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


Yellow-throated Honeyeater were readily located by their vocal habits


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


Green Rosella were also regular over the garden


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



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


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


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



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


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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