Given its location adjacent to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area it’s not surprising that Hamelin Station Reserve in Outback Western Australia is fast building a reputation as a 'go-to hotspot' for bird-watchers.
We’re seeing more and more birders and birding groups coming to the Hamelin Outback Station Stay, with recent birding parties from Birdlife Western Australia and the Conservation Council of Western Australian (CCWA) taking advantage of the excellent hospitality facilities and birding opportunities.
More than 170 species of birds have been recorded on the reserve thus far, with regulars such as Rainbow Bee-eaters (Merops ornatus) and Chiming Wedgebills (Psophodes occidentalis) always popular.
Susan Abbotts, who led a group from Birdlife WA in April, said the group recorded more than 90 species during their visit to the Reserve.
Highlights for many on the trip included seeing the 'Priority species' Western Grasswren (Amytornis textilis textilis – listed as P4 in the Priority Flora and Priority Fauna List of Western Australia), Bourke’s Parrot (Neopsephotus bourkii), a flock of up to 1,000 Crested Pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes), and a Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera) – which represented a significant territory-extension for that species. A territory-extending observation of the Western Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria griseogularis) was also the cause of some excitement among the party.
The CCWA group, led by the very experienced Dr Nic Dunlop, recorded more than 60 species at the Hamelin Outback Station Stay wetland and nearby areas – including a rare sighting of the priority species Western Grasswren and Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla).
Other 'hot ticket' species that have been recorded at the wetland include the Australian Spotted Crake (Porzana fluminea), Australian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus australis) and Little Grassbird (Megalurus gramineus), as well as three species of fairywrens.
If you’d like to hear more about the Western Grasswren, come along to the 2017 WA Threatened Species Forum – which will be held in Geraldton on 7-8 September. If you’d like to compile an amazing bird-list of your own, feel free to book into the Hamelin Outback Station Stay.
Lis McLellan and Ben Parkhurst