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, 8 July 2014

Around Oz Part 15: Wyndham

Gouldian Finch
Following our visit to Kununurra (see last two posts) we headed off through the savannah to Wyndham, Western Australia’s northern-most town, for a two-night stay in Wyndham Caravan Park.

Croc footprint - Wyndham mangroves
The first afternoon, I searched mangroves near the town wharf. It was high tide and I was walking 3-5 metres inside the mangroves when suddenly I saw a very large Saltwater Crocodile on the mangrove edge just 10 metres in front of me. Before I had a chance to get my camera act together, it disappeared into the water with a huge splash. I’m not sure what would have happened if it had other intentions. Plenty of fresh slide marks and crocodile foot prints in the mud.

White-breasted Whistler
I found a female White-breasted Whistler, a species I have not seen for a very long time.

Mangrove Fantail

Other birds in the mangroves included Mangrove Fantail, Mangrove Gerygone and Yellow White-eye.

Gouldian Finch

The caravan park backs on to some nice rocky savannah and has a couple of rock pools behind it. Visitors here included Gouldian Finch on several occasions, along with Double-barred, Long-tailed and Masked Finches.

Red-browed Pardalote
Other birds about the park included Red-browed Pardalote and Plumed Pigeon.

View east from Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham

Sunset at Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham
We visited Five Rivers Lookout, which offers stunning views in all directions over the vast salt flats surrounding Cambridge Gulf to the distant mountain ranges of the Kimberley; truly breath-taking stuff.  We returned to the lookout for beers at sunset.

Cambridge Gulf, from Wyndham
A repeat visit to the mangroves produced several more White-breasted Whistlers, all females or juveniles, along with a couple of Mangrove Golden Whistlers. I also saw a bird I was quite sure was a Dusky Honeyeater, about 500m west of the jetty in mangroves. I didn't take much notice at the time as I am very familiar with this species at home, and thought it commonplace in northern mangroves. It was not until later that I saw that the species may not have been recorded from WA. This record therefore requires confirmation, but I am quite certain I saw a Dusky and not a female Red-headed Honeyeater.

Mangrove Golden Whistler female

Wyndham mangroves
Fresh crocodile foot prints were seen in mud under the town jetty, not far from where I saw my reptile; I learned from locals that a 5m male crocodile has made its territory along that stretch of mangrove (above).

Gouldian Finch
We visited the town’s interesting historic museum and pioneer cemetery. Late in the afternoon, another nice procession of Gouldian and other finches came in to drink at the camping ground pools.

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