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Australia | Western Perth & the Wild Southwest

A 17-day birdwatching tour to Western Australia

Travel through Western Australia with Limosa's own Aussie specialist Peter Taylor, who lives in the tall timber country to the south of Perth (where we begin our tour). Focusing on Australia's wild southwest, it's a trip that will open your eyes to the long list of Australian endemic birds - including Long-billed Black Cockatoo, Red-eared Firetail, Gilbert's Honeyeater and the ‘impossible to see’ Noisy Scrubbird among 15 species that are found only here. Timed also to coincide with Western Australia's spectacular displays of spring wildflowers - acclaimed amongst the finest in the world – while two great boat trips and encounters with some of the continent's unique mammals complete a wonderful holiday Down Under.

Tour Dates

2018

Available

Leaders
Peter Taylor

Max Group Size: 7
Duration: 17 Days

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Cost: £5495

inc return flights from London Heathrow to Perth

Deposit: £700

Single Supp: £750
Land Only: £4645

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Short billed Black Cockatoo female WOz Peter Taylor Oct 2012 IMG 0280

The Short-billed Black Cockatoo is endemic to SW Australia, where it occurs only in the extreme southwest. Females are distinguished by their grey eye-ring © Peter Taylor, Limosa Holidays

Australia is truly a world apart. Isolated from the rest of the world's landmasses for over 60 million years, here evolution has taken a quite separate path. Most famous perhaps are the continent’s two mammal groups: the marsupials and the egg-laying monotremes. Even more remarkable, almost half of the nation’s 650 or so regular bird species are found only in Australia and nowhere else - a greater proportion of endemic birds than any other country. Fifteen of these are unique to Western Australia.

Our birdwatching tour to Western Australia is a classic, focusing on the wild and stunningly diverse southwestern corner of this huge island continent. It's a region that's not only blessed with a splendid array of endemic birds but which in spring (when we visit) also boasts some of the finest floral displays anywhere in the world.

Our travels begin in Perth, at beautiful King’s Park, overlooking the broad reaches of the city's famous Swan River. Here we should encounter our first endemic birds - the raucous Short-billed Black Cockatoo and shrieking Port Lincoln Ringnecks - before a relaxing cruise offshore carries us out into the Indian Ocean, where we'll find Rottnest Island is alive with the calls of Western Gerygones and Singing Honeyeaters, and home to that curious marsupial, the Quokka.       

Entering the temperate eucalypt forests of the Darling Ranges, we’ll watch for two brilliantly coloured Western endemics: Red-capped Parrot and Western Rosella. In the scenic woodlands of Dryandra, we'll search for gorgeous Blue-breasted Fairywrens and Rainbow Bee-eaters. With luck, we might also encounter the peculiar Echidna here or even catch sight of the striped back and bushy tail of the unique Numbat, Western Australia’s faunal emblem.

We continue east to Kalgoorlie and the arid woodlands of the Goldfields region, where carpets of Everlasting Daisies and a myriad other nectar-filled wildflowers in spring attract masses of Black, White-fronted and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters, along with the striking Crimson Chat, Red-backed Kingfisher and Striated Pardalote.

Along the continent’s rugged south coast, we will explore the islands of the Recherche Archipelago for an array of seabirds and also Humpback Whales; experience the fantastic botanical diversity that draws Western Spinebill and Western Wattlebird to the Stirling Ranges; and stalk that rare, extremely localised and ultra elusive trio of Western Australia endemics: Noisy Scrubbird, Western Bristlebird and Western Whipbird. We’ll watch Long-billed Black Cockatoos and Western Corellas screeching over the wetlands of Lake Muir, take a trip over the largest sand dunes in Australia to find the diminutive Fairy Tern and wander the region’s tall karri forests in search of scurrying Red-winged Fairywrens and Red-eared Firetails.         

We return full circle to Perth via the Ramsar-listed wetlands of the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary, a haven for thousands of waterbirds and waders - a fitting conclusion to a wonderful tour.

Our resident Aussie guide Peter Taylor joined the Limosa team in 2008 and has since led all of our Australia tours. He has lived in the tall timber country of Western Australia for fifteen years and knows the birds and wildlife of this region with an intimacy few can match.

Rock Parrots (3) Cape Leeuwin WOz Peter Taylor Oct 2012 IMG 0243

Rock Parrot at Cape Leeuwin. This engaging, range-restricted Australian endemic is confined to the coasts of south and southwest Australia © Peter Taylor, Limosa Holidays

If you wish, this tour can easily be incorporated into your own private visit to Australia. For those who’d prefer to travel out early and rest up a little ahead of the tour, or make their own arrangements to stopover in Australia before or after our tour, we can organise your flights out / back on almost any day you choose. Please ask for details and a quote at time of booking. Alternatively, a 'land only' price is given below for those who prefer to book their own flights, joining and leaving the tour in Perth.

