounter, depending on the season, Australian Spotted Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Black-tailed Native-hen and an array of waterfowl, including both Australian spoonbills: Yellow-billed and Royal. Today we’ll travel around 300 km to the edge of the outback. On the way north, along the coast we will pull in at coastal mudflats near St Kilda to scan through flocks of migratory waders and search for Banded Stilt, Australia’s answer to the flamingo. Coastal samphire marshes are home to the rare rosinae race of Slender-billed Thornbill, and we will also most probably see the rosina race of White-browed Scrubwren. Neophema parrots are another target along the coastal dunes, with Elegant and Blue-winged Parrot likely and if we’re lucky, Rock Parrot. In a set of hills not far inland we have another chance of Adelaide Rosella while we search for the localised Grey-fronted Honeyeater and the threatened pedleri race of Chestnut-rumped Heathwren. At Port Augusta we will visit the excellent Arid Lands Botanical Gardens where the flowering Melaleucas and other native shrubs attract a host of birds including White-winged Fairy-wren, Chirruping Wedgebill, Rufous Fieldwren, Redthroat and a variety of Honeyeater species including the nomadic Pied and White-fronted Honeyeaters. A nearby coastal lake usually has Banded Stilt, while the town’s parks often hold Purple-crowned Lorikeet.
Overnight Port Augusta Standpipe Motel (Adelaide – Port Augusta 300 km).

"Regent Parrot"   © P Waanders



Day 2.
We get up early for our trip to the outback. While following the western flanks of the Flinders Ranges, we look for Emu, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Little Eagle. Mid-morning we arrive at Mt Lyndhurst, on the edge of the Strzelecki desert. Species we search for here include Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, a South Australian endemic, as well as Thick-billed Grasswren, Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Chirruping Wedgebill and Rufous Fieldwren. This is some of the most remote wilderness in Australia, where sandy and stony deserts are traversed by mostly dry watercourses. In parts the landscape is reminiscent of Mars with seemingly endless windswept, stony ‘gibber’ (stones polished by wind-blown sand, representing all that remains of the ancient land surface) plains, where we may see Gibber Chat. Other species we’ll look for include Budgerigar, Crimson and Orange Chat, Pied Honeyeater, White-winged Fairy-wren, Little Crow and Zebra Finch. Later in the day we’ll spend the last period of daylight searching for Inland Dotterel and in the process are likely to come across Thick-billed Grasswren, Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Chirruping Wedgebill and Rufous Fieldwren.
Overnight at the Lyndhurst Hotel, a typical outback pub (Adelaide – Lyndhurst – part Strzelecki Track 500 km).
Day 3.
We commence the day birding around Lyndhurst again, picking up any species we may still need. Later in the morning we proceed south into the Flinders Ranges, an impressive range of steep hills and soaring rock formations on the edge of Australia’s outback. We travel along creekbeds and through narrow gorges cut deeply into geological layers that date back 800 million years. Here we search for Elegant Parrot and Grey-fronted Honeyeater. We visit the fossil site of the Ediacaran fauna, which lived a little before the great explosion of multicellular life at the beginning of the Cambrian Period. Here we’re also likely to encounter the endangered Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. Later in the afternoon we head to the spinifex-grass covered slopes to search for the elusive Short-tailed Grasswren, a recent split from the Striated Grasswren and one of SA's endemic species. We finish the day looking for Inland Thornbill at the edge of the crater-shaped amphitheater of mountains named Wilpena Pound. Overnight Wilpena Pound Resort (Lyndhurst – part Strzelecki Track – Wilpena 300 km).
Day 4.
Early mornings in the outback can get pretty chilly as we check nearby rocky outcrops for Southern Scrubrobin, Black-eared Cuckoo, Inland Thornbill and Grey-fronted Honeyeater. Once the sun starts to warm things up a little, if necessary we return to the spinifex-grass covered slopes to search for the elusive Short-tailed Grasswren. We will certainly see Wedge-tailed Eagle, Port Lincoln Ringneck and plenty of Red, Western Grey and Euro Kangaroos. Later in the morning we will leave the Flinders Ranges for a drive of some 400 km to Waikerie. Along the way we stop at Mt Remarkable where, if necessary, we have another chance of the threatened pedleri race of Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.as well as Adelaide Rosella. Further south we will look for semi-open country specialists such as Redthroat and Brown Songlark. Once we meet Australia’s largest river, the Murray, we will check out some of its surrounding woodlands for the vulnerable eastern race monarchoides of Regent Parrot as well as the flaveolus subspecis of Crimson Rosella (often regarded as a full species: Yellow Rosella).
Overnight Waikerie Hotel-Motel (Wilpena - Waikerie 450 km).

