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, 26 August 2014

Around Oz Part 31 - Esperance: Hooded Plover, Cape Barren Goose, Black-faced Cormorant & More Great Coastline

Hooded Plover
Following our visit to Cheyne Beach (see last two posts) we had three nights in the picturesque coastal town of Esperance, staying at the oddly named Bathers Paradise Caravan Park.

Hooded Plover
I found about 30 Hooded Plovers on the eastern shore Lake Warden, on the northern outskirts of Esperance. Lake Warden and the adjacent Pink Lake are known refuges for this threatened species. Despite having searched numerous beaches in the south-west up of WA up to now, this was my first encounter with Hooded Plover. I am told that in south-west WA, the species is more closely associated with wetlands than in south-east Australia, where it is essentially a beach bird.

Pink Lake
Hooded Plover juvenile
Cape Barren Goose
On the green of the Esperance Golf Course, I found a pair of Cape Barren Geese. The geese visit the Esperance area from their breeding islands in the Recherche Archipelago, an impressive series of granite islands not far offshore from the town.
Cape Barren Goose
The golf club is proud of their geese, although it took me quite a while to find this pair and no others were seen.

Golf Club entrance
Recherche Archipelago
Black-faced Cormorant
On a jetty near the Esperance CBD, I found a Black-faced Cormorant in the company of a Pied Cormorant and several Little Pied Cormorants.
We have found Esperance to be a delightful destination. It has an abundance of lovely coastal beaches with the archipelago as a stunning backdrop. We have also been taken aback by how cheap the place is. For instance, we paid $11 each for a rump steak with salad; at Pine Creek in the NT we paid $35 for the same meal and it was considerably smaller.

Pied, Black-faced & Little Pied Cormorants
Twilight Beach, Esperance
 There is a very worthwhile 40km scenic drive which takes you around the shore of Pink Lake and along the coast, where you can check out numerous beaches and headlands. An abundance of wildflowers, probably the most prolific on our trip to date, added to our experience.

Wildflowers - Chapmans Point

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