Day 1
FLY LONDON TO PERTH

Our birdwatching tour to Western Australia commences with departure from London Heathrow today on an overnight flight bound for Perth, the state capital. [There are no direct flights to Perth from the UK so all routes involve a change of planes en route; e.g. in Singapore.]

Days 2 – 3
PERTH: KINGS PARK & ROTTNEST ISLAND CRUISE

Our onward flight arrives in Perth on the afternoon of Day 2, where Peter will be waiting to welcome everyone. We transfer to our very comfortable hotel in Perth, where we stay for two nights. Our hotel is ideally situated, close to beautiful King’s Park and with views over the city of Perth and its famous Swan River - named after Western Australia’s state bird, the Black Swan.

Situated on the shores of the Indian Ocean, at the southwestern corner of the great Australian continent, Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world (second only to Honolulu in fact, in terms of distance from its nearest neighbour). As a consequence of its geographic isolation, the temperate southwest corner of Western Australia also boasts an abundance of species that are found nowhere else in the world - including 15 endemic species of bird and some of the finest displays of wildflowers anywhere on earth.

Overlooking the broad blue waters of the Swan River and within walking distance of Perth’s bustling city centre, King's Park is the perfect place to start our birdwatching tour. Set aside as a reserve as long ago as 1872, the park and botanic gardens extend over 1000 acres, more than half of which is remnant eucalypt woodland. The water features and landscaped gardens are a major feature of the park, which is home to more than 80 species of birds and 300 different species of plants. Many cockatoos, parrots and honeyeaters have been recorded here and we should soon be enjoying our first pink-and-grey Galahs, noisy Australian Ringnecks and the impressive Western Australian endemic Short-billed (or Carnaby’s) Black Cockatoo, along with boldly-patterned White-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeaters.

Next day, we’ll take a leisurely cruise over to Rottnest Island, named by early Dutch explorers after the native Quokka, a small marsupial that lives there. Lying some 18km off the coast at Perth, Rottnest is a good place to find the curious Rock Parrot and the striking Red-capped Robin as well as White-tailed Gerygone, Singing Honeyeater and White-fronted Chat. Eastern Ospreys find the island’s rugged coastline and sandy bays to their liking and may remind us of home - but are a full species now. Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Australasian Gannet, Australian Pied Oystercatcher and Caspian, Crested, Fairy and Bridled Terns amongst a host of unfamiliar species we could see here, too. Two nights Perth

Day 4
HERDSMAN LAKE & DARLING RANGES

First thing this morning, we will take a trip out to Perth’s premier urban wetland, Herdsman Lake. Stiff-tailed Blue-billed Ducks and the peculiar-looking Musk Duck are likely to be on show, along with smartly dressed Australian Shelducks and powder-puff Australasian Grebes. We’ll also be keeping an eye open for Buff-banded Rail, Swamp Harrier and the slender Australian Hobby.

Leaving Perth, we head east and up onto the Darling Scarp. Our first scheduled stop is Victoria Dam, where we will look for endemic species such as Western Rosella, Red-capped Parrot and White-breasted Robin. The reserve around the dam is dominated by dry forests of tall eucalypts (jarrah and marri), with a rich understorey of flowering grevilleas, dryandras, hakeas and kangaroo paws providing an irresistible attraction for photographers and artists alike.

After lunch we’ll swing southeastwards to explore the more open woodlands, where we may find Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters and Rufous Treecreeper - the latter often just as much at home on the ground! Then it’s on to the Wheatbelt town of Narrogin, where we spend the next two nights. In the evening, spotlighting for Bush Thick-knee and Tawny Frogmouth is an option for those keen to venture out tonight for a preview of Dryandra. Night Narrogin

Day 5
DRYANDRA WOODLANDS &
WAGIN LAKES

The Dryandra Woodlands are our destination today, an especially scenic area with magnificent open forests and spectacular carpets of wildflowers in spring. The graceful eucalypt woodlands of white-barked Wandoo and Powderbark trees once covered much of the Wheatbelt region before it was cleared for farming, and Brown Mallet, once heavily cut for its tannins, is now protected here. There's some excellent birding here too, including the endemic Western Thornbill, Elegant Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet and the impressive Crested Shriketit. If we are fortunate, we might spot the elusive Painted Buttonquail or maybe encounter one or two of Western Australia's more unusual mammals - perhaps an endearing Numbat (Western Australia's faunal emblem) or the peculiar egg-laying Echidna.

