24th-27th October 2014
Stirling Range, Western Australia
The Stirling Range is about an hour's drive north of Albany and rises out of the surrounding plain to a maximum altitute of a little over 1000m.
Many of the area's endemic birds are resident here, including good numbers of Carnaby's Black Cockatoo (also commonly known as Short-billed Black Cockatoo.
The Canola fields bordering the forest at the base of the mountains were an excellent spot for viewing a range of parrots and cockatoos with up to 7 species (Carnaby's Black Cockatoo, Regents Parrot, Elegant Parrot, Red-capped Parrot, Australian Ringneck, Western Rosella and Galah) feeding on the seeds.
At the edge of one of the Canola fields, a pair of Spotted Pardalotes were busy excavating a nest burrow under a pile of straw along the fence line.
Female Spotted Pardalotes are differentiated from the males by their yellow crown spots and the less distinct spots on their back.
Australasian Pipits could also be easily seen feeding on the ground along the edges of the fields.
Scarlet Robins were fairly common in the dry woodlands at the base of Bluff Knoll.
Swan River Honeyeater was formerly considered to be a subspecies of White-naped Honeyeater but due to slight morphological differences and the isolation of its population from that of White-naped it has now been elevated to full specific status.
Several pairs of Restless Flycatchers could be found around the grounds of the Stirling Range Retreat. This species is easily located by its distinctive "scissor-grinder" calls.
Western Yellow Robin, apart from a small disjunct population near Adelaide, is endemic to southwestern Australia, where it is found in dry open woodland and mallee scub.
The white-bellied, western form of Crested Shrike-tit is regarded by some authorities to be a species in its own right due to its morphological differences and its isolation from all other populations of Crested Shrike-tits.
Despite its varied and interesting birdlife, Stirling Range is, however, most famous for its incredible floral diversity, with over 450 species of orchids alone!
Blue Lady Orchid (Thelymitra crinita)
South African Orchid (Disa bracteata)
I was too late in arriving to witness the peak flowering season, but many of the late spring/early summer species were in full bloom.
Hairy Rufous Greenhood Orchid (Pterostylis ciliate)
Catspaw (Anigozanthos humilis)
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