Tasmania Endemic Birds and Mammals Tour 1-10 February 2019

Tour date: 
Friday, 1 February 2019 to Sunday, 10 February 2019
Duration: 
10 days
Price: 
AUD$5,850 per person sharing and $950 single supplement
Highlights: 
All of Tasmania’s endemic birds possible plus Tasmanian Devil and Orange-bellied Parrot. Southern Ocean Pelagic trip. Sweeping alpine scenery at Cradle Mountain.
Overview: 

FULLY BOOKED

Our popular and comprehensive tour of Tasmania offers all of Tasmania’s 12 endemic birds plus iconic mammals including Tasmanian Devil, Wombat and Platypus. This exploration includes a pelagic in the Southern Ocean, and a flight to the vast south-west wilderness to see Orange-bellied Parrot.

 

 

Start Location: 
Hobart TAS
Australia
Finish location: 
Hobart TAS
Australia

FULLY BOOKED

Tasmania Endemic Birds and Mammals Tour  (includes Southern Ocean pelagic, Orange-bellied Parrot excursion and Tasmanian Devils)

DETAILED ITINERARY:

B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner.

Day 1. Fri 1st February. Arrive Hobart.
Today has been set aside as an arrival day so you are free to arrive at any time that suits your travel plans. You are to make your own way to the hotel in the city (pleasesee notes at the end of this itinerary) and we will meet at the hotel at 7.00pm for a brief orientation and welcome dinner. Please note that no activities have been planned for this day but if you plan to arrive early and would like advice on options for the day please do contact our office. Accommodation: Hobart Hotel (en suite rooms).
Meals Included: D.