Later we’ll investigate the Wagin Lakes and sewage ponds. Wagin can be a good spot to try for resident species such as Chestnut Teal and Black-fronted Dotterel, while the familiar Wood Sandpiper, a winter visitor to these parts, will make us feel strangely ‘at home’ in such distant shores. Night Narrogin

Day 6
DRYANDRA, YEALERING LAKES & MERREDIN NATURE RESERVE

Firstly today, if needs be, we’ll revisit Dryandra seeking to unlock more of its avian treasures. The aptly named Rainbow Bee-eater is certainly one bird not to be missed and others to be enjoyed include Sacred Kingfisher, Scarlet Robin, the animated and nuthatch-like Varied Sittella, White-winged Triller, White-browed Babbler, Dusky Woodswallow and Restless Flycatcher.

Beyond the Darling Scarp, rainfall drops off dramatically and it’s not long before we’re into the region's agricultural zone with huge 'broad-acre' wheat farming properties where only remnant patches of the original vegetation remain. We’ll pause awhile to check out the margins of Lake Yealering. If conditions are right, flocks of attractive Red-necked Avocets, and Black-winged and Banded Stilts often gather here to feed.

After we have checked in at our accommodation in Merredin, our stop for the night, we will pay a visit to Merredin Nature Reserve, where the surviving remnant vegetation includes a diverse mix of woodland, open grassland and dense melaleuca scrub. We will follow the track around and look for some Wheatbelt specialities such as Western Yellow Robin, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and the tail-wagging Jacky Winter. If we’re really fortunate we may even glimpse a Malleefowl, a shy bird and the world’s only dry country megapode.

Then it’s back to Merredin, a small country town by European standards but the largest regional centre of the eastern Wheatbelt, where a refreshing swim beckons at our hotel pool!  Night Merredin

Day 7
SANDFORD ROCKS & BOORABBIN NATIONAL PARK

Still heading east today, we leave Merredin and pay a visit to the impressive Sandford Rocks Nature Reserve, with its complex mosaic of exposed granite rock. Open woodland abounds throughout this region, dominated by multi-stemmed eucalypts - known collectively as “mallees” - as well as many species of acacia (wattles). Run-off from the granite outcrops creates oases of microhabitats, while extensive salt lakes cover the low-lying areas. We’ll listen for the flute-like calls of Mulga Parrots and the ventriloquial song of the Crested Bellbird in the dry shrublands, where Southern Scrub Robins skulk and cinnamon-throated Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters are among the more distinctive-looking of their tribe. Along the way, we could encounter Banded Lapwing, White-backed Swallow and - if we’re very fortunate - may even spot the very handsome Inland Dotterel.

Beyond Yellowdine, we leave behind the agricultural Wheatbelt and cross the ‘Rabbit-proof fence’, more correctly known as the State Barrier Fence. This incredible structure, more than 2000 miles long, was completed over one hundred years ago in an attempt to halt the scourge of European Rabbits that were ravaging the farmlands of eastern Australia. Despite failing to achieve its original goal, the fence is still maintained today and helps to protect the farmland beyond from intrusion by wild Dingos and the potentially devastating effects of mass migrations of Emus and kangaroos following ideal breeding conditions in the interior.

From here, we pass through the rolling and sparsely populated countryside of the Boorabbin and Goldfields Woodlands National Parks. The extensive habitat known as 'sandplain heath' is dominated by species adapted to the region's nutrient poor sandy soils, explaining why they were never cleared for agriculture. In October, plants such as grevilleas, honey-myrtles, hakeas and feather flowers explode in a magnificent riot of colour - a real feast for the eye and providing rich pickings for many birds. White-fronted Honeyeater, Gilbert’s Whistler, Shy Heathwren and the beautiful Blue-breasted Fairywren occur, while along the highway we can also look out for the enormous Red Kangaroo and maybe a Dingo or two.

In the early evening we arrive in Kalgoorlie, the bustling hub of the rich goldfields region. Surrounded by arid woodland plains that feature more eucalypt species than any other region in Australia, this famous gold-mining town with its fabulous old buildings will be our home for two nights. Night Kalgoorlie

Day 8
GOONGARRIE NATIONAL PARK & ROWLES LAGOON

Today we drive an hour to the north of town to visit one of the largest national parks on our trip, and certainly the most arid. Goongarrie, a former sheep station, is uniquely situated at the junction of the country's “eucalypt-mulga” line. To the south lie eucalypt woodlands of Salmon Gum and Morrell, whereas the land to the north is dominated by Mulga acacias and needle-leaved She-oaks. The coming together of these two important Australian ecotypes makes this a terrific spot to look for a range of special birds that are hard to find elsewhere.

