Saturday, January 26, 2013

Seletar West 23-25Jan13

From KH

When 500 Asian Openbills were reported at Kuala Gula, Perak on 8 Jan, and 400 at Batang Tiga, Malacca on 9 Jan, many Singapore birders were hoping some of them would make it here. On 16 Jan late afternoon, Pun Kin Hong photographed a single bird at Neo Tiew Lane 2.

Here is his comment "It was so high that I cropped the picture a lot. I first time see the stork fly so high. Then two eagles seem to follow it. I thought they are going to attack it, but finally they flew so far and I lost sight of them."

On 22 Jan, 8 birds were reported at Seletar.

On 23 Jan morning, with some help, Con managed to locate 6 at Seletar West. In the evening, I left work on the dot and got to see the birds too. Danny arrived after I left and saw the birds as well.

On 24 Jan morning, Con reported that the 6 birds were still there. After work I drove by and saw the birds on a bare tree at the country club junction.

On 25 Jan morning, Con reported that they came down into the field from about 8am to 9am to feed on mainly snails until they were full and then they flew back up into the trees.

Flock of 6 taken with my handphone

Photos from Con
Halus 20Jan13

From Danny

On Sunday late afternoon, when news came thru on the Jacana at Halus, both Jia Sheng and myself were so bored by the continuous drizzles we took off without much hesitation. I had earlier unpacked from my car and in the haste, left my tripod at home, hence when the bird was sighted, only record shots were taken using a three-legged stool as support and an umbrella as shelter. Nevertheless we got our SG tick, an adult, non-breeding Pheasant-tailed Jacana.

Pulau Punggol 15Jan13

From Con

I was at Pulau Punggol for a couple hours this morning. The Booted Eagles are still there, but they didn’t come very close so all of these are heavily cropped.

In the first shot it seems we have a dark morph (on top) in a tussle with a rufous morph (on bottom).

In the second image a rufous morph, and third image a dark morph.

Also the pale morph was there too, but far away so no picture included. Not much else except a pale morph CHE flew in a perched for a short while.

Pulau Punggol 12Jan13

From KH
Today, Con, Danny and I only did morning birding at Pulau Punggol. Glad to know the Little Grebes and Whistling-ducks (Lesser and Wandering) are still using the pond, and the grebe is nesting! At least 1 Siberian Stonechat still around, as were a bunch of escapees - Pin-tailed Whydah, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Golden-backed Weaver.

Raptor-wise, we counted 8 species, including wintering Booted Eagles of both morphs; and the GHFE that we needed to make 16 species for a day's raptor count.

3 hours of casual birding yielded 50 species.

1. Wandering Whistling-duck 4
2. Lesser Whistling-duck 2
3. Little Grebe 1 pair
4. Striated Heron 1
5. Grey Heron 4
6. Intermediate Egret 1
7. Black Baza 6 perch on 1 tree
8. Black-winged Kite 1
9. Brahminy Kite 4
10. White-bellied Sea-eagle 4
11. Grey-headed Fish-eagle 1 subadult
12. Chinese Goshawk 1 adult
13. Booted Eagle 1 pale, 1 dark
14. Changeable Hawk-eagle 1 heard
15. White-breasted Waterhen 2
16. Red-wattled Lapwing 2
17. Common Greenshank 2
18. Common Sandpiper 3
19. Spotted Dove >8
20. Zebra Dove >5
21. Pink-necked Green-pigeon >5
22. parakeet sp.
23. Lesser Coucal 2 (excluding 1 roadkill)
24. swiftlet spp.
25. Oriental Dollarbird 1 heard
26. White-throated Kingfisher 2
27. Laced Woodpecker 1 heard
28. Common Goldenback 1 heard
29. Golden-bellied Gerygone 1 heard
30. shrike sp. 1 heard
31. Black-naped Oriole 2
32. House Crow >2
33. Sooty-headed Bulbul 3
34. Yellow-vented Bulbul >5
35. Barn Swallow >10
36. Pacific Swallow >5
37. Oriental Reed-warbler >5 heard
38. Lanceolated Warbler >2 heard
39. Yellow-bellied Prinia 1 heard
40. Zitting Cisticola >5
41. Common Tailorbird 1 heard
42. Javan Myna >10
43. Siberian Stonechat 1
44. Scaly-breasted Munia >10
45. Black-headed Munia 2
46. Yellow Wagtail >10
47. Paddyfield Pipit >5
48. Crimson-rumped Waxbill 1
49. Golden-backed Weaver 1 pair
50. Pin-tailed Whydah 3 females

