Naturetrek Tour Report
2 - 16 September 2005
Naturetrek Cheriton Mill
Hampshire SO24 0NG
+44 (0)1962 733051
+44 (0)1962 736426
Report compiled by Paul Harmes
Hakea victoria - Royal Hakea
Paul Harmes(tour Leader & Botanist)
Alan Notley (tour Guide & Botanist)
Doug Taggart (driver)
Juliet and Peter Dodsworth
Bettye and John Reynolds
Priscilla and Owen Silver.
Friday 2nd September
Weather: Warm and Sunny in London. Hot (34 degrees) in Dubai.
Juliet, Peter and Rachel met with Paul at the boarding gate for Emirates flight EK002 Heathrow to Dubai,
for one and three-quarter hours, eventually taking off at 16-15hrs. Following a 7 hour flight we arrived in Dubai,
where upon we had to make a quick dash across the airport to catch our connecting flight on to Perth.
Saturday 3rd September
Weather: Hot in Dubai. Cloudy and hazy sunshire, 18 degrees in Perth.
The Emirates EK420 flight to Perth departed Dubai at 03-15hrs, arriving in Perth at 17-15hrs local time. After
driver for the duration of the tour. Doug transported us into the city, showing us some of the sites on the way,
including the Swan River and The Western Australian Cricket Ground, before taking us to The Miss Maudes
Swedish Hotel, our base for the next two nights. After settling into our rooms, we met up with Pat, Bettye, John
and Priscilla and Owen, who had all been slowly acclimatizing to the city, and introduced ourselves. From the
hotel we walked the short distance to Hay Street and the Criterion Hotel Café, where we had a splendid dinner.
Weather: Warm and sunny mainly, but some cloud and a little rain in the afternoon.
After an early breakfast we gathered in the hotel lobby, at 08-30hrs, to meet Alan Notley, our local botanical
planning comprises a formal public open space and gardens, over-looking the Swan River and the City. It also
has an extensive area of natural bushland. Alan began by taking us through the formal planted gardens, and gave
us an early familiarization with the Western Australian flora and its various regions. Red Wattle-birds, Australian
Magpies, Rainbow Lorikeets and a family of Australian Wood Duck were all seen. We also found Caladenia
latifolia (Pink Fairy Orchid), and Microtis media ssp. media (Common Mignonette Orchid). Moving into the
bushland, we took a walk, immediately finding Diuris corymbosa (Common Donkey Orchid), Sowerbaea laxiflora
(Vanilla Lily) and Anigozanthos manglesii (Mangle’s Kangaroo Paw), Grevillias, Banksias, Myrtles and Eucalyptus
species were all seen. Ring-necked Parrots were also very much in evidence. From here we moved on to
the margins we found Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Purple Swamphen, Ducky Moorhen, Glossy Ibis and a Little
Egret. and some obliging Welcome Swallow perched in a Bottlebrush Tree. After a brief stop, at the Grower’s
Market at Wembley, to buy lunch, we drove out of the city to the Ellis Brook Valley Reserve, an area of semi-
wooded slopes, old quarries and natural bush. Alan led us on a circular walk up to the ridge and down the other
side. Along the route we saw Brown and New Holland Honeyeaters, Red-eared Firetails, Western Rosella and
Red-capped Robin. Plants included, Trymalium ledifolium (Water-bush), Hibbertia hypericoides (Yellow Buttercups),
Isopogon formosus (Rose Coneflower), Hakea trifuricata (Tow-leaved Hakea), Drosera micrantha (A Sundew) and
Stypandra glauca (Blind Grass). As we neared the car park, a pair of Splendid Fairy-wrens were spotted in some
Calathamnus bushes. Before leaving this wonderfully rich site, we had a brief stop at an area of open woodland by
the entrance. Here we found Drosera heterophylla (A Sundew), Patersonia occidentalis (Blue Flag), the parasitic Nuytsia
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-checked Honeyeaters and Silvereyes were also seen and Weebill was heard.
Reluctantly, we now had to make our way back into the city and back to our hotel to prepare for moving north
tomorrow, and for dinner.