Day 2. Sat 2nd February. Hobart reserves and drive Eaglehawk Neck.
Today we begin our explorations of spectacular Tasmania by visiting several reserves in the Hobart area including Mount Wellington. This mountain, at a height of 1270m (around 4,150 feet), affords spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape on a clear day. Here we will also take a walk through a fern glade with towering tree ferns where we have our first chance to see the endemic and rather shy Scrubtit as well as Tasmanian Scrubwren and the stunning Pink Robin. Further endemic highlights we will look for today include Green Rosella, Tasmanian Native Hen, Black Currawong and Yellow Wattlebird. In the early afternoon we will enjoy the scenic drive to Eaglehawk Neck. On arrival we will bird some of the areas of interest enjoying the spectacular sea cliffs and breathtaking scenery typical of the area. We may well see Yellow-throated Honeyeater as well as a range of more widely distributed species including White-bellied Sea Eagle and Blackfaced Cormorant. The uncommon Cape Barren Goose is also a possibility here.
Accommodation: Hotel onTasman Peninsula (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 3. Sun 3rd February. Southern Ocean Pelagic.
This morning we will board a charter vessel (weather dependant) making our way into the vastness of the Southern Ocean in our quest for pelagic birds. High species diversity and the nearness of the continental shelf have earned Tasmania an international reputation as an excellent place to see pelagic species.  Not long after we depart Pirate’s Bay we will encounter Short-tailed Shearwater in considerable number as well as our first albatross species. This is one of the finest places on the planet to see a diversity of albatross and Wandering, Black-browed, Shy, Southern Royal and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses are all possible to name a few.  With land still in sight we will reach the continental shelf and begin to berley off the back of the boat.  Possible petrels include Great-winged, the striking White-headed, Gould’s, and Mottled. Shearwater diversity is also good with Hutton’s, White-chinned, Buller’s, Sooty, Short-tailed (common in Tasmanian waters) and Fluttering Shearwater all possible. Wilson’s, Grey-backed and White-faced Storm Petrels and Fairy Prion are also regularly seen. There are often surprises in store and with 30 plus species possible in these waters there is bound to be something new for everyone. Mammals we may encounter include Australian Fur-seals, Hump-backed Whale and Bottlenose Dolphin. After what is sure to be a rewarding pelagic we will make our way back to Hobart arriving in the early evening.
Accommodation: en suite Hobart Hotel. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 4.  Mon 4th February. Orange-bellied Parrot excursion: flight to South West Wilderness.
This morning we will leave civilisation behind us and embark on a spectacular flight (weather dependant) to Tasmania’s remote South West World Heritage area. Inaccessible by road and breathtakingly scenic, this is one of the most remote areas in Australia and is famed, not only for its unspoilt wilderness and clean air (arguably the cleanest in the world), but also for its birdlife. Today we have a chance to see one of Australia’s rarest birds, the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. With no more than 50 left in the wild, this vivid parrot is teetering on the brink of extinction. Other specialties we hope to see are the elusive Eastern Ground Parrot, Striated Fieldwren, the delightful Southern Emu-wren and the aptly named Beautiful Firetail. The area is also rich in history and we will learn of the fabled adventurers who braved this region in a bygone era. Depending on the mood and weather we may opt for some spotlighting after dinner in a Hobart reserve to search for Southern (Tasmanian) Bettong and Eastern-barred Bandicoot, both of which originally had a south-eastern Australian distribution, and now almost exclusively occur in Tasmania. In our searching we may also encounter Tawny Frogmouth and if we are very fortunate, Masked Owl.
Accommodation: en suite Hobart Hotel. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 5.  Tue 5th February. Hobart and Bruny Island.
Depending on our timing and conditions we may opt to start our day in reserves around Hobart or alternatively venture directly down to Bruny Island. Situated 40km south of Hobart, Bruny Island is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and accessed by a vehicle ferry. The ferry trip takes approximately 15 minutes where one can enjoy some wonderful scenery and possibly Little Penguins or dolphins alongside the ferry. This afternoon we will visit Bruny’s southern coastline to view the second oldest lighthouse in Australia and search for species such as Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Olive Whistler and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo. Here we also have a chance to see the Tasmanian subspecies of Short-beaked Echidna, one of Australia’s two egg-laying mammal (montreme) species. Tonight after dinner we will visit the Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwater rookery to view these species at their burrows.
Accommodation: Cottage style on Bruny Island. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 6. Wed 6th February. Bruny Island.
Today we have a full day to explore Bruny and the variety of habitats found on the island; from coastal beaches, where there is a possibility of finding Hooded Plover, to rainforest areas where we will search for the endemic Scrubtit and Tasmanian Thornbill. We will also attempt to find all of Tasmania’s remaining endemic birds with Strong-billed Honeyeater, Dusky Robin and Forty-spotted Pardalote likely highlights. Most of these can be seen at the Inala Private Reserve, Tonia Cochran’s privately owned 1,500 acre sanctuary on south Bruny Island. If we are fortunate we may encounter the striking white morph Grey Goshawk and critically-endangered Swift Parrot that regularly occur on the Inala Reserve. We will also take time to enjoy the interesting flora of the area, including Tasmanian endemic species and relics from the ancient Gondwanan Supercontinent. Tonight we will enjoy another night trip for the chance to see a range of Tasmania’s nocturnal marsupials (including Eastern Quoll and “normal” as well as golden morph Bennett’s Wallaby and Brush-tailed Possums) in addition to searching for Tawny Frogmouth and Morepork (formerly Tasmanian form of the Southern Boobook).
Accommodation: Cottage style on Bruny Island. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 7. Thur 7th February. Bruny Island to Mt Field area.
This morning we will depart Bruny early for Mount Field National Park. This area is an excellent back up site for our endemic target species, notably Scrubtit and Black Currawong, and is also a great place to experience a range of habitats from fern gullies with waterfalls, to alpine heathland and cool temperate rainforest boasting some of the tallest Eucalyptus in Australia. Today we have our first chance of seeing the bizarre Platypus, the other species of Australian monotreme. In the late afternoon we will make our way out of the park to a nearby settlement where we will overnight.  
Accommodation: en suite bed and breakfast in the Mount Field/New Norfolk area. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 8.  Fri 8th February. Mt Field area to Cradle Mountain area.
This morning we will leave the Mt Field area and travel north to Cradle Mountain National Park. While today is largely a travel day we will enjoy some lovely scenery and stop en route to bird and stretch our legs. There will also be an option to visit a Wildlife Sanctuary where some of Tasmania’s rarer mammal species can be seen. We will arrive at our accommodation near the National Park in the late afternoon. This accommodation has been chosen as it offers a chance of seeing one of Australia’s most threatened and charismatic mammals in the wild and at close range. Having become increasingly rare this is one of the only places left where one has a reasonable chance of seeing Tasmanian Devils. Here the owner places meat down for the devils at dusk and, with any luck, they will come in to feed after dark. Spotted-tailed Quolls also come to the verandas to feed and this is an excellent opportunity to view and photograph these elusive creatures.
Accommodation: Cabin style near Cradle Mountain. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 9. Sat 9th February. Cradle Mountain area.
Today we have a full day to explore Cradle Mountain. This is a good area to search for Tasmania’s endemic bird species like the retiring Scrubtit, Black Currawong, Tasmanian Thornbill and Tasmanian Scrubwren. In addition to the great birding we will enjoy some of the interesting plants found here. Notable are ancient rainforest species and Gondwana relics such as Pencil and King Billy Pines, Myrtle and the famous Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) which is Tasmania’s only deciduous tree. This is also a good area to view Common Wombat and if we are fortunate we may see Platypus. If time permits we will visit the replica of “Waldheim”, the home of the Austrian Gustav Weindorfer, whose love of the area inspired the establishment of the national park. Tonight we have another chance to see Tasmanian Devil at our accommodations.
Accommodation: Cabin style near Cradle Mountain. Meals Included: B, L, D.

