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Birding Sojourn Australia? (1 Viewer)

JohnNancy

Member
United States
Hi, I'm new to birdforum.net, will someone be kind enough to point me to planning an extended birding sojourn to Australia?

I have more than six months and up to year. I'm interested in doing as much of the birding as I can self directed (with eBird help), but will engage a local guide where and when circumstances require it.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Hi there John and a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum :t:

We're glad you found us and thanks for taking a moment to say hello. Please join in wherever you like ;)
 

Kits

Picture Picker
Welcome to Birdforum! I am sure that you will find lots to interest you here and I hope that you enjoy your visits.
 

JohnNancy

Member
United States
Welcome to Birdforum! I am sure that you will find lots to interest you here and I hope that you enjoy your visits.
Thanks for the welcome Kits, if I can get my Australia Birding Sojourn off the ground, I'll be glad to share what I learn with others.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
I had two months in Australia last year (Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia). It was wonderful.

We have quite a number of members out there, so you could try a post in the Australia subforum here.

Whereabouts are you planning to go and what time of year would you plan to cover, would be the things to resolve first.
 

JohnNancy

Member
United States
I had two months in Australia last year (Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia). It was wonderful.

We have quite a number of members out there, so you could try a post in the Australia subforum here.

Whereabouts are you planning to go and what time of year would you plan to cover, would be the things to resolve first.
Thanks delia, the goal will be to see as many species as feasible, length of trip is flexible (we're retired and we have more time than money), and departure timing is contingent on how we emerge from the pandemic. I'm not obsessive about seeing everything in the field guides - life is, after all, finite. Will go to the link you suggest. Thanks again, John
 

DMW

Well-known member
Hi, I'm new to birdforum.net, will someone be kind enough to point me to planning an extended birding sojourn to Australia?

I have more than six months and up to year. I'm interested in doing as much of the birding as I can self directed (with eBird help), but will engage a local guide where and when circumstances require it.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
A good starting point is to get https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Australian-Birds-Birding-Locations/dp/064309766X which is very comprehensive, but lacks GPS way points in its directions. One of the authors, Tim Dolby, had a very good blog with a lot of trip reports in which he included GPS way points, hopefully it is still online.

For the length of time you are looking at, you will probably want to buy a vehicle. Vehicles tend to hold their value in Australia, so it will likely be much cheaper than renting, and you won't have issues relating to driving rental vehicles off sealed roads. Research the procedure for buying, as the "rego" is important.

Otherwise, it's pretty straightforward... but big.
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
A small warning about relying on E-bird. When I was staying in Kuranda near Cairns my host - an expert birder - was astonished by the number of birds claimed on E-bird around his property and along the nearby Black Mountain Road. This outstripped his own list for the area where he'd lived for several decades and included several reports of birds he'd never seen there (and which were also highly unlikely). It transpired that people staying at his B&B were almost certainly adding birds seen in on trips from his property to Cairns & other sites. I'm not sure how prevalent this problem may be but in that area of Queensland quality control seemed to be absent.
 

RobHynson

Well-known member
Hi John.

with 6 months to a year you will have ample opportunity to explore Australia and its birds. As others have previously stated, buying a vehicle is a good option for your length of stay.

Destination wise there are a lot of regions to cover, in no particular order I would prioritize;

Cairns/Cape York, you can drive up Cape York in the dry season May-Nov depending how late the wet is and you can get everything up there apart from Buff-breasted paradise kingfisher and Red-bellied pitta. if you fly up during the wet season Dec-March you can see everything but it can be super rainy.

Darwin/Top end, lots of great birding in this region but best to avoid to wet season here, it can be wet and many roads can close. The end of the dry season is best here as a lot of the water holes dry up and concentrate birds such as finches at the last remaining accessible water. You can base yourself in Darwin and access many great birding spots, head to Kakadu for the sandstone specialties and then SW towards Timber creek for finches.

Tasmania is a great place for birding, you can get all the endemics on Bruny island plus there are lots of mammals to see. A short flight to Melaleuca and you can see Orange-bellied parrots in the summer.

Sydney/NSW has some great birds, around Sydney you can go to the Royal national park, Barren grounds, Barrington tops and then further west to the Capertee valley for a few days. Inland birding can be great if there has been some inland rain but hit or miss if its dry. Round hill NR/Lake Cargelligo and Cobar are all great inland spots.

Victoria has some great birding, the NW of the state has some good mallee habitat such as in Hattah kulkyne with a chance of Malleefowl, Striated grasswren and Mallee emu-wren. The grasslands of Terrick Terrick can be very productive, the highlight there are Plains wanderers.

South Australia is huge and most of the state is quite remote, within a few hours of Adelaide you have Gluepot which is one the best birding site in the state. If you travel further north you can try the Birdsville or Strezlecki tracks but these are quite remote. An alternative would be to take the main road up towards Alice springs along which you can see a few inland species in relative comfort.

Perth and the surrounding region have several endemics, a few you can see close to the city with the remainder seen further south along the coast.

Alice springs is great in the winter but avoid the summer months as it can be very hot. It's also much better after rain, birding in the center of the country can be tough without any rain. Most of the birding spots are quite close to Alice so you can base yourself there for a few days before heading further afield.

There are many pelagics all round the country, most trips run monthly and book out well in advance. Species diversity is pretty impressive and changes throughout the year.

Hope this helps a little, feel free to ask away if you have any questions.

Rob
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Hiya,

Rob's suggestions are great. When I 'did Oz' with my partner a while back (details as part of a long trip report here entitled Bristol to Kagu), we did it in two bursts, and didn't miss a great deal considering :).

The first part: We bought a 2WD van in Sydney in the austral winter, and spent 6 months doing a big loop back to Sydney, with offshoot trips to important sites throughout. We headed north, mostly along the coast as far as Cairns, and from there we made a trip with someone else in a 4WD to get to Iron Range. From Cairns we then headed west to Alice Springs area, then down to South Australia, round through Vctoria, and took the van to Tasmania on the ferry. We then headed back up to Sydney, and sold the van for more than we bought it for!

For part 2, we only spent about 3 months: We did a car delivery type deal, driving it from Brisbane to Darwin, taking in some sites we missed on the first trip on the way, and doing all the Top End sites. We then bought a cheap car in Darwin, and drove around the north of WA to Broome, then don the west side of WA. We had missed a lot of serious outback birds in the Alice Springs part of our earlier trip, but we managed to catch up with nearly all of the ones we missed in WA, at eg Nallan Station. We then hit the sites in the far south west around Perth etc. We then sold the car but made a loss that time.

If your time frame is about the same, I'd thoroughly recommend something like that.

We didn't need to hire guides at all, but got info (and some seriously useful lucky bits of help) from friendly Aussie birdos (a couple of which were guides), and by asking about specific targets from other people on BF. We found Australia totally mindblowing. I really hope to go again one day.
 

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