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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Western Australia north of Perth, 06-13 June 2005,
This report covers a week-long visit to Western Australia (WA) north of Perth to two separate areas: the inland area near Cue, and the coastal area from Monkey Mia to Exmouth. This area holds a number of WA endemics as well as some Outback specialties. Although this itinerary tallied over 3000 km in eight days, we still had enough time to find most of our the target species and have a full day set aside for a whale shark tour at Exmouth and several hours at Monkey Mia for a boat trip to look for dugongs. If we had another day, in retrospect we probably would spend it at Nallan Station where there was an excellent range of birds, including several rarities, and several different birding habitats close by.
Much of the information for this trip was based on Frank O’Connor’s excellent web site on WA birding. This web site includes a huge amount of information about various sites and birds that can be seen in this region. Therefore, in this report I am only concentrating on information to complement that in Frank’s web site. Specific references to his web site are given in italics. We also used information from the book “The Complete Guide to Finding Birds in Australia” by Thomas and Thomas. The references are given in the text according to the numbering used in the book.
We rented a car in Perth from Europcar. Although we had a one-way rental from Perth to Exmouth, we were fortunate that they did not charge their normal drop-off charge because they wanted to relocate some cars to Exmouth. I only learned about this when I called the Perth office; the web site showed the full drop-off charge. None of the other rental car companies even offered a one-way rental from Perth to Exmouth.
This trip was mostly for birding but also included two key non-birding activities: looking for dugongs in Monkey Mia and for whale sharks at Exmouth. The “window” for doing both is limited: dugongs become difficult to see from June to August, while whale sharks do not migrate through the Exmouth area until May. We were actually a few weeks late for dugongs, but we were fortunate to see them and also get great views of the whale sharks.
The weather during late May 2005 was unusual is that it was very wet. Although this region had been experiencing a drought, during the first part of our trip there was heavy rain throughout the region. This meant that the roads were sometimes flooded, the “dry Outback” was covered with ponds of water, and the “desert” was green. This probably helped the birding in some cases, for example with the presence of some blossom-nomad honeyeaters, but also dispersed the birds that otherwise would be drawn to wells and “bores”. This unusual weather and the resulting unusual bird distribution is probably the main caveat when using the information in this report for planning a similar trip.
A word of basic Outback caution here: it is very easy to lose direction when wandering around on foot in the mulga. Before heading off, always check the direction of the sun or an obvious checkpoint, and a compass or GPS is very useful. On several occasions, especially at rest stops, it was easy to get distracted chasing a bird and realize too late that the direction back was not so obvious. Traffic is thin in this region so be prepared to be self-supporting in case of emergency. There is no coverage for mobile phones north of Mount Magnet, including at Cue and Nallan Station. There was intermittent coverage from Geraldton north to Denham, and in a limited range of Exmouth. In general, once outside of the main cities, do not count on using a mobile phone.
Finally, we can confirm that the WA police tolerance for speeding is very slim; one of us received a speeding ticket for driving less than 10 mph over the speed limit on a remote Outback road.
Tuesday, June 7, Perth – Nallan Station
This day started with driving rain in Perth, so our drive north to Nallan Station was slower than expected. The rain continued until we were close to Mount Magnet, but the roads were OK. When in Mount Magnet, we stopped at the “golf course” site listed in the Thomas and Thomas book (8.17). This is now totally unrecognizable as a golf course. There is a large service station on the west side of the road, just north of the town, across from the site. Because of the rain, the site was very wet. We did not see any special birds here – it is listed as a site for Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush. I think that the best site for this bird must be farther from the road than we could reach where there appeared to be some rocky areas. While wandering through the brush we did find some vestiges of the golf course, such as some yardage signs. There were some birds in this area, such as babblers, but none that were not seen elsewhere.
Our next birding stop was Lake Austin, a possible site for Orange Chat just south of Cue. Because of flooding, we were unable to drive too far into this site but we walked to the obvious area of samphire. We did not see any Orange Chats, but we did see several White-fronted Chats, which are not listed as being in this region in the Nallan Station and Cue Bird List. It may be that the White-fronted Chats have taken this area over from the Orange Chats.
