Western Australia, 22nd June - 28th July 2002

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT surfbirds.com)


by Tom Goossens


22/6 Depart Brussels to London and further towards Singapore
23/6 Still going
24/6 00.30h arrival in Perth and drive towards Dryandra SF, entire day birding at Dryandra
25/6 Morning birding in Dryandra SF and afternoon drive towards Stirling Range
26/6 Stirling Range NP and evening drive to Albany
27/6 Two People Bay
28/6 Two People Bay
29/6 Two People Bay - Albany surroundings - drive towards Augusta
30/6 Cape Leeuwin - Hamelin Bay - Boranup State Forest - Yalgorup NP
01/7 Herdsman Lake - Yanchep NP - Lancelin - Murchison River
02/7 Murchison River - Billabong Roadhouse - Overlander Roadhouse - Hamelin Caravan Park - Monkey Mia
03/7 Monkey Mia
04/7 Monkey Mia - Billabong Roadhouse - Geraldton - Mt.Magnet
05/7 Mt. Magnet - Cue - Nallan Station
06/7 Nallan Station
07/7 Nallan Station - drive towards Beacon
08/7 Beacon - drive towards Perth and further to Albany!
09/7 Two People Bay
10/7 Two People Bay - Lake Muir - Perth
11/7 Flight from Perth - Alice Springs - Darwin
12/7 Darwin and drive towards Victoria River
13/7 Victoria River - Kunnunurra
14/7 Kunnunurra - drive to Wyndham
15/7 Wyndham - Gibb River Road (Ellenbrae Station)
16/7 Gibb River Road (Ellenbrae Station - Drysdale River Station - Mitchell Falls)
17/7 Mitchell Falls
18/7 Mitchell Falls - Drysdale River Station
19/7 Drysdale River Station
20/7 Drysdale River Station - Derby
21/7 Derby - Broome
22/7 Broome
23/7 Broome - Halls Creek
24/7 Halls Creek - Katherine - Darwin
25/7 Darwin
26/7 Darwin
27/7 Darwin - Flight towards Singapore and further towards London
28/7 Arrival in Brussels



This report is based upon a trip, taken by myself from June 22nd until July 28th 2002. I concentrated on Western Australia because I visited the eastern and northern part in 1996. To bird Western Australia you must know that there are 3 sections, 1. the Southwest corner, 2. Midwest and 3. the Northwest. I spent nearly 5 weeks and this was a bit brief to visit all the good areas. A three-week trip should do for the southwest and Midwest albeit a bit short as well (it depends how high up you go in the Midwest). To do the northwest you need at least 2 weeks but you could easily spend 3 weeks here, and if you plan on visiting Kakadu NP and Katherine take 4 weeks at least to enjoy all the birding highlights and difficult to find species (there are quiet a few!).

Flight and visa

I booked my flight with British Airways, at that time the best offer, but still expensive. I paid 1600 Euros for the flight Brussels - London - Kuala Lumpur - Perth, this included two domestic flights as well. I used one to fly from Perth to Darwin. My return flight was then from Darwin back home again over Kuala Lumpur and London.

To get the visa was no problem. I arranged an electronic visa through my travel agency. It's a standard tourist visa that allows you to stay in Australia for three months.


The Australian currency is the Australian Dollar. During my visit, the exchange rate was approximately 0,55 Euro for 1 AU$. I took a small amount of cash with me because VISA card is widely accepted and American express can be used at many places, although less accepted than VISA. I once did a cash withdrawal with my VISA.

Car Hire

To rent a car in Australia is no problem at all. There are however so many rental companies and so many different rental arrangements that you have to find your way in this. A problem is that car rental in Western Australia and especially Northern Territory is more expensive than in the rest of Australia! My first intention was to hire a car in Perth and drive it all the way to Darwin. It would have been the best way to go, but the cost for the relocation was a bit too high! I finally booked an economy class car in Perth for the three weeks in the southwest and a 4WD in Darwin for the northwest. I did this with AVIS because they offered me the best deal with unlimited mileage! Most other rental companies didn't offer the unlimited miles and this is a must for a birdwatcher because miles come easy when looking for birds. I made reservations for my cars through internet at http://www.carhire.com.au/ where I got the best deal. Even my travel agency couldn't get this price from Avis Belgium! A negative point though was that I couldn't take my 4WD into Western Australia from Northern Territory. I didn't notice this and just drove it into WA.