Colourful parrots, including Cockatiel, Budgerigar and the lovely Bourke’s Parrot with its distinctive salmon-pink body, are all possible. If we’re very lucky we may catch a glimpse of the scarce Scarlet-chested Parrot too, one of the small but beautiful species of Neophemas that have been recorded in the park. Specialities such as Malleefowl, White-browed Treecreeper, Little Buttonquail, Diamond Dove, Red-backed Kingfisher, White-winged Fairywren and Slender-billed Thornbill also make their home amongst Goongarrie’s patchwork of rocky ridges, mallee woodland and shrubby saltlake margins. There are also Pied Butcherbirds, Ground Cuckooshrike, Southern Whiteface, the elusive but strikingly-patterned Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush and the dazzling Crimson Chat to watch for, as we listen out for the mournful calls of Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo and Black-eared Cuckoo - two migrants that arrive to breed in southern Australia in the spring.

Later in the day we will visit Rowles Lagoon, the largest freshwater lake in the Goldfields region and home to an impressive 41 species of waterbird. Most sought-after of these is the scarce and endangered Freckled Duck, which has been recorded breeding here - a handsome bird with its intricately marked plumage, characteristic peaked head and sweeping bill-line. We will also be on the lookout for the curious-looking Pink-eared Duck, Australian Shoveler and Hardhead, while Whiskered Terns dance over the water and groups of Black-tailed Nativehens forage beside the shore. Night Kalgoorlie

Day 9
KALGOORLIE TO ESPERANCE, VIA PEAK CHARLES

The southern port city of Esperance is our destination today and requires an early start for the 400 km drive. Along the way we will pass through Norseman, at the terminus of the 2000km long Eyre Highway, which links ‘WA’ to the rest of Australia.

A detour into the sandplain heath country will bring us to our lunch stop at the foot of Peak Charles. This ancient granite outcrop rises 350m above the plain to more than 600m (2000 feet) above sea level, and is the highest spot around. In the surrounding heathland we should find the stunning Western Spinebill, one of two endemic honeyeaters in Western Australia - the other being the recently split Western Wattlebird, which we’ll be seeking shortly!

The spectacularly weird-shaped flowers of the hakea-dominated heathland attract a myriad of other honeyeaters too, including the lovely Tawny-crowned with its beautiful fluting call and the smart looking White-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeaters. With luck, we may spot the large and stately Australian Bustard, fidgety Black-faced Woodswallows, and birds of prey such as Wedge-tailed and Little Eagles, Spotted Harrier and Brown Falcon as we continue our drive towards the Southern Ocean.

Standing on the shores of the Southern Ocean and the Great Australian Bight, Esperance marks the furthest point east of our tour. We aim to arrive at our hotel overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Esperance Bay and its pure white sandy beaches in time for dinner this evening, at the start of a relaxing two-night stay. Night Esperance

Day 10
WOODY ISLAND CRUISE & ESPERANCE SALT LAKES

After a long day in the vehicle yesterday, it’ll make a pleasant change to get out onto the water for a relaxing cruise. More than 100 small islands lie off the coast at Esperance, forming what is collectively known as the Recherche Archipelago.

Woody Island is the largest and only one of these islands open to the public and today we’ll join a wildlife cruise that allows us to get up close to the colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals and Australian Sealions. In spring, we may also see dolphins and whales as both Southern Right and Humpback Whales venture in amongst the islands before heading back to Antarctica.

This picturesque island of around 600 acres is a nature reserve with a small eco-stay facility and restaurant, where we will have morning tea today. Most of the island is densely wooded but there are several walking trails, which will take us to sheltered coves and a summit lookout. A number of highly desirable species breed in the archipelago and, in particular, we shall be looking out for Black-faced Cormorant and the unusual Cape Barren Goose.

Woody Island itself is home to some fine land birds, including the attractive Brush Bronzewing and furtive Brown Quail as well as another stunning ‘WA’ endemic, the Red-eared Firetail. The 15km journey across the bay can be equally rewarding for birds, with the localised Great-winged Petrel, Brown Skua, Australasian Gannet and White-bellied Sea Eagle among a range of possible species to watch for.

Before lunch, we leave Woody Island and cruise back to the mainland, with further opportunities to watch for seabirds such as Indian Yellow-nosed, Black-browed and Shy Albatrosses.