Photos from Danny

Left: Pale morph Booted Eagle. Right: Immature Grey-headed Fish-eagle

Photos from Con

Batang Tiga 8-9Jan13

From Con

I arrived at about 7:45am yesterday and after some time bumped into a digiscoper from Melaka who helped point out some of the eagles. Later another couple of birders came. Finally found a hotel after the Melaka birders treated me to lunch. I stayed on the beach. Went back in the later afternoon but the eagles retreated soon to their roosting tree and the light was really bad anyway.

Had a nice dinner with the local birders and Ang and Ong joined as well.

In the morning I got to Batang Tiga just after 7am, walked into the paddy and set up hide by 7:30am. The eagles didn’t come until 8:30am but settled on a different tree than the one I was staking out. Oh well. I stayed until 9am hoping they would change to the tree I was aiming for but no such luck. Then I packed up and went back out.

By now there were 4 birders from KL and one from Ipoh. They pointed out the large flock of Asian Openbills which had arrived while I was in the hide. The openbills stayed around for about another hour before moving off down the coast towards Muar. I wonder if this is the same flock Graeme saw in Penang yesterday?

Anyway, it seems everyday the Malaysian birders are coming from Penang, Ipoh, KL, and other points to see these rare raptors. Especially for them, the Steppe Eagle is even more rare than the Imperial Eagle.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Batang Tiga, Batu Gajah, Sungei Balang 5Jan13

From JS

If someone had told me a few years back that I would have a chance to see three species of Aquila at once in Southeast Asia, honestly, I would think it is impossible. Then, seeing the commoner of the three, the Greater Spotted Eagle, was itself a challenge. Little did I know that in less than a decade, the awareness on migratory raptors has grown by leap and bound, so much so that today, we have a chance to visit a padi field in Malacca and see all three species of Aquilas in less than 5 minutes. In fact, 5 minutes is an overstated estimate. Identifying a juvenile Imperial Eagle on a pile of wood/sticks, a juvenile Steppe Eagle perched on a bare branch of a tall tree and a hunting Greater Spotted Eagle should certainly take a shorter amount of time. Even before our breakfast has reached our stomachs, we have reasons to go for another round. Some minutes of our lives!

Left: Juvenile Steppe Eagle. Right: Juvenile Imperial Eagle

Juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle

Having spent the morning photographing the Aquilas and admiring our lifers, we decided to spend the afternoon scouring the padi fields of Batu Gajah and Sungei Balang for more lifers. Alas, we had no success. Instead, we had a surprise find of seeing zero raptor at the former site and zero Aquila at the latter site. If timing of visit did not play a part in leading us to this find, we may very well be looking at alarmingly low number of Aquilas in the Peninsula and unusually high density of Aquila species at suitable sites. Unlike Batu Gajah and Sungei Balang, Batang Tiga had dry, recently harvested padi fields, teeming with non-swimming rodents. In short, our lesson for the day is "wet padi, no rats, no raptor".

Here's the summary of the raptors seen:

Batang Tiga:
1) Eastern Marsh Harrier (2, including 1 juvenile and 1 adult male.)
2) Pied Harrier (2, including 2 females.)
3) Greater Spotted Eagle (>2, including 2 immatures.)
4) Steppe Eagle (1, including 1 juvenile.)
5) Imperial Eagle (1, including 1 juvenile.)
6) Brahminy Kite (2)
7) Black-Winged Kite (>5)
8) Changeable Hawk Eagle (1 pale morph)
Other noteworthy sightings: Black-Browed Warbler (2), Oriental Reed Warbler (1), White-Rumped Munia

1) Black Kite (1)
2) Black-Winged Kite (2)
3) White-Bellied Sea Eagle (1)
4) Black Baza (1)
Other noteworthy sightings: Common Greenshank (2), Long-Toed Stint (>15), Wood Sandpiper(sss), Lesser Adjutant (>7), Common Snipe (>4), Little Ringed Plover (>10)

Batu Gajah:
1) Brahminy Kite
Other noteworthy sightings: Lesser Adjutant (3), Long-Toed Stint (>8), Wood Sandpiper(sss), Little Ringed Plover (>20, including 1 orange-legged individual.)

