Monday, May 2, 2011

Pelagic May 2011

This week has been a whirl wind birding frenzy!

I arrived home very late tuesday night after birding in Broome and Wednesday morning was out on the road again to help my friend Stuart get a few Lifers.

We did not have much time and had 5 birds on the target list so it was a mad dash to Iron Knob to see the Myall Thick Billed Grasswren which, some classifications have split. I expect it may become an Armchair Tick later...  We got brief views only as they followed a family of Fairywrens in the Bluebush. We didnt have time to waste chasing them further so it was back to the car and onto Lake Gilles.

After a short walk good views of Western Yellow Robin were had at sunset.

The next morning we went back to near we found the Robin and enjoyed Blue Breasted Fairywrens for a while. We had to carefully check both the Males and females due to eclipse plumage. After careful inspection and even comparing the calls we were happily satisfied. Driving a bit further we stopped after seeing a Rufous Treecreeper sitting on the side of the road. It flew back into the mallee but a short walk provided good views. It was then a mad dash to Stokes Hill in the Flinders Ranges to get Short Tailed Grasswren.

Lovely views of Wedgetailed Eagles told us we were nearly there before the steep road ascended us to the tope of the hill. It took some searching but finally one bird hopped in front of the Triodia and sat posing  before disappearing again and no amount of coaxing would bring it back out!

Short tailed Grasswren

As usual at Stokes Hill plenty of Euros were about ...

All 5 ticks under our belt in 24 hrs so we then drove back to Adelaide.

Saturday morning I drove the 6 1/2 hr drive to Port MacDonnell stopping only to refuel. I met up with my friend Mike and we went to look at the Double Banded Plovers who were on the rocks near Racecouse Bay. Nice views of them with Ruddy Turnstones and Red Capped Plovers. After dinner it was time for sleep before going to the Jetty at 7am to get on The Remarkable.

The sea was gentle with only about 2m swells but sadly there was almost no wind so it was a slow start birding wise with hardly anything coming into the boat for the first hour or so at the shelf.

Black Browed Albatross

Thankfully the breeze then picked up and we were visited by 5 Albatross spp including Blackbrowed, Royal, Shy, Yellow Nosed and Wandering. 

Black Browed Albatross

Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross

Juvenile Wandering Albatross

We also saw Fluttering, Sooty and Short tailed Shearwaters, Wilsons, Grey Backed and White Faced Storm petrels.

White Faced Storm Petrel

Wilson's Storm Petrel

There were a lot of Fairy Prions along with a few Antarctic Prions so we had to check the tails and their bills of these pretty little birds as they flew past.

Fairy Prion

Mike got his 500th Australian bird on this trip so he was very happy! Well done Mike!

John, Me & Mike

We enjoyed a sausage sizzle before slowly heading back into shore and commencing the long drive home.

Juvenile Wandering Albatross

So 3 birding trips in 10 days means the next few weeks will be taken up with plowing through the 2750 photos I've taken! Oh, and I might even try to get some sleep!!