Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birding Rottnest Island

As usual, a Perth trip (nearly) always include a trip across the water out to Rottnest Island and in similar consistent fashion it never disappoint. Well to be absolutely honest, I would have been happy to finally bag a Rock Parrot, but following the usual logic it would be sad to deplete such a nice area and bring into question the need to visit it again. ;-)

I have seen Common Pheasant (top photo) in Australia before - at least 3 times - but every sighting have been brief and on Rottnest, this time I managed to get a photo which qualified for the blog. This introduced bird has, very much like the Mute Swan in Northam, only managed to establish a foothold in a few select places - all of them islands.

Another old Rottnest friend is the White-fronted Chat. Last time I managed to get a less than impressive photo of a WFT darting across the path, this time we were truly in for a treat with a little family of not less than 10 feeding at the salt lakes in the middle of the island.

The salt lakes are normally a fantastic bird spot, but this time - end of April - there was very little to see, apart from the White-fronted Chats we only managed to see a couple of other waders; Red-necked Avocet and Red-capped Plover above.

Guess there is a season for everything, no Banded Stilts at the salt lakes this time, but instead we were treated with a little Osprey family living in one of the gigantic nests placed on reefs just of the coast. Every year there are 2 to 4 Osprey families nesting around Rottnest, instead of starting from scratch they will reuse one of the up to 70 year old nest "towers" which through generations have grown to abnormal size. Those of you that know the size of an Osprey - 50 to 65cm - will be able to judge the magnitude of the construction in the photo above.

All good! Rottnest was firing on all cylinders. No new ticks, unless one of my tern-knowledgeable readers can create a bit of excitement by naming the tern in the picture below, I would not mind if someone told me that it was a Common Tern race hirundo? But if someone insist on it being a young-but-not-juvenile Antarctic Tern, then it would be very exciting! ;-) These were the bird, but I will return shortly with a underwater and probably a miscellaneous report.


Mark Young said...

Nice write up, those Chats are godo looking birds.
Can't help you too much with the Tern, I'm not familiar with WA birds at all, but it does look very similar to a Fairy Tern rather then an Antartic Tern.

AGL said...

Hi Mark - Thanks :-) I think you are spot on with the Fairy Tern, it is quite common around Rottnest. The Antartic Tern chatter was mostly wishful thinking ;-)

Cheers Allan