Day 10. Sun 10th February. Launceston and depart.
This morning we travel to Launceston after breakfast where you will be able to connect with a flight of your choosing to one of the capital cities. If time permits we will visit some wetlands en route where there is a chance to view a number of wetland species including Purple Swamphen, Australian Shelduck, Black-fronted Dotterel and Little Grassbird. Please note that flights from Launceston should be made from around 13:00 as the guide will deliver those clients there around midday. The guide will then be traveling back to Hobart and there is therefore scope to deliver clients to Hobart airport around 15:00 for flights from 16:00 onwards for domestic flights and from 17:00 for international flights. Alternatively we can organise an additional night in Hobart for you at the end of the tour at an additional cost if that is your preferred option.
Meals Included: B.

PRICING AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Group size: 6-8 Participants + 1 guide

Tour Price: AUD$5,850 per person twin share (based on 6 paying participants)

Single supplement: $950

Inclusions: 9 nights en suite accommodation, specialist guiding and transport for day and night tours as outlined above, all meals as outlined in the itinerary, activities outlined in the itinerary (including the South West flight and the pelagic cruise), National Park entry fees, Bruny Island ferry fares, GST. (=VAT)

Exclusions: international or domestic Australian airfares* (except the South West flight as mentioned above), activities and breakfast and lunch on day 1, the airport transfer on day 1, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and expenses of a personal nature (snacks, travel insurance, internet, laundry, tips etc).

Please note:
Additional services: We are able to arrange either self-guided or guided extensions to other parts of Tasmania or Australia to compliment this tour. Please enquire at the Inala office and we will happily cater for you through our licensed travel agency.

Arrival in Hobart: There is a regular shuttle bus service (The Hobart Airporter) between Hobart airport and the main hotels in the city. Details on the costs and timing of the shuttle can be found at the following website - http://www.airporterhobart.com.au/. Alternatively, you may wish to take a taxi to the city – there is no need to pre book these, they are readily available outside the terminal building. More information on taxis (and additional airport information) can be found here http://hobartairport.com.au/to-from/taxis-buses/.

Meals and drinks: Breakfast generally consists of a continental style breakfast with cereal, fruit and yoghurt and tea/coffee. Full cooked breakfast is not generally offered at most locations. Lunch will generally consist of a packed lunch style meal eaten in the field, with sandwich/filled roll, fruit, and a drink. Dinner is usually two course and consists of several options for main with the choice of either an appetiser or dessert. Drinks (soft and alcoholic) are generally not included but at lunches and breakfasts juice may be made available.

The itinerary: Whilst we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline. Depending on individual trip circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to. The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit.

• The pelagic and the South West flight: Both of these activities are weather dependant and there is no guarantee that we will be able to do either. While we will do what we can to reschedule if the weather is not suitable no guarantees can be made in this regard.

Trip Report – Mark Holdsworth, Inala Nature Tours.

November 2017

Six clients joined me on a nine-day tour of Tasmania, covering a diverse range of habitats across the state. A total of 145 species were encountered during the tour including all 12 Tasmanian endemic species. Apart from the first and last day, the tour was conducted in warm to hot weather and we experienced very little rain. The crew was a joy to guide and everyone got on famously. Below is a summary of each day of the tour.

