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Gavin Bieber on his recently completed tour, Australia: Victoria and Tasmania

November 16: Gavin Bieber on his recently completed tour, Australia: Victoria and Tasmania

The first half of our tour involves taking a large loop around the state of Victoria (and a bit of New South Wales). For the inland portion of the tour we concentrated mainly on the giant mallee parks of Northwestern Victoria where we delightful and repeated views of Splendid and White-winged Fairywrens, as well as pairs of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos prospecting for nesting sights, active Sand Goannas crossing the tracks in front of us, tame Emu and a few subtle but exquisitely colored Regent Parrots. 

Splendid Fairy-Wren   Image: Kent Andersen

White-winged Fairy-Wren

Major Mitchell Cockatoo

sanD Goanna    Image: Kent Andersen

Emu   Image: Kent Andersen

Regent Parrot   Image: Kent Andersen

On the arid Hay Plains of central New South Wales the historic drought was still in full swing.  Perhaps due to the incredibly dry conditions our hoped-for Plains-Wanderers had wandered off, but our time around Deniliquin was still well spent with an excellent sighting of Fat-tailed Dunnart and a very cooperative Inland Dotterel, as well as truly awesome desert sunsets. Before reaching the coastline we also spent a few days around Little Desert, where the beautiful Malleefowl performed well on its mound and a perky Scarlet Robin kept our cameras busy for quite some time.

Fat-tailed Dunnart

Inland Dotterel   Image: Kent Andersen

Inland sunset


Scarlet Robin   Image: Kent Andersen

The second half of the tour concentrates on the remarkably scenic Victoria coastline, a wonderful mixture of weathered cliffs and sea stacks like the famous twelve apostles, white sand beaches like Killarney Beach, and around the city parks of Melbourne, repeatedly voted the most livable city in the world. 

Twelve Apostles

Killarney Beach

We began the tour around the city, with signature Australian birds like the gaudy and inquisitive Rainbow Lorikeet, and the tame Laughing Kookaburra.  As always, the varied mammals of the continent feature prominently, from the huge male Eastern Grey Kangaroo to camps of Grey-headed Flying Foxes along an urban creek. 

Rainbow Lorikeet

Laughing Kookaburra   Image: Kent Andersen

Eastern Grey Kangaroo   Image: Kent Andersen

Grey-headed Fying Fox   Image: Kent Andersen

Our final few days of the tour are spent in Tasmania, where we located all of the Tasmanian endemics, enjoyed intimate views of the critically endangered Swift Parrot, found our only Little Penguins of the trip and a nice array of waterbirds that included a vagrant Hudsonian Godwit, this handsome Black-faced Cormorant (our 5th species of Cormorant for the tour), the menacing Pacific Gull and this diurnally active and undeniably cute Echidna. 

Swift Parrot   Image: Kent Andersen

Black-faced Cormorant

Pacific Gull

Echidna   Image: Kent Andersen

We wrapped up the trip with an impressive 284 species of birds and 21 mammals, both records for the trip.  With the breadth of wildlife and scenery this tour never fails to deliver, and I very much look forward to returning to this corner of the country in 2020.

Posted: November 16, 2018