Monday, February 22, 2016

Cheynes Beach, Western Australia

Like many Birders in Oz, I had heard of Cheynes Beach (just a heads-up, the locals pronounce it, “Chains” Beach).
I am sitting in that tent as I write this.
iPhone shot down the back of the Caravan Park. 

Close by the caravan park here it is possible to see three famous skulking birds. One, the Western Whipbird, Lynn and I had been fortunate enough to find on Kangaroo Island. The other two are Noisy Scrub-bird and Western Bristlebird. The range map of both are small, but the NOSB’s range is tiny. We needed to get it here. Seeing this bird is a fairly well known process. One positions themselves on this particular gravel road just around the corner from the caravan park and listens, watches, and waits to see if the Noisy Scrub-bird makes a dash across the road. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t.
See that little green spot? That is where we are.
The first evening here we gave it a go without success. Our new friends Alan and Wendy, who had seen it before, accompanied us. We had experienced birders with us, but it was not to be, the road remained empty. As we were returning to the caravan park, we heard a NOSB close to the sealed road. We went closer. It was closer. I have never, ever, heard a bird that close, that I could not see. Not even the Yellow-billed Kingfisher in Cape York. This bird had to be at our feet. Not just in front of us, but there with us and yet we were on the edge of the road and could not see it. It was surreal. Finally it moved further in and we went to supper. I was grateful just to know for sure they were around.

Lynn and I were down there again early the next morning and it was weirdly quiet. Almost none were calling and they were not near the road. We did tick the Red-winged Fairy-wren there and had a lovely morning in general. Later that afternoon, Wendy and Alan joined us again for a NOSB vigil. This time we were successful! We saw two on the road fairly far down the track close to where Alan had walked to watch. One dashed across, then one ran halfway and back again. We walked down to him and one ran very obligingly across closer behind us, giving us much better views (we are still talking seconds). Yes, we had it! Sweet! I am very grateful.

Red-winged Fairy-wren
Noisy Scrub-bird Lifer Selfie with our new friends, Alan and Wendy taken at the end of the famous, gravel road.
Early Monday morning (before we had even brushed our teeth), Lynn and I headed off to look for the Bristlebird. We had read in our “Finding Australian Birds” what track was recommended for them. We had also checked the folders of birder’s lists and notes that they keep at the office here. As we walked we heard one or two, but they seemed to go quiet quickly. After about forty-five minutes, we had one calling, and it kept calling and we found it! It was ridiculously spot-on to the place indicated in the book. The light was pretty bad (the bird was straight toward the sun), but I was grateful to see it and to get some recording shots, very grateful indeed.
Western Bristlebird, yes! Into the sun in bad lighting, but I am grateful!

As I moved to get a better angle so did the bird. 
We have had some wonderful birds here. Other Lifers have included the awesome Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos, the Western Wattlebird, the stupid-beautiful Red-eared Firetail, the cute as White-breasted Robin and the very busy Western Spinebill. We have another day and night here and hope to see a few more birds and maybe see the Scrub-bird again. It has been raining a lot since yesterday and we are finding that there are issues with the front canvas on Troopi’s pop-top. Whatever, we will deal with it and all will be well. I am so grateful.

At times it is not comfortable on many levels, but this is being alive, and live I will. I am not yet ready for the alternative. So, I am very grateful, even when I am not. Here are some more photos from Cheynes Beach, WA.

Ms and Mr. Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos chatting.

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos are a daily sight here. 
The not so common colors on a Common Bronzewing. There are both Common and Brush here.
The OMG beautiful, Red-eared Firetail. 

White-breasted Robin by our tent.
A scruffy looking Western Spinebill
A little better one...

Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.


  1. That Red-eared Firetail is a looker! Looks like a grand adventure. Miss you guys.

    Thanks again for the Java Sparrow advice today :)

  2. Miss you as well, Kimmy and I am sure we'll catch up eventually! Sending love from the far side of the far side...


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