Due to the high costs for the flight and car rental I tried to save a bit of money by taking my tent with me and to bush-camp as much as possible. I always tried to bush-camp for 2-3 days and then camp on a campground with facilities to wash up and do some laundry when needed. In Darwin I stayed in the 'Frogshollow Backpackers', a really nice backpacker-hostel.


In the southwest and Midwest it's wintertime, the northwest has dry season in our summer! For the southwest this meant bad weather. I experienced a lot of rain and temperatures were between 10 and 20°C with sometimes under 0°C at night! The Midwest had more pleasant temperatures between 15 and 25°C. My two weeks in the northwest had 30+°C every day and I didn't see one cloud during my stay there! Always bright and sunny! My thoughts were, that it would still be humid in Kimberly and that I should take a lot of water to compensate for the loss of sweat! Instead it was very dry and very pleasant to walk.

Roads and driving

Australia has good paved roads and tricky gravel roads! You drive on the left. When driving at night always be careful of kangaroos and cattle on the roads. After rainfall pay attention to the floodway signs. In wet periods there can be water running over the driveway and this can cause a problem if you drive through with high speed! You also have to be careful when passing Roadtrains. These are monster trucks often as long as 53 meters! The paved roads are sometimes rather small and don't have enough width for a car and a truck to cross without one leaving the pavement. If so, make sure you give way to the Roadtrain, otherwise expect a rain of gravel and pebbles destroying your windshield! It's even wise to stop alongside to give maximum space for the roadtrain!

Other hazards on gravel roads are corrugation and dust holes. If gravel roads look well maintained don't be tempted to drive fast, otherwise you could be in for a surprise!


24 June

Weather: showers and windy, daytime temperature 15°C and 10 °C overnight

Landed in Perth at 00.30h and immediately picked up my car at the Avis desk (they are open, even at night, when they know that a flight is coming in). I drove towards Dryandra State Forest and on the way I slept in the car for a couple of hours. Sunrise was at about 7.00h. The day brought a few showers and temperatures went to 15°C in the day and less than 10°C at night. In the morning I birded an hour just along the road and drove further towards Dryandra. I did some shopping in Narrogin first and in the afternoon visited Old Mill Dam (Wollie walk) and Lol Grey Lookout. This day immediately gave me a few WA endemics like Red-capped Parrot, Western Spinebill and Western Thornbill. Other species included Western Ringneck, Rufous Treecreeper, Grey Currawong, Western Warbler, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Scarlet Robin.

25 June

Weather: Sunny but cold, frost overnight!

The weather this day was generally fine but the night was very cold with even frost on the car windows. In the morning I birded the 'Ochre trail' which gave me 2 Blue-breasted Wren. Along the 'Mari Road' Western Rosella (2), Western Yellow Robin (2) and again 2 Blue-breasted Wrens were noted. The 'Koomal Road' produced Red-capped Robin (2), Red-capped Parrot (6), Tawny-crowned Honeyeater (2) and Western Thornbill. At about 13.30 I left for Stirling Range NP. I made a few roadside stops with the best birds being 10 Elegant Parrots. I arrived at Stirling Range NP at about 17.30h and checked in the 'Stirling Range Retreat' (9$ for a tent site).

