South-East Tasmania September 2019

Black-faced Cormorant
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During the first week of September 2019 Murray and Charlie Scott and myself had ‘booked’ ourselves on two ‘double-header’ pelagic-trips from Eaglehawk Neck and decided to spend the rest of the week trying to track-down some of the unique Tasmanian fauna.

After checking in to the Lufra Hotel (home of the ‘tassie’ pelagics?) we drove along to the Pirate’s Bay Jetty and saw our first ‘endemic’, the garrulous Yellow-throated Honeyeater, shortly followed by others such as Green Rosella and Tasmanian Scrubwren.

Yellow-throated Honeyeater

Between the Lufra Hotel and the Pirates Bay Jetty is the popular Havnabite Tucker Shop, and whilst enjoying coffee and breakfast we called in another ‘tassie-endemic’ the Black Currawong (Twenty years earlier on a previous visit this was the most difficult one to find, and it took a week to finally get one at Lake St Clair)

Black Currawong

From here we decided to visit Port Arthur via the ‘indirect-route’ to Nubeena. On the way we spotted Cape Barren Goose and Australian Shelduck in the fields, and then drove to Roaring Beach where we hoped to find Hooded Plover, unfortunately traversing the dunes was harder-work than expected and none of these shorebirds were seen. However on the vegetation-covered dunes we caught up with Crescent Honeyeater and Tasmanian Thornbill and got some good images of the latter. Charlie chased some Beautiful Firetail after hearing their unique calls but they proved very elusive.

We arrived at Port Arthur in the late-afternoon and were amazed at the quality of birding in the main car-park! Flame and Scarlet Robin, Black-headed and Strong-billed Honeyeaters, Yellow Wattlebirds, Black Currawongs, Silvereyes, Green Rosella and others. Unfortunately the site was just closing so we didn’t get to explore it further although Charlie managed to find and listen to a web ‘podcast’ about the tragedy that enfolded in April 1996.

Black Currawong call

Tuesday was first pelagic day, and we left the jetty on the Pauletta at 7am. Old friends Bruce Richardson, James Cornelious and David Adam from Melbourne came along. On the way out a White-bellied Sea-eagle was present on the ‘Hippolyte-Rock‘ with fur-seals and Black-faced Cormorants. There was very little wind and consequently didn’t see much on the way to the shelf. . There were plenty of Shy Albatross, with the odd Black-browed, Buller’s and Yellow-nosed and also several Southern Royal and Gibson’s (Wandering) Albatross. Smaller ‘tubenoses’ were a bit ‘scarce’ though Common Diving-Petrel seemed to be in good numbers further out. Probably the best ‘bird of the day’ was a totally-white Southern Giant-Petrel which came to the ‘chum’ at the back of the boat.

The second of the ‘double-header’ pelagic days was fairly quiet, similar species to the first but a young ‘shy-type’ albatross was seen and later found to be a Salvin’s. Murray and Charlie ‘racked-up’ a few ‘lifers’ and I got some better-views of Common Diving-Petrel.

After the pelagics we made our way down to Bruny Island via Mt Wellington as Charlie had no experience of snow. There was a small amount still visible and it gave Murray the opportunity to become a ‘target’ for some well-aimed ‘snow-balls’ from his son.

Half-way up Mt Wellington we explored the area around the ‘Springs Cafe’ where I had found Scrubtit almost twenty years ago. Incredibly we managed to get reasonable images of this species, plus Pink Robin, Bassian Thrush and Olive Whistler.

Spurred-on by this success we continued on to Bruny Island taking the ferry from Kettering. It was fairly late in the afternoon and we spent a few hours looking for Forty-spotted Pardalote (in vain) on Lennon’s Rd that we had obtained from a ‘tip-off’ on the pelagic but did manage to get Beautiful Firetail there.

Beautiful Firetail ©Charlie Scott

We spent the next 3 nights at an airbnb cottage in Adventure Bay exploring the island, though by the weekend a strong weather-front was expected. On Friday following another ‘tip-off’, we checked out an area near the airstrip and found several pairs of Forty-spotted Pardalote, many Dusky and Flame Robin and a small group of Beautiful Firetail.

On Saturday and Sunday we tried to find Tawny-crowned Honeyeater near the lighthouse on Cape Bruny, almost ‘thwarted’ by the strong antarctic-gale we finally caught up with them around Sunday lunch-time when the wind dropped a little.