From KH

Full list:

Batang Tiga:
1) Yellow Bittern (3)
2) Pond Heron sp. (>5)
3) Cattle Egret (>20)
4) Purple Heron (>5)
5) Great Egret (>20)
6) Intermediate Egret (>20)
7) Little Egret (>20)
8) Eastern Marsh Harrier (2, including 1 juvenile and 1 adult male.)
9) Pied Harrier (2, including 2 females.)
10) Greater Spotted Eagle (>2, including 2 immatures.)
11) Steppe Eagle (1, including 1 juvenile.)
12) Imperial Eagle (1, including 1 juvenile.)
13) Brahminy Kite (2)
14) Black-Winged Kite (>5)
15) Changeable Hawk Eagle (1 pale morph)
16) Red-wattled Lapwing (2)
17) Wood Sandpiper (2)
18) Common Sandpiper (>3)
19) Rock Pigeon (2)
20) Red Collared Dove (>5)
21) Spotted Dove (>5)
22) Zebra Dove (>5)
23) Swiftlet spp.
24) White-throated Kingfisher (>2)
25) Blue-tailed Bee-eater (>10)
26) Black Drongo (2)
27) House Crow (>10)
28) Barn Swallow (>30)
29) Pacific Swallow (>5)
30) Red-rumped Swallow (5)
31) Zitting Cisticola (>5)
32) Yellow-vented Bulbul (>5)
33) Black-Browed Warbler (2)
34) Oriental Reed Warbler (1)
35) White-Rumped Munia (>30)
36) Scaly-breasted Munia (>30)
37) White-headed Munia (>10)

Batu Gajah:
1) Lesser Whistling Duck (>10 in a flock)
2) Lesser Adjutant (3)
3) Egret spp. (>20)
4) Brahminy Kite
5) White-breasted Waterhen (4)
6) Watercock (1)
7) Common Moorhen (1)
8) Purple Swamphen (3)
9) Pacific Golden Plover (>5)
10 Little Ringed Plover (>20)
11) Wood Sandpiper(>20)
12) Common Sandpiper (>2)
13) Long-Toed Stint (>8)
14) Spotted Dove (>5)
15) Zebra Dove (>5)
16) Raffles's Malkoha (1 pair)
17) White-throated Kingfisher (>2)
18) Brown Shrike (3)
19) Black Drongo (1)
20) Yellow-vented Bulbul (2)
21) Olive-backed Sunbird (1 heard)

S. Balang:
1) Lesser Adjutant (>7)
2) Yellow Bittern (>5)
3) Cinnamon Bittern (>3)
4) Striated Heron (2)
5) Pond Heron sp. (>5)
6) Cattle Egret (>20)
7) Purple Heron (>5)
8) Great Egret (>20)
9) Intermediate Egret (>20)
10) Little Egret (>20)
11) Black Kite (1)
12) Black-Winged Kite (2)
13) White-Bellied Sea Eagle (1)
14) Black Baza (1)
15) Red-wattled Lapwing (>5)
16) Pacific Golden Plover (>20)
17) Little Ringed Plover (>10)
18) Common Snipe (>4)
19) Common Greenshank (2)
20) Wood Sandpiper(>20)
21) Common Sandpiper (>2)
22) Long-Toed Stint (>15)
20) Red Collared Dove (>5)
21) Spotted Dove (>5)
22) Zebra Dove (>5)
23) White-throated Kingfisher (>2)
23) Common Kingfisher (1)
24) Brown Shrike (1)
25) Black Drongo (3)
26) Zitting Cisticola (>2)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Japan 3,5-6Jan13

From Yamane


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I had birding around my place. Actually I wanted to see Brown-headed Thrush and Pale Thrush. Unfortunately I could not see them. Only Dusky Thrush...

Oriental Turtle Dove
Japanese Green Woodpecker (male)
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
White Wagtail
Brown-eared Bulbul
Bull-headed Shrike (female)
Dusky Thrush
Japanese White-eye
Black-faced Bunting
Tree Sparrow
White-cheeked Starling
Azure-winged Magpie
Large-billed Crow

The other day, I could see the birds below.
Daurian Redstart (female)
Varied Tit
Great Tit
Caririon Crow

In this morning, I met the flock of the bird below.
Long-tailed Tit


Today On my way to the gym from my place, I saw the thrush. I took this photo with iPhone. This bird is very gentle.