We then drove onward to Nallan Station, arriving just before dusk. Despite the rain, our normal 2WD drive Nissan was OK for all the roads. We took a quick walk around the homestead before dark, but did not see anything special.
Wednesday, June 8, Nallan Station
We started at dawn as this was our only full day here. If we had the time it would have been desirable to spend another day here, as we may have added two or three key birds to our list. Our first stop was to drive to Frank’s site for Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush (see Cue Birding sites, item 5). This area has been disrupted by construction, so the birds may have moved as a result. We did see the quail-thrush, as follows: when taking the turn from Sandstone Road, there are now several turns and cross-roads. Bear right at the first fork and left at the second. If this does not work, keep track of the overall distances – the grid mentioned in Frank’s directions is indeed 9.2 km from Cue. Once crossing the grid, park and then walk north (to the left) along the fence by the grid. Follow this fence about 250 meters and the area becomes filled with small rocks and scrub. We found at least six Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrushes in this area. The GPS coordinates at this site are: S 27 25 27, E 117 57 55. We did not see any quail-thrush closer to the road, possibly because of the construction traffic. There were also a few Bourke’s and Mulga Parrots, Grey-crowned and White-browed Babblers, and Crested Bellbird.
Greatly pleased with this success, we then headed to Frank’s site west of Cue for Banded Whiteface. This is a desolate location, just past some active gold mines. After a brief look along the road for the whiteface, we took this opportunity to locate a Chiming Wedgebill. We heard this call throughout the trip, but the bird itself was difficult to see. As noted in the bird guides, the bird calls from treetops but tends to duck into cover when approached. Because the call is very loud, it is easy to underestimate the distance to the bird. We were happy to see it here because then we did not have to chase it again! We walked around this area looking for the whiteface for almost two hours before giving up. But, on the way back to the car, we spotted two Banded Whitefaces along the road – essentially right where Frank said he saw them, on the bend just before the cattle grid. They were perfectly quiet but obligingly perched right atop some bushes. A true last-minute find.
We then returned to Nallan Station for lunch. There is a resident Western Bowerbird at Nallan which showed very well, protecting his bower. We spent the rest of the afternoon around the station and at some of the bores, looking primarily for Slaty-backed Thornbill and Redthroat. We saw perhaps 100 thornbills, but nearly all were immatures and could not be safely identified. The only mature “chestnut-rumped” thornbills we saw were either Chestnut-rumped or Inland Thornbills. An area across from the homestead and adjacent to the abandoned airstrip has also been a site for the rare Gray Honeyeater, but we did not see any. Right at dusk we had a brief glimpse at a possible Redthroat in some low scrub just west of the bowerbird site, but could not relocate it. Other birds around the station included Southern Whiteface, Chiming Wedgebill, Hooded and Red-capped Robins, Mulga Parrot, Spiny-cheeked and White-fronted Honeyeaters.
Thursday, June 9, Nallan Station – Denham
At first light we returned to where the Redthroat had been seen the previous day and soon saw both a male and female Redthroat. We again saw a lot of thornbills but could not positively identify any Slaty-backed, although I am sure that one or two of the immatures must have been this species. We then returned to the tracks across the airstrip to look for thornbills and/or Gray Honeyeater, but did not see any before rain began at 10AM. We then left Nallan Station to begin the long drive to Denham. Because of the rain, we did not make a return visit to Lake Austin. We arrived in Denham at 6PM.
Friday, June 10, Denham – Carnarvon
Before first light we drove the short distance from Denham to Monkey Mia. This is a site for Thick-billed Grasswren, often described as being easy in the parking lot. Although we were the first in the parking lot, we did not see any grasswrens here at all! By 7:15AM, cars and busses were pouring in for the daily spectacle of Bottle-nosed Dolphins coming in very close to the beach. At about 8AM, the dolphins began to come close to shore. The tourists stand along the edge of the water, or up to knee-deep, and the dolphins pass within a few feet. If they are chasing a fish, they move very fast even in the shallow water. The rangers pick a few volunteers to feed a few of the dolphins, but even these get only a small part of their daily requirement so that they continue to feed in the bay naturally. This sounds a bit unnatural, but it was really very enjoyable.
