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A Report from

Tasmania, 12-29 November 2007,

Israel Didham

I can be contacted at


1) Introduction
2) Brief itinerary
3) Day to day diary
4) List of birds seen
5) List of mammals seen
6) List of reptiles and amphibians seen

1) Introduction

Most birders that go to Tasmania hire a car or campervan to get around. Not me; I'm a backpacker birder (and also I can't drive). I sleep in the cheapest places, eat at the scungiest dives, and take what transport I can find. Unfortunately, it doesn't work so well in Tasmania. Over on the mainland, in say Sydney or Melbourne, there are buses and trains going everywhere. In Tasmania there is almost nothing. Apparently at one time there were little private operators taking buses and shuttles all over the show, but then the government in their wisdom brought in the big companies from Australia and all the small companies were forced out. The problem now is that the buses only go along certain main routes and to the most-advertised non-birdy tourist spots. Everything else you need a private vehicle to access. There are two main bus companies, Redline and Tassielink -- the locals refer to them as Dead-line and Tassie-link-to-nowhere. If you want to go from point A to B, the bus needs to go to C first, and then because the bus timetables rarely link up, you need to spend the night in C before moving on to B sometime in the next day -- it can take two days to move what would be an hour or two in a car. I would definitely not advise a serious birder to attempt birding Tasmania by public transport, but for those that want to try or who are fitting birds in with other things, I will put forth my advice in this report.

Even with the trials and wasted time from having to use the public transport system, I managed to see 90 bird species in Tasmania which is almost three-quarters of the state's total of land- and freshwater-birds, so it's not an impossible way to do things, just more lengthy.

The field guide I used for birds was "The Slater Field Guide To Australian Birds" by Peter, Pat and Raoul Slater. I chose it because of its size and because I preferred the pictures over those in other guides. However the spine started giving way before the month was up (it may have just been a bad copy). But there were also inconsistencies in the text (eg white-necked heron is referred to as Pacific heron in another species' entry; and on the wattlebird page A. lunulata of western Australia is called the little wattlebird while A. chrysoptera of eastern Australia and Tasmania is called the brush wattlebird -- and yet in the text for the yellow wattlebird of Tasmania, A. chrysoptera is called the little wattlebird!). And there were several instances where the distribution maps indicated species weren't found in Tasmania even when the text clearly said they were (eg, mallard, galah, grey butcherbird, etc) which was a bit annoying when using them as a quick reference to sort possibles from unlikelies.

For mammals I used "A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia" by Peter Menkhorst and Frank Knight. I have no complaints at all about this book. Highly recommend it.

There are photographic guides for both birds and mammals specifically covering Tasmania but I was starting the trip on the mainland so needed guides to cover all of the country.

2) Brief Itinerary

12 Nov: flew into Launceston from Melbourne. Walked up the Cataract Gorge.
13 Nov:caught a bus to Devonport
14 Nov: managed to make my way to Narawntapu National Park despite being told repeatedly it was impossible to do so by myself!
15 Nov: Narawntapu National Park
16 Nov: hitched back to Devonport, and caught a bus back to Launceston
17 Nov:
caught a bus to Hobart (you might be able to detect the pattern of wasted days by now!)
18 Nov:
visited the Hobart Botanic Gardens, then flew to Melaleuca
19 Nov:
20 Nov:
21 Nov:
flew back to Hobart
22 Nov:
went to Fern Tree
23 Nov:
went to the Peter Murrell Reserves
24 Nov:
back to Fern Tree (to get the scrubtit which I had missed the previous time)
25 Nov:
caught the bus from Hobart to Triabunna
26 Nov:
went across to Maria Island
27 Nov:
Maria Island
28 Nov:
back to Triabunna and bus back to Hobart
29 Nov:
flew back to Melbourne for the return flight home to New Zealand.

