Wungong Gorge & Bungendore Park Birding Sites

Key Species : Common Bronzewing, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (good chance), Short-billed Black-Cockatoo (good chance), Long-billed Black-Cockatoo (good chance), Western Rosella, Red-capped Parrot, Elegant Parrot (chance), Rufous Treecreeper (chance), Red-winged Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote (chance), Western Thornbill, Little Wattlebird (chance), Western Spinebill, Western Yellow Robin, White-breasted Robin, Varied Sittella (good chance), Dusky Woodswallow (chance), Red-eared Firetail. Mammals : Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), Western Brush Wallaby (Macropus irma). Reptiles : Shingleback (Trachydosaurus rugosus).

Wungong Gorge and Bungendore Park are just outside Armadale which is on the south east edge of the Perth metropolitan area.  From the Albany Highway / South West Highway / Armadale Road junction, follow the Albany Highway towards Albany.  At Admiral Road turn right (up the hill) towards Wungong Dam.  As the road bends to the left you look down over a valley. Bungendore is the jarrah / marri forest on your right, and Wungong Gorge is at the bottom.  Continue down the hill along Admiral Road to the car park on the left just past the boom gate.

Listen for the black cockatoos anywhere along Admiral Road.  You can find all three species (Red-tailed, Long-billed and Short-billed) but the first two are more common but by no means certain.  Also look for Western Brush Wallaby in the paddocks.  Continue along Admiral Road to the car park on the left just past the boom gate.

 

1. Wungong Gorge (S32 11.6 E116 03.5 UBD Map 413 L6)

The best time to get there is about 45 to 60 minutes after dawn.  (i.e. leave Perth just after dawn).  Allow 2 hours for the walk, possibly a bit more if you don't know the calls.

The key species to look for are the south west endemics such as Red-capped Parrot, Western Rosella, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (south west forest race), Long-billed (Baudin's) Black-Cockatoo, White-breasted Robin, Red-eared Firetail and Red-winged Fairy-wren.  Wungong Gorge is the easiest and most reliable site near Perth to find the latter three species.

The time of year makes some difference but the key species are resident.  In late summer the birds tend to be quieter, but the cattle and kangaroos/wallabies mean that the grass in the orchard is short and the Red-eared Firetail and the Red-winged Fairy-wren can often be seen feeding on the ground in the open. In spring the birds may call more, but the grass in the orchard is long, and it can be harder to get a good view of the birds along the creek.

Walk across the road from the car park to the area of lawn.  Look on the lawn for Splendid Fairy-wren, Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Scarlet Robin.  Walk to the far end of the lawn, and around the corner of the fence. White-breasted Robin and Red-eared Firetail can sometimes be found here.  Red-capped Parrot and Western Rosella can be anywhere.  The Red-capped Parrot is larger and has a yellow rump in flight. Australian Ringnecks are also very common.  The Red-eared Firetail has a mournful whistle (but very different to the Western Gerygone which is common).  New Holland, Brown and White-naped Honeyeaters are usually common in the car park and the lawn area.  The White-naped Honeyeater is most likely in the marri trees.  Shining Bronze-Cuckoo and Fan-tailed Cuckoo are fairly common in spring.

Walk up the slope to the gravel track and follow the track along the valley.  After about 15 minutes, you will get to a fork in the track.  Follow the track downhill to an old citrus orchard (S32 11.98 E116 03.20) and the creek which is lined by blackberries.  Take care as the track can be slippery on the gravel and gum nuts.  Walk along the edge of the blackberries along the creek to the right.  The Red-eared Firetail, Red-winged Fairy-wren and White-breasted Robin are found along the creek or on the ground very close.  You should find all three, although getting a good view of the first two can take some time.  The robin and to a lesser extent the wren usually respond initially to pishing / whistling / squeaking.  Check the wrens closely as Splendid Fairy-wren is also very common.  Look for the bill colour on the brown birds.  The call of the firetail is very distinct and carries.  Listen for it and then track it down.  Check the trees around to the right of the orchard for Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Spotted Pardalote, White-browed Scrubwren, Western Gerygone, etc.  You should find Scarlet Robin and Silvereye in the orchard.  In spring you may find a Pallid or Fan-tailed Cuckoo.  Don't spend more than say 40 minutes in the orchard.  In 1998, the orchard was cleared and the blackberries were sprayed.  The orchard is still worth a visit but it isn't as reliable as it used to be.