"Major Mitchell Cockatoos"   © P Waanders



Day 5. We leave Waikerie very early in the morning for the drive of about an hour to Birds Australia’s Gluepot reserve, home of the critically endangered Black-eared Miner. We arrive at Gluepot around sunrise. The next three or four hours is when Gluepot's critical species are most active. While the sun rises over centuries-old mallee eucalypts and sand dunes covered in spinifex grass, we look for Malleefowl, Red-lored Whistler, Gilbert's Whistler, Hooded Robin, Southern Scrubrobin, Black-eared Miner, Striated Grasswren, Shy Heathwren, White-browed Treecreeper and Major Mitchell Cockatoo. As the bird activity slows down, we get a chance to focus on species such as Mallee Ringneck, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Crested Bellbird, Splendid Fairy-wren, and Striped Honeyeater. Depending on the season we may also look for White-winged Triller, Pied and Black Honeyeater and Crimson and Orange Chat. From one of the bird hides that overlook a watering through, we have a chance of seeing the eastern race monarchoides of Regent Parrot and many of Gluepot's 10 species of Honeyeater. We leave the reserve in the afternoon to travel through a million-hectare area of mallee eucalypt scrub picking up any species we have missed. Afterwards we search some of the Murray river wetlands for Freckled Duck and other waterfowl.
Overnight Waikerie Hotel-Motel (Waikerie – Gluepot - Bookmark Biosphere – Waikerie 250 km).
Day 6.
We will depart early to visit another semi-arid mallee eucalypt shrubland reserve, this time across the State border in Victoria. Our first stop will be just south of Mildura where we search for the elusive yet beautiful spinifex-dwelling Mallee Emu-wren. We also have another chance of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo here. Birding along the way we hope to come across species such as Grey-crowned Babbler and Diamond Firetail. We check into our accommodation late in the afternoon for a break and dinner, before heading out to Terrick Terrick National Park, home to the Plains-wanderer. The species is in a family of its own and is almost extinct. The birds are rarely seen during the day and therefore the evening will be spent searching for them on foot using spotlights.
Overnight Echuca (Waikerie - Mildura – Echuca 580 km).
Day 7.
A more relaxed pace today to make up for the long day yesterday. We head south and visit the Grampians National Park, the third largest in Victoria. With spectacular rock scenery, colourful displays of wildflowers, mature eucalypt forests and birds such as Red-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, four species of Robin, Speckled Warbler, and Diamond Firetail. Later in the afternoon we continue our journey south to end up on the coast, at the start of the spectacular Great Ocean Road.
Overnight Port Campbell (Kerang – Port Campbell via Grampians 470 km).

"Budgerigar"   © P Waanders



Day 8.
We start early to search for Rufous Bristlebird in the low coastal vegetation. This difficult to see bird skulks around in the undergrowth of dense coastal scrub and thickets, while singing out loud. With patience and luck we should be able to obtain views. We’ll follow the Great Ocean Road most of the day, pulling in at the pristine Otway Ranges forests, stunning beaches, superb floral heathlands, and spectacular rock formations including the famous Twelve Apostles, one of which collapsed in recent years. Other birds we target here are Black-faced Cormorant, Blue-winged Parrot, Horsfield’s, Shining Bronze and Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. Depending on the seasonal conditions we can also expect to see species such as Olive-backed Oriole, White-winged Triller, Sacred Kingfisher, Olive and Rufous Whistler as well as Brown Songlark and Stubble Quail. We also have a good chance of seeing a Koala.
Overnight Geelong (Port Campbell – Geelong via Great Ocean Road 208 km).
Day 9.
We start the day with a tour of the extensive Werribee sewage farm, between Geelong and Melbourne. This is one of Australia’s best-known sites for sedentary and migratory waterbirds and waders. Rails and crakes can also be expected in the network of sewage treatment lagoons, lakes, creeks and salt marshes. Species we look for, depending on seasonal conditions, include Cape Barren Goose, Musk Duck, Freckled Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Australian Spotted, Spotless and Baillon’s Crake, Buff-banded and Lewin’s Rail, Sharp-tailed and Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-necked Avocet, Banded Stilt, Little Grassbird, Golden-headed Cisticola and others. We then proceed to pretty Healesville, in the hills on the eastern side of Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, to spend the night.
Overnight Healesville (Geelong – Healesville 145 km).
Day 10.
The main target of this morning is Superb Lyrebird, for which we look in the tall, misty Eucalypt forests of the Dandelong ranges behind Melbourne. Other species we may find here are Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Yellow-faced, White-naped, Black-chinned, Fuscous and Crescent Honeyeater, the endangered subspecies cassidix of Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (‘Helmeted Honeyeater’), White-throated Treecreeper, Flame Robin and Eastern Yellow Robin. We then proceed to Melbourne and the airport. For those people not taking the extension to Tasmania, the tour finishes here after lunch.
(Healesville – Melbourne via Dandenongs 145 km).


