Friday, 14 August 2009

09 & 10/08/2009: Western Australia (Day 3 & 4)

On the third day, I took the group to watch some Black Swans in the flesh. Apart from the Kookaburra, the Swan is also a must-see bird whenever you visit Australia. Lake Monger is quite famous for the tameness of the Black Swans as they are used to human feeding. When we arrived at the car park, there was a huge flock of Little Corellas foraging on the lawn next to the road.

The birds were unbelievably tame and I managed to obtain a lot of close-up shots. It was a real relief because for the past 2 days, I have failed to get really close to this white parrot. The birds that lack the crest is the Gymnopsis form.

The ones with the massive crest are the Pastinator form. Anyway, both form looks equally lovely to me.

We made our way to the shores of the lake and were greeted by a flock of Eurasian Coots. It was second nature to me to go low and try to get as close to the birds without stressing them out. However, my companions find my approach a little amusing and took shots of this peculiar behaviour...

Anyway the Coots didn't feel anything abnormal about my behaviour and allowed me to obtain great images of this rather common water bird.

The shape of head plate determines the sex of this species. The female bird will have a narrow knob...

And the male will sport a broader and more pronounced head plate...

There were a couple of Dusky Moorhens foraging in the vicinity but they were not as confiding as the Coots. I had to work slightly harder to get close to them...

Well, there was one bird that I need not try to approach because it will approach humans instead. And it is the majestic and graceful Black Swan...

But this graceful bird does appear a little clumsy on dry land...

A couple of Malaysians enjoying the companionship of a friendly Australian waterfowl...

From Lake Monger, we adjourned to nearby Herdsman Lake. We were lucky enough to have a short glimpse of a Blue-billed Duck before it swan further away. The blue on the bill reminds of the Broadbills back home.

A pair Of Great Crested Grebes resting in the middle lake was a much welcome sight as there was no much water birds present. Unfortunately, the distance prevented me from obtaining clear shots of these rather spectacular water birds.

A Little Pied Cormorant flying overhead was the only other bird seen at this locality. Funny, I can still remember this lake being a center of bird activity during my last visit. I guess somethings did change in terms of birding here in Western Australia during the last 10 years or so.
Where are all the birds that you said we could see, hon? I'm not sure, dear...

As we made our way to Fremantle, we had to cross the scenic Swan River. The were plenty of water birds but I did not have the time to fully explore the area. The Australian Pelicans were rather shy this time round.

Only the Pied Cormorant was within reasonable distance for me to photograph...

Later in the day, we made our way back to Sunset Coast again.

While walking along the coastline, I came across another Pied Cormorant but this time, in flight.

We also made a stop at the Hilarys Boat Harbour along the way.

Along the pier, I saw a huge Gull and it turned out to be an immature Pacific Gull. I'm not sure of its status in this area but I don't think it is that common.

Keeping the Gull company was a few Little Black Cormorants...

Along the coastal road, I was lucky to spot this handsome male Australian Kestrel. It was resting on a lamp post and tolerated my approach. If it occurs in such a busy place, I guess it should be used to human presence by now.

Later in the evening, I dropped the rest of the group back for a quick rest and I made my way to Pinnaroo Valley. It is a memorial park and cemetery that blends wells into the natural surrounding. It is considered to be a good birding site as well. The thing about winter here is that it gets really dark by 6pm. So with whatever daylight I have left, I made way into the bush for one last search for the enigmatic Fairy-wrens.

Sadly, there was not much about except for a flock of foraging Silvereyes. It is a commonly encountered White-eye that occurs in this region.

The Australian Ravens were the only conspicous birds around the park...

Young Ravens will have dark eyes...

As I made my way to the car, a pair of noisy Rainbow Lorikeets were getting ready to roost in a tall dead tree. Although it was quite close, the fading light prevented me to take great shots but I'm not complaining. At least the birds are not that hidden by vegetation this time. The colours of this little parrot are just simply stunning. It is no wonder that they are prized pet birds worldwide. With the "bird in the bag", the sun set down on our third day in this beautiful country.

We spend most of the fourth day in the city center. I guess this was the only day I did not take my telephoto lens out of the bag. My wife and my other companions had a great time shopping and experiencing the city life of Perth...

But all is not lost as there is a healthy population of Silver Gulls right in the hustle and bustle of town. You can see them resting on the rooftops of sheltered pedestrian walkways...

And taking a dip in a water fountain just outside a shopping complex...

And that concludes my walkabout in Western Australia. It turned out to be a terrific trip for all us. I had my fair share of birds and sight-seeing. I have included a list of birds that I managed to record for the entire trip. It may not be an amazing list but it is good enough to keep me satisfied and dreaming of my next trip downunder.

  1. Australasian Grebe
  2. Great Crested Grebe
  3. Pied Cormorant
  4. Little Pied Cormorant
  5. Great Cormorant
  6. Little Black Cormorant
  7. Darter
  8. White-faced Heron
  9. Sacred Ibis
  10. Australian Pelican
  11. Black Swan
  12. Australian Shelduck
  13. Pacific Black Duck
  14. Grey Teal
  15. Hardhead
  16. Blue-billed Duck
  17. Musk Duck
  18. Maned Duck
  19. Black-shouldered Kite
  20. Whistling Kite
  21. Australian Kestrel
  22. Brown Falcon
  23. Peregrine Falcon
  24. Spotted Turtle-dove
  25. Laughing Turtle-dove
  26. Purple Swamphen
  27. Dusky Moorhen
  28. Eurasian Coot
  29. Silver Gull
  30. Pacific Gull
  31. Crested Tern
  32. Galah
  33. Long-billed Corella
  34. Little Corella
  35. Long-billed Black-cockatoo
  36. Rainbow Lorikeet
  37. Ringneck
  38. Laughing Kookaburra
  39. Welcome Swallow
  40. Tree Martin
  41. Fairy Martin
  42. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  43. Grey Fantail
  44. Willie Wagtail
  45. Western Gerygone
  46. Red Wattlebird
  47. Little Wattlebird
  48. White-cheeked Honeyeater
  49. Singing Honeyeater
  50. Brown Honeyeater
  51. Silvereye
  52. Australian Magpie-lark
  53. Grey Butcherbird
  54. Australian Magpie
  55. Australian Raven


Richard King said...

Perth is my home town. Let me know next time you are coming over and we may be able to arrange some trips to good bird locations.

Anonymous said...

Nice one Mun. I enjoy all your post.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Richard, will do. I only did casual birding this time because it was a company trip.

Thanks, Terence.