Day 1. Friday 17 November 2017. Hobart local to Eaglehawk Neck
Our first day on tour was greeted by some inclement weather for our planned drive to the summit of kunanyi (Mount Wellington) so we headed to a Lagoon for some waterfowl action. Coincidently, soon after our arrival at this pocket-handkerchief sized wetland, we were greeted by my Orange-bellied Parrot mentor Peter Brown who was out birding with William (Bill) E Davis Jr. (author of Contributions to the History of Australasian Ornithology) on another visit to Tasmania. As we have become accustomed in recent years, there is still a handful of freckled duck loitering in the usual spots. It took me a couple of decades to observe this elusive bird on the mainland and yet, here they are, quietly going about their business in my backyard. We also had excellent views of the usual suite of waterfowl including Chestnut and Grey Teal, Australasian Shoveller, Pacific Black Duck and Hardheads. A highlight was seeing a Great Egret in breeding plumage – not a common sight in Tasmania. The Lagoon also provided us with close encounters with the endemic Tasmanian Native-hen, Musk Lorikeet and Little Wattlebird, the latter showing off their distinctive copper-coloured back in the morning light. We were also treated to some wonderful views of Greenfinch and Goldfinch bathing in a nearby pool and, to the delight of some locals passing by, they pointed out a Striated Pardalotes nest inside a storm-water drain. Other interesting sightings were glimpses of Little Grassbird, a Kelp Gull nesting in a clump of reeds in the middle of the lagoon and several Great Crested Grebes in the main channel of the DerwentRiver. We then made our way to a Reserve for lunch and some bush-birding. Here we had good sightings of Dusky Robin, Laughing Kookaburra, Grey (Clinking) Currawong and Brown Thornbill. After lunch we made our way to the summit of kunanyi to take in the spectacular views, dramatically framed as clouds swept past on unusually warm winds. On our descent we glimpsed the endemic Yellow-throated Honeyeater and had some excellent views of a male Crescent Honeyeater. On the way to our overnight destination at Eaglehawk Neck, we stopped at a Lagoon to look for waders, but unfortunately strong northeasterly winds and low tides were against us with Pied Oystercatcher, Australian Wood Duck, distant views of Musk Duck and a large flock of Grey and Chestnut Teal the features. We were, however, lucky enough to see a male and female Australian Hobby displaying over a potential nest site. On our arrival at our accommodation, we were greeted with views of Australasian Gannets in Pirates Bay and some of our party observed the distinctive blow of a Humpback Whale just offshore.

Day 2. Saturday 18 November 2017. Eaglehawk Neck pelagic trip
At 07:15 we put to sea to check out the pelagic seabirds off the Tasman Peninsula. We were joined by other bird observers in the company of Inala guides and renowned seabird experts Paul Brooks and Karen Dick for the expedition. On our way out of Pirates Bay, we were treated to passing flocks of Short-tailed Shearwater flashing their silvery underwings as they wheeled across the sea in the morning light. As we headed east we saw Black-faced Shag, Greater Crested Tern, distant views of Shy Albatross and a brief fly-by of a Buller’s Shearwater. After steaming for an hour or so we commenced burleying at 230 fathoms and we were soon joined by a plethora of seabird species including seven species of Pterodroma petrel, three albatrosses and three storm-petrels. The highlight of the trip was the occasional Black-bellied Storm Petrel amongst the Wilson’s and White-faced “stormies”. We were also treated to good views of mottled, white-headed, Cook’s and Gould’s petrels with the occasional providence petrel. We were accompanied throughout the day by White-chinned Petrels competing for morsels in the burley trail with Shy, Wandering (Snowy and Gibbson’s) and Campbell Albatrosses. Sooty Shearwater, Grey-faced Petrel and Fairy Prion occasionally made an appearance, while two Northern Giant Petrels lumbered past. At one point the albatross were startled by a Mako Shark, which had been attracted to the burley. On our return, we briefly saw two Humpback Whales off Pirates Bay. For more detail, check out Paul Brooks’ species list and trip report at http://ebird.org/ebird/australia/view/checklist/S40676539. Following the pelagic trip, we tracked down Cape Barren Goose, including one on a nest in the grassy paddock on the Tasman Peninsula, and headed back to Hobart to our accommodation.