Once back on dry land we’ll visit some of the salt lakes that encircle the town of Esperance, where we hope to find the rare and endangered endemic Hooded Plover. We'll return to Esperance in time for dinner and a second night at our hotel. Night Esperance

Day 11
FITZGERALD RIVER NATIONAL PARK

Leaving Esperance, we follow the South Coast Highway west towards Albany. We will pass near Munglinup, dubiously renowned for hosting the only established Western Australian population of the European Starling, which is a declared pest species. Our travels will take us through the beautiful Fitzgerald River National Park, where we will spend most of the day.

Renowned for both its varied and spectacular scenery and its flora, which in turn supports a number of threatened animals, this park of around 1500 sq. miles lies in one of the most diverse botanical regions in the world. More than 1800 beautiful and bizarre species of flowering plants, as well as many lichens, mosses and fungi, have been recorded in the Fitzgerald River National Park - which represents nearly 20 per cent of the total number of plant species found in Western Australia!

Among many avian highlights in the park, we will be looking especially for Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Shy Heathwren, Redthroat and Rufous Fieldwren - plus a trio of endemic Western Australian parrots: Short-billed Black Cockatoo, Red-capped Parrot and Western Rosella.

Seawatching from the coast we further chances to spot Southern Right and Humpback Whales, both of which are regular visitors offshore here from July to November.

Leaving the coast behind, we then head inland towards our next motel, which tonight is in the curiously named soldier settlement town of Jerramungup. Night Jerramungup.

Day 12
CHEYNES BEACH & WAYCHINICUP

From Jerramungup, a 90-minute drive south will carry us to remote Cheynes Beach, where we will endeavour to catch at least a glimpse of three of Australia's most skulking endemics: Noisy Scrubbird, Western Bristlebird and Western Whipbird. We will detour along the way to visit Corackerup Nature Reserve, a large tract of uncleared mallee country. We should find the inquisitive but oft-secretive Southern Scrub-robin and Shy Heathwren here as well as the more common Purple-gaped Honeyeater and Blue-breasted Fairywren.

The extremely secretive Noisy Scrubbird is rated one of the most difficult of all Australian birds to see and is found only in this one very tiny corner of southwestern Australia. Indeed, until 1961, when it was ‘rediscovered’ at nearby Two People’s Bay, it was already thought to have become extinct since no specimens had been seen or collected since 1889. Fortunately for us, it is also one of Australia’s loudest and easily recognized by its ear-piercing call. Equally difficult to see are Western Bristlebird (another ‘WA’ endemic that's confined to the southwestern tip of the continent) and Western Whipbird. Getting to see any of these species requires a degree of patience and luck - but our 2016 group had good views of all three! Either here (behind the dunes of Cheynes Beach, while we are waiting silently for the ultimate skulkers to appear), or later in the day when we visit nearby Waychinicup Nature Reserve, we will hope to find the delightful Southern Emuwren and the 'WA' endemic Red-winged Fairywren.

There is extremely little accommodation in this remote corner of Australia so tonight we stay in cabins at the Cheynes Beach Caravan Park. The localised Brush Bronzewing and Red-eared Firetail occur on the park grounds, where the more widespread Tawny Frogmouth and Southern Boobook can also be heard calling after dusk. Night Cheynes Beach

Days 13 – 14
STIRLING RANGES & LAKE MUIR, YEAGARUP DUNES & WARREN RIVER

We meander towards the tall timber country of Pemberton today, heading firstly northwards to the majestic Stirling Ranges, where we will be on the lookout for the scarce Square-tailed Kite and boldly pied Hooded Robin. At over a 1000m (3300ft) above sea level, Bluff Knoll is the highest peak in the southwest - and the only spot in Western Australia that regularly receives snow. The park is also home to more than 1500 plant species, including 87 that are found nowhere else - and a staggering 123 orchids!

We'll take a break at Lake Muir, a RAMSAR listed wetland site, where we'll find the endemic Long-billed Black Cockatoo and the geographically limited population of the Western Corella, known as 'Muir's Corella'.  The Lake Muir complex is incredibly diverse with over thirty wetland reserves, some densely packed with Baumea reeds, where Australasian Bitterns have been recorded; some with deep and open water that support hundreds of coot and ducks; and others that become dry over the hot summer months, but are still the haunt of White-fronted Chats and glossy-blue Tree Martins. The region is a reliable spot for the endemic Little Wattlebird and spectacular Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, with its rounded, helmet-like crest and massive bill.