If you have missed the firetail, wren or robin, then return along the creek to the car park.  Half way up the track from the orchard, go down the slope to the right to the small dam, follow the creek and cross it on the large pipe and follow the narrow track above the creek.  All three species can be found along the creek here.  Beware of ticks!

 

2. Bungendore Park (S32 10.9 E116 03.1 UBD Map 413 J1)

From the car park at Wungong, return along Admiral Road to Bungendore at the top of the hill.  Keep the window open and listen for the black cockatoos as you go.  Park and walk along the track (Dryandra Drive) for 200 metres or so to the information sign at the first track junction (Wattle Road).  Allow about 1 hour for the walk, maybe 1.5 to 2 if you really want to see the Rufous Treecreeper.

Bungendore is a mixture of marri and jarrah trees with good areas of banksia and dryandra and some wandoo trees.  There is a low ground cover but it is easy to walk through.  Unfortunately in recent times, Bungendore has been the target of several deliberately lit fires that have severely affected much of the area.  The wandoo and a good area of dryandra in particular suffered very badly.  This has made birding a lot more difficult.  Hopefully it will regenerate quickly.  You used to be able to drive along the tracks, but they are now blocked off to prevent the dumping of stolen cars.

The key species to look for are Western Spinebill, Western Thornbill, Inland Thornbill, Western Yellow Robin, Red-capped Parrot and Western Rosella.  Other species that can sometimes be found are Elegant Parrot, Little Wattlebird, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Rufous Treecreeper, Dusky Woodswallow and Varied Sittella.

At the information sign you will see the school oval.  I have seen Elegant Parrot on the oval, or perched high in the dead trees.  They are very seasonal. Shinglebacks (a stumpy skink locally known as Blue-tongue or Bobtail Goannas) are usually fairly common.

Look and listen for mixed feeding flocks preferably on or near the ground.  The flock should contain Inland Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Western Thornbill, Weebill, Splendid Fairy-wren, Western Gerygone, Striated and Spotted Pardalote, etc.  The Western Spinebill responds very well to pishing or squeaking.

From the information sign, turn left and follow the track for 5 to 10 minutes to a junction with a track on the right.  There is some wandoo in this area which is where the Rufous Treecreeper can be found.  Listen for its loud single note call.  It should be on the side of a tree or hopping along the ground and fallen logs.  There has been a fire through this area which has hit the wandoo particularly badly, and so the treecreeper is now much harder to find.

You can follow the side track to another track (Casuarina Road) looking / listening for the treecreeper.  You should find Dusky Woodswallow also. Near this track junction (S32 11.52 E116 02.80) there is a lot of dryandra which is very prickly.  The Western Spinebill loves this when it is in flower, and White-cheeked Honeyeater is often common, and I have seen Little Wattlebird in this area.  Varied Sittella is quite often seen near here.

Return to the corner with the first wandoo (south from the information sign).  The area bounded by the first two tracks and the paddock has at least one pair of Western Yellow Robins.  You shouldn't get lost because you are bounded by these features, which is why I walk back through this area.  Walk in to roughly where it starts to slope, and walk along the top of the slope.  The Western Yellow Robin has a 'robin' call, roughly piping and it will respond but usually not come in to an imitation.  I locate the robin from its call, but I often find it amongst the banksias where there are usually many Western Spinebills also.

If you choose not to return the way that you came, then you can turn north along the Casuarina Road track.  This is the best area for Rufous Treecreeper, Dusky Woodswallow, Varied Sittella and is good for Western Thornbill.  Continue walking until the junction with Dryandra Drive and turn right, or else look on the right for a nature trail with information signs for the flora and fauna which leads back close to the main information sign.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002