3) Day to day diary

12 Nov: I flew into Launceston from Melbourne and found a room at Lloyd's Backpackers, attached to Lloyd's Pub. There aren't any really cheap places to stay in Tasmania, so I paid $21 for a six-bed dorm but there was no-one else there so it was the equivalent of a single room (which would have cost $51). The information centre is just a block away so I went there to find out how to get to Narawntapu National Park. You can't, said the woman at the desk, the only way to get there is with your own car. Well...we'll see about that I thought. I purchased my National Park permit ($28 for one month), got hold of a bunch of bus timetables, and left. I wanted to go to the Tamar Wetland Reserve a little bit north of Launceston but the buses were irregular and the timetable somewhat confusing (at some points instead of a departure time there was a phone number for you to ring to arrange the bus's arrival!). Instead I walked up Cataract Gorge where I found a clinking currawong and a red-bellied pademelon.

Birds seen in Tasmania today: 17 spp, 2 new

13 Nov: As early as I could today I took the bus to Devonport. The ride took two hours. The seats were comfortable enough but so close together that I almost ended up with deep vein thrombosis from having my knees tucked into my chest the entire way. Once I hit Devonport I visited the info centre, where they told me there's no way to get to Narawntapu without a car. I went round to a camping store to see if they knew anyone who might be heading out that way. They didn't. Best bet, it appeared, would be to go to Port Sorell and try to find someone who I could hitch with or get a boat-ride from. I stayed the night at a pub called Molly Malone's, where once again I had a dorm to myself, this time for $15. The only saving grace for the day was that I saw my first endemic bird on the island, Tasmanian native hens in the paddocks as the bus came into Devonport.

Birds seen today: 23 spp, 2 new

14 Nov: In the morning I caught a local bus over to Port Sorell and dropped into the corner dairy to see if they knew of anyone who could get me to the Park. Well, says the lady, there's this one guy called "Casual" who is starting up in boats, you could go see him. She gives me directions to his house and off I go. I feel a bit wierd about just turning up at some dude's house at eight o'clock in the morning and asking him to take me for a ride in his boat, but he was happy to do it. He's just starting a business ferrying people across the river to the Park (seriously, if you had a good arm you could literally throw a stone from the Port Sorell beach to the beach at the western end of the Park). I was his first customer. He charged me $10 which was a bargain. He can be contacted at or phone 0418 360 087 or 64 286 196. The only places to drop me off at low tide were both about 4km from the Springlawn area where the ranger station is, which is where you need to go first for arranging campsites ($12 for a tent-site), so I had a bit of a hike but that was fine.
Narawntapu is fantastic. They call it the "Australian Serengeti" because of all the marsupials grazing on the grassland (in the evening, not during the day when most tourists arrive and go "hey, where are all the animals?"). I also was lucky enough to come across a tiger snake. Tasmania only has three snake species (tiger, copperhead and white-lipped) and they're all deadly venomous. Right around this time of year is when they are becoming more active after hibernation. I found my second endemic today, the Tasmanian scrubwren, as well as a lot of common non-endemics. The lake a short walk from the main camp-site is a good spot for waterfowl, including musk duck, chestnut and grey teal, grey duck, Australian shelduck, wood ducks, coots, and even a couple of pelicans and some Caspian terns. There were some native hens here too, but they could be seen only from a distance from the hide (which isn't sited very well, I may add). I saw what could only have been a white-bellied sea eagle in the vicinity on one day but only from a long way off so it didn't make it onto my list.

Birds seen today: 34 spp, 5 new

15 Nov: I had an entire day to roam the park, and then at night I went out after marsupials. The main reason I wanted to come to Narawntapu wasn't actually for birds at all (although today I picked up my third endemic, the Tasmanian thornbill), but for the Tasmanian devil. The ranger lady told me I had no chance of seeing one. I said I would stay till I did. She said she would have to kick me out after two weeks. The first night I had had no luck. Although I stayed out till after midnight I didn't even hear any of their characteristic screeching. The problem with tracking devils is that, despite their fearsome reputation, they are apparently incredibly shy. I did see a quoll the first night out so that was something. Anyway, on this night I was sitting at a fork on one of the forest trails. I'd been sitting there for an hour and a half waiting for something to happen and thinking that I bet there's a bunch of devils running round in the campsite right about now, when there was a crunching in the bushes and a big male devil comes walking past my feet about two feet away. And it's true they are shy! I moved slightly, rustling my jacket, and he ran like a rabbit and disappeared. About ten minutes later there was a little bit of devil screaming from the forest not far off. I hung around for another hour and a half to see if any more came past but none did, so I went back to the camp. Funny thing, not long after I was in my tent there was something right outside that sounded exactly like a devil snarling. It was gone by the time I opened the tent flaps of course, but maybe I could have just stayed at the campsite after all.

