Southwest Australia birding trip report 10-30 September 2010
John van der Woude   -
Introduction and maps
See also: photos of birding sites, some photos of birds and flowers, and the species list.
For our first birding trip to Australia we decided to do the Southwestern corner of this continent, instead of the more usual East. The Southwest is really closer to Europe, the number of lifers is not too overwhelming, and in September there is the bonus of the very special Southwestern flora, which is related to the Cape Flora of South Africa. Moreover, as the well vegetated Southwest of Australia is rather isolated from the East due to the semi-desert in between, there is an interesting series of regional endemic bird species in the Southwest.
We (Nollie and me) flew with Emirates which has two advantages: the long flight is broken up in two parts with a 3 hours stopover in Dubai to stretch the legs, and Emirates allows 30 kg of luggage. We rented a normal car at Budget as they allow driving on unsealed roads, although I am still not certain if we were insured on those roads. For accommodation, we mostly had a cabin at a caravan park, nearly always without making a reservation. Essential is a good road map, and we highly recommend the Roads & Tracks Western Australia atlas of Quality Publishing Australia. Every birder from Perth seems to have it in the car. It also lists all the caravan parks, with telephone number. We also brought several printed snapshots from Google Earth. Also our Garmin nüvi car navigator, loaded with the Western Australia map from and several coordinates of birding sites. As navigator we used it mainly in Perth.
Planning the trip birdwise, we first oriented ourselves with Lloyd Nielsen's book Birding Australia. Subsequently we mainly relied on Frank O'Connor's website describing the many birding sites in the Southwest, plus a detailed email we got from him. We also used some trip reports from, and interesting info from Birds Australia in Perth, both from their website as at their office. Moreover, we got some tips from a few local birders we met at the pelagic day trip on our 3rd day in Australia, and from the only two other birders we met further on the trip. Thank you all.
As field guide we used the Pizzey & Knight 8th edition, which we liked for the excellent plates and for the detailed texts about habitat and habits etc. I made an alphabetical quick index for this guide, to be downloaded here. For bird sounds, we used Stewart's excellent cd for Southwestern Australia, and we had it also on our iPod and mobile phone. We did bring a scope and we needed it a few times indeed, like for Hooded Plover at a salt lake. We never brought the scope on longer walks, it just stayed in the boot of the car.
We had fine weather, although cool in the early part of the trip and hot in the last part. With this sudden hot weather an army of small but fast flies came to life, and they liked our skin, especially around eyes and mouth. After two days we got slightly used to them, but on a future trip we will bring the screened hats we managed to buy in Perth on the last day. 
On this trip we not only birded the true Southwest, which is South and Southeast of Perth and where most of the regional endemics are, but also semi-desert areas East and North of Perth (see the general map below). We had a great time, helped by the very comfortable car we got (a free upgrade to a Ford Falcon), which eased the long distances considerably. We got 180 bird species, of which a staggering 160 were lifers.
Below, the birding sites are shown on 14 maps taken from Google Maps. 
The scenery of nearly all sites is shown in the birding site photos, and some more detailed site info is given in the captions there. 
Some birds and some of the more interesting flowers are shown in the birds&flowers photo section. 
A matrix of all observed bird species against the birding sites in given in the species list.

Visited birding sites:
1. Perth parks etc.
-  10-11 Sep.
2. pelagic
12 Sep.
3. Dryandra Woodland 
-  13-15 Sep.
4. Stirling Range & Porongorup NP 
-  15-17 Sep.
5. Cheynes beach 
-  17-19 Sep.
6. Fitzgerald River NP and surroudings 
-  19-20 Sep.
7. Esperance 
-  20-21 Sep.
8. Norseman region 
-  21-22 Sep.
9. Pianto road 
-  23 Sep.
10. Leinster region 
- 24 Sep. 
11. Cue, Nallan station 
-  25 Sep.
12. Mt. Magnet, The Granites 
-  26 Sep.
13. Mullewa area 
-  28 Sep.
14. Kalbarri NP 
-  27 Sep.
15. Lancellin coast 
-  29-30 Sep. 

Perth sites:
i - information centre Birds Australia
k - Karrinyup Waters resort cabins (4 nights)
h - Herdsman lake
m - Lake Monger
b - Botanical garden
p - departure for pelagic
w (in SE of Perth) - Wungong gorge area & Bungendore park

Dryandra Woodland:
e - entrance from main road (both maps)
v - Dryandra Woodland 'village' with caretaker
d - Old Mill dam
o - Ochre trail area (best birding site for us)
m - Marri road
c - to Congelin campground

Albany region:
s - Stirling Range Retreat
t - Mt. Trio in Stirling Range NP (bird the road up to the car park, and around the car park)
r - Salt River road
p - Porongorup NP main entrance & trails ('Tree in the Rock' area)
k - Lower Kalgan river bridge (and slightly West of this: Lower King bridge)
c - Cheynes beach

Fitzgerald NP region:
b - Boxwood Hill - Ongerup road
(c - caravanpark Jerramungup)
g - Gairdner river bridge
q - Quiss road into NP
(r - Raventhorpe wildflower show)

m - Lake Monjungup reserve
w - Lake Warden
p - Pink Lake
c - coastal scenic drive

h - Beacon Hill lookout & trail, ca. 1 km E of the centre, follow signs.
b - Buldania rocks (c. 30 km from Norseman; find the low metal sign 'WATER' along the North side of the road)

Pianto road:
c - Cane Grass swamp
p - Pianto road (starts at 29°52'45" S  121°6'43" E)

L - village & supermarket
d - arid region with wooded creeks (c. 80 km from Leinster)

n - Nallan station
j - Jackson well
m - Milly well
l - Nallan Lake

Mount Magnet:
g - The Granites
h - hill & salt lakes

i - Indarra Springs nature reserve

Kalbarri NP:
m - Murchison river bridge
r - roadside birding
h - Hawkes Head
l - The Loop & Z-bend
v - view from Meenara Hill

c - caravan park & beach
i - breeding colonies island
p - platform for viewing the island

See also: photos of birding sites, some photos of birds and flowers, and the species list.