Duration: 6 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Date Start: October 24, 2020
Date End: October 29, 2020
Tour Start: Hobart
Tour End: Hobart
Adjoined to the mainland until the end of the last glacial period about ten thousand years ago, Tasmania is both geographically and genetically isolated from Australia. Through the millennia this island has developed its own unique set of plants and animals, including twelve avian endemics that include Forty-spotted Pardalote, Green Rosella, and Strong-billed Honeyeater. Beyond the endemics Tasmania also harbors several species which winter on the mainland and breed on Tasmania, such as Swift Parrot and Orange-bellied Parrot. These two breeding endemics are globally Critically Endangered (IUCN) and major targets on this tour.
Our search for the endemics and breeding specialties of Tasmania is set within a stunning backdrop of rugged coastlines, tall evergreen sclerophyll forests, alpine heathlands, and cool temperate rainforests, undoubtedly enriching our experience here. In addition, due to the lack of foxes many marsupials are notably more numerous in Tasmania, and we should be able to observe several of these unique animals during our stay.
For those wishing to continue exploring Australia, this tour can be combined with our set of tours following this one: Australia: from the Outback to the Wet Tropics 2020 (30 October – 15 November 2020) followed by Australia: Top End Birding 2020 (16 – 24 November 2020) followed by Australia: Southwest Specialties 2020 (25 November – 3 December 2020), so that all four Australia tours could be combined. We can also arrange other extensions (e.g., sightseeing trips to Sydney, Uluru, etc., and pelagic trips).
Itinerary (6 days/5 nights)
Day 1. Hobart
After arriving in Hobart we transfer to a nearby hotel near the city for the night.
Day 2. Hobart to Bruny Island
Located off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, Bruny Island supports all twelve endemics, including the world’s largest population of the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote. We will board a ferry to this rich site first thing in the morning, watching for Pacific Gull and Black-faced Cormorant on our way out. Once we arrive on the island we will spend the better part of the day looking for all the Tasmanian endemics, such as the demure Dusky Robin, the vociferous Yellow Wattlebird, and the comical Tasmanian Nativehen. By scanning sandy beaches we also hope to connect with the increasingly rare Hooded Dotterel.
Overnight: Bruny Island
Day 3. Bruny Island to Hobart
We spend an extra day of birding Bruny Island, focusing perhaps on the scarcer endemics such as Scrubtit. Other specialties such as Beautiful Firetail, Olive Whistler, and Swift Parrot will also be among our targets. In the late afternoon we catch the ferry back to the mainland for the night.
Day 4. Melaleuca
An unforgettable day is in store for us today! We board a small plane early in the morning, flying over some incredible scenery over southwest Tasmania before descending onto the remote airstrip at Melaleuca. Originally a tin mine, Melaleuca is now the center of conservation efforts aimed at restoring the wild population of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. A Tasmanian breeding endemic, these beautiful little parrots are in a dire situation, with fewer than fifty individuals left in the wild. The surrounding heath hosts a healthy population of the secretive and subtly beautiful Eastern Ground Parrot, which we will also seek before catching our flight back to Hobart.
Day 5. Birding Southeast Tasmania
This will be a flexible day. We bird throughout the day near Hobart, stopping at various parks and preserves to look for any Tasmanian endemics or specialties we may still be missing, such as Blue-winged Parrot or Pink Robin. Sites visited may include Snug Falls, the Peter Murrell Preserves, Pierson’s Point, and the Fern Glade Track on Mount Wellington.
Day 6. Transfer to Hobart International Airport
After some birding early in the morning for any endemics or other island specialties we may have missed we drive back to Hobart International Airport, where the tour ends.
Please note that the detailed itinerary below cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.
Andy is a superb guide with a wonderful knowledge of birds and where to find them. He is enthusiastic and keen, great company and a real pleasure to bird with. Our Australian trip was very successful in terms of sightings and also really enjoyable. Andy played a big part in that with his superb organisation, excellent birding skills, easy-going nature and positive attitude. I would happily join Andy on a birding trip again and hope to be able to do so later this year!
Janice, Kent – UK