Weather: Cloudy and warm with sunny periods and occasional rain.
After an early breakfast, we loaded our bags into the trailer and boarded our bus for the start of our journey of
picked up Alan. From here, we headed north and onto the Brand Highway, continuing on past Gingin, making
our first stop in the Moore River National Park. Along the way, Straw-necked Ibis were spotted from the bus.
We had a short time botanizing the margin of the reserve, whilst Doug prepared morning tea. Here we found,
Bark. Moving on we made a short stop for fuel, before continuing to Badgingarra and our main objective for the
morning, Hi Vallee Farm. We made a short stop on the roadside at Cataby to see the splendid Eucalyptus
macrocarpa (Mottlecah) in full flower, the largest flowered member of the Eucalyptus Genus. As we approached
Hi Vallee Farm, on the main road, we saw a Wedge-tailed Eagle being mobbed by two Australian Ravens. Our
hosts, Joy and Don Williams, greeted us with a welcome picnic lunch, fresh fruit and damper with golden syrup,
all washed down with ‘billy tea’. The afternoon was spent with Don as our guide, walking in the natural bushland
on his property. His vast and detailed knowledge was imparted in a clear, passionate and extremely informative
way. He introduced us to some of the fascinating plant families, showed us some rare and unusual local
specialties and opened our eyes to the richness and diversity of this part of Australia. Eucalyptus, Dryandra,
Conospermum, Astroloma and Darwinia species were all present. After thanking our hosts, we bid our farewells to Hi
Vallee and the group of Western Grey Kangaroos, we had been watching, and made our way to our final stop of
the day at the Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles Desert. Nankeen Kestrel and Black-shouldered Kite
were both spotted as we traveled. As we arrived, we had some very close views of an adult male Emu and his
seven chicks. We were treated to a short, but splendid, sunset, which, set against these fantastic rock formations,
was rather memorable. As the light began to fade, we drove the short distance to the Jurien Hotel Motel, for the
night and a well earned dinner.
Weather: Fine and cloudy with some sunny periods and the odd shower.
Following a splendid breakfast, we departed Jurien, continuing our journey northwards. We stopped briefly at
Bush) and Spiniflex longifolia (Hairy Spiniflex). As we moved north of Leeman, we spotted a flock of Stilts. These
turned out to be Black-winged and Banded. A further short roadside stop produced Alyogyne huegelii (Lilac
Hibiscus), Asphodelus fistulosus (Small Asphodel) and Eucalyptus dongarensis (Coastal Dongara Malle). During our
stop, for morning tea, at Dongara, by the marina, we saw Little Pied Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, and Pacific
Gull. Among the plants were two grasses, Stenotaphrum secundatum (Buffalo Grass) and Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda
or Couch Grass). Lunch was taken by the sea in Geraldton. However, before we ate, we visited the HMAS
Sydney 2nd Memorial to the six-hundred and forty-five souls who perished during this infamous incident. As we
still had some distance to travel to our destination today, Kalbarri, we soon continued on our way. We made two
further short stops, one at the Hutt Lagoon ‘Pink Lake’ to see Alyogyne hakeifolia (Hakea-leaved Hibiscus), sadly,
not flowering, and one a short way from Kalbarri to see a wonderful patch of Leptosema aphylla (Ribbon Pea).
Our main objective for the afternoon was the Wildflower Centre at Kalbarri. This is an area of natural bushland
that has been opened up and had paths added. Many of the plants here are labelled to assist identification,
although none of the plants are obviously planted, accept those in the immediate vicinity of the buildings. Here
we made some progress with our identification of plant families. After this it was time to check into the Kalbarri
Beach Resort Motel, and prepare for dinner.
Weather: Cloudy and warm with a strong breeze.
