Welcome to Birdquest

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

including Christmas Island

Birdquest's Western Australia birding tour is one of a series of Birdquest tours that comprehensively cover this island continent with its huge number of endemic birds. Our Western Australia tour offers the most comprehensive coverage of this scenic and diverse state available. The Christmas Island extension adds in this remote tropical island that is far nearer Java than Australia, home to the strange Abbott's Booby, Christmas Island Frigatebird and some interesting endemic landbirds.

Sunday 10th September — Wednesday 27th September 2017
(18 days)


Christmas Island Extension: Wednesday 6th September — Saturday 9th September (4 days)

Leaders: Andy Jensen and an assistant leader

Group Size Limit: 9 (12 on extension)

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

The stunning Black Grasswren is a highly-prized Aussie 'mega', which can only be found by penetrating deep into the remote and inaccessible Kimberley Mountains (Mark Beaman)

The stunning Black Grasswren is a highly-prized Aussie 'mega', which can only be found by penetrating deep into the remote and inaccessible Kimberley Mountains (Mark Beaman)

Australia, the smallest continent or the largest island on earth, depending on how you like to look at it, has been cut off from the rest of the world for more than sixty million years and as a result has evolved a remarkable and unique flora and fauna. The birdlife has followed its own evolutionary path and Australia has more endemic bird species (over 300) than any other country and many bird families which are entirely restricted to it or which do not extend beyond Australasia.

Australia’s immense geographical area means that it is simply impossible to see the great majority of its endemic birds during a single visit of just a few weeks, so it is far more sensible to regard the island continent as a place where one should make two or more visits. Superb, mostly easy, birding combined with good travelling conditions make for an unforgettable experience.

This exciting tour has been specifically designed to concentrate on the many endemic specialties of the western region of Australia. Western Australia is one of a series of classic Birdquests that between them cover every corner of Australia and achieve a level of coverage of its specialities that is unequalled.

Our journey begins in Perth in the state of Western Australia and from there we will go on to explore the verdant southwestern corner of the continent, an area with a splendid variety of endemics, including huge Carnaby’s and Baudin’s Black-Cockatoos, Elegant Parrot, the dazzling Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Western Bristlebird, Western Whipbird and the famous Noisy Scrub-bird, and some of the finest displays of wildflowers anywhere in the world.

Afterwards we head north into the state’s arid interior, where we will track down both Copperback Quailthrush and Western Quailthrush. Our final birding in the southwest will be a foray north from Perth to look for Rock Parrot.

From the south, in total contrast, we will head far to the north. Here we will first visit Broome on the northwestern coast of Western Australia, where the largest concentrations of trans-equatorial migratory waders in the whole of Australia are to be found, with star attractions including Great Knot and Asian Dowitcher. Other likely highlights include the localized Dusky Gerygone and both White-breasted and Mangrove Golden Whistlers.

Next we will penetrate deep into the spectacular Kimberley massif, to the remote Mitchell Plateau, in order to look for four special birds that are endemic to northwestern Australia; the sought-after Black Grasswren, White-quilled Rock-Pigeon, the exquisite Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and Kimberley Honeyeater.

Finally we will explore the Kununurra region, one of the foremost birding locations in the western half of the continent. As we search for the area’s varied birdlife we shall take a boat trip on Lake Argyle and explore irrigated farmland and dry woodland. Here we shall be seeking such specialities as Oriental Plover, Spinifex Pigeon, Northern Rosella, Sandstone Shrikethrush, the rare Yellow Chat and Yellow-rumped and Pictorella Mannikins, as well as a host of other fine birds ranging from the stately Brolga to Australian Pratincole.

During the optional extension there will be an exciting opportunity to enjoy a few days on remote Christmas Island, a truly oceanic Australian island with a totally different feel to it. Its rich and well-protected rainforests are home to the entire world breeding populations of the enigmatic Abbott’s Booby, Christmas Island Frigatebird and the extraordinary Golden Tropicbird, and also hold such endemics as Christmas Island Goshawk, Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon, Christmas Island Hawk-Owl and Christmas Island White-eye, as well as some of the most remarkable crabs on earth.

Birdquest has operated tours to Australia since 1985.

Christmas Island-only Option: Subject to space being available, we can accept bookings for the Christmas Island extension only. Please contact us for further information.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/motels are of good or medium standard throughout. Road transport is by minibus/passenger van and 4x4 vehicles and roads are mostly good (even the dirt roads are mainly well graded).

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there are a few moderate grade walks including one or two optional hikes in uneven terrain.

Climate: In the southwest conditions are changeable with periods of warm, dry and sunny weather alternating with cool, overcast and wet spells. In the interior and north most days are warm or hot (sometimes very hot), dry and sunny (although it can get very cool at night in the interior). While overcast conditions are not infrequent, there is only a low probability of rain. It is generally rather humid near the north coast.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are good.

Important Information for Pound Payers: Kindly note that the Pound prices shown here are based on post-EU-referendum exchange rate reality, unlike the website prices of most UK bird tour operators which are still based on outdated and hugely higher pre-referendum exchange rates. Consequently you can rest assured that we will not have to adjust these prices upwards at invoicing, unless the Pound falls significantly further, and if there is any recovery by the Pound you will receive the full benefit of the cost-saving by way of a price reduction at invoicing.