Birds seen today: 33 spp, 2 new

16 Nov: I got a lift back to Devonport with a couple of Scottish birders, then took the bus back to Launceston where I ended up back at Lloyd's Backpackers for the night. Because of the ridiculous Tasmanian buses I couldn't go to the Tamar Wetland Walk because while I could have got a bus out there today there would be none coming back the other way, there is no service at all tomorrow (Saturday) and the only Sunday one is at 7.30pm! Up at a nearby town called Beauty Point is a specialist aquarium called Seahorse World which just displays seahorses and their relatives (according to their promotional material, the most varied collection in the world) and across the road from it is a platypus and echidna place. But again there would be no buses back today, and there are none at all either weekend day. I should have just stayed on the bus right through to Hobart, because that's where I'll be going tomorrow now.

Birds seen today: 13 spp, none new

17 Nov: Today was just a wasted day catching the bus from Launceston to Hobart. Birds were seen only from the bus windows. Very frustrating. I stayed at Central City Backpackers, for $25 in an eight bed dorm. The staff here are great, and I especially liked the apparent hiring policy of only employing hot girls! Renee in particular was a fountain of knowledge about how to get to places around Hobart. I called up Par Avion to try and arrange a flight to Melaleuca. They had one free for tomorrow so I booked myself on.

Birds seen today: 14 spp, none new

18 Nov:  In the morning I walked to the Botanic Gardens (being Tasmania there isn't any public transport to get there!). The Gardens are only small but there is a bit of open dry woodland around them on the hills. Birds appeared to be pretty scarce but I found nineteen species in an hour or so, including the yellow wattlebird (endemic number four: slowly but surely, they were accumulating). The main reason for going to the Gardens was to see the Subantarctic Plant House, which was really excellent, with plants from Macquarie and Campbell Islands down in the endless winter region near Antarctica. There was a soundtrack playing in the house of the bowel-gurgling mating calls of elephant seals. On the way to the Gardens I happened past the site of the old Beaumaris Zoo which closed in 1937 but which is famous as being where the last known thylacine ("Tasmanian tiger") ended its days.
After that little wander I set off to the airport for a flight to Melaleuca in the remote southwest wilderness. How remote? Melaleuca has a permanent population of two people! The reason most people go through Melaleuca is because it a pit-stop along one of the hiking trails. The reason birders go there is because the orange-bellied parrot breeds there. There are only about 150 or 200 of the parrots in the entire world and they breed only in southwest Tasmania, migrating to southern Australia outside of the breeding season. To try and get their numbers up, supplementary feeding is undertaken at Melaleuca so more chicks can be reared. At this time the number of residents in Melaleuca swells to four, with pairs of volunteers taking two-week shifts to keep the feeding-table stocked and recording the numbers of birds. Another much sought after bird in the region is the ground parrot. They are solitary and probably largely crepuscular, and everything I had read or heard told me that they were very difficult birds to find or see.
There are two ways of getting to Melaleuca. You can walk in, which takes up to a week, or you can fly in. Par Avion does regular flights down there to drop off or pick up bushwalkers, or to take tourists on scenic flights. Walking is free which is good but involves walking which isn't so good. Flying costs $300 return but it makes things simple (there are cheaper one-day flights also but I wanted time to find the ground parrot so was staying for several days). Once there I had been expecting to be roughing it in my little tent, but it turned out that there are walkers' huts there for free use. If you are staying for more than a day, make sure you take all your own food with you. The water from the streams is fine to drink there but is stained brown from tannins. Not knowing this I had brought a supply of my own water, but used stream water when it ran out.
Melaleuca has scattered patches of scrub here and there but in the main its just rolling hills covered in a mosaic of dry and swampy buttongrass peat moorland, carpeted everywhere with the burrow-holes of burrowing crayfish endemic to southwest Tasmania that just sit down in their burrows (presumably below the water-table) feeding on dead plant matter and the roots of plants that come into their burrows. First stop for me upon arrival, naturally, was the bird hide overlooking the feeding-table. Really, seeing orange-bellied parrots isn't hard at all. You just pay for the flight, then go to the hide and there they are. At one point during my stay there were ten parrots on the table at once. As a bonus the table is also visited by beautiful firetails which are little finches with fiery red tails and bandit masks, as well as green rosellas (endemic number five), and there are always tree martins buzzing about. A blue-winged parrot also turned up one afternoon but I was absent at the time. Another less welcome visitor was a brown falcon that had found out about the buffet-table of newly-released captive-bred orange-bellied parrots that didn't know how to react to predators! Outside the hut I occupied I found two more endemic birds, the strong-billed honeyeater and the yellow-throated honeyeater (which looks like he's been playing with a pot of yellow paint). Other birds that were easy to find in the area immediately around the airstrip were southern emu-wrens, striated grasswrens and dusky robins (eighth endemic bird).