After a chance-meeting with a land-owner, we were invited to visit a site near Trumpeter Bay where Peregrines and White-bellied Sea-Eagles were nesting, he also informed us that Eastern Quolls were very common in the evening between Dennes Point and North Bruny. That evening we drove the circuit and ‘spot-lighted’ the fields noting at least 20 of these ‘endearing’ little mammals along with many Brush-tailed Possum and an ‘all-white’ individual.

Birding around Adventure Bay was quiet and I was surprised to see very few Brush Bronzewing around the township as they had been common and easy twenty years before. Green Rosella were still abundant and a pair of ‘white’ Grey Goshawk displayed near the accommodation. A pair of Hooded Plover graced the beach along with Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers. For ‘nocturnal’ birds Tasmanian Morepork seemed relatively easy to get though we only managed to hear a Masked Owl near the north of the town.

All up this was a great trip, with all the ‘Tasmanian endemics’ and most of the remaining species seen, I’ve attached a species summary from Ebird.

Date Range Sep 1, 2019 – Sep 8, 2019 Total Number of Species 86

Locations 24 Francis Lane, Adventure Bay, Tasmania, AU (-43.37, 147.34) : 5031 Arthur Highway, Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania, AU (-43.013, 147.925) : 515 Lennon Road, North Bruny, Tasmania, AU (-43.156, 147.343) : Adventure Bay : Cape Bruny (Bruny Island) : Cape Queen Elizabeth Track : Eaglehawk Neck : Eaglehawk Pelagic – Inshore : Port Arthur : Roaring Beach Track, Nubeena, Tasmania, AU (-43.086, 147.674) : South Bruny National Park–Luggaboine Circuit : Unnamed Road, North Bruny, Tasmania, AU (-43.169, 147.404) Total Number of Checklists 14

Species Name High Count Sample Size High Count Sample Size High Count Sample Size High Count Sample Size High Count Sample Size High Count Sample Size


