Van Diemen’s Endemic Clean-up

Last week we took a family holiday on Bruny Island, Tasmania. Interspersed with doing all the usual touristy things with the grand-kids, we were also in pursuit of the island state’s endemics. Traditionally, there were twelve resident endemic species: Tasmanian Native-hen, Green Rosella, Forty-spotted Pardalote, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Tasmanian Thornbill, Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Black-headed Honeyeater, Dusky Robin and Black Currawong, which, together with a recent addition, Morepork – a split from Southern Boobook and two breeding endemics, Swift and Orange-bellied Parrot, formed our targets. In the six days we were on Bruny Island we cleaned-up on all but the Orange-bellied – which fortunately we’d seen previously on their wintering grounds in southern Victoria. Now sadly critically endangered and on the brink of extinction.

Easiest to see by far was the Native-hen, common in most pastures near water

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Yellow-throated Honeyeater were readily located by their vocal habits

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In the tree at the bottom of our holiday accommodation garden was a family party of Dusky Robin

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Green Rosella were also regular over the garden

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In the nearby adjacent woodland were Black-headed Honeyeater and Yellow Wattlebird

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A trip to the coastal woodlands around Adventure Bay produced Tasmanian Thornbill and Strong-billed Honeyeater

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IMG_1500 Forty-spotted Pardalote is regarded as one of the trickier species to find – it’s certainly one of the rarest. We eventually found a small group high up in the White Gums, in McCracken’s Gully. Record shot only

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An expedition up into the rainforest was required for our next two targets – Tasmanian Scrubwren and the similar looking, but rather more elusive, Scrubtit

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Amazingly, the last of the traditional twelve to fall was the Black Currawong

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Morepork, the recent split from Southern Boobook, was found whilst attempting to relocate a Masked Owl, seen a few nights earlier. This, a screen shot of the back of my camera, texted by Dan to his mates in Newcastle, moments after our ‘tick-up’! 

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As if this ‘tick-fest’ wasn’t enough, we also saw several Tassie sub-species, which are potential splits for the future, including Masked Owl (not photographed) Brown Quail and Grey Shrike-thrush

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All this ticking-up has taken me well over the 500 target for my Australian List!

We’re now on Wilson’s Prom with my brother for a few days R&R before heading off to Thailand, to join up with Neil and Bob & Sue, for what I hope will be an intensive and rewarding tour of the top sites in the north of the country.

 

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