We then went back to looking for the grasswren. Even though the parking area has only small sections of shrub between lanes for cover, we only briefly saw two grasswrens run into some shrub and disappear. So we went along the “Explorers” dune walk. This proved to be where we saw several Thick-billed Grasswrens, including one tail-less bird! They were not particularly shy but it was still tricky to get a good look – quite a different experience from others who report the birds hopping around in the parking lot.
We then returned to the Monkey Mia dock to board the Aristocat2 catamaran for a nature tour of Shark Bay. There are two such boats at Monkey Mia – the other is the Shotover, which is operated by the Monkey Mia Resort (this is the only lodging right at Monkey Mia, and looks very nice). Both boats left at about the same time, the difference being that the Shotover was full and our boat had only about 20 passengers. That was good for us but not great for the skipper and owner of the Aristocat2, Greg Ridgely. He said he is in a struggle with the Shotover because the resort has package deals with the Shotover, so he is always trying to make his trips a little bit better than theirs. I had communicated with him a lot about my interest in seeing some dugongs. He told us that six dugongs had been seen two days before, but that the weather the previous day had been so bad the boat trip was cancelled. So we had no idea if we would see any. After seeing many dolphins close up (which felt more “natural” than seeing them so close from shore) the captain started his search for dugongs. He did this by being lifted to the top of the mast and scanning the water for the shape of the dugongs just below the surface. This was really an extraordinary effort. After about an hour, he spotted one and we eventually caught up to it. We had some good, not great views, but he had already warned me that dugong sightings in winter are uncommon. I expect that no one on the other boat saw any dugongs. I strongly recommend the Aristocat2 because Greg definitely went out of his way to find some dugongs and to make our trip special.
After lunch we drove towards the Overlander Roadhouse, stopping to view the stromatolites at Hamelin Pool; this is worth a stop if only for the excellent and entertaining information signs at the stromatolite site. The caravan park here had also been mentioned as a possible Orange Chat site, but the area is now completely overgrown (Shark Bay birding sites, section 2). We then continued to Carnarvon, not doing any birding en route and arriving after dark.
Saturday, June 11, Carnarvon – Exmouth
We left Carnarvon before dawn to head south a bit to New Beach. This turned out to be one of the best birding locations for us, and with the sun behind us at sunrise the light was perfect. Along the stretch from the main road to the coast, we spotted the following birds: several Pied Honeyeaters doing display flights; one Black Honeyeater which was very approachable; several Pallid Cuckoos; a Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo; many Crimson Chats, but no Orange Chats which have been reported from this area and which sometimes are associated with Crimson Chats; and many other common species. Yellow White-eyes in particular were abundant. Upon reaching the coast, we turned left to New Beach where several people were camping and fishing. The main flying critters were was lots of sand flies which made the birding impossible. We had hoped to see Dusky Gerygone here, but abandoned the effort and headed back north to Carnarvon. The dirt road to New Beach appears to be prone to flooding so check that it is passable.
In Carnarvon, we went past the Small Boat Harbor (marked with signs “to Harbor”). At the end of the paved road, the dirt track turns left and continues towards a mangrove area where we saw the first of many Dusky Gerygones, plus other mangrove specialties such as Mangrove Golden Whistler, Yellow White-eye and a possible Jacky Winter that had us thinking it was a Mangrove Robin.
We picked up a delicious shrimp sandwich for lunch (this town is known for its fruits and seafood) and began our drive up to Exmouth, along the way having a nice chat with a policeman who gave us a AUD100 speeding ticket. Just south of Exmouth we went to Shothole Canyon Road, to look for Red-browed Pardalote at a few dry stream crossings, but no luck. We then stopped in at the very nice Exmouth visitor center to pick up some maps, and then to the dive shop to confirm our whale shark trip for the next day. Then we drove to Mangrove Bay for a late afternoon try for White-breasted Whistler, with no success despite perfect tidal conditions. There were several Emu along the roadside, along with kangaroos and Wedge-tailed Eagles. We stayed at the Potshot Hotel, which is centrally located in Exmouth and has a range of accommodations from backpacker bunks to nice rooms.