Day 3. Sunday 19 November 2017. Melaleuca, south-west wilderness birds
Today we travelled to Melaleuca on the southern shores of Bathurst Harbour in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. Our pilot tracked south from Hobart to the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, taking in spectacular views of Bruny Island and Southport Lagoon along the way. The sea was so calm we could see fur-seals, small pods of dolphins and rafts of Australasian Gannets on the surface of this majestic waterway. Once we reached Recherche Bay we headed west, flying over the southern ridges of Precipitous Bluff and then across New River Lagoon, The Ironbound Range and then over Cox Bight to a smooth landing at Melaleuca. The target species for the day was of course the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot (OBP). With a wild population of only 15 at the time, including just two females, the OBP is teetering on the edge of extinction. Even so, it wasn’t long before we had our first sighting of a wild-bred bird in the eucalypt on the southern end of Denny King’s garden. The day was quite hot and windy, so birds were very quiet; nevertheless, we had further good sightings of OBPs, tree martins busily taking over nest boxes, glimpses of southern emu-wren at the airstrip and brief appearances of the spectacular Beautiful Firetail. One firetail was discovered entangled in a spider’s web and was gratefully released by one of our crew. We had a pleasant wine luncheon with the OBP volunteers Nick and Ryan at Barbara Wilson’s house and then we went in pursuit of the other two target species for this area – the eastern ground parrot and Striated Fieldwren. Strangely enough the fieldwrens did not make an appearance but we managed to rustle up a ground parrot along the northern edge of the airstrip for some fleeting but good views of this elusive bird. After a long, hot day we flew west to the southern side of Port Davey taking in spectacular views of South West Cape and the Breaksea Islands, and then tracked across the Western Arthur Range back to Cambridge airport.

Day 4. Monday 20 November 2017. Hobart, waders and Bruny Island
The tides and weather were much more conducive for wader spotting this morning, so we headed from Hobart to several Lagoons. We saw several hundred Red-necked Stint and 11 Bar-tailed Godwit. The next Lagoon was almost devoid of waders, but we did manage to have good views of Red-capped Plover and White-fronted Chat along the foreshore. Common Greenshank and more stint were observed at a further Lagoon, along with all four species of Tasmania cormorants (Great, Little Black, Little Pied and Black-faced). Travelling south through Hobart to Bruny Island, we stopped to look for Peregrine Falcons on the sandstone cliffs. The falcons didn’t make an appearance, but we had an enjoyable time observing Satin Flycatcher, Golden Whistler, the ubiquitous Superb Fairy-wren, Grey Shrike Thrush and the endemic Black-headed and Strong-billed Honeyeaters. We then travelled on the Bruny Island ferry from Kettering and travelled south to The Neck where we caught our first sightings of the endemic Forty-spotted Pardalote. These bold little birds were also in company with a handful of Striated Pardalote but a lone Spotted Pardalote kept its distance. Also at this site were Tasmanian Scrubwrens and the raucous but shy Yellow Wattlebird. A surprise was excellent views of an olive whistler, which was not expected in this drier habitat. We then drove to our accommodation including Inala. Prior to dinner, our guests settled in and enjoyed the local birding around the cabins. After a sumptuous meal, we drove to north Bruny Island to search for some nocturnal animals, while it was a bit quiet, we did see Tasmanian Pademelon, Bennett’s Wallaby, Brush-tailed Possum (including two golden forms) and both colour forms of the Eastern Quoll. Later we checked out The Neck observatory and saw quite a few Little (fairy) Penguins within the colony including some advanced stage chicks. Unfortunately, our visit coincided with the pre-breeding exodus of Short-tailed Shearwaters when all the birds are at sea before they return 24-27 November to lay eggs.

Day 5. Tuesday 21 November 2017. Bruny Island
This morning we spent some time acquainting ourselves with the birds on the Inala property. The Forty-spotted Pardalotes were busy feeding nestlings near the pardalote observation platform and there was the usual procession of honeyeaters, robins, thornbills and fairy-wrens at every move. Dusky and Flame Robins were highlights but there was no sign of the Pink Robins who had recently bred on the property. We then travelled to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse to take in the spectacular views of The Friars, sea cliffs and the Southern Ocean. The warm conditions were not conducive to birding apart from the omnipresent New Holland Honeyeaters with the occasional Superb Fairy-wren, Tasmanian Scrubwren and Dusky Woodswallow. Some in our party were lucky enough to come across a mountain dragon basking on the lighthouse track. Our next destination was to look for the Hooded Plover and during our travels we saw several echidnas foraging along the roadsides. It wasn’t long before we found the “hoodies”. These birds were very comfortable with our presence, so much so they proceeded to copulate indicating they are nesting again for the season. We then headed for the nearby rainforest to find the elusive Pink Robin and Scrubtit. Eventually we found several Scrubtits in the tree fern glades but no sign of the Pink Robin. However, just as we were departing a single male Pink Robin appeared at the car park and provided a brief tantalising view before he disappeared into the forest. Later we had good sightings of a variety of honeyeaters at Lunawanna and one of our party discovered a Scarlet Robin nest, precariously placed high up on a horizontal branch of a eucalypt tree.
We again set off after dark to search for nocturnal animals. Our target for the evening was the Tasmanian Morepork, which was soon heard calling south of Alonnah and appeared above us calling strongly from the canopy of white gums fringing the road. We of course came across many possums and wallaby, particularly on the Inala property.