Birds seen today: 28 spp, 9 new

19 Nov: The next day I went off in search of the ground parrot. I had been anticipating spending days searching and was only half expecting to even glimpse one, but one of the bird volunteers there told me she'd seen three on the track to Cox Bight the day before, and that really they're not difficult to find in this particular place. Hopes carefully raised, off I went to Cox Bight. The track is about 12km long and I saw not one, not two, but FOUR ground parrots!! The first one, seen after only about forty minutes, did the typical thing I had been expecting, namely flushing from the side of the track, flying for about ten metres, then dropping back into the heath and disappearing. The second bird, about thirty minutes later, was completely different. It flew up from the right side of the track and plonked down again on the left side about two feet away from me, and then just sat there and looked at me, tilting its head onto the side in the amusing way parrots do when they're trying to puzzle something out. It was extremely beautiful, very much like a miniature kakapo in some ways but darker green with a red band between the eyes. Absolutely stunning. Then it just casually strolled off into the grass. The third parrot was another up-and-away bird, aided in an even faster escape by a strong wind that had picked up. The fourth paused for a few seconds on top of a tussock. On the walk back I came across that fourth one again in almost the same spot and he reacted the same way, flying a few metres then pausing to look at me for several seconds before leaving. At Cox Bight itself I found endemic number nine, the black currawong. There were also sooty and pied oystercatchers on the beach, and emu-wrens, superb blue wrens, etc in the scrub directly before the beach is reached. I think it would actually be entirely possible to fly into Melaleuca for just a day and see both orange-bellied parrot and ground parrot. In the evenings you can hear the ground parrots calling around the airstrip and they do appear to be very common here. If on a one-day trip, a quick look in the hide would get you the orange-bellies easily and then you could just head off towards Cox Bight and you should get the ground parrots within a couple of hours.

Birds seen today: 20 spp, 4 new

20 Nov: I returned to the Cox Bight track this morning just to see ground parrots again. I flushed two separate birds within the first ten minutes, right at the start of the track, but then nothing after that. Of course that may have had something to do with the weather taking a turn for the worse -- for the much worse! It rolled in about half way through the walk. I continued for a while but it just got too ridiculous so I returned to camp. And in case you're wondering, no its not much fun walking head-on into a howling rain-storm for an hour and a half! It continued raining all day so I just stayed indoors. That night a swamp rat tried to steal one of my water bottles. Swamp rat isn't a very appealing name for a most appealing little creature. I could hear him in the dark gnawing on the bottle top but as soon as I moved to switch on the torch he'd have vanished, leaving just the bottle rocking from side to side. So I left the torch on and waited (I've got a red filter on it so as to watch nocturnal critters unawares). Slowly he snuck back and started at the bottle again, then tried to drag it away across the floor until I took it back and hung the bottles up in a bag so he couldn't take them. He was so cute. But not as cute as the broad-toothed rat seen earlier the same morning. He was as round and fat as a chocolate-covered tennis ball. One mammal I was sad to miss was the pigmy possum that had been living in one of the cupboards in the bird hide: he had been scared away by being shown to too many visitors and had left for quieter quarters.