10 Days tour price is: 2 pax AUS$4385 per person double room. 4 pax Aus$3965 per person double room.
Single supplement: AUS$800

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Optional extension A:
Tasmania (Bruny Island and Melaleuca) – October through January .
This is the breeding season for the Orange-bellied Parrot, and this optional extension includes a flight to its breeding grounds. If the flight gets cancelled due to inclement weather, the price will be AU$1425 and you will receive a refund of the difference, and the itinerary will be as described in Optional extension B, further below).
We take an afternoon flight to Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. We will bird in some of the reserves around the Hobart area for the rest of the afternoon where there will be a chance of species such as Pink Robin, Yellow Wattlebird and Tasmanian Scrubwren. After dinner we will look for the large endangered Tasmanian form of the Masked Owl. There will also be a chance of seeing other mammals such as Ringtail possum and Eastern-barred bandicoot.
Overnight Hobart.

"Tasmania forest"   © P Waanders



Day 11.
This morning we take a spectacular scenic flight which will take us over the seemingly endless South-West World Heritage wilderness to Melaleuca, home of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot (with less than 200 individuals remaining in the wild). We will have a good chance of observing this species at the Parks & Wildlife observatory. Other birds that can be found in this area include Ground Parrot, Olive Whistler, Southern Emu-wren, Striated Fieldwren and Beautiful Firetail. This flight is very weather dependent so if cancelled today we will try again tomorrow. This afternoon we drive a little way south and take the ferry to Bruny Island. From the ferry we’ll look out for Black-faced Cormorant and Kelp Gull. Along the way we are likely to come across Tasmanian Native-hen and Green Rosella. Tonight we will observe Little Penguin and Short-tailed shearwater rookeries, as both species arrive after dark on their way to their burrows.
Overnight Bruny Island (cottage style with 3-4 people per cottage with shared bathroom) (Hobart-Bruny Island-around Bruny 230 km).

"Tasmanian Native Hen"   © P Waanders



Day 12.
We will spend the day birding around Bruny Island. All of Tasmania’s endemic bird species can be found here. Within a diverse variety of vegetation types, ranging from wet sclerophyll forest to heathland, abound with native orchids, tree ferns, and large stands of ancient gum trees, we focus on finding species such as Swift Parrot, Forty-spotted Pardalote, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Thornbill, Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated, Strong-billed and Black-headed Honeyeater, Pink Robin, Dusky Robin and Black Currawong. Another night on Bruny Island for the chance of observing a range of nocturnal mammals such as Tasmanian pademelon, Eastern quoll, Bennett's wallaby and Brush-tailed possum (an almost albino colour morph of the last two species can be found on the island). Tawny Frogmouth is also a possibility.
Overnight Bruny Island (as above) (Bruny Island around 200 km).
Day 13.
After breakfast we head back to Hobart and take a mid-morning flight back to Melbourne, in time for participants to take connecting international flights (Bruny Island - Hobart 88 km).

Price for the optional extension A is 2 Pax AU$1,875 per person twin share and $195 single supplement. Price includes 3 nights accommodation, all meals from dinner on day 10 to and including breakfast on day 13, Bruny ferry fares, National Park entry fees, half day flight to Melaleuca. Single supplement includes own en suite room in Hobart and sole use of room with shared bathroom on Bruny. Price also includes flights from Melbourne to & from Hobart.

