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.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Birds of the Western Kimberley

Following on from my Black Grasswren post, pictures and notes follow on other birds seen during the trip that Alexander Watson and I did through the Western Kimberleys this month.
We camped at and birded four sites - Mitchell River National Park (where the grasswrens were; see grasswren post following), Drysdale River Station (on the Kalumburu Road, 60 kilometres north of its junction with the Gibb River Road), Miner's Pool (a lovely site on the Drysdale River a few kilometres north of  Drysdale River Station) and Silent Grove (20 kilometres north of the Gibb River Road, the turnoff being a few kilometres west of Imintji).
The distinctive Kimberley race of the Partridge Pigeon with its yellow face (image above) was seen regularly feeding about the Mitchell River camping ground.
Another bird found regularly in Mitchell River National Park was the White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, common about the sandstone scarps.
Long-tailed Finch was regular around the Mitchell River camping ground, and was found throughout the trip in open woodland.
This pair of Torresian Imperial-Pigeons were in riverside vegetation above Little Mertens Falls at Mitchell River.
Buff-sided Robin, a recent split from White-browed Robin in eastern Australia, is another sought after species. This one was in a monsoon forest thicket below Little Mertens Falls. Another pair were found along track between Little and Big Mertens Falls.
Bar-breasted Honeyeater was common at Mitchell River and encountered regularly elsewhere on the trip.

The Kimberley Honeyeater is a recent taxonomic split, from the White-lined Honeyeater of Arnhem Land. This was one of several that we encountered while looking for Black Grasswren at Mitchell River.
Green-backed Gerygones were active in thickets along the Mitchell River.
Silver-crowned Friarbird was commonly found in open woodland throughout the trip, this one in the Mitchell River camping ground.
Red-winged Parrot was also regularly encountered, this female at Drysdale River Station.
We looked hard but without success for Red Goshawk, seeing plenty of Brown Goshawks and, at Mitchell River, this Collared Sparrowhawk.
Among other raptors was this Wedge-tailed Eagle feeding on a road-killed dingo on the Gibb River Road.
Blue-winged Kookaburra was frequently seen, this one at Miner's Pool.
Lilac-crowned Fairy-wrens appeared to be quite numerous in Pandanus thickets along the Drysdale River at Miner's Pool, but were typically furtive. This male put in a brief appearance. Another much sought after species.
Birds seen around Silent Grove and Bell Gorge included plenty of Crimson Finches.
The only Northern Rosellas we saw were near Silent Grove.
This Banded Honeyeater was at Silent Grove, but the species was encountered in various places.
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater was probably the commonest bird of the trip.


  1. What a wonderful collection of birds. It's really an important place.

  2. Hi Greg, 11 of these species I have yet to see. We were supposed to be up that way in the next month or so but our travels were curtailed recently and we are back in Qld.
    Maybe next year! Cheers, John.

  3. Thanks Russell, I agree it is a special part of Australia.
    John I am sure you will make it one day.

  4. A great collection Greg (I must be picking up these posts in reverse order!). I reckon I'll just be printing this post off for future reference on our trip!!

  5. Hi Greg, I'll be heading up there to seek the GW in 10 days or so. Any chance of emailing to get a bit more detail on finding them?

  6. Pete, My memory is foggy now but I'll try. Just a short distance from the camping ground you cross a small creek. Go left into the bush before the creek crossing, Continue for 400-600 metres, about 100-200 metres from the creek, which you will be walking parallel to. You will see the escarpment to your left. I found the birds in this area in 2 or 3 places. The same general area can be reached by walking the main track to Little Merten Falls.Cross the creek above the falls and head towards the escarpment.... however, this access is more difficult as it's tough going