Birds seen today: 13 spp, none new

21 Nov:  I flew back to Hobart, a day earlier than planned but I had accomplished what I had set out there for. A very good few days for me.

Birds seen today: 8 birds, none new

22 Nov: Just above Hobart is a big mountain called Mount Wellington (everything in Tasmania is named after English nobility). On the lower slopes of the mountain is a tiny little town, or suburb if you will, called Fern Tree. This is quite a popular area for visiting birders, and also popular with your general tourist types too who want to walk up the mountain. Fortunately Fern Tree is well-served by the local bus route. The forest here is filled with tree ferns and huge moss-covered fallen trees. I was here looking for a particular little bird called the scrub-tit. There are twelve endemic birds in Tasmania. I'd seen most of them already but there were three I still hadn't been able to find. The scrub-tit was supposed to be fairly easy to find around Fern Tree. The field-guide says it is a common inhabitant of forests all over Tasmania. Except where-ever I was of course. They look very similar to the Tasmanian scrubwren, which is also endemic but much easier to find. So I wandered all over the mountain, trying not to step on all the scrubwrens that were EVERYWHERE, but narry a scrub-tit did I see. I did spot a few new birds, namely pink robin, striated pardalote and satin flycatcher. A walk to the Hobart Waterworks about an hour away yielded nothing new, although the Tasmanian native hens are always a delight. There was also a large flock of southern black-backed (kelp) gulls bathing here.

Birds seen today: 22 spp, 3 new

23 Nov: Today I headed to another birdy place in another nearby suburb, the Peter Murrell Reserve in Kingston (or Huntingfield, depending on who you talk to). Getting there by bus is much the same as getting there by car, except less convenient. The buses only run from Hobart in the morning and back again in the afternoon, so you need to spend almost the entire day there. I can't remember the bus number but it runs along the Channel Highway. Get off at the Australian Antarctic Division building and cross the road where the roundabout is to the garden centre. The road that runs from the opposite side of the garden centre leads to the Vodafone building (there is a big sign at the start of the road with all the businesses on it). The track to the Reserve starts at the far end of the Vodafone boundary fence and is signposted. The carpark at the end is next to a pond and the forty-spotted pardalotes that everyone comes here to find are in the eucalypts around this pond. Pardalotes are tiny wee birds that live in the tops of trees feeding on insects and generally trying to avoid being seen as much as possible. There are three species in Tasmania, the striated pardalote, the spotted pardalote, and the forty-spotted pardalote. The first two are also found in Australia but the last one is endemic to Tasmania. They feed and live only in one particular species of eucalyptus tree, and most of those have been chopped down, so the bird's kind of in a corner now. There's only about 3500 of them left. I'd seen the striated the day before but here at Peter Murrell I managed to spot all three species. The spotted is the prettiest one in my opinion. I also saw a few black-headed honeyeaters, which were the second-to-last of the endemic birds I was trying to find. The scrub-tit is the final one needed. While I was staring up into eucalypts looking for pardalotes, a man walks by and says "you must be looking for the forty-spots?" (they are pretty famous little birds in the area). Then he says "have you seen a frogmouth yet?" and leads me over to a tree and points out a male frogmouth sitting on a nest on a branch with two big fluffy chicks under his chest. The female was sitting in a nearby tree. The man also told me where to find some nest burrows of the spotted pardalotes (they nest in the ground) but when I found them they didn't appear to be in use.

Birds seen today: 35 spp, 5 new

24 Nov: I had to make a return trip to Fern Tree today. The next (and last) place I'm going in Tasmania is Maria Island and out of all the endemic birds only the scrub-tit isn't found there. So today was the last chance to find it. Once again, dozens of scrubwrens everywhere, but no sign of a scrub-tit. I checked every single scrubwren for the tell-tail black tail band but nothing. Eventually I found a side-trail that I knew no-one had been on yet because there were still spider webs across it, and on there I finally found a scrub-tit. Once I saw it I discovered that despite what the books would have had me believe there's little chance of confusing the two birds. The scrub-tit is obviously smaller and less round and "wren-like" than the scrubwren, and most importantly it was behaving like a treecreeper, working its way up and down tree trunks and delving into crevices after insects.

