WILD ABOUT BIRDS
PRIVATE ONLY | 3D/2N
This three-day, two-night private birdwatching tour of Kangaroo Island caters for those interested in birdwatching throughout Kangaroo Island's vast wilderness. Opportunities vary throughout the year and each season is slightly different in terms of natural cycles. The experience delivered is customised according to the season and fine-tuned to meet the interests of guests once they arrive on the Island. Please note this tour is only available as a private charter.
Kangaroo Island is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with the opportunity to spot over 260 birds, almost one-third of Australia’s bird count. Over 90% of the Island is mallee and woodland, with beautiful Eucalyptus groves, shrublands, fernlands and forests. The island is blessed with amazing protected coves and beaches through to rugged cliffs, providing abundant opportunities to spot seabirds, waterbirds and waders.
The first stop is Duck Lagoon – a freshwater billabong where typical encounters include: White-eared, White-naped and Brown-headed Honeyeaters; Crimson Rosellas; Superb Fairy-wrens; Black Swans; Grey and Chestnut Teals; Yellow-billed Spoonbills; Pacific Black Ducks; Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes; Chestnut-breasted Shelducks; Little Pied Cormorants; and (seasonally) Freckled Ducks.
After enjoying a delicious morning tea, guests will venture to Roper’s Gums – a tall Eucalyptus forest where guests will learn about the the endemic Glossy Black Cockatoo recovery plan. After viewing the beautiful headwaters of Cygnet River, guests will arrive at a private lunch site and a seafood barbeque lunch. This area is home to Koalas; Crescent & New Holland Honeyeaters; Eastern Spinebills; Grey Fantails; Rainbow and Purple-crowned Lorikeets; Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and a selection of smaller bush birds. After lunch, travellers will explore Lathami Conservation Park, which protects the habitat of the Glossy Black Cockatoo.
In this area, it is common to encounter Kangaroo Island Kangaroos; Tammar Wallabies; Scarlet Robins; Brown Thornbills; Grey Shrike Thrush; Short-beaked Echidnas; Golden Whistlers; and Beautiful Firetails. Ending the day at the gorgeous Stokes Bay, guests will enjoy the opportunity to spot Australian Pelicans; Eastern Reef Herons, Hooded Plovers and White-bellied Sea-eagles, before arriving to American River.
Guests will have the option of an early morning birding excursion in the bush adjacent to the hotel or along the American River shoreline. Glossy Black Cockatoos are frequent encounters, as are Grey Currawongs, Little Corellas, Galahs and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes. Along the shorelines, there are often Pied Oystercatchers, Royal Spoonbills, Black Swans, Grey Teals, Australian White Ibis and Australian Pelicans. Rufous Night Herons often roost in the large pines opposite the fire station. Guests will arrive back to the hotel for breakfast before departing at 8:30am.
During the drive to Seal Bay, the first main destination for the day, guests should look out for Raptors. Possibilities include Wedge-tailed Eagles, Swamp Harriers, Australian Kestrels, Black-shouldered Kites and Brown Falcons. At Seal Bay, guests will enjoy a private guided Australian sea-lion experience. The sea-lions share the beach with Caspian and Crested Tern, Sooty Oystercatchers and Hooded Plovers. Overhead, it is common to see White-bellied Sea Eagles and Ospreys. The headland to the west is a prime habitat for Great and Pied Cormorants.
Next is Point Ellen where seasonal encounters include Rock Parrots, Fairy Terns and Little Penguins can sometimes be found in burrows near the beacon. During morning tea, guests will keep an ear out for Southern Emu-wrens, Purple-gaped Honeyeaters and Western Whipbirds in the heath and mallee. The massive wilderness expanses of Flinders Chase National Park is the focus for the rest of the day, starting with the Rocky River precinct. Encounters here can include Cape Barren Geese, Crescent Honeyeaters, Little and Red Wattlebirds, Striated and Spotted Pardalotes, Australian Ravens, Koalas, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Short-beaked Echidnas, Rosenberg’s Goanna (seasonal) and Tammar Wallabies.
Next is the iconic Remarkable Rocks, a spectacular natural sculpture on the clifftops. Here the group can have a picnic lunch – looking out for Australian Kestrels, Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters, and another chance to try for Southern Emu-wren and the elusive Western Whipbird. Nearby on the cape is Admiral’s Arch – a sea cave which often turns up Australian Ravens, Sooty Oystercatchers, Crested Terns (which have had Antarctic terns amongst them in 2006 and 2007), Pacific Gulls.
If a south-westerly wind is blowing, there is a chance to see some pelagic species. If time permits, guests will have the option to visit “Grassdale” in Kelly Hill Conservation Park, providing abundant opportunities to see kangaroos in the wild, plus a range of bird habitats. On return to American River, world echidna expert Dr Peggy Rismiller will join guests for dinner and an after-dinner presentation on the field-based research programme she and her partner have been undertaking for almost 30 years.
There is an option to take another early morning birding walk as per the previous day, with a 8:15am departure from American River. This morning, guests will go out on the ocean on a boat to get a close look at the Busby Islet. The group will observe numerous birds from the sea, as this is a prohibited area to protect breeding Australian Pelicans, Royal Spoonbills, Black-faced and Pied cormorants, Australian White Ibis and potentially many other species including international migratory species seasonally (Nov – Mar). White-bellied Sea Eagles constantly harass the nesting birds, providing an excellent chance to see Black Swans and chance encounters with Bottle-nosed Dolphins.
Guests will have lunch at Reeves Point, providing a chance to learn about the settlement history of the island and often turns up quite a few birds – depending on the season. After lunch, a visit the Kingscote Oxidation Pond provides the opportunity to spot a good cross-section of waterfowl on the ponds and the adjacent Cygnet River Estuary is always worth a look. The afternoon includes a visit to D’Estrees Bay (Hooded Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones (seasonally), Ospreys, Rock Parrots (seasonally) and a quick look at one of the MacGillivray Wetlands on the way back to the airport if time permits.
Three days private touring with home-baked morning tea served with traditional Australian treats; alfresco lunches with a choice of local wines, beer, soft drinks and spring water; access to field guides, binoculars and maps; and all necessary National Parks fees.
We recommend this programme for those with an interest in birdwatching. There is flexibility to alter the itinerary, and the order of events may change due to logistics such as accommodation location, seasonality and weather conditions.