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Birding in Tasmania

Listed under Birdwatching in Tasmania, Australia.

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  • Photo of Birding in Tasmania
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Photo by flickr user Rick McCharles
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Tasmania, situated about 250km below mainland Australia this small, stunningly wild and beautiful island has a number of attractions for the birder. Not least of which is 12 endemic species of bird and a number of others that may be seen here much easier than on the mainland. All of the endemics may be found within an hour or so of Hobart at a number of suitable sites: Peter Murrell Reserve, Penrhyn Pond, Mount Wellington and the Fern Glade Track for example. For a more relaxing visit and to add on some seabirds visit Bruny Island. Bruny is a 20 minute ferry ride from Kettering around 45 minutes south of Hobart. You’ll still get all the endemics but also evening penguin and shearwater viewing is an excellent addition to your experience here. The Orange-bellied Parrot is now reduced to around 200 individuals and can be found via a quick plane charter to Melaleuca in the southwest where a breeding program is in place to help this very fragile and stunning parrot. They winter on samphire flats along the coast of Victoria and South Australia. Also here you have a good chance of Ground Parrot and Beautiful Firetail around the lodge area. Many overland walks exist in this area too with cabin accommodation along them. This area is part of the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area covering over 1.38 million hectares. It’s not hard to see why it’s been gazetted thus! Freycinet National Park offers some spectacular bush walking, though not as many endemic birds you will see some albatross and shearwaters in winter from the headlands. Further north Cradle Mountain offers some of the endemics a little easier than in the south along with a superb range of Australian mammals including Spotted-tailed Quoll, Tasmanian Devil, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Tasmanian Pademelon, Echidna and so on. Devil numbers are sadly declining due to a facial tumour and while a lot of very serious effort is happening to prevent the spread of this disease it’s certainly a case of get in quick if you want to see one. On the West coast Strahan offers more opportunity to see the endangered Ground Parrot in a very pretty area of the world. Coming back to Hobart you’ll pass the southern edge of Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair (Australia’s deepest lake at 190 metres), while the river crossings as you approach Mt Field National Park are a good spot for the enigmatic Platypus just prior to dusk. Tasmania also has great wine, beer and seafood that makes eating out a magnificent experience.

Written by  Alan McBride.

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