Birds seen today: 12 spp, one new

25 Nov:  I caught the bus from Hobart to Triabunna today. Naturally the bus timetable didn't match up with the ferry timetable to Maria Island, so I stayed the night at Udda Backpackers ($20). If you are travelling from Hobart to Triabunna, on the way look out for the two causeways just before Sorell because they are good places to spot hoary-headed and crested grebes. On the return trip I also saw two black-faced cormorants fishing in the ocean right next to the road.

Birds Seen today: 18 spp, one new

26 Nov: Maria Island started out being used as a convict settlement but it was so easy to escape from that it was abandoned as such after only seven years! More recently it has become sort of a lifeboat for threatened Tasmanian wildlife, with several species being introduced here as a safeguard against possible extinction. Curiously, several of those species already occurred naturally on the island, like the echidnas and wombats. The grey kangaroos and Bennett's wallabies aren't natural inhabitants and without any predators to keep their numbers down they have to be artificially controlled every so often (although that's kept pretty quiet apparently). In 1965 when the introductions started, however, some species were quite reasonably thought to be on the way out, hence the Cape Barren geese now dominating every open space on the island.
Eleven of Tasmania's twelve endemic birds are found on Maria and although I'd already seen them all elsewhere it was fun trying to see if I could find them all over again (I didn't quite get there: somehow the strong-billed honeyeater eluded me, and it's just as well I found the forty-spotted pardalote at the Peter Murrell Reserve because I couldn't find any here that would remain still long enough to confirm).
The ferry to the island has gone up in price to $40 return (from $25 return!). I had been going to camp on Maria for two nights but then I found out that there are actually dorm rooms available in the old Penitentiary which are only $15 per night (as opposed to $12 per night for a tent-site), so I got to have a roof after all. Just like a convict. You are supposed to book the rooms in advance but in practice this is only neccessary during holiday periods.
New birds for me on this first day were yellow-rumped thornbill (finally managed to track down this common species!!), flame robin, hooded plover and fan-tailed cuckoo. In the evening I went and sat by the beach near the jetty to see if any little blue penguins would come ashore there. First arrival after the sun went down was a water rat, which is a big shovel-nosed amphibious rodent. Oddly it came out of the tail-end of a stream behind the dunes, ran across the sand to the surf and struck out away from shore, heading towards the open ocean. I have no idea what he was thinking. About half an hour later a little huddle of penguins came out of the waves and scuttled up the beach to their burrows.

Birds seen today: 33 spp, 4 new

27 Nov: The second day was more birding of course. The most productive area I found was the track that leads towards Mt. Maria. Out of all the birds recorded on the island I saw almost half of the total list while I was there. Highlights today were a Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle (smaller and rarer than the mainland ones) and swift parrots. I also saw two tiger snakes (one of them only because it decided to depart from the bushes I was standing in while trying to photograph scrubwrens!). One of the most astounding sights of the Maria Island visit occurred right at the end when going to catch the ferry back across to the mainland (on the 28th). All around the jetty were dozens of big pinky-purple jellyfish pulsing slowly in the sunny waters. At first glance it looked like there was an oil-film on the surface but it was actually an effect caused by the water column swarming with millions of little transparent salps. A closer look showed the guts of the jellyfish to be packed with their smaller relatives through which they were drifting. Among the salps also roved larger ctenophores with strobing luminous green lights along their sides, and scattered about were a different kind again with a single electric blue light beaming up through the water like jewels. It must have looked fantastic at night time.
Maria Island is a bit of a secret place. The locals know all about it but because its not one of the well-publicised destinations like Cradle Mountain or Bruny Island, relatively few tourists go there. Apart for the seemingly-constant coming and going of variously-aged school groups when I was there, Maria Island was probably my favourite place in Tasmania.

Birds seen today: 34 spp, one new

28 Nov: I left Maria Island in the morning, back across to Triabunna, then waited around for most of the day for the next bus back to Hobart.

Birds seen today: 20 spp, one new

29 Nov: Plane back to Melbourne

Birds seen before I left Tasmania: 6 spp, none new


The dates are of my first sighting in Tasmania. New species (39) are asterisked.

