27 November 2011

On to Van Diemen´s Land...AUSTRALIA (4-5 Nov)

We flew out of Brisbane, and bid Queensland goodbye. It had been good to us: revealing Golden Bowerbird, Southern Cassowary, Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, Chowchilla and Yellow-breasted Boatbills in the north, and Koalas and Riflebirds in the south to name but a few from our list.

Next stop was the magical island of Tasmania, a large island off the southeastern tip of Australia, a place that offered endemics aplenty. We spent a day chasing the maximum number of these around Hobart and Bruny Island, which brought many in quick succession, including the rarest of them all, a Forty-spotted Pardalote not far out of Hobart. Other treats were a bounty of robins. OK, they were not all endemics but they were mighty popular. All four came on the scenically stunning island of Bruny, and included the forgettable Dusky Robin, but way more memorable Scarlet, Flame and Pink Robins (the latter was a crowd favorite; it gave us the runaround and then showed beautifully!) On top of that were some approachable Hooded Plovers on a sandy beach filled with weekeneders, and a gorgeous flock of Swift Parrots near Hobart, at a site that also yielded a late afternoon showing of a Beautiful Firetail, that was every bit as beautiful as the name suggests!

There were plenty of other birds that day too from Blue-winged Parrots, to Strong-billed Honeyeaters, and even the odd, and flightless, Tasmanian Native-Hen, but I do not have time for all. Suffice to say we did some running around, and racked up a great day list that included almost all of the endemics on offer! Guides like me love these days. On top of that we enjoyed sandy beaches bathed in warming sunshine, not always expected on Tassie in springtime!

More to come from Tassie, including one of its most iconic mammals...

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