Optional extension B: Tasmania (Bruny Island and Melaleuca) – April through September.
This is the non-breeding season for the Orange-bellied Parrot, and therefore this optional extension is a day shorter as it does not include a flight to Melaleuca. If you have chosen Optional extension A and the flight gets cancelled due to inclement weather, the price will be AU$1425 and you will receive a refund of the difference, and the itinerary will follow Optional extension B as described here.
We take an afternoon flight to Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. We will bird in some of the reserves around the Hobart area for the rest of the afternoon where there will be a chance of species such as Pink Robin, Yellow Wattlebird and Tasmanian Scrubwren. After dinner we will look for the large endangered Tasmanian form of the Masked Owl. There will also be a chance of seeing other mammals such as Ringtail possum and Eastern-barred bandicoot.
Overnight Hobart.
Day 11.
This morning we drive a little way south and take the ferry to Bruny Island. From the ferry we’ll look out for Black-faced Cormorant and Kelp Gull. Along the way we are likely to come across Tasmanian Native-hen and Green Rosella. We will spend the day birding around Bruny Island. All of Tasmania’s endemic bird species can be found here. Within a diverse variety of vegetation types, ranging from wet sclerophyll forest to heathland, abound with native orchids, tree ferns, and large stands of ancient gum trees, we focus on finding species such as Swift Parrot, Forty-spotted Pardalote, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Thornbill, Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated, Strong-billed and Black-headed Honeyeater, Pink Robin, Dusky Robin and Black Currawong. Tonight we will observe Little Penguin and Short-tailed shearwater rookeries, as both species arrive after dark on their way to their burrows. There will also be a chance of observing a range of nocturnal mammals such as Tasmanian pademelon, Eastern quoll, Bennett's wallaby and Brush-tailed possum (an almost albino colour morph of the last two species can be found on the island). Tawny Frogmouth is also a possibility.
Overnight Bruny Island (Hobart - Bruny Island - around Bruny 230 km).
Day 12.
We will spend the morning birding around Bruny Island, picking up any species we still need after tomorrow. We then head back to Hobart and take a mid-afternoon flight back to Melbourne, in time for participants to take connecting international flights.
(Bruny Island - Hobart 150 km).

Price for Option B of the optional extension is 2 Pax AU$1,425 per person twin share and $155 single supplement. Price includes 2 nights accommodation, all meals from dinner on day 10 to and including lunch on day 12, Bruny ferry fares, National Park entry fees. Single supplement includes own en suite room in Hobart and sole use of room with shared bathroom on Bruny. Price also includes flights to & from Hobart from Melbourne.


Notes:
The above birding itineraries are based on what are essentially popular routes for birders. It can be shortened or extended.
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time 3 weeks.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
I don't do this tour during January, February and March as it is too hot & dry then.
Fitness:
Moderate but quite a bit of walking involved on mostly flat terrain.
Equipment:
I will provide a spotting scope, bird ID books, GPS, bird calls etc. As a minimum, people need to bring their own binoculars (of course), camera gear if they wish, as well as their own personal drink bottle, sunscreen, sun hat etc.
In some outback areas, during the warmer months, bush flies can be annoying. I'm not bothered by them but some people prefer to bring a facial fly screen that can be attached to their hat. These can be readily bought in Australia if necessary.
Clothing - even in summer (Nov - Mar) expect cool early mornings (close to freezing) but temperatures can rise quickly in the morning and from late morning onwards it can be quite hot in the outback. Best clothing is ligthweight long pants that can be worn all day, and a thin long-sleeved shirt over the top of which you can wear various layers that can be taken off as temperature increases. A thick jumper or reasonably wind proof jacket recommended. Sunhat a necessity.


Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to Peter.   