26 June

Weather: clouded with showers and strong wind, 15°C

I got up at seven and birded in the retreat a bit, which gave me Purple-crowned Lorikeet (50+), Red-capped Parrot, Western Ringneck, 20+ Regent Parrots and a pair of roosting Tawny Frogmouths! Ask for these at the reception. The people here know the birds that are around and can point out the Frogmouth roosting tree. Along the 'Ongarup Creek Walk' birds of note were 3 Brush Bronzewing and 1 White-breasted Robin (seen at the small mostly dried-out river). After this I did the 'Kanga Walk' where I had the only Red-eared Firetail of the trip (saw it while I was following the dried riverbed. It was feeding in a pinetree on some small cones). Also along this walk, Purple crowned Lorikeet, Western Thornbill (I did see this species quite often, always feeding on the ground), Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote.

At around 17.00h I drove towards Albany and bush camped near the entrance road towards 'Two Peoples Bay' (it is not allowed to camp in the reserve)

27 June

Weather: clouded, strong wind and cold

Today an early start (6.00 am) to be at the Little Beach Car Park before dusk. The weather was not good at all, cold wind and showers. This concluded in an only brief audible Western Bristlebird. Near the car park there is a good site for Noisy Scrub-bird (Frank O'Connor website). I checked this out and had one bird very close to me but not one glimpse. This is surely the worst skulker I ever encountered. Other interesting sightings here were Sooty Oystercatcher, Great Skua, Pacific Gull, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Aus. Gannet and Little Eagle. In the afternoon I visited the site also mentioned by Frank O'Connor near the 4WD track to Sinker Reef. Also here Noisy Scrub-bird and Western Bristlebird only heard. Other birds here were 2 Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters, Grey Currawong

In the evening I went down to Albany to get some dinner and back bush camping near the 'Twin People Bay' entrance road.

28 June

Weather: Sunny and windy

Again an early start (6.00 am) for the Little Beach Car park. At the turnoff near the information centre I saw a Spotted Nightjar just before dusk. The weather was much better with sun but still windy. I first checked the Noisy Scrub Bird site and was lucky to hear one very close to the trail. I sat down and half-hour later I saw a male crossing the track. It was a glimpse but a glimpse that counted. The nice weather was probably the reason why there were a few singing Western Bristlebirds around the car park. In doing this, they often perched in some bushes and gave wonderful views! In the afternoon I tried the track near Sinker Reef again in the aim of seeing Southern Emu Wren and I did see a male and female. Furthermore there were 2 singing Noisy Scrub-birds, Red-capped Parrots, Brown Falcon, Western Spinebill.

29 June

Weather: Sunny with a few clouds, some rain and strong wind, 15°C

I couldn't get enough of the Bristlebirds so I went back to the car park and had again wonderful views of the birds. I must say, that I tried to lure them out with tape, for photographing them, and this worked very well indeed. After Little beach, at about 11.00 am, I drove towards Albany and birded a bit near Lower King River Bridge, Emu point and Lake Seppings. Best birds here were a flock of 50+ Banded Stilt, Blue-billed Duck, Sooty Oystercatcher.

A short stop at the Gap yielded 20+ Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, 20+ Aus. Gannets, 5+ Crested Terns and 2 Sooty Oystercatchers. After this I drove all the way to Augusta. Along the road the only birds of note were Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and Australian Kestrel. I arrived at Augusta were I checked in at the 'West Bay Retreat' and had a campsite for just 5 AU$ and communal block.

30 June

Weather: sunny periodes and showers, strong NW wind

I got up at around 7.00h and drove to Cape Leeuwin to search for the Rock Parrot. This supposed to be the best site for this species but I failed to find them! The best birds that encountered here were 2 Southern Emu Wrens, 1 Brown Skua, 10+ Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses and 5+ Sooty Oystercatchers. The reason for the lack of seabirds was the wind, which came from the north!

Hamelin Bay was the next stop were I searched for the Rock Parrot at the carpark. No luck here as well and nothing else of any interest.

I drove on and passed through 'Boranup State Forest' where I stopped to eat. Here I finally saw a group of Short-billed Black Cockatoos and my only Red-winged Fairy Wrens of the trip! (2 females). In the evening I made a short walk just before dark in 'Yalgorup NP - Preston Beach'. The best birds here were Western Yellow Robin and Fantailed Cuckoo. In the evening I drove towards Perth were I bushcamped just outside town.

