Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Around Oz Part 28 - Cape Leeuwin to Walpole-Nornalup and Giant Trees: Western Shrike-tit, Rock Parrot, Red-eared Firetail

Rock Parrot
Following our visit to Margaret River (see last post) we continued southwards along the scenic Caves Road to Cape Leeuwin, the south-western most point of the Australian mainland, where the Great Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. It was here that, in 1801, Matthew Flinders began charting the continent of Australia.

Cape Leeuwin
Of more immediate interest was a party of 8 Rock Parrots on the lawns of the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. A visit to the nearby historic waterwheel was also interesting.

Rock Parrot
We turned eastwards for the first time in our around-Oz journey, driving through extensive areas of jarrah-marri forest, with plenty of shrubs in flower.

Jarrah-Marri forest near Pemberton
Our destination was the Walpole Nornalup National Park; we camped in the nicely bushy setting of the Coalmine Beach Caravan Park. The views of Nornalup Inlet from the caravan park and a nearby circuit track-road were stunning.

Nornalup Inlet

Nornalup Inlet
In thick vegetation near the camping ground, plenty of Red-winged Fairy-wrens were about.  More Baudin’s Cockatoo and Western White-naped Honeyeater were seen. I had a brief roadside view of a Quokka; we had seen earlier a road-killed Quokka.

Red-winged Fairy-wren
We had a full day driving around the Walpole-Nornalup National Park area, visiting the Valley of the Giants - with its monstrous red tingle and karri trees. 

Karri and Tingle trees - Valley of the Giants
I was surprised to find good numbers of Red-eared Firetails feeding roadside in the early morning - I saw at least 20 - and at the carpark for the Tree Top Walk. This was an impressive canopy walk through the tree tops, 40m above the ground. Red-winged Fairy-wrens were also common at the carpark; they had learned to pick insects from vehicle bumper bars.

Red-eared Firetail

Red-eared Firetail
Tree Top Walk, Walpole Nornalup National Park
We also visited various parts of Walpole Nornalup National Park including Peaceful Bay, and Conspicuous Bay and Lookout (I saw an Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross off here) – spectacular coastal scenery. We then visited the aptly named Giant Tingle Tree, and the beautiful and unusual Circular Pool.

Circular Pool

Conspicuous Bay

Giant Tingle Tree
Southern Short-nosed Bandicoot and Tawny Frogmouth were about the camp at night.

Tawny Frogmouth

On our last morning, I walked the circuit road near the caravan park again. I was pleased to find a pair of Crested Shrike-tit - the distinctive western race and a future potential split. I had missed this bird when I lived in Perth and looked unsuccessfully for it during our recent trip to Dryandra. I noticed that its call was somewhat different from our eastern bird.

Crested (Western) Shrike-tit

Crested (Western) Shrike-tit

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