Tasmanian birding and mammal tour 1 Feb — 8 February 2020

Fully accommodated tour seeking all Tasmanian endemic birds, and species that are difficult to see on the mainland, such as pink robin, beautiful firetail and southern emuwren. Mammals could include Tasmanian devil, southern bettong, eastern quoll, eastern barred bandicoot and platypus. A pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck should give us a swag of seabirds. The flight to Melaleuca, in the South West, for orange-bellied parrot is spectacular. The tour starts and finishes in Hobart.

Pre-tour night
1 February 2020
Overnight: Hobart

Day 1
Hobart to Bruny Island
2 February 2020
Our first birding in the Hobart area will be in the temperate rainforests on Mount Wellington where we will seek out Tasmanian scrub-tit, which is one of the more difficult Tassie endemics. Also present here should be olive whistler and yellow-throated honeyeater. We will lunch at Margate and then catch the car ferry across the D'entrecasteaux Channel to Bruny Island. The ferry crossing should produce our first black-faced cormorants. On North Bruny, we'll search the dry eucalypt forest for the rare forty-spotted pardalote. Other species, such as black-headed honeyeater and Tasmanian native hen should be about. We'll head south to our accommodation at Lunawanna. As we drive along the isthmus, we'll be on the lookout for both pied and sooty oystercatchers and we'll check out the coastal mudflats where we sometimes see Lewin's rail. After dinner, we'll head off on a night drive. Bruny Island is perhaps the best place in Australia for eastern quoll, one of our cutest marsupials. Other marsupials in good numbers on Bruny include red-necked (Bennett's) wallaby, Tasmanian pademelon and enormous common brushtail possums in a variety of colour phases. We also have a chance for long-nosed potoroo on North Bruny. Along the isthmus, on our way back, we'll call in at the colony of little penguins and short-tailed shearwaters.
Overnight: Bruny Island

Day 2
Bruny Island to Hamilton area
3 February 2020
We'll breakfast at Inala and then bird around the property, which is forty-spotted pardalote central. We also have a good chance here for beautiful firetail. Robins abound at Inala and we should see flame, scarlet and dusky. After our morning's walk, we'll head across Mount Mangana to Adventure Bay for lunch. While in the wet forests of Mount Mangana, we'll have another chance for scrubtit and pink robin. After lunch we may see our first hooded plovers, which are often nesting along the beach here. We'll catch the ferry back to the Tasmanian mainland then head back through Hobart and follow the Derwent River west to Fentonbury. En route we'll stop at some wetlands along the Derwent to boost our waterbird list. After dinner at our accommodation, we'll go out for a night drive. The target species will be Tasmanian masked owl and we have a chance of Tasmanian devil.
Overnight: Fentonbury

Day 3
Fentonbury to Derwent Bridge
4 February 2020
We'll stroll down the back of the accommodation where we have a chance for brush bronzewing, satin flycatcher and maybe the odd species of cuckoo. Down the road a bit, we'll check out a stream for platypus. We'll continue west following the Derwent River to the hamlet of Derwent Bridge, near enough to being the centre of Tasmania. Along the way, we'll stop to look for blue-winged parrot and closer to Derwent Bridge, we'll search for swift parrot. The thickets of prickly hakea on Central Plateau might produce the jaunty striated fieldwren. After lunch at Derwent Bridge, we'll check in to our accommodation and have a short break before heading further west to the temperate rainforest of the Franklin River. Here we have a back-up spot for Tasmanian scrubtit, Tasmanian thornbill and pink robin. On the way back we'll check out an area of buttongrass plains where we'll look for ground parrot, one of our more unusual parrots. After dinner at the pub, we'll go for another night drive. We have a chance here for Tasmanian devil, as well as common wombat, tawny frogmouth and the recently split, Tasmanian boobook. More eastern quoll should be seen as well as wallabies, pademelons and brush-tailed possums.
Overnight: Derwent Bridge