1 July

Weather: bad weather with a lot of wind and showers

Daytime started for me at 7.30h and I first paid the visitors center at Herdsman Lake a visit. This was very disappointing because I expected a big facility-rich visitors centre. This was not the case! I birded a bit around Herdsman Lake and then paid 'Birds Australie' a visit. This is just a few streets from Herdsman Lake. It is good to drop by here to get some info. Around 11.00h I drove towards Yanchep NP because I heard there were a lot of Black Cockatoos hanging around there. I saw more than 200 birds there but only Short-billed. At Birds Australia, they told me that Lancelin was a good spot for the Rock Parrot, so in the afternoon I left Yanchep NP to check Lancelin out. I arrived rather late and spent an hour looking for the parrots without success. In the evening I left for Kalbarri and spend the night at the campsite near 'Murchison River'

2 July

Weather: nice, open and sunny weather

In the morning I birded the surroundings of the Murchisson River and left at 10.00h towards Monkey Mia. I stopped at Billabong Roadhouse, Overlander Roadhouse, a windmill and Hamelin. I arrived in Monkey Mia around 17.00h and checked in in the resort. I stayed in a dormitory, these were just big campervans were you could sleep with 6 persons. In the evening I went to the beach to check out the dolphins.

3 July

Weather: beautifull weather with temperatures from 20 - 25 °C

In the morning (around 7.00h) I checked the Car-park and found the Thick-billed Grasswrens within 5 minutes. They were just dead-easy. I spent the entire morning in the surroundings of Monkey Mia. There is a trail starting near the Car-park and this got me some good birds like Black-eared Cuckoo, Fairy Tern, Chiming Wedgebills. In the afternoon I took a cruise to look for the Dugongs. We saw 1 Dugong and lots of Dolphins.

4 July

Weather: beautifull weather with temperatures from 20 - 25 °C

In the morning, I did the Monkey Mia trail again and started off at 11.00 towards Mt. Magnet. The rest of the day was spent driving with a short dinner-break at Geraldton. I arrived in Mt. Magnet at 24.00h and bushcampeded

5 July

Weather: beautifull weather but a strong wind

I birded in the morning around Mt.Magnet and then further around Cue. There were very few birds here with nothing special. I tried the Chestnut-breasted Quail-Trush site of Frank 'O Connor with no success. In the evening I drove towards Nallan Station were I saw a few Mulga Parrots and Bourke's Parrots fly over. In the evening I put up my tent at Nallan Station.

6 July

Weather: beautifull weather but again a strong southerly wind, night-temperatures of 5-10°C and 20 °C daytime temperature

I birded around Nallan Station most part of the day and best birds noted here were Western Bowerbird (only 2 birds seen!), Slaty-backed Thornbill, Mulga Parrots and Bourkes Parrots. Late afternoon I tried the Chestnut-breasted Quail-Trush - site again with no success!

7 July

Weather: beautifull weather but again cold in the morning (8°C) on the road towards Beacon overcast and a few showers

I got up around seven and birded the stretch between the homestead and the Highway. Following this I walked again along the airstrip. Best birds encountered were a pair Tawny Frogmouths which I accidentally flushed and Redthroat.

Around eleven, due to the very few birds in this region, I left for Beacon to search for Pink Cockatoos! The area around Cue-Mt.Magnet-Nallan Station is normaaly highly recommended but during my visit birds were hard to find. Maybe due to the unusual draught? I arrived in Beacon around 17.00 hours after a 550 km drive.

8 July

Weather: sunny weather but cloudy

Early start around seven and after 80 km slow driving along the Bimbijy Road (especially near the Emu-proof Fence) I finally found a pair of Pink Cockatoos!! Another new bird for the trip was a White-eared Honeyeater. Around 11.00h I started off towards Albany! Yes, you're reading correctly, Albany. This due to my Rock Parrot and Long-billed Black Cockatoo misses! Whilst driving 2 groups of Western Corellas were found! (100+ and 28 birds). I arrived at Two Peoples Bay around 22.00 hours.