Day 6. Wednesday 22 Nov 2017. Bruny Island to Mt Field
Just as we were packing up to leave the island we bumped into the resident male white morph Grey Goshawk doing his rounds along the creek at Inala. We left Bruny Island and made our way to Mount Field National Park, stopping on the way along the Derwent River in search of Platypus, and then to Lake Dobson to experience the sub-alpine habitats. Here we had excellent sightings of Yellow-throated Honeyeater and Black Currawong. The Richea scoparia was just starting to flower and many Macleay’s Swallowtails were busily foraging around the lake edges. We then travelled down the mountain to the Tall Trees Walk listen out for Superb Lyrebirds along the way without luck. We were then treated to the sight of a family group of Pink Robins including a magnificently coloured male. As we were leaving National Park, we spotted a group of Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo foraging on the cones of Radiata pine and then we stopped to inspect a potential peregrine nest site on the cliffs above the Derwent River. To our delight we could see three near-fledged nestlings on a ledge and the female soon appeared, flying past several times tempting them to take their first flight. The site has not had breeding for many decades, so it was great to see it being used once again.

Day 7. Thursday 23 November 2017. New Norfolk to Cradle Mountain area
Today we travelled from New Norfolk up the Derwent Valley to the Central Plateau stopping to see the usual suite of waterfowl plus our first sighting of Australian Shelduck. Despite our best attempts we could not find Striated Fieldwren, and it was looking as though this species would elude us for the trip. We did, however, have some excellent views of Flame Robin and Shining Bronze-cuckoo in the sub-alpine woodland. We stopped off at the picturesque Pine Lake before descending off the plateau to Deloraine bumping into the occasional Brown Falcon and Swamp Harrier foraging in nearby paddocks. We then travelled to Ulverstone where we came across the introduced Rainbow Lorikeet along the coastal reserve. There were also Galah and Yellow Wattlebird active at this site. Wending our way south along the regions back roads, we checked out the various farm dams along the way for waterfowl and Platypus without much luck. However, one site proved to be more productive. Pacific Black Duck, Chestnut Teal, Purple Swamphen, Hoary-headed Grebe and Eurasian Coot were seen on this reedy dam but the most exciting find was a couple of Latham’s Snipe. From here we travelled further up the Leven River, bumping into another echidna, and then arrived at our accommodation. On dusk the crew had excellent viewings of platypus and visits of Brush-tailed Possum, Tasmanian Pademelon, Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-tailed Quoll throughout the evening.

Day 8. Friday 24 November 2017. Cradle Mountain area
In the morning we were treated to the sights of some of the local bushbirds including a close appearance of Eastern Spinebill and the morning chorus of whistlers, Grey Shrike-thrush and Crescent Honeyeaters. Our first task for the day was to track down the elusive Swift Parrot which has been observed recently at Wynyard on the northwest coast. This year most of the population is absent from one its preferred haunts on Bruny Island, so tracking them down has been much harder. We managed to find just two “swifties” in flowering Tasmanian Blue Gums but, as their name suggests, we only had fleeting glimpses during fly-bys. At our lunch stop near Burnie where we were treated with the sight of a White-bellied Sea-eagle attempting to grasp gum leaves from the canopy of a tree, presumably to line its nearby nest. We also managed to have reasonable views of a male Satin Flycatcher and discovered a Kookaburra nest. Our next objective was to visit Cradle Mountain National Park, the northern most part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Along the way we managed to avoid the spectacular thunderstorms brewing to the east and we were treated to warm conditions at Lake Dove and Waldheim. The highlights of our visit were close encounters with Common Wombat at Cradle Valley and, finally, an appearance of the elusive Striated Fieldwren. Black Currawongs were typically inquisitive and bold companions during our stay. We returned to our accommodation where were again treated to views of possum, devils and quolls late in the evening.

Day 9. Saturday 25 November 2017. Cradle to Launceston/Hobart
The last day of the tour so it was an early start to make our way to Launceston and Hobart for onward connections. However, we still had time for some last-minute species and we were not disappointed with close views of Little Grassbird and a displaying Musk Duck near Port Sorell, and finally some Blue-billed Duck on a farm dam along the Bass Highway. We finished up at Queechy Park in suburban Launceston where Royal Spoonbill and Little-pied Cormorants are busily nesting. Here we were treated to stunning views of a Spotted Pardalote to finish a successful tour of Tasmania’s birdlife and other natural wonders.
MH