Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inala on Bruny Island, Tasmania

Along with Maria Island further north, Bruny Island is one of the remaining strongholds for Forty-spotted pardalote. Nearly all of the Tasmanian endemics can be seen on Bruny and when I read that the owner of a property on South Bruny was a naturalist and ran birding tours of her property ..... Well thankfully Bruny is one of those places where there is no shortage of other things to do when a birder departs from the family itinerary for a few hours!

Forty-spotted pardalote, Inala, South Bruny (15 April 2014) 

During the tour the focus was not on photography so much as identifying and learning about local birds and animals. The property is called Inala (website: and my guide was Dr Tonia Cochran - she knew the local species intimately. At one stage she identified a short chirp as evidence that a Pink robin was close by and wanted to try to call it in. A few "psshh" noises later and the robin duly appeared and checked us out!

And just what is going on here? Pink robin, Inala

Apart from a trio of local Wedge-tailed eagles it was the smaller birds that were the feature at Inala - robins in particular. The endemic Dusky robin was pointed out and I came across some very obliging Flame robin. Several Scarlet robin were also seen, often perching on barbed wire fences.

Flame robin, Inala, Bruny Island, Tasmania
Scarlet robin
Distant view of Dusky robin, a Tasmanian endemic species 
Partially cleared land, Inala
Inala, the gums at left are an example of the favoured by endangered Forty-spotted pardalote

This was an enjoyable & memorable outing which included views of Tasmanian thornbill and scrubwren, Black-headed, Strong-billed, Yellow-throated and Crescent honeyeaters, Yellow wattlebird and those mentioned above amongst many others. I would certainly commend a visit to others!

Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pardalotes and Peter Murrell Reserve, Hobart

My first serious birding endeavour during a recent family holiday in Tasmania was to spend an hour or so at Peter Murrell Reserve near Hobart. It has been lauded as a reliable place to see the endangered Forty-spotted pardalote but numbers are apparently dropping off. I was really just interested in getting into some Tasmanian habitat and seeing any of the locals.

I was quickly rewarded with good views of Tasmanian native hen and identified Yellow wattlebird, Black-headed honeyeater, Yellow-throated honeyeater and Green rosella. All of these were new for me.

Tasmanian Native Hen are everywhere (well, in Tasmania)

Yellow-throated honeyeater, Peter Murrell Reserve, Kingston
Green rosella
It is nice to meet some friends from home such as this Little wattlebird and then finding myself amongst (under) a good-sized group of pardalote. At the time I was only able to identify another mainland friend in Spotted pardalote.

Spotted pardalote, Peter Murrel Reserve, Tasmania
I considered that I had not come across any "Forty-spots" although I was hearing unfamiliar calls and having brief views of many unidentified pardalotes (ie not obviously Spotted pardalote). It was only when enhancing some heavily silhouetted canopy spots at home two weeks later that I came across this ....

Forty-spotted pardalote, Peter Murrell Reserve, Tasmania, 14 April 2014

Peter Murrell Reserve, Kingston (near Hobart)
View from Mt Wellington showing the Tinderbox Peninsula which contains the Peter Murrell Reserve and another "forty-spot" stronghold Bruny Island. A significant percentage (I'm guessing 90%) of this bird's remaining range is seen in this photo!
Bird on!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pink robins at Fern Tree Glade, Hobart

If  you're a birder on family holiday in Tasmania there is a useful side trip on your drive up or down Hobart's Mt Wellington. This is to visit Fern Glade which is close to the locale known as Fern Tree. It's only 500m off the main route up the mountain and has been described as reliable for Pink robin.

Pink Robin, Fern Tree, Tasmania
Family may prefer to have a hot chocolate or other beverage at the Fern Tree Tavern! There is also the option of inspecting the playground or old church from which the Fern Glade track departs. I allowed myself a hopeful, solitary wander for 20-30 minutes and as the photo attests my Pink robin found me just as time was running out!

Tasmanian scrubwren, Fern Tree, Tasmania

View looking northeast from Mt Wellington showing Hobart suburbs, bushland and the estuary of the Derwent River
Around urban Hobart birding reflects the varying landscape. Birds seen are those that flourish on the wide salty water way and birds that have adapt well to development (including introduced species).

Distant view of more Hoary headed grebe than I have ever seen before just below the MONA gallery, Hobart.

At our motel a large number of Mallard of both sexes had me checking on the differences between the "wild" and "domestic" versions of this bird.  Clearly maintaining their population and "wild" in that sense it is my understanding that ebird nomenclature has these guys considered a (half) tick under the "Mallard (domestic type)"!

Silvereye, Hobart
Crested tern, Hobart
Sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday

Bird on!