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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Sunday 16th September - Sunday 14th October 2007

Mark Beaman

This year’s tour to Western Australia, with its revised and improved itinerary, was not only a highly enjoyable birding adventure in itself but also our most successful tour to the region and quite likely the most successful bird tour to these parts of Australia ever. We had some good luck, but as usual it was mostly persistence that paid off for us as we cleaned up on such specialities as Red Goshawk, Chestnut-backed Buttonquail, Oriental Plover, Little Curlew, Hooded and Bourke’s Parrots, Noisy Scrub-bird, Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Dusky Grasswren, Western Bristlebird, Banded Whiteface, Yellow Chat, Western Whipbird, Chiming Wedgebill, Western Bowerbird, Spinifexbird, Star Finch, Painted Firetail, Yellow-rumped and Pictorella Mannikin, the gorgeous Gouldian Finch, and even the holy grail of northwestern Australian birds, the rare and localized Black Grasswren! The supporting cast included all the rest of the southwestern endemics, Black-breasted Buzzard, Asian Dowitcher, Spinifex and White-quilled Rock Pigeons, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Northern Rosella, Rock Parrot, Black-tailed Treecreeper, the newly split Kimberley Honeyeater, Dusky Gerygone, Ground Cuckoo-shrike and Red-eared Firetail. The Christmas Island extension was a Birdquest first, and of course we found all the island specialities (an easy task) including the rare and strange Abbott’s Booby and the gorgeous Golden Tropicbird. A total of 356 bird species were recorded during the tour, including 336 on the Australian mainland. In addition, as an indication of what a great place for mammals Australia is, 25 species of furry creatures were recorded, all but one on the mainland.