Today I saw the birds below.
Oriental Turtle Dove
Japanese Green Woodpecker (voice)
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
White Wagtail
Brown-eared Bulbul
Dusky Thrush
Japanese Bush Warbler
Great Tit
Japanese White-eye
Black-faced Bunting
Tree Sparrow
White-cheeked Starling
Azure-winged Magpie
Large-billed Crow

Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Great Tits, and Japanese White-eyes were flocking together and moving together.


I had birding around Yokohama National University (YNU) yesterday. Today I could see Pale Thrush.

Oriental Turtle Dove
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
White Wagtail
Brown-eared Bulbul
Dusky Thrush
Pale Thrush
Great Tit
Japanese White-eye
Black-faced Bunting
Oriental Greenfinch
Tree Sparrow
White-cheeked Starling
Large-billed Crow

Recently I don’t see Caririon Crow. I don’t know why.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Changi, Pulau Punggol 29Dec12

From JS

On hindsight, when the dust has settled, we missed a couple of global lifers, only to find for my father and I a Singapore tick. The exchange is obviously skewed to the ignorant. But, for my father and I, to have the chance to see a true Aquila on Singapore's shore is actually a dream come true. Finally, I can proudly and truthfully claim to see an "Eagle" in Singapore. For my father and I, having this sighting on the same week as finding a new species, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, for Singapore just make this week even more exciting - Santa must have been here on a raptor's back and chased back north by a pale morph Booted Eagle.

To make today even more remarkable is the fact that we had, finally, broken our personal record for the most number of raptor species seen in a day in Singapore. 15 is the new number to beat, a number that I hope would not take more than 2 years to overcome. Now, we are two shy of 17, the highest single-day total based on this year's raptor watch report. Throw in Pied Harrier at Cove and Grey-Headed Fish Eagle at Kranji, we could actually reach that total on paper. But, in the field...

In appreciation of two of Singapore's best raptor sites, I have decided to write a short account of the star raptor seen on each site. For Changi, it will be the Jerdon's Baza while for Seletar North, needless to say, the Greater Spotted Eagle.


Closing in on noon, we were still without a good find at Changi, not even close to anything that we could delete the photos and give it an identity of a rarity/lifer. However, on our 2nd round of Changi, we struck gold at a rain tree. We found an odd-sized couple on a rain tree, taking cover from the sun's heat or the clouds. As usual, Kok Hui was the first to identify the birds as a Jerdon's Baza and an Oriental Honey Buzzard. This sighting came as a saving grace for the morning and a relief for the year. Over the years, we have gained some fame in spotting Jerdon's Baza and it was relieving to finally see our first Jerdon's Baza of the season on the third last day of the year. When the second bird flew across the road with a lizard in its talons, we were only hoping for more (more than our highest count of 11). Unfortunately, for a day of ones (or wants), two is better than none. With the Jerdon's in our bag, our spirits were lifted slightly but another round of search did not yield anything rare. Nevertheless, with hindsight, we had much to be grateful about as the morning could have been as bad as 26 Dec.

First Jerdon's Baza on perch and in flight ©Lau JS

Second Jerdon's Baza with Changeable Lizard in talons ©Lau JS

Seletar North:

After lunch, with hour hand of our watches pointing at one, we were in an awkward position of deciding on our next birding site. My father suggested heading over to Lr Halus and bird from the bridge. That's a viable option but we won't regret ditching that for Seletar North. Parking our cars at the road shoulder, located on the bridge between P. Punggol Barat and P. P. Kechil, we walked over to the clearing and were immediately rewarded. Above the casuarina forest were two thermalling raptors. As the birds were thermalling at different elevation, the size difference was not apparent.

Again, Kok Hui was near-instantaneous to identify the higher-flying bird as a pale morph Booted Eagle. Just as quick but not as accurate, I identified the lower-flying bird as a dark morph Booted Eagle. Staring at two thermalling booted eagles was a sight to behold and a rare sight too! Enjoying the moment for less than a minute, the higher-flying bird dive-bombed the lower-flying bird. That moment was liken receiving my exam script. I saw only my mistakes, the marks lost. Unlike my exam script, if I am quick to "realise" my mistake, I have a chance to redeem myself. Thankfully, with Kok Hui, I am sure to be quick. "Aquila!" was his immediate response. I am redeemed. Greater Spotted Eagle was my re-submission with correction made by Kok Hui. As the saying goes, good things don't last forever. Happily clicking away, the minutes that the bird had spent thermalling before us soon passes. Much to our dismay, the bird turned its back on us and sluggishly flew back to Malaysia. Just like that, my father and I nailed our much-awaited raptor. Number 16 for P. Punggol.

