Inland SW Australian pre-trip, Coral Coast and Outback northern wheatbelt 13 - 20 October 2023

Western Yellow Robin - Keith Kennedy - Inala Nature Tours
Western Yellow Robin - Keith Kennedy - Inala Nature Tours
Tour date: 
Friday, 13 October 2023 to Friday, 20 October 2023
7 days
AU$4,645 per person twin share, single supplement AU$670
Chance of seeing the rare Grey Honeyeater, the endemic Western Quail-thrush, Western Bowerbird, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Bourke’s Parrot, and different races of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (race samueli), Western Corella (race derbyi), Southern Whiteface (race castaneiventris) and Rufous Fieldwren (ssp wayensis). This also provides the chance to see some additional dry country birds such as Pied, Black and White-fronted Honeyeater, Banded Whiteface, Gilbert’s Whistler and Mulga Parrot.

We are adding an additional section of Western Australia that we don’t cover in our other WA tours as a pre-tour extension or separate standalone tour which travels inland to the northern wheatbelt country then west to coral coast returning to Perth. This gives us a chance of seeing additional birds that we won’t see on the SW Australia’s endemics tour.

This itinerary has been designed to adjoin our South Western Australia’s endemics tour 19-27 October 2023 which in turn adjoins our Tasmanian Endemics Birds and Mammals Tour 28 October– 6 November 2023

Start Location: 
Perth WA
Finish location: 
Perth WA

Inland SW Australian pre-trip, Coral Coast and Outback northern wheatbelt 13 - 20 October 2023


Day 1. Fri 13 Oct 2023. Arrive Perth
Day 2. Sat 14 Oct 2023. Perth wetlands to Dalwallinu 
Day 3. Sun 15 Oct 2023. Dalwallinu to Mt Magnet, inland birds
Day 4. Mon 16 Oct 2023. Samphire, lakes and stony plains- Mount Magnet
Day 5. Tue 17 Oct 2023. Mt Magnet to Geraldton
Day 6. Wed 18 Oct 2023. Kalbarri National Park -Geraldton
Day 7. Thu 19 Oct 2023. Geraldton to Perth
Day 8. Fri 20 Oct 2023. Depart Perth


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

Day 1. Fri 13 Oct 2023. Arrive in Perth.
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 (hotel does provide a transfer service from Perth airport) 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 today.
Accommodation: Perth (en suite rooms). Meals included: D.

Day 2. Sat 14 Oct 2023. Perth wetlands to Dalwallinu. 
We start today by visiting one or two of the many wetlands around Perth, then drive to Dalwallinu. Herdsman Lake has the best variety of waterbirds including Blue-billed Duck and Musk Duck, as well as Swamp Harrier and Australian Hobby.  If the water levels are suitable, we will visit another nearby lake to look for more waterbirds including crakes. We will also visit the nest site of White-backed Swallow which hopefully will be present. The drive to Dalwallinu is nearly 3 hours.
Accommodation: Hotel in Dalwallinu (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 3. Sun 15 Oct 2023. Dalwallinu to Mt Magnet, inland birds.
Today we continue our travels inland and North to Mount Magnet. Past Wubin we pass through an area of sand plain heath which should have extensive flowering. We will look out for Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (race samueli), Western Corella (race derbyi), and Black-breasted Buzzard. En route to Mount Magnet we have chances Bourke’s Parrot, Mulga Parrot, Banded Lapwing, Black-tailed Native-hen. If we have time, we may make a diversion to look for Grey Honeyeater, Mulga Parrot, Little Woodswallow, Orange Chat and Crimson Chat. We could get lucky and find Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo. If the weather allows, we will try to access a river with a series of pools lined with thick flowering vegetation located to the south-east of Mt Magnet. We will target White-browed Treecreeper, Gilbert’s Whistler, Southern Scrub-robin, Mistletoebird and any honeyeaters in the flowering vegetation. We may even have the opportunity to look for Western Quail-thrush. Tonight is the first of a two night stay in Mount Magnet.
Accommodation: Mount Magnet (en suite cabin). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 4. Mon 16 Oct 2023. Samphire, lakes and stony plains- Mount Magnet.
Today we bird several different habitats north of Mt Magnet, including samphire, salt lakes, a freshwater lake, more mulga and stony plains. We will target Banded Whiteface, Bourke’s Parrot, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Orange Chat, Redthroat, Slender-billed Thornbill (ssp iredalei), White-winged Fairywren, Chiming Wedgebill, Western Bowerbird, Little Button-quail, Black-tailed Native-hen, Red-kneed Dotterel, White-necked Heron, Little Woodswallow, White-backed Swallow, Red-backed Kingfisher and Fieldwren (ssp wayensis). We should add to our list of raptors including Spotted Harrier.
Accommodation: Mount Magnet (en suite cabin). Meals included: B,L,D.