Black Swan – Cygnus atratus — 7 2 — — — —
Australian Wood Duck – Chenonetta jubata — 5 2 — — — —
Chestnut Teal – Anas castanea — 7 1 — — — —
Brown Quail – Synoicus ypsilophorus — 4 1 — — — —
Hoary-headed Grebe – Poliocephalus poliocephalus 3 1 — — — — —
Brush Bronzewing – Phaps elegans — 1 1 — — — —
Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx basalis — 1 1 — — — —
Fan-tailed Cuckoo – Cacomantis flabelliformis 1 1 1 1 — — — —
Tasmanian Nativehen – Tribonyx mortierii 2 1 1 1 — — — —
Australian Pied Oystercatcher – Haematopus longirostris 1 1 1 2 — — — —
Masked Lapwing – Vanellus miles 2 1 3 3 — — — —
Hooded Plover – Thinornis cucullatus — 2 1 — — — —
Silver Gull – Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae 49 2 6 3 — — — —
Pacific Gull – Larus pacificus 2 3 2 1 — — — —
Kelp Gull – Larus dominicanus 5 3 7 2 — — — —
Crested Tern – Thalasseus bergii 18 3 — — — — —
Little Penguin – Eudyptula minor 1 1 — — — — —
Yellow-nosed Albatross – Thalassarche chlororhynchos 7 2 — — — — —
Buller’s Albatross – Thalassarche bulleri 3 2 — — — — —
Shy Albatross – Thalassarche cauta 110 2 — — — — —
Black-browed Albatross – Thalassarche melanophris 11 3 — — — — —
small albatross sp. – Thalassarche sp. — 2 1 — — — —
Royal Albatross – Diomedea epomophora 1 2 — — — — —
Wandering Albatross – Diomedea exulans 1 3 — — — — —
Southern Giant-Petrel – Macronectes giganteus 1 2 — — — — —
Northern Giant-Petrel – Macronectes halli 6 2 — — — — —
Cape Petrel – Daption capense 2 1 — — — — —
Great-winged Petrel – Pterodroma macroptera 4 2 — — — — —
Grey-faced Petrel – Pterodroma gouldi 2 2 — — — — —
Providence Petrel – Pterodroma solandri 8 2 — — — — —
Sooty Shearwater – Ardenna grisea 1 1 — — — — —
Common Diving-Petrel – Pelecanoides urinatrix 75 2 — — — — —
Australasian Gannet – Morus serrator 3 2 — — — — —
Little Pied Cormorant – Microcarbo melanoleucos — 1 1 — — — —
Great Cormorant – Phalacrocorax carbo — 2 1 — — — —
Black-faced Cormorant – Phalacrocorax fuscescens 40 3 — — — — —
White-faced Heron – Egretta novaehollandiae 1 1 1 1 — — — —
Grey Goshawk – Accipiter novaehollandiae — 2 1 — — — —
White-bellied Sea-Eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster 2 2 3 3 — — — —
Morepork – Ninox novaeseelandiae 1 1 — — — — —
Laughing Kookaburra – Dacelo novaeguineae — 2 1 — — — —
Peregrine Falcon – Falco peregrinus — 1 1 — — — —
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo – Calyptorhynchus funereus 3 1 27 3 — — — —
Green Rosella – Platycercus caledonicus 3 3 10 4 — — — —
Superb Fairywren – Malurus cyaneus 7 3 6 6 — — — —
Eastern Spinebill – Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris — 1 1 — — — —
Little Wattlebird – Anthochaera chrysoptera 2 2 1 1 — — — —
Yellow Wattlebird – Anthochaera paradoxa 4 2 2 1 — — — —
White-fronted Chat – Epthianura albifrons — 6 1 — — — —
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater – Gliciphila melanops — 4 1 — — — —
Crescent Honeyeater – Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus 2 1 2 2 — — — —
New Holland Honeyeater – Phylidonyris novaehollandiae 5 2 10 4 — — — —
Yellow-throated Honeyeater – Nesoptilotis flavicollis 7 3 2 1 — — — —
Black-headed Honeyeater – Melithreptus affinis 12 2 8 1 — — — —
Strong-billed Honeyeater – Melithreptus validirostris 6 1 — — — — —
Spotted Pardalote – Pardalotus punctatus 4 1 1 1 — — — —
Forty-spotted Pardalote – Pardalotus quadragintus — 8 1 — — — —
Striated Pardalote – Pardalotus striatus 1 1 3 2 — — — —
Tasmanian Scrubwren – Sericornis humilis 4 1 1 3 — — — —
Brown Thornbill – Acanthiza pusilla 2 2 1 3 — — — —
Tasmanian Thornbill – Acanthiza ewingii 3 2 2 2 — — — —
Yellow-rumped Thornbill – Acanthiza chrysorrhoa — 5 1 — — — —
Black-faced Cuckooshrike – Coracina novaehollandiae 1 2 1 1 — — — —
Grey Shrikethrush – Colluricincla harmonica 2 1 1 4 — — — —
Olive Whistler – Pachycephala olivacea — 2 3 — — — —
Golden Whistler – Pachycephala pectoralis — 4 2 — — — —
Dusky Woodswallow – Artamus cyanopterus — 3 1 — — — —
Australian Magpie – Gymnorhina tibicen 1 1 1 1 — — — —
Black Currawong – Strepera fuliginosa 3 2 — — — — —
Grey Currawong – Strepera versicolor 2 1 2 2 — — — —
Grey Fantail – Rhipidura albiscapa 1 3 1 2 — — — —
Satin Flycatcher – Myiagra cyanoleuca — 1 1 — — — —
Forest Raven – Corvus tasmanicus 5 2 4 4 — — — —
Scarlet Robin – Petroica boodang 2 3 1 4 — — — —
Flame Robin – Petroica phoenicea 5 2 8 5 — — — —
Dusky Robin – Melanodryas vittata 3 1 3 4 — — — —
Welcome Swallow – Hirundo neoxena 2 1 6 3 — — — —
Tree Martin – Petrochelidon nigricans 6 3 4 3 — — — —
Silvereye – Zosterops lateralis 4 1 5 3 — — — —
Common Starling – Sturnus vulgaris 4 1 6 4 — — — —
Common Blackbird – Turdus merula 3 2 3 6 — — — —
Beautiful Firetail – Stagonopleura bella 3 1 3 2 — — — —
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus 1 1 6 2 — — — —
Australasian Pipit – Anthus novaeseelandiae — 1 2 — — — —
European Greenfinch – Chloris chloris — 2 1 — — — —
European Goldfinch – Carduelis carduelis 2 1 1 1 — — — —

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