Sunday, June 12, Exmouth
This was whale shark day. We arrived at the dive shop at 7AM to sign in and pick up our equipment. We loaded up the bus and arrived at the Tantabiddi launch point at 8AM. We took two trips by small boat to our larger boat, and then headed out. First stop was primarily a diving stop but we did see a nice green turtle when snorkeling. The spotter plane goes up at 10AM, so from then on we were on stand-by. While trolling around, the captain spotted a group of manta rays, which were very close. We were almost ready to jump in when the boat accelerated because a whale shark sighting had been called down to us. So we sped 30 minutes to the site with adrenalin pumping. Upon arrival, we entered the water in two shifts of 10 each, each group staying in for about 10 minutes because there is a maximum of 10 snorkelers with the whale shark at a time. And the whale shark was right there! It does not appear so large underwater, but when it approaches it simply gets bigger and bigger. The shark we saw was approx 10 meters long, but some are larger. We made repeated jumps on and off the boat to snorkel with the whale sharks until we were all exhausted. The whale sharks stayed within 10 meters of the surface, often much shallower, and we were often within 5 meters of it; the minimum allowable distance is 3 meters. A great experience. Because of the spotter plane, these boats provide a second-day guarantee for a free trip the next day if no whale shark is seen. That indicates that they are pretty confident of finding them.
We then had a lunch stop, and a later stop where we encountered more manta rays. Finally, we had a last snorkeling stop at a reef before returning to shore and then to Exmouth at 4PM. We briefly thought about making a trip to Mangrove Bay to try for White-breasted Whistler again, but we quickly realized we were too tired.
Monday, June 13, Exmouth
We started the day at Shothole Canyon Road, looking (actually, mostly listening) for Red-browed Pardalote at each stream crossing and walking much of the length of the stream bed itself. There were many Gray-headed Honeyeaters in this area. Starting about 8 km from the main road we made a few tries for Spinifexbird – this area is an ocean of spinifex. Eventually, along a small side loop on the right about 10 km from the main road, a Spinifexbird popped up in response to pishing. It sat nicely for perhaps 10 seconds, giving great close views, and then dove into the spinifex. GPS coordinates here: S 22 03 11, E 114 01 00. We then continued our unsuccessful efforts for the pardalote. At mid-day we headed back to Exmouth to run some errands and then drove to Turquoise Bay, a very nice beach. We also stopped at the Milyering visitor center, which is very nice but no one there was knowledgeable about birds. We went north back to Mangrove Bay for the whistler, but had to leave after an hour or so as the biting sand flies became unbearable.
Tuesday, June 14, Exmouth – Perth
This was an eventful final day. We started out with an early morning trip to Mangrove bay to look for White-breasted Whistler which we had previously tried for only in the afternoon. After a couple of hours and numerous sand fly bites, we gave up and relocated to Shothole Canyon Road en route to the airport and our flight to Perth. Before going to Shothole Canyon we stopped at Bundegi Coastal Park north of Exmouth, where we saw two Australian Bustards on the track. At Shothole Canyon, we stopped at each river crossing, listening for Red-browed Pardalote. At the fifth river crossing, 5.7 km from the main road, we heard the loud five or six note call. Surprisingly, this area had only a few smaller gum trees. The bird is a ventriloquist, and we chased it around for 30 minutes before we located it in a small gum tree only 4 meters tall. Overall it is a drab bird that flitted away after only a few seconds but after we each had a good look. It was almost invisible even though it was in a small, sparsely leaved tree. This bird would be impossible to locate without following its call.
