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.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Around Oz Part 24 - Geraldton to Cervantes & the Pinnacles

Sunset Geraldton
After leaving the bird-rich mulga lands of central Western Australia (see last post) we arrived in the coastal city of Geraldton for a four-night stay at the Sunset Holiday Park, right on the beach.  We enjoyed some nice sunsets from here, and a chance to relax after the long drives. The change of habitat from mulga to the thick coastal scrub so typical of much of the south-west was quite rapid.

It didn’t take long to come to grips with birds like Pacific Gull and Red Wattlebird – that we do not have at home - for the first time on the trip, now at its half-way mark. 

Pacific Gull

Red Wattlebird
Lovely beaches extending north of Geraldton, with huge quantities of kelp washed ashore.

Beach north of Geraldton
A couple of Common Sandpipers were overwintering at the mouth of the Chapman River.

Common Sandpiper
After Geraldton, we travelled south along the Turquoise Coast, popping in on some decrepit fishing villages along the way. We ended up in the Pinnacles Caravan Park in the town of Cervantes for a three-night stay.  Western Gerygone was common about the town and a few Banded Lapwings were present on the sports oval.

Banded Lapwing
Near Cervantes is the ancient Lake Thetis, home to the odd stromatolites, a weird underwater life form that are descendants of some of the world's oldest living things. The surrounding Nambung National Park is flush with wildflowers of various kinds.

Stromatolites, Lake Thetis

Lake Thetis

Nambung National Park
I saw several Rufous Fieldwrens of the grey form, Western Fieldwren, which is a possible split, along with my first SW WA endemic - Blue-breasted Fairy-wren. It was nice to be visited by Chris Sanderson and Kat Cuskelly, who are living in Perth; they dropped in while on their way north for a bit of a holiday.

With Chris Sanderson
From Cervantes, we visited the wonderful Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. Thousands of limestone pillars up to 4m rise up in a desert-like area of sand amidst the otherwise lush vegetation of the surrounding coastal heathlands. They are quite something.

Looking across the Pinnacles and Nambung National Park to the ocean

Pinnacles, Glenn on right for size comparison

A pair of charming White-backed Swallows appeared to be in residence, with the birds inspecting holes in limestone cliffs.

White-backed Swallow

White-backed Swallow nesting holes

White-backed Swallow

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