From Pemberton next morning, we take a four-wheel drive trip across the Yeagarup dunes - the tallest sand dunes in the southern hemisphere - out to the mouth of the Warren River, where Fairy Terns and the uncommon Hooded Plover are known to breed. There’s a good chance we'll find Rock Parrot, Caspian Tern and Eastern Osprey at the coast and come face to face with the big Grey Currawong along the track.

In the afternoon, we'll enjoy a short but contrasting trip into the tall eucalypt forest or karri, the second tallest flowering plant in the world (after the Mountain Ash of eastern Australia). We'll visit one of Pemberton’s ‘fire look-out trees’, known as the Gloucester Tree (named after the Duke of Gloucester). Fire lookout trees are an important feature of the southwest forests, where the ever-present risk of bush fires requires a constant vigil. The viewing platform at the top of the tree is accessed via a spiral ladder, which winds up the massive karri tree to a height of over 50 metres. The more adventurous may be tempted to climb (we don't encourage this, please sign a disclaimer first!) to savour the incredible views from the top - and once there may be treated to close views of Purple-crowned Lorikeets feeding noisily on the creamy karri blossom.

For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, around the base of the mighty trunk we will find that we can get up close and personal to the likes of Grey Shrikethrush, Common Bronzewing, Port Lincoln Ringneck and Western Rosella, too. The endemic Gilbert’s Honeyeater, with its characteristic white rim above the eye, is relatively common in the forests here; a recent split from White-naped Honeyeater of eastern Australia (which has a red rim above the eye), Gilbert’s is found only in woodlands at the southwestern tip of Australia. We should also enjoy good views of the intriguing and colourful Spotted Pardalote, Inland Thornbill, Grey Fantail and the beautiful Golden Whistler before heading for a second night at our hotel in Pemberton. Two nights Pemberton

Day 15
VIA CAPES LEEUWIN & NATURALISTE TO THE VASSE-WONNERUP WETLANDS

From Pemberton we head west, eventually leaving the tall karri forests behind as we approach the southwesternmost point of Australia - Cape Leeuwin, where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. A quick scan with the ‘scopes should find Australasian Gannets and possibly Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross passing offshore, while Eastern Reef Egrets and Sooty Oystercatchers forage in the sea spray around the rocky bays. Rock Parrots can usually be found on the lawns of the lighthouse at the Cape, giving great photo opportunities for this often hard to see bird!

Now we must turn north, travelling up through the extensive Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park with its limestone caves and stopping for lunch in the famous vineyard region of Margaret River.

Our second ‘Cape’ for the day is Cape Naturaliste, so-named after French explorer Nicolas Baudin’s ship. Red-eared Firetails are to be found around the lighthouse here, along with Silvereyes and White-browed Scrubwrens. The nearby Sugarloaf Rock is a towering remnant stack.

Our final stop before we reach the seaside resort of Busselton is the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands, another RAMSAR listed site, where 1000s of waterbirds feed and breed. Amongst 100s of Black Swans we should find graceful Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Little and Great White Egrets, and White-faced Herons wading in the shallows. The feeding is rich and flocks of Black-winged and Banded Stilts also gather here, along with Red-necked Avocets and 1000s of duck, mainly Australian Shelduck and Pacific Black Duck, but often including the unremarkable Grey Teal as well.

Our destination this evening is the exclusive Broadwater Beach Resort, set right on the white sand beach in Busselton. We'll enjoy our ‘farewell dinner’ here this evening and take the chance to sample one or two of the local wines from the Margaret River Region as our Western Australia tour draws to a close. Night Busselton

Day 16
VASSE-WONNERUP WETLANDS & RETURN TO PERTH

If flight times permit, we'll take a final look at the excellent Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands this morning before leaving Busselton and returning full circle to Perth. We’ll no doubt find the enormous but handsome Australian Pelicans, still sitting like sentinels atop street lamps along the freeway.

Arriving back at Perth airport, all too soon it will be time to say our farewells to Peter and check-in for our afternoon flight home. Again, change of planes en route (e.g. in Singapore).

Day 17
ARRIVAL IN LONDON

Arrival at London Heathrow this morning, where our birdwatching tour to Western Australia concludes.

4AOZ mammal Echidna Dryandra Woodlands WOz Peter Taylor Oct 2012 IMG 0269

The peculiar Short-beaked Echidna wanders through the Dryandra Woodlands of Western Australia © Peter Taylor, Limosa Holidays

What To Expect

A 17-day, small group birdwatching tour to Western Australia with Limosa's own Aussie specialist Peter Taylor, who lives in the tall timber country to the south of Perth (where we begin our tour). Focusing on Australia's wild southwest, it's a trip that will open your eyes to the long list of Australian endemic birds - including Long-billed Black Cockatoo, Red-eared Firetail, Gilbert's Honeyeater and the ‘impossible to see’ Noisy Scrubbird among 15 species that are found only here. Timed also to coincide with Western Australia's spectacular displays of spring wildflowers - acclaimed amongst the finest in the world – while two great boat trips and encounters with some of the continent's unique mammals complete a wonderful holiday experience Down Under.