Pale morph Booted Eagle prior to diving at Greater Spotted Eagle ©Lau JS

Greater Spotted Eagle ©Lau JS

After chasing the GSE off, this pale morph Booted Eagle perched triumphantly on its tree! ©Danny Lau

Booted Eagle or OHB? ©Lau JS

Male Alexandrine Parakeet (below) with a pair of Rose-ringed Parakeets ©Danny Lau

Here's the summary of the raptors seen on 29/12/12:

1) Brahminy Kite
2) Black-winged Kite
3) Changeable Hawk Eagle
4) White-bellied Sea Eagle
5) Booted Eagle
6) Greater Spotted Eagle
7) Common Buzzard
8) Oriental Honey Buzzard
9) Jerdon's Baza
10) Black Baza
11) Chinese Sparrowhawk
12) Japanese Sparrowhawk
13) Eastern Marsh Harrier
14) Osprey
15) Peregrine Falcon

Raptors seen at individual sites:

1) Changeable Hawk Eagle (1)
2) Japanese Sparrowhawk (1, including 1 adult female.)
3) Chinese Sparrowhawk (1)
4) Black Baza (>8)
5) Jerdon's Baza (2)
6) Oriental Honey Buzzard (>4, including 1 dark morph male.)
7) Common Buzzard (1)
8) Black-winged Kite (4)
9) Brahminy Kite (3)
10) White-bellied Sea-eagle (1)
11) Eastern Marsh Harrier (1, including 1 adult male.)

1) Booted Eagle (2, including 1 dark morph and 1 pale morph.)
2) Greater Spotted Eagle (1, including 1 juvenile.)
3) Brahminy Kite (>2)
4) Black-winged Kite (1)
5) White-bellied Sea-eagle (1)
6) Osprey (1)
7) Peregrine Falcon (1, including 1 juvenile.)
8) Chinese Sparrowhawk (1, including 1 adult male.)
9) Japanese Sparrowhawk (1, including 1 adult male.)
10) Black Baza (14)
11) Changeable Hawk Eagle (1, including 1 juvenile.)
12) Oriental Honey Buzzard (3, including 1 adult male and 2 juveniles.)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Changi, BTNR, Pulau Punggol 26Dec12

From JS

Yesterday, my father took leave and this means that we would be doing some birding. Expected, we started the morning at Changi (CC). The Short-Toed Snake Eagle was a gamble but still worthwhile to try. Santa must have kidnapped the bird, so we did not see it. Instead, we saw the wintering raptors and the usual residents. Nothing spectacular was seen. In fact, when we were there, I spent a significant amount of the time sleeping in the car.

Although pretty much everything was not in favor of us to continue birding, we still continued and of all places, at the Bukit Timah Summit (BTNR). (On hindsight, we were fortunate to decide against going to Seletar North.) This is what I call fool-hardy determination. If I am not mistaken, this would be my fourth hike in less than 2 weeks and it is not surprising that I saw different birds on each visit. Today, we saw a Chestnut-bellied Malkolha, a juvenile Changeable Hawk Eagle and an adult Dark-sided Flycatcher. While most birders would think that forest birding is best at dawn, late morning could be just as rewarding, if one is not looking for thrushes or owls. As the forest warms up in the late morning, traffic on the main road decreases, resulting in a counter-intuitive increase in bird activities. I am not sure if this phenomenon is the equivalent of Panti's birdwave in the middle of the day at the Shrine. Up on the summit, the most obvious bird is the swiftlet, followed by the vocal Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers. Without the appearance of the Yellow-Vented Flowerpecker, we left the site with much wanting.