Day 4
Derwent Bridge to Hobart area
5 February 2020
Birding the swampy heath lands around Derwent Bridge, we have a chance for southern emuwren. The adjacent dry eucalypt forest should produce strong-billed honeyeater and yellow wattlebirds and with luck, some swift parrots might be about. We travel back to Hobart after lunch to check out swamps for assorted ducks along the Derwent River. Australasian bittern can also occasionally be seen in this area. Overnight: Hobart

Day 5
Melaleuca, return
6 February 2020
We'll witness spectacular scenery on our morning charter flight down to the wilderness area of southwest Tasmania. This is the breeding area of the tiny extant wild population of orange-bellied parrot. We have another chance for ground parrot, beautiful firetail, striated fieldwren and southern emuwren. On returning to Cambridge Airport we'll head to Sorell for a latish lunch after which we'll check out the mudflats around that area for migratory waders and waterbirds. Adjacent woodland areas could produce musk lorikeet and eastern rosella. We'll also visit a forest area where we may see owlet nightjar.
Overnight: Hobart

Day 6
Hobart to Taranna
7 February 2020
The species missing from our lists will determine our plan of action this morning. Possibilities include a visit to the Waterworks Reserve for forest birds, or maybe wetlands along the Derwent where crakes and Latham's snipe are possibilities. Later we'll head to Orford on the east coast where we'll have lunch. Platypus, in a large dam, can sometimes be seen en route. Orford is good for yellow and little wattlebirds and at the nearby sandspit we have more chances for hooded plover. Pacific gulls, and in some years, fairy terns are present. A nearby wetland often has blue-billed and musk ducks. Cape Barren geese are sometimes seen in the area as well. We'll head to Taranna, stopping along the way to check out areas of samphire and mudflats for white-fronted chats and spotted crake as well as waterbirds and waders. We'll dine at a restaurant near Port Arthur where we sometimes see Tasmanian boobook. On the drive back to our accommodation, long-nosed potoroo, southern brown bandicoot and occasionally eastern-barred bandicoot can sometimes be seen.
Overnight: Taranna

Day 7
Pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck
8 February 2020
This morning we cruise out into the Tasman Sea, travelling past the Hippolyte Rocks to the edge of the continental shelf. At the Rocks, hundreds of black-faced cormorants nest, and we should see plenty of gannets. A great variety of seabirds are possible if the gods are willing. These could include several albatrosses such as wandering, royal, Buller's, black-browed, shy and yellow-nosed. Petrels such as northern giant, white-chinned, great-winged and Gould's are possible out at the shelf. Occasionally we get mega ticks such as mottled and soft-plumaged petrels. Short-tailed and fluttering shearwaters should be in abundance and we sometimes see Buller's shearwater, Hutton's and sooty. Fairy prions are usually about. We should get some storm petrels, such as Wilson's, grey-backed and white-faced storm petrels as well as the unusual common diving-petrel. Pelagic trips are rich with possibility. Cetaceans, such as common and bottle-nosed dolphins, are often seen as are whales spp. occasionally. Pelagics trips are rich with possibility. On our return from the pelagic trip, 3—4 pm, we will travel back to Hobart Airport. (Those staying on in Hobart can be dropped back in the city).

Cost: $4,495.00 AUD
Single supplement: $550.00 AUD

The tour covers accommodation for seven nights including the pre-tour evening (1 February) but does not include 8 February 2020. The cost includes all meals from breakfast on 2 February to lunch on 8 February 20120; transport including Melaleuca flight and pelagic cruise; guiding and park entrance fees.

Not included: transportation to and from Tasmania, alcohol, laundry, phone calls, min-bar or personal items …

Starting time breakfast 6.30 am in Hobart on 2 February 2020
Accommodation comprises good to excellent quality motels, cabins and B&Bs
Transportation:12 or 22 seater bus
Limited to: 8 participants Tour leaders: Philip Maher and Patricia Maher

Please note that the Melaleuca flight and pelagic trip are subject to weather conditions. Participants are advised not to book flights to the mainland that depart prior to 6.30 pm on 8 February.

2019 trip report

Trip reports and checklists from previous Tasmanian tour are on the trip report page of our website