*Hoary-headed grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus -- Sorell, 25 Nov
Little blue (fairy) penguin Eudyptula minor -- Maria Island, 26 Nov
Australasian gannet Morus serrator -- Maria Island, 26 Nov
*Australian pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Black shag Phalacrocorax carbo -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Little pied shag Phalacrocorax melanoleucos -- Triabunna, 25 Nov
*Black-faced cormorant Leucocarbo fuscescens -- Sorell, 28 Nov
White-faced heron Ardea novaehollandiae -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis -- between Launceston and Devonport, 13 Nov
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Pacific black duck Anas superciliosa -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Chestnut teal Anas castanea -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Grey teal Anas gracilis -- Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov
Australasian shoveller Anas rhynchotis -- Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov
*Musk duck Biziura lobata -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Australian wood duck Chenonetta jubata -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Australian shelduck Tadorna tadornoides -- between Launceston and Devonport, 13 Nov
Cape Barren goose Cereopsis novaehollandiae -- Maria Island, 26 Nov
Black swan Cygnus atratus -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax -- Maria Island, 27 Nov
Australasian harrier Circus approximans -- near Narawntapu National Park, 16 Nov
Brown falcon Falco berigora -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
Purple gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio -- between Launceston and Devonport, 13 Nov
*Tasmanian native hen Gallinula mortierii -- near Devonport, 13 Nov
Australasian (Common) coot Fulica atra australis -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Spur-winged plover Vanellus miles novaehollandiae -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Black-fronted dotterel Charadrius melanops -- Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov
*Hooded plover Charadrius cucullatus -- Maria Island,  26 Nov
*Pied oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
*Sooty oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus -- Melaleuca, 19 Nov
*Pacific gull Larus pacificus -- Devonport, 13 Nov
Southern black-backed (kelp) gull Larus dominicanus -- Hobart Waterworks, 22 Nov
Silver gull Larus novaehollandiae -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Caspian tern Sterna caspica -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Feral (Rock) dove Columba livia -- Launceston, 13 Nov
Common bronzewing pigeon Phaps chalcoptera -- Hobart Waterworks, 22 Nov
Yellow-tailed black cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus -- Port Sorell, 14 Nov
Greater sulphur-crested cockatoo Cacatua galerita -- Kingston (Hobart), 23 Nov
Galah Cacatua (Eolophus) roseicapilla -- between Devonport and Port Sorell, 14 Nov
Eastern rosella Platycercus eximius -- Hobart, 18 Nov
*Green rosella Platycercus caledonicus -- Melaleuca, 19 Nov
*Ground parrot Pezoporus wallicus -- Melaleuca, 19 Nov
*Orange-bellied parrot Neophema chrysogaster -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
*Swift parrot Lathamus discolor -- Maria Island, 27 Nov
Musk lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna -- Devonport, 13 Nov
Golden bronze-cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus plagosus -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
*Fan-tailed cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis -- Maria Island,  26 Nov
*Tawny frogmouth Podargus strigoides -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
Common kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae -- between Launceston and Devonport, 13 Nov
Welcome swallow Hirundo (tahitica) neoxena -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Tree martin Hirundo nigricans -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
Black-faced cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
European skylark Alauda arvensis -- near Devonport, 13 Nov
Australasian pipit Anthus (novaeseelandiae) australis -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
European blackbird Turdus merula -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Scarlet robin Petroica multicolor -- Maria Island, 27 Nov
*Pink robin Petroica rodinogaster -- Fern Tree, 22 Nov
*Flame robin Petroica phoenicea -- Maria Island, 26 Nov
*Dusky robin Melanodryas vittata -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
Grey shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica -- Melaleuca, 19 Nov
*Satin flycatcher Myiagra cyanoleuca -- Fern Tree, 22 Nov
Grey fantail Rhipidura albiscapa -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Superb blue wren Malurus cyaneus -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
*Tasmanian scrubwren Sericornis humilis -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Scrub-tit Sericornis magnus -- Fern Tree, 24 Nov
*Striated fieldwren Calamanthus (Sericornis) fuliginosus -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
*Tasmanian thornbill Acanthiza ewingii -- Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov
Brown thornbill Acanthiza pusilla -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Yellow-rumped thornbill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa -- Maria Island , 26 Nov
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Yellow wattlebird Anthochaera paradoxa -- Hobart Botanic Gardens, 18 Nov
Little wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera -- Devonport, 13 Nov
Noisy miner Manorina melanocephala -- Hobart, 18 Nov
New Holland honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae -- Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov
*Strong-billed honeyeater Melithreptus validirostris -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
*Black-headed honeyeater Melithreptus affinis -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
*Yellow-throated honeyeater Lichenostomus flavicollis -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
*White-fronted chat Ephthianura albifrons -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
*Striated pardalote Pardalotus striatus -- Fern Tree, 22 Nov
*Spotted pardalote Pardalotus punctatus -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
*Forty-spotted pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Beautiful firetail Emblema bellum -- Melaleuca, 18 Nov
House sparrow Passer domesticus -- Launceston, 12 Nov
Common starling Sturnus vulgaris -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Dusky woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus -- Peter Murrell Reserves, 23 Nov
*Grey (clinking) currawong Strepera versicolor -- Launceston, 12 Nov
*Black currawong Strepera fuliginosa -- Melaleuca, 19 Nov
Grey butcherbird Cracticus torquatus -- Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov
Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen -- outside Launceston, 13 Nov
*Forest raven Corvus tasmanicus -- Launceston, 12 Nov