9 July

Weather: Clouded with sunny periods, cold 15°C and strong wind

In the morning I birdedc at Two Peoples Bay and visited 'Sinker Reef' in search of the Rock Parrots. I found several birds (10+) and got spectacular views of them. Other areas visited in the morning were Little Beach Car Park were I saw a pair Southern Emu Wrens. I saw this species also at a track near a Pine forest along the entrance road towards Two Peoples Bay. A little stop on the way towards Albany near the King River Mouth produced an Australian Hobby. I checked in in the 'Albany Tourist Village' in the afternoon so I could do my laundry and do some shopping in town. In the evening I went to see a movie in the town's cinema.

10 July

Weather: Sunny in the morning and after 10.00h clouded with rain

From 8.00 untill 9.30 hours I birded near the Little Beach Car-park where at 4 Noisy Scrub-birds and 1 Western Bristlebird were heard.

After this I drove towards Perth through the Lake Muir area to search for Western Corellas and Long-billed Black Cockatoos. I found 300+ Western Corellas!!! And only one flock of Short-billed Black Cockatoos. I failed to find the Long-bills so this was a major endemic dip! In the evening I arrived in Perth and slept in my car for a few hours.

11 July

Weather: Perth: rain/Alice Springs: hot and sunny/Darwin: hot

My flight left at 12.00 in Perth. The flight went from Perth towards Alice Springs and further to Darwin. I arrived here at 19.30h and checked in at the 'Frogshollow Backpackers were I booked a bed the day before. I stayed here as well on my trip to Australia in 1996 and can recommend the place. Most of the rooms are dormitory rooms. There is a very nice swimming pool.

12 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

In the morning, I picked up my rental, a brand new Mitsubishi Pajero with just 20 km on theododmeter!!!, did some shopping in town and left for the Kimberly (back to Western Australia!). My 4WD was rented with AVIS were conditions and price were the best I could find. I drove towards Katherine with a little stop at the 'Fergusson River' to search for Hooded Parrots. The water level was to high and there was construction work in progress so I failed to find the parrots. In the evening I arrived at the Victoria River Roadhouse were I camped.

13 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C, at night 10°C

I started birding around the 'Victoria Roadhouse' where a pair of Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens were easily found in the high grassy areas near the river.

The nearby escarpment was checked for White-quilled Rock Pigeon (Northern subsp.) and Sandstone Shrike-trush and failed to see them. I did flush a Southern Boobook. Around midday I drove on towards Kunnunurra were the Ivanhoe road, and lake Kunnunurra were visited. Best birds were Yellow-rumped Mannakin (5 birds) and 10+ Star Finch.

14 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C, at night 10°C

'The Big Sit' In the morning I spent a couple of hours at 'Dingo Creek' near a small waterhole left in the river. My hopes went to Gouldian Finches but these didn't cooperate. I did see 3 beautifull Dingo's up close. The afternoon was spent doing the track towards Lake Argyle and the shores of Lake Argyle itself. Along the track the best birds seen were 1 immature Black-breasted Buzzard, 1 Square-tailed Kite, 2 Black-tailed Treecreepers and more than 100 Pictorella Mannikins. The track was definetly 4WD only Lake Argyle was teeming with birds and the best bird found here was an adult summer Marsh Sandpiper. I spent some time at Lake Argyle to look for the Yellow Chat that has been known to breed here. My luck wasn't changing as I failed to find this species as well. Here I met an Australian birdwatcher, Frank Pierce and his wife. They already did the Gibb River Road and told me were they saw the Black Grasswren after a couple of days searching!!!

In the afternoon I left towards Wyndham. This to be in time for the sunset at 'Five River Lookout'. This was a nice lookout but the sunset was not so beautiful that evening. I spent the night at Wyndham Caravan Park.