Birding guide Peter Waanders, your local Birdingpal guide
Peter Waanders has been an avid birdwatcher since age 10. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Peter obtained a B Sc degree in Environmental Management and has worked in National Park management planning in the Czech Republic, ecological research in the Netherlands and Australia, and natural resource management planning and project management in Australia.
Peter has travelled extensively to over 30 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Pacific in pursuit of his main interests: birdwatching and nature photography. His life list of bird species currently totals 1,800 and his collection of images is over 10,000. In 1996 Peter moved permanently to Australia and with wife Natasha purchased a property in South Australia consisting of mallee eucalypt scrubland and small orchards. Peter is currently employed by a semi-government catchment management authority and manages large environmental projects with a focus on floodplains, wetlands and biodiversity. He has initiated and undertaken numerous bird surveys. Peter has been conducting professional bird guiding trips throughout South Australia since 2000.

Testimonials.

We'd been to Gluepot twice before, but despite three days of searching and following tips, we missed a number of crucial birds. Peter did an excellent job of finding all five lifers on our list, and then found us another 4 lifers we hadn't expected to see!
Neil Boyle, Canada, November 2005
Many thanks for a great day birding, 22 trip ticks including 12 lifers, it will take some beating! The most pleasurable thing was being able to get great views of all the birds.
Richard Banham, UK/Spain, November 2006
Thanks for doing such a good job of guiding us - yes, I do know who to recommend as a bird guide in South Australia!
Stephen F. Bailey, Rockjumper birding tour guide, USA, December 2006
Peter Waanders is a long time Birdingpal guide, well known in his own country and by myself or birders from around the world.
Knud Rasmussen
Birdingpal


Northern Territory Top End birding tours

Darwin is Australia’s only tropical capital city and has a relatively small population of 95,000. The good thing about the isolation here is the fact that so much land is relatively unspoiled by people. There are no feral bird species in Darwin. Over 300 species of bird are recorded in the Top End and five are endemic to the region. Another ninety species are endemic to Australia. Around Darwin City there are many unspoiled areas that 'Experience the Wild' tours visit to showcase our birdlife and interpret the habitat. If you would like to obtain a large list of sightings, we can visit many of these habitats in a half-day or full-day encounter. If you are chasing certain target birds, I can take you to the places you are most likely to see them. Or just absorb the wild experience and learn about bird behaviour and the ecology of the area.

"Crimson Finch"


Our birdwatching trips are small (max 6 people), relaxed and flexible. Beginners are welcome as are avid twitchers and everyone in between. Refreshments, iced water, binoculars and insect repellent are always provided. Also lunch and sunset drinks are included on full day trips. We are fully insured, licensed and have all the appropriate National Park permits.

Tour III

Half-day Highlights
Pick-up from your accommodation is at 7am or just before, and then we head down to East Point which is less than 10 minutes from Darwin’s CBD (Central Business District).
East Point is made up of a mosaic of grasslands, monsoon forest, shoreline and mangroves. This makes a great start to the morning as we first target the beautiful Rainbow Pitta in the monsoon forest area. Other species we expect to see are, Australasian Figbird, Yellow Oriole, Bush Stone-curlew, Black Butcherbird, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Spangled Drongo, Brown (Grey) Whistler, Green-backed Gerygone, Arafura Fantail, Northern Fantail, Forest Kingfisher, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Shining Flycatcher, Leaden Flycatcher, Varied Trillers and many others. The shoreline is always worth a look as some of the migratory shorebirds over winter each year, and between October and April a good many visitors roost and feed here. Agile Wallabies are seen in the grasslands and sometimes in the monsoon forest. The nearby Mangrove Boardwalk takes us comfortably and safely right into the mangroves, and is excellent for Collared Kingfisher, Red-headed Honeyeater, Broad-billed Flycatcher and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher.
We have a tea or coffee break at Lake Alexander in the company of Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Little and Helmeted Friarbirds and Eastern Reef Egrets.

"Chestnut-breasted Mannikin"


The next place we explore is Sandy Creek, about 15 minutes drive from East Point. We park and walk through savannah woodland bordering riparian vegetation along the creek through to mangroves and shoreline. This affords the opportunity to see a variety of finches including Crimson, Double-barred, Long-tailed and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. Red-winged Parrots, Red-collared and Varied Lorikeets, Sulphur-crested and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos representing the parrot family are usually seen plus White-breasted Woodswallows, White-throated Honeyeaters, Pheasant Coucals. Mangrove and Large-billed Gerygone, Azure and occasionally Little Kingfishers are seen in the mangrove area.
This is a typical Half-day Highlights trip, itinerary is flexible and areas visited may vary in response to guests requests. Tour ends at 12 noon and you are returned to your accommodation.