Juvenile pale morph Changeable Hawk Eagle

After a late lunch, we headed back out into the field. The only place that I would want to visit then would be Seletar North (PP), so that would be our final birding destination for the day. Arriving, we saw zero cars at the gantry. That was our closest indication of the events in the morning. Still, we took our chances. Unfortunately, the birds did not show but fortunately, the LTA traffic warden did not show up either. While the pond is pretty much deserted, except for a lone Yellow Bittern, a couple of common sandpiper and a lone Little Ringed Plover, we took no chances. Alas, the day ended as how it started. The focal point of Seletar North went back to the raptors when my father pointed out to Mike Price a dark-morph Booted Eagle. Ever since the runway became more active, the timing of the raptors' gathering became later. Now, it appears that 6.30pm is the starting time and the location has shifted to the casuarina forests by the coast. While my father was busy spotting the raptors, I went to another 2 rain-filled ponds that were hidden in the mimosa field. Bashing around, I flushed 6 Common Snipes, a couple of warblers and grassland passerines. At one point of time, I was actually staring at 3 snipes before their natural reflexes took over them. Hopefully, we will get to see more freshwater waders in the near future.

Common Snipe

Dark morph Booted Eagle

Eurasian Sparrowhawk?

Here's the summary of the raptor sightings:
1) Brahminy Kite (>9, 2-CC, 1-BTNR, >6-PP)
2) Black Winged Kite (3, 2-CC, 1-PP)
3) Changeable Hawk Eagle (2, 2 adult pale-morph-on the way to BTNR from CC)
4) White-Bellied Sea-Eagle (5, 5-PP)
5) Booted Eagle (1, 1 dark-morph-PP)
6) Osprey (2, 2-PP)
7) Eastern Marsh Harrier (1, 1-CC)
8) Oriental Honey Buzzard (2, 2-CC)
9) Common Buzzard (2, 1 dark morph and 1 pale morph-CC)
10) Black Baza (>10, >5-CC, 5-PP)
11) Chinese Sparrowhawk (2, 1 adult female and 1 adult male-CC)
12) Eurasian Sparrowhawk? (1, 1-PP)
Accipiter sp. (3, 1-CC, 1-BTNR, 1-PP)
Unid Raptor (1, 1-PP)

12 of 15 Smooth Otters at Pulau Punggol ©Danny Lau
Tasmania 19-25Dec12

From KH

December is a summer month in Australia. At this time of the year, Tasmania is a cool 10-20 degrees Celsius. Daylight is 0530-2100. There wasn't much rain either.

The target of this trip is the 12 endemic birds of Tasmania. The first and last day were pretty much for settling in and out of Tasmania, so my wife and I only birded on 20-24 Dec. We sighted 61 bird species, 3 mammal species and 2 reptile species.

20 Dec

The first day of exploration started on Bruny Island. All 12 endemics can be found on this island that is about the land area of Singapore. If one is interested in the Little Penguin and the Short-tailed Shearwater, a night stay over is necessary as these birds will return to their burrows at dusk. We managed to see 6 of the 12 endemic species:

Tasmanian Native-hen
Green Rosella
Tasmanian Thornbill
Black-headed Honeyeater
Dusky Robin
Black Currawong

Left: Green Rosella. Right: Juvenile Dusky Robin.

4 lifers: Kelp Gull, Pallid Cuckoo, Forest Raven and European Goldfinch. The last bird is an introduced species.

Juvenile Pallid Cuckoo

Left: Adult Kelp Gull. Right: Forest Raven

As well as the following endemic subspecies:

Superb Fairy Wren cyaneus
Brown Thornbill diemensis
Yellow-rumped Thornbill leachi
New Holland Honeyeater canescens
Australian Magpie hypoleuca
Grey Fantail albiscapa

Male Superb Fairy Wren cyaneus subsp. singing

In total, we saw 39 species between 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. Here are some of the others:

Female Chestnut Teal Great (left) & Black-faced (right) Cormorants
White-faced Heron Pied Oystercatcher
Masked Lapwing Crested Terns

We got a non-avain creature in the form of a skink.

Southern Grass Skink (Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii)

21 Dec

Today's birding is around Hobart, namely Peter-Murrell Reserve, Mt Wellington and Mt Field.

At Peter-Murrell Reserve, we added 2 endemic species - Yellow-throated Honeyeater and Yellow Wattlebird.

Left: Yellow-throated Honeyeater. Right: Yellow Wattlebird

Black-headed Honeyeater (bottom) and juvenile Welcome Swallows (top)

1 lifer - Horsefield's Bronze Cuckoo;

Horsefield's Bronze Cuckoo

and a few endemic subspecies - Grey Currawong arguta, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo xanthanotus, Eastern Rosella diemenensis and Little Wattlebird tasmanica.