Then it was time to head towards the airport. We made a casual stop at Wapet Beach, which is only 400 meters north of the airport entrance. We drove in 1.2 km to the parking area, which is at the mouth of the creek and a nice mangrove area. We explored this area, again seeing the familiar residents: Mangrove Golden Whistler, Dusky Gerygone, Yellow White-eye. We then drove 0.3 km north from the parking area to where the road became impassable due to mud. We walked farther north to the edge of the mangrove but did not see anything. Suddenly, in response to “pishing” a male and female White-breasted Whistler popped out for excellent but short views. This bird had not specifically been reported from this site previously to our knowledge, but it is known to be in most mangroves along the coast. Even so, it was a surprise and a great last-minute finish. This area also held a displaying Black Honeyeater.
We then dropped off the car at the airport, where Europcar does not have a desk, so we simply left the keys on their desk. The bad news is that, when we later received our bill by mail, we were charged for several hundred dollars’ of damage that we did not do to the car. Without anyone there to check us in and look over the car, we had no defense. So I would not recommend simply dropping off the car; it is better to drop it off in Exmouth and take a van or taxi to the airport from there.
(not exhaustive, see notes below); unless the number of birds seen is listed, “common” means more than 10 and seen on more than one day or location, and several means at least 5 seen.
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) – common around Exmouth
Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) – common at Monkey Mia
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) – common along all coasts
Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) – a few at Lake Austin
Pacific Reef-Egret (Egretta sacra) – several at Mangrove Bay
Great Egret (Ardea alba) – common
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) – seen around Carnarvon
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) – several around Exmouth
Australian Kite (Elanus axillaries) - common
Square-tailed Kite (Lophoictinia isura) – one alongside the road north of Carnarvon
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur Indus) - common
White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – several at Exmouth
Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus) - common
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) – common
Australian Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) - common
Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) – two at Bundegi near Exmouth
Bush Thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius) – two at Nallan Station
Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus) – two at Mangrove Bay
Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus) – several at Lake Austin
Silver Gull (Larus novaehollandiae) - common
Crested Pigeon (Geophaps lophotes) - common
Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera) - common
Port Lincoln Parrot (Barnardius zonarius) - common
Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius) – common around Nallan Station and Cue
Bourke's Parrot (Neophema bourkii) – several near Cue
Galah (Eolophus roseicapillus) - common
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) – common at Exmouth
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) – near Perth
Pallid Cuckoo (Cuculus pallidus) – several along road to New Beach
Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis) – one along road to New Beach
Red-backed Kingfisher (Todirhamphus pyrrhopygia) – a few around Exmouth
Western Bowerbird (Chlamydera guttata) – one at Nallan Station
White-winged Fairywren (Malurus leucopterus) – common in north
Variegated Fairywren (Malurus lamberti) – several at Nallan Station
Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus) – several at Monkey Mia
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) – common at Nallan Station
Red-browed Pardalote (Pardalotus rubricatus) – one at Shothole Canyon
Redthroat (Pyrrholaemus brunneus) – a pair at Nallan Station
Inland Thornbill (Acanthiza apicalis) – common at Nallan Station
Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) – several at Nallan Station
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza uropygialis) – common at Nallan Station
Weebill (Smicrornis brevirostris) – two at Nallan Station
Dusky Gerygone (Gerygone tenebrosa) – common in mangroves from Carnarvon north
Southern Whiteface (Aphelocephala leucopsis) – common at Nallan Station
Banded Whiteface (Aphelocephala nigricincta) – two west of Cue
Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) – common at Nallan Station
Black Honeyeater (Certhionyx niger) – one each at New Beach Road and Wapet Road
Pied Honeyeater (Certhionyx variegates) – several along New Beach road
Singing Honeyeater (Lichenostomus virescens) – several at Nallan Station
White-fronted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus albifrons) – common
Gray-headed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus keartlandi) – common at Shothole Canyon
White-plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus) - common
Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula) - common