Day 5. Tue 17 Oct 2023. Mt Magnet to Geraldton.
Today is our last exploration of the mulga. The mulga habitat is dominated by several species of acacia plus flowering plants such as Eremophila and Grevillea. This is where we will find many species that do not occur in the southwest, and we will specifically look for the rather rare Grey Honeyeater in mulga-dominate habitats, as well Western Quail-thrush, which is a WA endemic. Other special birds out here include Emu, Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Mulga Parrot, Diamond Dove, Crimson Chat, Black-eared Cuckoo, Pied Butcherbird, Zebra Finch, Common Bronzewing, Pallid Cuckoo, Crested Bellbird, Brown Songlark, Masked Woodswallow, Purple-backed Fairywren, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, White-winged Triller, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-browed Babbler and Grey-crowned Babbler. If the eremophilas or grevilleas are flowering we will look for White-fronted Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater and Pied Honeyeater. Today we travel towards the coast leaving the mulga habitat and passing through eucalypt woodland before reaching coastal vegetation and Geraldton.
Accommodation: Geraldton (en suite room). Meals included: B,L,D.

Day 6. Wed 18 Oct 2023. Kalbarri National Park –Geraldton.
We drive 1.5 hours north to Kalbarri at the mouth of the Murchison River. We will spend much of the time in the heathland of Kalbarri National Park where there should be a profusion of flowers attracting honeyeaters including the WA endemic Western Spinebill and Western Wattlebird, as well as Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, White-cheeked Honeyeater and chances of the nomadic Pied Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater and White-fronted Honeyeater. There are good chances of Blue-breasted Fairywren and Western Yellow Robin. Other birds in the area include Rufous (Western) Fieldwren (ssp montanellus) – a possible future split, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Peaceful Dove, Hooded Robin, Southern Scrub-robin, cuckoos and a variety of raptors, hopefully including Square-tailed Kite. En route back to Geraldton, we may visit a saltworks where we may find Banded Stilt and Red-necked Avocet.
Accommodation:  Geraldton (en suite room). Meals included: B,L,D.

Day 7. Thu 19 Oct 2023. Geraldton to Perth.
Today we begin our return to Perth, birding en route with a stop in Lancelin on the way. There is a 3 hour drive to Lancelin where we will look for Common Noddy, Bridled Tern, Roseate Tern, Fairy Tern and Rock Parrot. Between Lancelin and Perth, we will look out for Carnaby’s (Short-billed) Black-Cockatoo and Western Corella. This will also be the arrival day of the main tour, so we will meet up with the participants that are joining us for the south-western Australian tour at the hotel at 7pm for a welcome dinner.
Accommodation: Perth (en suite rooms). Meals included: B,L.D

Fri 20 Oct 2023. Depart Perth or continue onto SW Tour
Those continuing on the South-Western Australian Tour will be heading to Cheynes Beach after an early breakfast. (see SW  tour itinerary for details)
Those who are not continuing on tour will make their own arrangements for departing Perth.
Accommodation: none.  Meals included B

Group size:
minimum 6 and maximum 8 participants to one guide or 9 to 12pax with 2 guides.

Tour Price: AU$4,645 per person twin share. Single supplement: AU$670.

Price includes: Accommodation as per the itinerary, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary. (These prices are based on the current rate of GST and may need to be adjusted if there are significant changes.) 

Price does not include:  International and domestic airfares, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry or other items of a personal nature.

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 adrink. Dinner usually 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

Click here for a separate online doc that answers many of the frequently asked questions about Small Group Tours

Inala’s Inland South Western Australia
Coral Coast and Outback northern wheatbelt
Trip report: Frank O’Connor and Tonia Cochran, 18 December 2022.

Day 1. Friday 14 Oct 2022. Arrive in Perth.  The tour started with a welcome dinner in our Perth hotel for the group.  After a bit of a chat about the plans for the trip, we settled into our comfortable hotel rooms near Perth airport.

Day 2. Saturday 15 Oct 2022. Perth wetlands to Dalwallinu.  We headed off bright and early this morning in a north-easterly direction where we picked up Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (subspecies naso) and Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo. We also had good views of several Brown-headed Honeyeaters foraging in the canopy accompanied by Weebill and Western Gerygone, followed shortly afterwards by Western Corella (subspecies derbyi), Red-capped Robin, Western Thornbill, Shining Bronze Cuckoo and Elegant Parrot.