Left: Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. Right: Eastern Rosella

Left: Little Wattlebird. Right: Dusky Woodswallow

Left: Great Cormorant. Right: Black-faced Cuckooshrike

At Mt Wellington, we did not get any new bird for the trip (in fact, no bird at all!). Mt Field was slightly better with 3 birds in total - Crescent Honeyeater, Black Currawong and Grey Fantail. Only the Crescent Honeyeater is a new bird for the trip.

Crescent Honeyeater singing

The other highlight today is a mammal, the Tasmanian Pademelon.

A friendly Tasmanian Pademelon at Russell Falls car park

22 Dec

Today we made our way to Deloraine via Great Lake. The new birds today are Australian Pipit bistriatus and Black Swan.

Left: Brown Falcon. Right: Australian Pipit.

The highlight, however, is a Short-beaked Echidna!

Short-beaked Echidna at road side

23 Dec

Today is Cradle Mountain day.

Added 2 endemic species - Scrubtit and Tasmanian Scrubwren.

Tasmanian Scrubwren

1 lifer, Pink Robin, which is also an endemic subspecies rodinogaster.

Male Pink Robin

Another endemic subspecies - Wedge-tailed Eagle fleayi.

A pair of Wedge-tailed Eagle

Tasmanian Native-hen with chicks Tasmanian Thornbill
Black Currawong Female Superb Fairy Wren

The non-avian highlights are an over-friendly Bennett's (Red-necked) Wallaby at Dove Lake and Metallic Skinks at Knyvet Falls boardwalk.

Left: Red-necked Wallaby. Right: Metallic Skink (Niveoscincus metallicus)

24 Dec

Final day of exploration starts from Queenstown back to Hobart via Lake St Clair, and I'm still missing Strong-billed Honeyeater and Forty-spotted Pardalote. Fortunately, we managed to see, not 1 but 3, of the honeyeater today. An evening dash to Peter-Murrell Reserve turned up a pardalote, but it is the endemic subspecies of Striated, not the Forty-spotted. So in total, we saw 11 endemic species and 14 endemic subspecies.

Left: Scrubtit. Right: Strong-billed Honeyeater.

Left: Male Swamp Harrier. Right: Striated Pardalote striatus subsp.

Bird list. 61 birds seen on this trip. 17 lifers (L) of which 11 are endemic (E) to Tasmania.

1. Black Swan
2. Pacific Black Duck
3. Chestnut Teal
4. Great Cormorant
5. Little Pied Cormorant
6. Little Black Cormorant
7. Black-faced Cormorant
8. White-faced Heron
9. Swamp Harrier
10. Wedge-tailed Eagle
11. Brown Falcon
12. Australian Kestrel
13. Tasmanian Native Hen (L)(E)
14. Masked Lapwing
15. Pied Oystercatcher
16. Silver Gull
17. Pacific Gull
18. Kelp Gull (L)
19. Crested Tern
20. bronzewing sp.
21. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
22. Galah
23. Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
24. Eastern Rosella
25. Green Rosella (L)(E)
26. Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo (L)
27. Pallid Cuckoo (L)
28. Superb Fairy Wren
29. Striated Pardalote
30. Little Wattlebird
31. Yellow Wattlebird (L)(E)
32. Yellow-throated Honeyeater (L)(E)
33. Black-headed Honeyeater (L)(E)
34. Strong-billed Honeyeater (L)(E)
35. New Holland Honeyeater
36. Crescent Honeyeater
37. Dusky Robin (L)(E)
38. Pink Robin (L)
39. Scarlet Robin
40. Grey Fantail
41. Bassian Thrush
42. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
43. Tasmanian Thornbill (L)(E)
44. Brown Thornbill
45. Tasmanian Scrubwren (L)(E)
46. Scrubtit (L)(E)
47. Black-faced Cuckooshrike
48. Dusky Woodswallow
49. Australian Magpie
50. Black Currawong (L)(E)
51. Grey Currawong
52. Forest Raven (L)
53. Australian Pipit
54. Tree Martin
55. Welcome Swallow
56. Spotted Dove - introduced
57. Laughing Kookaburra - introduced
58. Common Blackbird - introduced
59. European Goldfinch - introduced (L)
60. House Sparrow - introduced
61. Common Starling - introduced