Tour Price: £5390, €6360, $7060 Perth/Kununurra. Christmas Island Extension: £1990, €2350, $2610.

Price includes all transportation (including the Perth-Broome flight and the very expensive Perth-Christmas Island-Perth flights), all accommodations, all meals, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Base prices for this tour are determined in Australian Dollars, the currency in which we pay for most tour services. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = AUD 1.770, €1 = AUD 1.500 and $1 = AUD 1.350. Prices may be adjusted (either downwards or upwards) at the time of invoicing should there be a change in the exchange rate. See booking information.

Single Room Supplement: £850, €1003, $1114. Christmas Island Extension: £240, €283, $314.

Deposit: £650, €800, $850. Extension: £300, €350, $400.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

The gorgeous Red-winged Fairywren is endemic to the southwest (Pete Morris)

The gorgeous Red-winged Fairywren is endemic to the southwest (Pete Morris)

... as is the stunning, but similar, Blue-breasted Fairywren (Pete Morris)

... as is the stunning, but similar, Blue-breasted Fairywren (Pete Morris)

... as is the stunning Western Shriketit (Pete Morris)

... as is the stunning Western Shriketit (Pete Morris)

... the fabulous Western Spinebill (Pete Morris)

... the fabulous Western Spinebill (Pete Morris)

... and other localized specialities include the attractive Rock Parrot (Pete Morris)

... and other localized specialities include the attractive Rock Parrot (Pete Morris)

... and the threatened Hooded Plover (Pete Morris)

... and the threatened Hooded Plover (Pete Morris)

The superb Purple-crowned (or Lilac-crowned) Fairy-wren is another brilliant speciality of this tour, found in the northwest (Pete Morris)

The superb Purple-crowned (or Lilac-crowned) Fairy-wren is another brilliant speciality of this tour, found in the northwest (Pete Morris)

This is a great tour for finding the often elusive Yellow Chat (Pete Morris)

This is a great tour for finding the often elusive Yellow Chat (Pete Morris)

The gorgeous 'Golden Tropicbird' is endemic to Christmas Island. The form fulvus may represent a distinct species, but is probably best treated as a form of White-tailed Tropicbird (Mark Beaman)

The gorgeous 'Golden Tropicbird' is endemic to Christmas Island. The form fulvus may represent a distinct species, but is probably best treated as a form of White-tailed Tropicbird (Mark Beaman)

The inquisitive-looking Christmas Island Hawk-Owl is pleasingly common! (Pete Morris)

The inquisitive-looking Christmas Island Hawk-Owl is pleasingly common! (Pete Morris)

In the southwest, specialities include endemics such as the gorgeous Red-eared Firetail (Pete Morris)

In the southwest, specialities include endemics such as the gorgeous Red-eared Firetail (Pete Morris)

... the recently split Western Fieldwren (Pete Morris)

... the recently split Western Fieldwren (Pete Morris)

... the sneaky Western Bristlebird (Pete Morris)

... the sneaky Western Bristlebird (Pete Morris)

... the endemic Carnaby's Black Cockatoo (Mark Beaman)

... the endemic Carnaby's Black Cockatoo (Mark Beaman)

... and Western Yellow Robin (Mark Beaman)

... and Western Yellow Robin (Mark Beaman)

The southwest is also an excellent area to catch up with the stunning Brush Bronzewing (Pete Morris)

The southwest is also an excellent area to catch up with the stunning Brush Bronzewing (Pete Morris)

A number of interesting marsupials are encountered, none cuter than the tiny Honey Possum! (Mark Beaman)

A number of interesting marsupials are encountered, none cuter than the tiny Honey Possum! (Mark Beaman)

In the northern sections of the tour, we'll find outback specialities such as Spinifex Pigeon (Mark Beaman)

In the northern sections of the tour, we'll find outback specialities such as Spinifex Pigeon (Mark Beaman)

... the attractive Buff-sided Robin (Mark Beaman)

... the attractive Buff-sided Robin (Mark Beaman)

... Barking Owl (Pete Morris)

... Barking Owl (Pete Morris)

... and the rarely-seen White-breasted Whistler (Pete Morris)

... and the rarely-seen White-breasted Whistler (Pete Morris)

... and we'll see common species such as the aptly-named Splendid Fairywren (Pete Morris)

... and we'll see common species such as the aptly-named Splendid Fairywren (Pete Morris)

We also have an excellent chance of finding the attractive migrant Little Curlew (Pete Morris)

We also have an excellent chance of finding the attractive migrant Little Curlew (Pete Morris)

Other interesting species on Christmas Island include the rare and prehistoric-looking Abbot's Booby (Pete Morris)

Other interesting species on Christmas Island include the rare and prehistoric-looking Abbot's Booby (Pete Morris)

... the endemic Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon (Mark Beaman)

... the endemic Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon (Mark Beaman)

... and the interesting Christmas Island Goshawk (Pete Morris)

... and the interesting Christmas Island Goshawk (Pete Morris)

... and one never tires of the stunning Golden Bosunbirds! (Pete Morris)

... and one never tires of the stunning Golden Bosunbirds! (Pete Morris)

The southwest at this time of year has some fabulous orchids such as this Cowslip Orchid (Pete Morris)

The southwest at this time of year has some fabulous orchids such as this Cowslip Orchid (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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