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis) – common
Crimson Chat (Epthianura tricolor) – several at New Beach road
White-fronted Chat (Epthianura albifrons) – several at Lake Austin
Red-capped Robin (Petroica goodenovii) – several at Nallan Station
Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata) – common at Nallan Station
Mangrove Robin (Eopsaltria pulverulenta) – one seen in Carnarvon mangroves
Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) – several east of Cue
White-breasted Whistler (Pachycephala lanioides) – a pair at Wapet Road
Gray-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) - common
White-browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus) - common
Chiming Wedgebill (Psophodes occidentalis) – common north of Carnarvon
Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castaneothorax) – several east of Cue
Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) - common
Grey Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa) – a few around Carnarvon and Nallan
Mangrove Fantail (Rhipidura phasiana) – common in all mangroves
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) - common
Little Crow (Corvus bennetti) - common
Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus} – several at Nallan Station
Little Woodswallow (Artamus minor) – common north of Carnarvon
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) – common around Exmouth
Australasian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) - common
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) - common
White-winged Triller (Lalage tricolor) – several east of Cue
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) – possible escapee around Perth
White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosternus) – several at Exmouth
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) - common
Fairy Martin (Hirundo ariel) - common
Australian Yellow White-eye (Zosterops luteus) – common in all mangroves
Brown Songlark (Cincloramphus cruralis) - common
Spinifex-bird (Eremiornis carteri) – one at Shothole Canyon
Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) – common around Nallan Station
Richard’s Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae) - common
Note: because of the flooding in much of this region, many Outback fields were actually ponds and held a variety of waterfowl which we did not identify. The coastline in the Cape Range Park – Exmouth area also held a lot of small waders which we did not identify because they were too far away due to the tides.
Monkey Mia Cruise, Aristocat 2, skipper Greg Ridgley, tel: 61-8-9948-1446, mobile 61-429-481-446, fax: 61-8-9948-3012, www.monkey-mia.net/cruises.htm. We highly recommend using this boat and skipper due to his dedication and enthusiasm.
Exmouth whale shark cruise: Exmouth Diving Center, Kristin Anderson, tel: 61-8-9949-1201, fax: 61-8-9949-1680, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.exmouthdive.com.au. There are several boats doing similar whale shark trips, and three of them share the spotter plane. We were very satisfied with Exmouth Diving Center and it was conveniently located directly behind the Potshot Hotel.
Exmouth Hotels: Potshot Hotel resort, located in town, tel: 61-8-9949-1200, fax: 61-8-9949-1486; Best Western Sea Breeze resort, located outside of town, tel: 61-8-9949-1800, fax: 61-8-9949-1300, e-mail: email@example.com, www.seabreezeresort.com.au
The Potshot has a range of rooms available, and is centrally located. The Best Western is north of town and appears to be a bit isolated.
Carnarvon Hotel: Best Western Hospitality Inn, tel: 61-8-9941-1600, fax: 61-8-9941-2405, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hospitalityinncarnarvon.com.au
There are several hotels in Carnarvon; we were pleased with this one and it had a nice restaurant as well.
Denham Hotel: Heritage Resort Hotel, tel: 61-8-9948-1133, fax: 61-8-9948-1134, e-mail: Heritageresort@bigpond.com, www.HeritageResort.net.au. There are only a few places to stay in Denham, and this is the newest and nicest with a connected restaurant and bar. The others are primarily cottages.
Perth Airport Hotel: Comfort Inn Bel Eyre, tel: 61-8-9277-2733; fax: 61-8-9479-1113. This is probably the closest hotel to the airport and offers free airport pickup and dropoff.
Nallan Station: this station is a 11 km north of Cue. We stayed in the main cottage which can hold up to 10 people. It had a full kitchen and indoor shower. Buy supplies in Cue (supermarket closes at 6PM) before arriving. There is also a more basic “shearer’s quarters’ with single bedrooms in a larger building. The owners were very pleasant and provided a map of the large station. It is prudent to give them an idea of where on the station you plan to go each day, in case you have some problem; for example, the dirt tracks could get impassable very quickly in rain. The main reason to stay here is the excellent on-site birding. Tel: 61-8-9963-1054.
Key web site: Frank O’Connor’s comprehensive Western Australia birding pages: http://members.iinet.net.au/~foconnor/sites. The sites mentioned in my report are those listed in Frank’s web site so please refer to it in order to get exact location details.
The Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia, Richard Thomas and Sarah Thomas, Frogmouth Publications, 1996, Athaneum Press, Gateshead England.