 The wildflowers were also great in this area, with masses of the Everlasting Daisy, Fragrant Waitzia (Waitzia nitida) turning the ground a golden hue. Here we found our first Blue Lechenaultia (Lechenaultia biloba), Common Dampiera (Dampiera linearis), Heart Leaf Flame Pea (Chorizema cordatum), Fringe Myrtle (Calytrix leschenaultia) and several species of Triggerplant including the Queen Triggerplant (Stylidium affine) and Wedge Stilt Walker (S. araeophyllum). Reptiles seen today were Western Bluetongue and Shingleback basking on the road.

After a lunch stop we headed towards a nearby Nature reserve where we added White-fronted Chat and White-winged Fairywren. Flora included the bright purple Lavender Dampiera (Dampiera lavendulacea), Plumed Featherflower (Verticordia plumosa), Native foxglove (Dasymalla terminalis) Orange Imortelle (Waitzia acuminata), Orchid Common Popflower (Glischocaryon aureum) and some sandplain loving species like Prickly toothbrushes (Grevillea armigera), Pink Pokers (Grevillea petrophiloides) Smokebush (Conospermum stoechadis) and One-sided Bottlebrush (Calothamnus quadrifidus).

We then veered back westwards, adding Rufous Songlark, Budgerigar, Zebra Finch, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Pied Stilt and Red-capped Plover to our birdlist.

Day 3. Sunday 16 Oct 2022. Dalwallinu to Mt Magnet.  This morning we added some great inland bird species including White-fronted Honeyeater, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill. We also had great views of Red-backed Kingfisher (which was nesting in the area), White-backed Swallow, Southern Scrub Robin, Shy Heathwren, Western Whistler and Little Eagle. Continuing on, we added Western Fieldwren and Spotted Military Dragon to our reptile list, before continuing on to spend quite a bit of time exploring in several locations. Wildflower highlights here included Tinsel Flower (Cyanostergia angustifolia), Twining Fringe Lily (Thysanotus patersonii), Slender Lobelia (Lobelia tenuior), Flame Grevillea (Grevillea eriostachys), Bottlebrush Grevillea (Grevillea paradoxa) and several different species of Emu Bush (Eremophila species).

We had lunch near a huge pit where we saw nesting Peregrine Falcon and Little Woodswallow followed shortly afterwards by Splendid Fairywren and then headed to a lake where we picked up several Banded Lapwing and Red-capped Plover, Pink Everlasting flower (Schoenia cassiniana) and several species of introduced succulent species. We then visited a location where Frank had previously found Grey Honeyeater, a seldom seen bird that inhabits the mulga woodlands of inland western and central Australia. After quite an extended fruitless search, we hopped back in the bus and were just driving back, when 2 birds flew across the road. Could they possibly have been Grey Honeyeaters? After a mad scramble out of the bus we located the birds and yes, success!!! We watched the pair for quite some time before reluctantly leaving them and continuing northwards, seeing several flocks of Budgerigar and also adding Crimson Chat before finally reaching our destination for the night, Mount Magnet.

Day 4. Monday 17 Oct 2022. Mount Magnet and Cue. This morning we had an early breakfast where huge piles of bacon and eggs were consumed by most, before exploring the samphire, lakes and stony plains of the Mount Magnet area, Lake Austin and Cue. We started well with a list of species including Chiming Wedgebill, Red-backed Kingfisher, Masked Woodswallow, White-winged Fairywren, Banded Whiteface and several  Crimson Chat, one of which flew off a nest in a low bush close to the ground which we hurriedly left alone for fear of disturbing it. Budgerigar, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-kneed Dotterel, Spotted Harrier, White-winged Triller, Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo and a young Hooded Robin were all added to the list before we headed for lunch. Spotted Harrier, Inland Dotterel, Rufous Fieldwren (subspecies wayensis) and Orange Chat were all added, as were several Emu Bush (Eremophila) and Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus) species, Everlasting Daisies (Rhodanthe floribunda) and native succulents like Sturt’s Pigface (Gunniopsis quadrifida) and Red Maids (Calandrinia species) before we once again headed south down the Great Northern Highway. A roadside stop en route back to Mt Magnet proved successful where we found Slaty-backed Thornbill a group of three Diamond Doves, flushed another Little Buttonquail and found a Western Bowerbird at its bower. We also found fresh Emu tracks here.