Cost is AUD$95 per person. Maximum of six people.


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Full Day Encounter
We pick you from your accommodation at 7am or just before and head out to Djukbinj National Park. On the way we see Figbirds, Friarbirds, Galahs, Little Corellas, Black and Whistling Kites, and many other common Darwin species, and stop briefly at Beatrice Lagoons where there are always some water birds, especially good numbers of Green Pygmy-geese. Next we stop at Adelaide River Bridge to see Mangrove Golden Whistlers, Broad-billed Flycatchers and Brush Cuckoo.
We then head in to Djukbinj as far as Scott Creek, stopping at places along the way where bird activity is evident. Northern Rosellas, Red-winged Parrots, Red-collared and Varied Lorikeets, Blue-winged Kookaburras, Azure, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers, Brown, Rufous-banded, White-throated, Blue-faced and White-gaped Honeyeaters, and more bush birds are seen. Down at Scott Creek we may see the resident 1.4m Yellow-spotted Monitor while enjoying some morning tea in the shade of the Melaleuca trees. A good variety of water birds are always present at Scott’s Creek.

"Lemon-bellied Flycatcher"


Bird Billabong is our favourite destination for Gouldian Finch. We stop at places along the 3 kilometre drive that are known haunts of the Gouldian as well as Black-tailed Tree-creeper, Varied Lorikeet, Rufous Whistler and other woodland birds. Lunch is in the shade near the Mary River. Then we do the 2.8k return walk to the bird hide. Along the way we stop and watch at a little waterhole which yields a variety of honeyeaters including Bar-breasted, finches and other bush birds. At the bird hide we see Magpie Geese, Radjah Shelducks, Pied Heron, Black-fronted Dotterels, Whiskered Tern, Black-necked Stork, egrets and kites. Dingoes, Agile Wallabies, Antilopine Wallaroos, Estuarine Crocodiles and monitors are usually seen too.

"Sulphur-crested Cockatoo"


The Woodlands to Waterlilies walk gives us the chance to see Rainbow Pitta, Brown Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Arafura Fantail, Little Kingfisher, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Little Bronze-cuckoo, Yellow Oriole and others. During the wet season, the dam overflow is the scene of a line-up of Little Egret, Pied Heron and Royal Spoonbills, scooping up small fish, eels and frogs that are swept over. From the Pandanus lookout, we pick out Great, Intermediate and Little Egret, Royal Spoonbill, Comb-crested Jacana, Wandering Whistling-duck, Radjah Shelduck, Nankeen Night-heron, Black-necked Stork and Green Pygmy-geese. Crimson Finches breed in the pandanus nearby and Paperbark Flycatcher, Willie Wagtail and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are always around too.

"Antilopine Wallaroos - mother and joey"


The Woodlands to Waterlilies walk gives us the chance to see Rainbow Pitta, Brown Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Arafura Fantail, Little Kingfisher, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Little Bronze-cuckoo, Yellow Oriole and others. During the wet season, the dam overflow is the scene of a line-up of Little Egret, Pied Heron and Royal Spoonbills, scooping up small fish, eels and frogs that are swept over. From the Pandanus lookout, we pick out Great, Intermediate and Little Egret, Royal Spoonbill, Comb-crested Jacana, Wandering Whistling-duck, Radjah Shelduck, Nankeen Night-heron, Black-necked Stork and Green Pygmy-geese. Crimson Finches breed in the pandanus nearby and Paperbark Flycatcher, Willie Wagtail and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher are always around too.
At around 6pm we enjoy some drinks and canapés at the Pandanus lookout, and return you to your accommodation around 7pm.

Cost is AUD$180 per person. Maximum of six people.


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Notes:
The above birding itineraries will vary according to seasonal conditions and preferences of clients. We are flexible and have many options to offer. Private tours and multi-day tours can be catered to with accommodation options ranging from camping (at designated campsites, with hot showers) to full service hotels.
Trips are available year round. Prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time 3 weeks.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.