15 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C, at night 10°C

In the morning I did some birding in Wyndham at the Caravan Park, Wyndham town and the hospital, later a visit was made to 'The Grotto' and 'Marglu Billabong'. Birding at the billabong was great with upclose views from most species. At 13.30 hours I took off for the Gibb River Road. The scenery was spectacular and then there was the 'Pentacrost' crossing. This is a 200 meter knee-deep river-crossing. A bit frightening going in but pleasant doing it. The only negative part about is was a flat tyre when I got out! I replaced ther tire and drove on towards 'Ellenbrae Station' were I camped and were they fixed the tire.

16 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

Ellenbrae Station proved to be a good birding spot. In the morning I made a short walk along the river (Cambell Creek) and saw many birds of which 3 Black-chinned Honeyeaters were the best. I took off again at 9.30 hours and drove all the way to Mitchell Falls campground with a short stop at Drysdale Station to get some fuel. From there it's all the way to the falls without any fuel stations on the way. You could do the trip on 1 fuel tank but if you plan to drive around a bit you better take some extra fuel with you.

17 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

I started off at first light and went to Little Mertens Fall. This was the spot where Frank saw the Black Grasswren. It took me just 10 minutes and I glimpsed a black thing running along some boulders. I immediately started the pursuit and had stunning views of 2 birds! After an hour or so I continued my way towards the Falls and saw at least 8 White-quilled Rock Pigeons and flushed a buttonquail which I couldn't identify. I ended up spending the entire day along this track with further observations of 2 White-lined Honeyeaters, White-browed Robin, Spangled Drongo.

Back at the campground I met the Kimberly birdwatching group with George Swann. They asked me if I had seen the Grasswrens and with my positive response the entire group went WAAAAA! They obviously dipped them so far. I explained to them were I've seen them and they couldn't wait for the next day.

When I arrived back at my tent, it was getting dark already and whilst preparing dinner a Tawny Frogmouth landed just above my tent!

18 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

Early morning found me at Mertens Falls again were I met the Kimberly Birdwatching group again. I pointed them to the exact spot were I saw the Grasswrens and there they were. We had again great views and eventually the entire group saw the birds. I even managed to get some sound recordings. At least 4 birds were seen this time. Also 3 Pied Imperial Pigeons were spotted.

Around 11.00 I left for Drysdale Station again. Along the way I observed an Australian Bustard just next to the road.

At Drysdale Station I made a walk along the Drysdale river where a Brush Cuckoo was a new species on my list. The evening was spent at the bar and I ended up tasting all the different Australian beers they had. The alcohol level was getting pretty high and I crashed in my tent.

19 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

After the beer last night and the successful find of the Blak Grasswrens,I treated myself with a long sleep. I woke at 7.30h and when I popped my head out the tent I saw a couple, a bit extatic, running back and fourth. This was obviously birdwatchers behaviour! And more birdwatchers behaviour that said they had found something good!!! I immediately jumped out the tent end checked what all the fuss was about. They told me that they just saw several Gouldian finches on a lawn near the campsite. Adrenaline was popping out of my ears and I rushed to the spot they were talking about. I spend two hours around the spot and came up with nothing. Damned!

My plans were to leave today for Derby but the sighting of the Gouldians convinced me to stay another day et Drysdale. My hopes were set on the next morning. There was a chance those birds would return to the same lawn as it is known that they like water-sprayed lawns in the morning.

In the afternoon I spend some time at Miners Pool were I saw 2 Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens. I also visited the creek past the Drysdale river. Here I saw many finches but no Gouldians. Also 2 Black-tailed Treecrepers were seen.

When I returned to Drysdale Station I met the Kimberly Birdwatching group again and I told them about the Gouldians. They too were planning to check them out the next morning.