Day 5. Tuesday 18 Oct 2022. Mt Magnet to Geraldton. After another huge breakfast, we started the day well with good views of a pair of Western Quail-thrush and Black-eared Cuckoo just out of town. We also finally had good views of Crested Bellbird which had eluded us before despite hearing its distinctive call at several locations. Other birds at this location included Masked Woodswallow, Budgerigar, Crimson Chat, White-winged Triller, Pied Honeyeater, Rufous Whistler, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Inland Thornbill, Hooded Robin and White-browed Babbler and we saw the beautiful Royal Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus rotundifolius) in flower.  Travelling westwards, we saw two Wedge-tailed Eagles and Banded Lapwing with chicks. We then visited a tunnel carved through solid rock by early gold prospectors where we saw thousands of cave crickets as well as cave spiders and some Fairy Martins. At lunch we saw Australian White Ibis, before visiting a dam where we admired a family of  Purple-backed Fairywrens and some Diamond Doves. We met up with an Aboriginal family who had just caught a Steindachner’s Turtle which they showed us. Travelling further west we stopped at a location where Wreath Lechenaultia (Lechenaultia macrantha) were in full bloom. These amazing plants radiate outwards from a central core and flower around its edges and some were growing onto the road in some locations. Birding was great here too and we picked up Wedge-tailed Eagle, Redthroat, Rufous Whistler, Copperback Quail-thrush and Mulga Parrot. Brown Songlark was located on samphire at a nearby salt marsh. We stopped again at some flowering Grevillea eriostachaya where White-fronted Honeyeater were feeding, arriving in Geraldton late afternoon.

Day 6. Wednesday 19 Oct 2022. Kalbarri National Park –Geraldton. We spent the day in Kalbarri National Park. We had early success on the road in with beautiful views of  the near-endemic Blue-breasted Fairywren and White-cheeked Honeyeater in the flowering heathland and a Yellow-spotted Monitor which was sunbaking on the road.

The flora here was amazing, with flowering Lambswool (Lachnostachys eriobotria), Yellow Lechenaultia (Lechenaultia linarioides), Kalbarri Beaufortia (Beaufortia aestiva), White Plume Grevillea (Grevillea leucopteris) and the miniature Kangaroo Paw relative Large Cottonheads (Conostylis robusta) amongst some of the more unusual species.   At a nearby lookout, we saw White-fronted Honeyeater, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, Spotted Scrubwren and Fairy Martin, spotting Australasian Darter, Little Black Cormorant, Eurasian Coot and Grey Teal in the water below. Western Fieldwren was also heard. We also scanned the rocks at a second lookout and saw a distant view of a Black-flanked Rock Wallaby which was sunbaking in the morning sun on a rock ledge. This species has been reintroduced into the national park and appears to be maintaining a small population here. At the beach at Kalbarri we added Australian Pelican, Greater Crested Tern, Australian Pied Cormorant and Sooty Oystercatcher, before heading back through Port Gregory where we saw Pied Butcherbird, Pacific Gull, Osprey and Fairy Tern as well as Pied Stilt, Red-necked Stint, Red-capped Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Whiskered Tern at a nearby salt works where the water was a lurid pink colour. It was then back to base at Geraldton for the evening.

Day 7. Thursday 20 Oct 2022. Geraldton to Perth. Today we began the drive south back to Perth, stopping en route at several coastal towns. The first yielded a variety of waders including Grey-tailed Tattler, Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper as well as Caspian Tern, Fairy Tern and Osprey. We viewed the stromatolites at Lake Thetis, Cervantes, where we also saw a Shingleback basking next to the boardwalk despite the coolness of the morning. Pied Stilt, Red-capped Plover, White-faced Heron and an Australasian Darter were also seen before it started to rain, so we bolted back to the bus (noting the Shingleback had also decided to seek shelter). At another stop further down the coast we saw a decent sized Dugite (a venomous endemic WA snake) which was sunbaking next to the carpark, but which quickly disappeared as we started taking interest in it. We scanned the sea and nearby island and saw Brown Noddy, Bridled Tern and Sooty Tern, and a brief and distant glimpse of a Rock Parrot which we unfortunately couldn’t relocate again for the group. We finally had views of the endemic Western Rosella and Red-capped Parrot and better views of  Western Corella (subspecies derbyi) as well as Sacred Kingfisher and Grey Fantail. At our last stop at a lake near Perth, we added Spotless Crake, Hardhead, Musk Duck, Australian Reed Warbler, Splendid Fairywren, Inland Thornbill, and another pair of Grey Fantail before heading back into Perth. We said our sad farewells to the only member of the group not continuing on the south Western Australian tour and then settled into our hotel rooms before joining the ‘welcome dinner’ for the second trip, and meeting our new arrivals.

During this trip we saw 147 bird species/subspecies, 5 mammal species, 6 reptile species and experienced one of the best wildflower seasons in the area for many years. It was a fun small group, and the camaraderie was great. Although we have done private versions of this tour in the past, this was the first time we have offered it as an Inala group tour. Many thanks for putting your trust in us, and we really appreciate that most of you joined both WA trips. Cheers, Frank and Tonia.

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