Key Species : Emu, Malleefowl (chance), Chestnut Teal, Brush Bronzewing, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Spotted Nightjar, Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Spotted (Yellow-rumped) Pardalote, Shy Heathwren, White-eared Honeyeater, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Southern Scrub-robin, Western Whipbird. Mammals : Tammar Wallaby, Western Brush Wallaby.
The Fitzgerald River National Park is 330,000 hectares. It was created because of the extremely diverse flora but it also a good area for a wide variety of birds with about 210 species being recorded in the area. The park stretches from near Bremer Bay in the west to Hopetoun in the east and close to Ravensthorpe and Jerramungup in the north.
Ravensthorpe (Post Office S33° 34´ 54" E120° 02´ 47") is a good place to stay to explore the north eastern part of the national park and other nearby areas. It is about 550km south east of Perth by road.
Also see the Birds Australia WA Inc. series of bird guide brochures including Fitzgerald River.
1. Fitzgerald River National Park
A good way to see many of the different habitats in the park is to follow the loop from Ravensthorpe south along the Moir Track to Hamersley Drive, then along Hamersley Drive to Old Ongerup Road, and along Old Ongerup Road back to the South Coast Highway to return to Ravensthorpe. The distance for the round trip is approximately 110km.
Moir Track - From Ravensthorpe, head south along Scott Road. This soon becomes Moir Road which is unsealed, and then it becomes Moir Track. Moir Track is designated as a 4WD track, but most vehicles should be able to negotiate it fairly easily if you take it slowly. The track is very likely to be closed if there has been rain. There is an extensive area of good mallee along Moir Road, followed by some farmland before the start of Moir Track. The Moir Track starts by following a small river with a few permanent pools, then it passes through some eucalypt woodland before climbing up to a large area of mallee heath. Some birds to look for along the Moir Track include Chestnut Teal, Southern Scrub-robin, Western Whipbird and a good range of honeyeaters.
Hamersley Drive - Hamersley Drive is the main road through the eastern half of the Fitzgerald River National Park. I haven't birded along this road, but there are a good range of habitats, so stop anywhere that looks interesting, or where there is obvious bird activity. The alternative is to turn left and return to Ravensthorpe via East Mount Barren and Hopetoun.
Old Ongerup Road - The Old Ongerup Road varies from good areas of mallee and heath, to narrow corridors left between the road and the cleared farmland. There are a couple of areas of granite and a couple of river crossings. Be very careful when travelling along this road at night, and there are many Western Grey Kangaroos, Western Brush Wallabies and maybe a Tammar Wallaby. Spotted Nightjar is also a good chance at night. The western part of Old Ongerup Road from West River Road / Hamersley Drive to Fitzgerald Road is also worth trying.
2. Phillips River Bridge (S33° 36´ 19" E119° 52´ 42")
This is almost 17km west of Ravensthorpe on the South Coast Highway. Park off the side of the road near the bridge, or further up the hill west of the bridge. The bridge is a good site to look for Chestnut Teal, honeyeaters, etc. I have seen a Malleefowl on the side of the road about 700 metres west of the bridge.
3. Cocanarup Timber Reserve
I haven't birded in this reserve, but it looks like it should be good habitat for a variety of species. It starts 12km west of Ravensthorpe along the South Coast Highway and finishes 23km west of Ravensthorpe. Cocanarup Road loops around the south side of the reserve. Tammar Wallaby occurs in this reserve.
4. South Coast Highway
Apart from the two previous sites, there are good areas of mallee along the highway as you head west towards Jerramungup. Stop in suitable habitat to look for Grey Currawong, Common Bronzewing, Brush Bronzewing, Red-capped Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, White-eared Honeyeater, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Southern Scrub-robin, Spotted (Yellow-rumped) Pardalote and Shy Heathwren. The latter occurs where there is some under story beneath the mallee trees, even in the narrow corridors left between the highway and the cleared farmland.
5. The Lookout and Floater Road
Follow the sign The Lookout 10 north on Scott Road. This becomes Floater Road. There are a variety of habitats along this road. Turn right at Archer Drive marked with a Range Access sign. Follow this road uphill to The Lookout (S33° 30´ 54" E120° 02´ 51"). A large part of this area is recovering from a fire, but there are still areas of good habitat to look for Western Whipbird and other birds of the mallee, and also a variety of honeyeaters. You can also continue along Floater Road past Archer Drive for some more good habitat.
6. Ravensthorpe Caravan Park (S33° 34´ 44" E120° 03´ 12")
There are good areas of mallee behind the caravan park where you can find Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, White-eared Honeyeater and Spotted (Yellow-rumped) Pardalote.
|© Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2004||Visits||Last Modified 10th May 2004|