In October - the Austral spring - the weather in southwestern Australia should be settling down nicely, with a Mediterranean-type climate around the coast: typically warm, dry and sunny but with occasional periods of cooler, cloudier conditions with some rain also possible. October temperatures at Perth typically range from 10-22°C/50-72F. The steppe-like climate of the interior averages much hotter and drier, with plenty of sun. Rainfall is unlikely here but, after the heat of the day and with clear skies, it can often feel surprisingly chilly at night.

Some wonderful photographic opportunities on this holiday - birds, mammals, wildflowers and scenery.

Birds

170-200 species

Mammals

10-15 species

Accommodation

14 nights accommodation in Australia, ranging from three- and five-star hotels through to the more traditional (or best available in more remote spots) Aussie-style motels, lodges and cabins.

All rooms have private facilities except for our one night at Cheynes Beach, where the only accommodation is limited to comfortable wilderness cabins or chalets - some that are en suite and others that have separate bedrooms but bathroom facilities that may be shared with another room. A quick look at a map will show that we are well off the beaten track here, as well as at our previous stop in Jerramungup, where the accommodation is also limited and rather basic. But the location is superb and on previous visits the dinners here have been excellent.

Meals

All main meals are included in the tour price, commencing with dinner in Perth on Day 2 and concluding with lunch on Day 16. 

Walking

Easy. Gently paced walks, no more than a mile or two at any one time. Sturdy thornproof walking boots with stout corrugated soles for grip are recommended for this tour.

Travel

Return flights from London Heathrow to Perth with Singapore Airlines or similar (according to best schedule this year). Note that there are no direct flights from the UK to Perth so all routes involve a change of planes, typically in Singapore (or Kuala Lumpur, with some airlines routing via the Middle East).

Ground Transport   By modern Toyota minibus or similar, switching to 4WD vehicle at Yeagarup Dunes.

Boat Trips

Our tour price includes two excellent boat trips. The first is a short ferry crossing from Perth to Rottnest Island on a large ocean-going catamaran; the second, a half-day wildlife cruise over to Woody Island in the Recherche Archipelago, travelling out of Esperance on the MV Seabreeze IV, a custom-built catamaran licensed to carry 164 passengers.

Black faced Cormorants IMG 2337 copy resized

A pair of Black-faced Cormorants at their nest on Woody Island © Peter Taylor, Limosa

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Privacy Policy

This website is owned and operated by Limosa Holidays ("Limosa Holidays", "our", "we" or "us"). Limosa Holidays is the controller of all personal information collected on this website. Limosa Holidays believe strongly in protecting the privacy of all website users ("you", "yours") and this notice sets out how we use your personal data. By registering on this site, you consent to the collection, use and transfer of your personal information under the terms of this privacy policy.

What data ("personal information") do we gather from you?

We gather personal information such as first and last names, telephone number and email addresses that you provide voluntarily when you fill in appropriate sections of our website. For example when you complete our contact us section, you provide us with personal information which we hold and use for the purposes set out in the next section.

Use of your personal information

Our main aim in gathering your personal information is to provide you with a customised service. If you fill your details in our contact us section we use your personal information in order that we can contact you and respond to any questions and needs that you may have. We use your personal information so that we can carry out your requests. We may also use aggregate personal information and statistics for the purposes of monitoring website usage in order to help us develop the website and our services and may provide such aggregate personal information to third parties. These statistics will not include any data that can be used to identify any individual. If, at some time in the future, we wish to use your personal data in ways other than those set out in this privacy notice, then we will notify you about this and seek your permission to do so.

Sharing of personal information

We may share personal information within the Limosa Holidays family ("Limosa Holidays Family"); by this expression, we mean the Limosa Holidays group and each and any of its associates. The Limosa Holidays Family will process your personal information in accordance with this privacy policy and all privacy and communications legislation. Those selected companies are those that provide technical assistance and support and perform other functions to support our marketing activities. All selected companies may have access to personal information if needed to perform such functions, but will only be permitted by us to use such personal information for the purpose of performing that function (which may include one to which you have expressly given your consent) and not for any other purpose.