Fitness:
A moderate level of fitness is assumed, if you have limitations we are happy to accommodate for you and can modify an itinerary to suit, provided others in the tour are all happy with the arrangement.
Equipment:
I provide a spotting scope, field guides, spare binoculars (we even have some you can try and buy if you wish), bird calls etc. Iced water, drink bottle (good if you have your own bottle), sunscreen and refreshments are also provided. Lunch is provided on full day tours. Clothing – light, long sleeved shirt and long pants are best for protection from the sun and biting insects. A good hat and supportive shoes are necessities.
Guide books and CD’s recommended: There are four main Australian bird field guides. Each one has its strong points and all of them are good. There is also the Morcombe’s ‘eGuide to Australian Birds’ app for iPhone and Android which features bird calls as well as all the other essential field guide information and is highly recommended. We have a good range of natural history books in the vehicle for your reference on our field trips.


Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to Mike.   

Birding guide Mike Jarvis, your local Birdingpal guide
My interest in birds and wildlife has been lifelong, as a youngster I studied and memorized 'What Bird is That?' by Neville Cayley, when it was the only Australian bird field guide available. Since moving to Darwin in 2007, I have built up a working knowledge of Darwin's bird species and where to find them, including an understanding of the habitats, habits, and seasonal movements of the birds and animals. Birds, mammals, butterflies, lizards, turtles and frogs are all on the target list when you are in the field with me.

Testimonials.

I was birding in the Darwin area and had the fabulous opportunity to bird with Mike Jarvis. Not only is Mike a good people person and a gentleman, he is an exceptional birder!! He knows the birds and where to find them. My birding experience with Mike was not only adventurous, but each location proved well for the birds we were in hopes of seeing. If you get the chance to go birding or do a nature tour with Mike, make sure you do it! Thank you, Mike, for sharing your time and expertise and also for sharing the beauty and birds of the Northern Territory!! Candy McNamee, Houston, Texas, USA
Mike Jarvis met us at our Darwin hostel at noon and took us to six birding areas that afternoon. We saw shore birds, passerines, raptors, and many other Australian birds. He took us to parks, sandy beaches, mangrove swamps and forest preserves. All the birds were new to us so he helped with the identification and we added 30 lifers that afternoon. Mike also suggested other places to visit in the Northern Territories as we continued our trip south. Afterwards we treated Mike and his wife to an enjoyable dinner. They provided an excellent introduction to our visit to Australia and we recommend Mike without reservation. Bill & Elaine Deutschman, Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA
Mike, We appreciate the time you spent with us today. The birding was the highlight of our trip to the NT. We went back to East Point at 6 PM and spotted a Rainbow Pitta! Thanks for describing the bird and its behaviour. It was a wonderful treat at the end of the day. We will check the photos you sent when we get home on Saturday. Best wishes. Tomas & Mya, Canberra, Aust.


Some facts about Australia.

Lying between 10 and 44 S latitude, Australia experiences a climate of great extremes. On the same day, it can snow in southern parts and swelter in the tropics, or there can be a cold desert wind in the Red Centre and floods in other parts of the continent. Australia is prone to extensive, widespread droughts which can have a dramatic effect on birdlife.
The seasons over the southern two-thirds of Australia are.
Summer - December to February.
Autumn - March to May.
Winter - June to August.
Spring - September to November.
However, seasonal change in tropical Australia (that part north of a line from about Townsville in the east to Broome in the west) is quite different. Here the seasons are measured by rainfall or lack of it. The four seasons are replaced by two - The annual Wet season occurs from January to March/April The rest of the year (The Dry) is usually quite dry with warm to hot, sunny weather Tropical cyclones forming offnorth-western Australia occasionally cross the coast and sweep south-easterly across southern Australia as rain depressions, bringing extensive flooding often triggering breeding in Banded Stilt at remote salt lakes. Rainfall in the southern half of the continent occurs mostly through winter.

More facts about Australia.

Guide books and CD’s recommended:

Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds. This is a fairly large book for a field guide, I also use Simpson and Day Field Guide as well. This is a bit smaller.
Somewhere people can go if they are on the internet is the Bird Observers Club of Australia information@birdobservers.org.au CD 1 starts with Ostrich to Brown Booby, CD2 Darter to Red know, CD 3 Red-necked stint to Cockatiel and so on.

Find lowest prices here

Bird Recordings from Australia

Nature Sound by David Stewart

www.naturesound.com


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Last update 20/02/2014