Most of Australia's mammals are nocturnal or crepuscular, so they're not normally seen much in the daytime. But in the late afternoon there are all sorts of interesting creatures starting to stir, and at night things really liven up. Make sure you pack a good torch with a red filter over the lens to observe the wildlife without disturbing them too much. I make the personal choice not to ever take photos of nocturnal animals, because I know the stress the flash can cause them. Show respect to the animals.

*Short-beaked echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus -- first seen at Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov ; also seen at Fern Tree and on Maria Island. Common and approachable (but a little shy). Active at any time of day. Smaller and hairier than mainland echidnas.
*Red-bellied (Tasmanian) pademelon Thylogale billardierii -- first seen up the gorge at Launceston, 12 Nov ; very common at Narawntapu National Park ; also seen at a few times at Melaleuca around the huts, and on Maria Island. Active in the afternoon and evening, but common all along the paths at Narawntapu so easily seen at any hour of the day.
*Bennett's (red-necked) wallaby Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseus -- first seen at Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov, where it was very common ; also seen at Melaleuca, and very common on Maria Island. Most easily seen in the late afternoon.
*Eastern grey kangaroo Macropus giganteus tasmaniensis -- first seen at Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov ; much more approachable on Maria Island. Can be seen at any time but most obvious in the late afternoon when they come out to graze.
*Common wombat Vombatus ursinus ursinus -- first seen at Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov ; common here and on Maria Island, sometimes approachable but often quite shy. They start to emerge from their burrows in the late afternoon. Judging by the number of droppings they are common at Melaleuca also, but I didn't see any there.
*Eastern quoll Dasyurus viverrinus -- seen once at Narawntapu National Park, 14 Nov. Generally only active after nightfall.
*Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii -- seen once at Narawntapu National Park, 15 Nov. Only come out well after dark.
*Broad-toothed rat Mastacomys fuscus -- seen once at Melaleuca, 20 Nov
*Swamp rat Rattus lutreolus velutinus -- seen once at Melaleuca, 20 Nov
*Water rat Hydromys chrysogaster -- seen once on Maria Island, 26 Nov
European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus -- first seen at Devonport, 14 Nov ; also at Narawntapu National Park and at Triabunna


It was still a bit early in the year for good reptile sightings so the list is rather weak. There were quite a lot of skinks I saw that went unidentified, and also a number of frogs that I heard but didn't see.

*Garden (rainbow) skink Lampropholis delicata -- Maria Island
*Metallic skink Niveoscincus metallicus -- Launceston and Fern Tree
*Tasmanian tree skink Niveoscincus pretiosus -- Maria Island
*Tiger snake Notechis ater (= N. scutatus) -- Narawntapu National Park and Maria Island

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