We do not currently envisage our wishing to transfer personal information about you outside of the European Economic Area, but in the unlikely event we should wish to do so in future, we will only do so to the extent that it is permitted under all privacy and communications legislation applicable within England and Ireland. Of course if we need your specific and express consent to do this, we will obtain it before transferring any personal information. In all cases, any use of your personal information by the Limosa Holidays Family which has been instigated by us (as opposed, for example, to a promotional partner), will comply with this privacy policy.

Occasionally, with your permission and depending on the purpose for and context in which you gave that permission, we will send to you by e-mail or SMS text message marketing information and news. This may include our sending to you marketing information for the products or services of a promotional partner on that partner's behalf. However, in every case, if you do not elect to receive such communications or if you elect to discontinue receiving them, then we will not send or will cease sending them to you. Also, we reserve the right to use or disclose any personal information as needed to satisfy any law, regulation or legal request, to protect the integrity of the site, to fulfil your requests, or to cooperate in any law enforcement or regulatory investigation. Save for this, we do not sell, transfer or disclose personal information we have collected from you in connection with our web site activities, to third parties outside the Limosa Holidays Family.

Please note that if we are, in turn, a promotional partner of an unrelated company (for example where we are not asking you to submit any personal information to us but are simply providing personal information on our site) and a link exists to that other company's web site where one must visit to take part in that company's promotion, offer or other activity, then the privacy policy of that other company will apply instead of ours.

Whilst we make every effort only to tie-in with reputable companies which have a similar high regard for your privacy, you should make sure you are aware of what their privacy policies say, as we are not responsible for the policies and practices of other companies, including those of other members of the Limosa Holidays Family. If, in the future, a third party acquires Limosa Holidays or substantially all of its assets (whether by merger, acquisition, reorganisation or otherwise) customer data, including personal information, may well be one of the transferred assets.

Cookies

A cookie is an alphanumeric identifier which asks permission to be placed on your hard drive through your web browser when you visit our Site. Once you agree (or your browser agrees automatically if you have set it up in that way) it enables our own system to recognise you when you visit our Site to track the pages you looked at while visiting our Site and therefore to improve our Site and tailor the service to you. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences. For example, when you visit an electronic store such as ours a cookie makes it easier to shop by allowing you to place things into a shopping basket; the basket itself is not a cookie; the cookie is placed on your hard drive and keeps track of your basket versus others in use at the same time. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system. Denial of a traffic log cookie may prevent you from using the Site. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better Site by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you other than the data you choose to share with us. This practice is strictly enforced. We know that people have concerns about cookies but we believe that the benefit that you and we gain from their proper use is worthwhile.

You may set up your web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator) to notify you of cookie placement requests or decline cookies completely (although you acknowledge that declining them may prevent you from being able to use the Site properly or at all). You can delete the files that contain cookies - those files are stored as part of your Internet browser. To remove cookies from your web browser or to obtain further details on cookies including information on persistent and session cookies please go to www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies/.

This website uses Google Analytics which adds it's own cookies and is vital for our marketing and the continual improvement of the website. As such please read the Google Analytics privacy policy [www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html].

Protection of your personal information and retention

The internet is not a secure medium and Limosa Holidays cannot absolutely guarantee the security of your personal information provided over the internet. However we have put in place various security measures as set out below. The Limosa Holidays website and associated databases are protected by certified firewalls in order to protect your personal information from access by unauthorised persons and against unlawful processing. The website uses the latest technology with full backups. We also keep your personal information confidential. All outgoing and incoming email is scanned for viruses.

We also keep your personal information confidential. We will retain your personal information for a reasonable period or as long as the law requires.

Accessing and updating

You are entitled to see the personal information held about you and you may ask us to make any necessary changes to ensure that it is accurate and kept up to date. If you wish to do this, please contact us by using the methods listed below. We are entitled by law to charge a fee of £10 to meet our costs in providing you with details of the personal information we hold about you.

If at any time, you would like to correct the personal information we have about you or if you would like to change your preferences for contacts from us or other members of the Limosa Holidays Family, you can let us know by contacting us by using the methods listed below.

Changes to our privacy policy

From time to time, it may be necessary for us to change this privacy policy, so we suggest that you check here periodically.

Links

This website contains links to other websites. Please note that we are not responsible for the privacy policies of such other websites and we advise you to read the privacy policies of each website you visit which collects personal data.

Questions or complaints: contact us

We reiterate that by submitting your personal information to us you consent to the use of that personal information as set out in this privacy policy. If you have any questions, concerns, comments or complaints about this privacy policy and/or our collection or use of personal information, or if you wish us to stop processing your personal information for any particular purpose or purposes, then please contact us on [email protected] or telephone us on +44 (0)1692 580 623.

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