Cheynes Beach Birding Sites

Key Species : Brown Quail, Brush Bronzewing, Short-billed Black-Cockatoo (chance), Long-billed Black-Cockatoo (chance), Red-capped Parrot, Ground Parrot (long shot), Rock Parrot (chance), Spotted Nightjar (good chance), Noisy Scrub-bird (chance), Red-winged Fairy-wren, Southern Emu-wren, Western Bristlebird (very good chance), Rufous Fieldwren (chance), Little Wattlebird, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Western Spinebill, White-breasted Robin, Western Whipbird (chance), Red-eared Firetail. Mammals : Southern Brown Bandicoot, Western Grey Kangaroo, Bush Rat (good chance), Humpback Whale (winter), Southern Right Whale (spring). Reptiles : King Skink (Egernia kingii), Bull Skink (Egernia multiscutata), Egernia pulchra, Rosenberg's Monitor (Varanus rosenbergi), Carpet Python (Morelia spilota), Bardick (Echiopsis curta), Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus).

Cheynes Beach is a small settlement about 50km east of Albany on the south coast.  It is a popular local fishing spot.  There is a good caravan park with a general store and fuel.  Alternatively, you can stay in Albany which is about one hour away, or you can camp at Waychinicup Inlet.

To get to Cheynes Beach from Albany, head north east along Highway One to the small town of Many Peaks (40km from Albany).  Turn right at Cheyne Road 8.5km past Many Peaks.  It is 18km to the small coastal town of Cheynes Beach (not Cheynes Bay which is further east).  You can get a mud map of the area if you are staying at the caravan park.

Cheynes Beach is one of the best sites to see most of the south west endemics and near endemics.  Red-capped Parrot, Red-winged Fairy-wren, Western Bristlebird, Western Spinebill, White-breasted Robin and Red-eared Firetail should all be found within close walking distance of the caravan park along with Brown Quail, Brush Bronzewing and Little WattlebirdShort-billed Black-Cockatoo, Long-billed Black-Cockatoo and Western Whipbird are all very likely, and Western Rosella is a chance.  The thicket along the beach near the caravan park was the best place to find Noisy Scrub-bird until the bird disappeared in late 2003 (probably killed by a feral cat), but it can very probably be found not far away.

The Noisy Scrub-bird, Western Bristlebird and Western Whipbird are all quite common in their respective suitable habitats.  You will hear them in many places but they are all notoriously difficult to see in the dense heath.  The Noisy Scrub-bird lives in the densest habitat especially along the watercourses.  The Western Bristlebird lives in the very low heath with possibly a few scattered low bushes such as mallee.  The Western Whipbird usually prefers mallee heath but at Cheynes Beach there is not much mallee and so they are most often in the hakea thickets.  All three species spend most of their time on the ground and very seldom fly.  The Western Whipbird commonly calls from two or three metres above ground while you may be fortunate to see the Western Bristlebird in the top of a very low bush or in the base of a mallee tree.  They tend to call in bursts about 10 minutes or so apart so you need to be very patient.

I strongly recommend that you learn the calls for each species.  However, the playing of tapes to attract birds is a very controversial subject.  If you do use a tape, then play it for no more than two or three calls (5 to 10 seconds) and then wait for up to 10 minutes for the male to move towards you and then to respond.  If the bird responds, then play the tape again for about two calls.  If they don't respond immediately then you could probably play the tape all day long without any benefit.  You shouldn't need to use a tape to attract the Noisy Scrub-bird and the Western Bristlebird, and the Western Whipbird at Cheyne Beach does not respond to the BOCA tape.  However, if you are really looking for the Western Whipbird then I very strongly recommend Fitzgerald River or the Stirling Ranges as much better locations.  Western Whipbird is also at Two People's Bay but they are even harder to find there than at Cheynes Beach.

 

Cheynes Beach Caravan Park (office S34 53 03" E118 24 20")

Look around the caravan park for Red-winged Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin, Red-eared Firetail, Brush Bronzewing, Brown Quail and Fan-tailed CuckooPurple-crowned Lorikeet, Short-billed Black-Cockatoo and Long-billed Black-Cockatoo can sometimes be found around the caravan park.

 

Bald Island Road

This is a 4WD sandy track.

 

Back Beach

This is a 4WD sandy track.

 

Channel Point

This is a 4WD sandy track.

 

Tourist Rocks

Tourist Rocks is located at the end of Cheyne Road.

 

Tourist Rocks to Caravan Park

Tourist Rocks is located at the end of Cheyne Road.

 

Power Pole 102

I have seen Western Bristlebird, Rufous Fieldwren and Southern Emu-wren at this site.  It is located ?.?km from Cheynes Beach along Cheyne Road at the bottom of a hill.  Park near the white post marking the gully.  Walk along the road listening.  I have briefly seen a Western Whipbird up the hill towards Cheynes Beach in the large hakea thicket on the right.

 

Cheynes Beach

Cheynes Beach can be driven along in a 4WD as far as the Bluff, although it can be a bit soft in a few places.  The access is about 700 metres from Cheyne Road at the end of Kybra Road.  You have a chance of seeing Rock Parrot along the dunes.  In September 2003 I saw a Sub-antarctic Fur Seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis) on the beach.

 

Spotlighting

It can be worth while spending some time spotlighting just after dusk.  Western Grey Kangaroo, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Honey Possum and Bush Rat have been seen in the caravan park.  Cheyne Road is a good chance for Spotted Nightjar, Tawny Frogmouth, Barn Owl and possibly Southern BoobookWaychinicup and the track in are also good places to spotlight, and Quokka is a good chance at the camp ground.

 

Cheynes Beach Caravan Park, via Manypeaks 6328 (Phone : 08 9846 1247 Fax : 08 9846 1311 Email cheynes_cp@westnet.com.au)

 

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2004 Visits Last Modified 10th July 2004