20 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

First light found us at the lawn where the Gouldians were spotted. After an hour relief and joy there they were GOULDIAN FINCHES, at least one adult male and female and 8 juveniles! After this beautiful sighting I joined the Kimberly Birdwatcjing group for breakfast and after this we made a walk along the Drysdale river. Thanks to George Swann we found a Crested Shrike Tit of the northern form whitei, a rare and little known form of this beautiful bird. After the walk I left for Derby where I arrived at 21.00 hours. I bush-camped here again.

21 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

Half a day was spend in the mangroves near Derby wharf. This was very rewarding as I found a Great-billed Heron, at least 4 Mangrove Warblers, a pair of Mangrove Golden Whistlers, at least 5 White-breasted Whistlers and several Mangrove Fantails. Around midday I drove towards Broome and checked in at the campsite of the Broome Bird Observatory (BBO). I was lucky to have my tent with me because all accommodation was full and there were just a few tent-sites left.

I did a quick look over Roebuck Bay and paid Crab Creek a visit. This last site produced 2 Dusky Warblers (Gerygones), the only sighting of the trip and again a female White-breasted Whistler and a few Mangrove Fantails.

I returned to the BBO. Every evening they organise a meeting where all observations of the day are discussed. Here you can get good info on the birds that are around.

22 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

I started off checking out Roebuck Bay and birds galore here. Best birds encountered were Red-necked Avocets, 4 Banded Stilts (very rare here), at least 5 Asian Dowitchers, Red-necked Stints, Great Knots.

In the afternoon I did the Malaurus trail and followed the fence for a 2-3 kilometers in search for Yellow Chats that had been seen here. And indeed they were, I saw at least 70 birds all in one group. Another good bird here was my only Spotted Harrier for the trip, indeed a stunning bird. In late afternoon I visited the Broome Sewage Works and when I arrived here I stumbled across Barry Bucholtz and Adrian Doyle. I met Barry a couple of days earlier, he was participating the Kimberly Birdwatching group. The Broome Sewage works were also teeming with birds, the best ones for me 3 Red-kneed Dotterels. 200+ Black Kites were also a nice sight. In the evening I had dinner with Barry and Adrian and learnt that I should visit Barred Creek for the Kimberly Flycatcher and other mangrove birds.

23 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

Morning started at Barred Creek. Few birds were seen here, of them the most special ones were 2 Lesser Frigatebirds, 20+ Brown Boobys, Pheasant Coucal and 6 Horsfields Bronze Cuckoos. After this I came across Adrian again and we checked the bay together. Here we found 3 Common Redshanks, 1 Asian Dowitcher, 10+ Broad-billed Sandpipers,50+Grey-tailed Tattlers, 100+ Terek Sandpipers, 100+ Red-necked Stints, 2 Grey Plovers.

Around midday I started the return drive to Darwin and ended that day at Halls Creek. I camped near China Wall.

24 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

A short morning walk at Hall's Creek produced no new birds. I couldn't find any Painted Finches. I drove all day, made a stop at the escarpement near Victoria Roadhouse again and this time found 2 White-quilled Rock Pigeons of the northern subspecies. The day ended in Katherine where I bushcamped again.

25 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

I drove from Katherine to Darwin. In Darwin I checked out a mangrove site near Bayview Heights. This should be a good site for Chestnut Rail. I didn't find this species but did see Mangrove Robin at last, also Red-headed Honeyeater.

I checked in again in Frogshollow Backpackers and went down to the Avis office to return the car. Than I paid the Botanical Gardens a visit. Frank Pierce told me the spot behind the toiletblock were to find Rufous Owls. My first visit failed but I did see a Figbird of the northern subspecies, 1 Varied Triller and Orange-footed Scrubfowl. The rest of the day was for sightseeing in the city. In the evening I went for a drink to 'The Vic' in town.

26 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

I went down to the Botanical Gardens again and this time there was a stunning Rufous Owl that looked down on me. The last new bird of the trip. The rest of the day was for reading a book and relaxing at the pool.

26 July

Weather: Hot sunny weather with 30+°C

D-day (departure day). With pain in my heart I had to leave Australia again. Dreamtime was over. We'll be back for sure.

click here for trip list