Grand Australia: Tasmania Extension Nov 01—08, 2017

Posted by David James


David James

David James is an Australian birder and ecologist. In 1982, a teenaged David joined a pelagic trip off Sydney Australia, just for a lark. He was instantly hooked on seabird...

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With an improved itinerary in 2017 we experienced some of Tasmania’s finest wildlife and scenic locations, taking in the famous landmarks. Everyone saw all of the endemic birds of Tasmania and an elite selection of highly sought-after southern Australian specialties as well. We also enjoyed close encounters with some iconic Australian mammals, including “duck-billed” Platypi and the infamous “Tassie” Devil. The relaxed and leisurely itinerary allowed us ample time to enjoy spectacular scenery and sample Tasmania’s famous modern cuisine, showcasing seafood fresh from the Great Southern Ocean.

Pink Robin

Pink Robin— Photo: Terry Cloudman


This year we reversed the itinerary, starting in Launceston and finishing in Hobart. After the short flight from Melbourne, we headed straight to the Tamar Wetlands by midmorning. Amongst hundreds of Chestnut Teal we located an Australian Shelduck and several pairs of Australasian Shovelers. Forest Ravens perched on the wires. A party of Tasmanian Native Hens were shepherding newly hatched chicks, while a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels scampered out of their way. Along the boardwalk we got great views of an Australian (Spotted) Crake, a real rarity in Tasmania. Little Grassbirds foraged openly on the mud. A Swamp Harrier patrolled the marshes, flushing hundreds of waterbirds. On a quick drive through Cataract Gorge we found some feral Indian Peafowl. In the rural setting of Hadspen we located several small groups of Cape Barren Goose, including a pair with goslings. After a picnic lunch of fresh Tasmanian produce, we headed to Levan Canyon where we enjoyed excellent views of Olive Whistler and Tasmanian Thornbill amongst the giant Tree Ferns. Late in the afternoon we headed to the remote Mountain Valley Wilderness Lodge for the night. After settling in, we enjoyed delicious home-cooked lamb cutlets, roasted vegetables, and the classic Australian dessert, pavlova. Then we retired to our rustic cabins on nightfall to await the appearance of Tasmanian Devils. The devils did not disappoint, coming right to our porches as we sat comfortably inside. Tiger Quolls and Brush-tailed Possums also visited some of us.

Read David’s full report in his Field List.