The most part of today was spent in the Kalbarri National Park. The special Sandstone features and the
hard going, but gave us opportunities make stops to study the flora. Our first such stop yielded Banksia sceptrum
(Sceptre Banksia), Banksia victoriae (Wooly Orange Banksia), neither of which was in flower. We also found
Pimelia floribunda (A Banjine) and Geleznowia verrcosa and Grevillea annulifera (Prickly Plume Grevillea). A second
stop in the bush yielded Darwinia sanguinea, Grevillea didymobotrya and Pityrodia atriplicina. The first scheduled stop
was at a lookout point, called ‘The Loop’, where we had good views of the Murchison River gorges and the
surrounding bush. Here, we took morning tea and then went for a walk finding Grevillea petrophiloides (Pink
Pokers) and Darwinia vestita (Pom Pom Darwinia), Acacia linophylla (Bowgada Bush), Calindrinia remota (Round-
leaved Parakeelya) and Keraudrenia hermanniaefolia (Crinkle-leaved Firebush). During the walk we visited a
viewpoint called ‘Natures Window’. Here took a walk along the ridge between the loops of the river, passing
some magnificently formed sandstone cliffs and outcrops. After taking some pictures through the ‘Window’, we
made our way back to the bus and moved to another area known as ‘Z Bends’, where we walked down to
viewing platform over the Murchison River. Plants recorded included Trachymeme ornata, Burchardia rosea (Pink
Milkmaids) and Stylidium elongatum (Tall Triggerplant). Retracing our tracks we made our way back to the vehicle
for lunch. Hunger satisfied, our next port of call was a further short stop in the bush, where we saw Banksia
river, for a further two stops. The plants found included Alyxia buxifolia (Dysentry Bush) and Calothamus
sanguineus (A One-sided Bottlebrush). Here we began to see some interesting birds. Pied Butcher-bird, Variegated
Fairy-wren and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill were but three. Leaving the National Park along the road leading
back to Kalbarri, we made a stop to look at Veriticordia chrysantha (Feather Flower) and Grevillea leucopteris (Smelly
Socks). Whilst we were there an Australian Bustard flew overhead. The last part of the day was spent down by
the Sea at Red Bluff. Sadly we saw no whales, but we did see Australian Gannets fishing, Red-capped Plover,
Sooty Oystercatchers and Ruddy Turnstones. From here we returned to our hotel for our evening meal.
Thursday 8th September
Weather: Rain at times, some sun but mostly cloudy.
Leaving Kalbarri early, we made our way towards Northampton. Just after leaving we saw a Whistling Kite
Socks), because it had not been flowering when previously seen. We also found Calectasia grandiflora (Blue Tinsel
Lily) and Orobanche minor (Common Broomrape). At Northampton we stopped for fuel and morning tea.
During the break we saw an immature White-bellied Sea Eagle. From Northampton we travelled east via
Nabawa to Tenindawa. Along the way we stopped at a small roadside Nature Reserve where we saw Hakea
bucculenta (Red Pokers) and Ptilotus grandiflora ssp. grandiflora (Annual Mulla Mulla), Caledenia roei (Clown or Ant
Orhid), and Caledenia longicauda ssp. eminens (Stark White Spider Orchid). Continuing onwards, we saw a flock of
Little Corella in one field and a small group of Red-tailed Black Cockatoo in another. A brief stop at the glacial
beds at Bindoo Hill in the Greenough river valley gave us a chance to see the remnants of the glacial morane and
some different plants and Birds. White Fronted Chat and Australian Pipit were seen by the birders and Senna
glutinosa, Maireana carnosa (Cottony Bluebush) and Rhodanthe chlorocephala ssp. splendida, were recorded by the
botanists. We took lunch by a railway siding just west of Mullewa. As we neared this spot, Doug spotted a
Bobtail Skink crossing the road. Paul caught this lizard and everyone had an opportunity to see its wonderful
blue, black tongue and to photograph it, before he released it, unharmed and unstressed, away from the road.
The lunch spot had a few goodies too. These included Anthotroche blackii, Brunonia australis (Native Cornflower)
and Grevillea obliquistigma. Our main aim today was to visit the site of Lechenaultia macrantha (Wreath Lechenaultia),
at Pindar. Fortunately, there were a number of these rare and special plants flowering, together with Dampiera
wellsiana (Wells’ Dampiera), Verticordia grandis (Scarlet Featherflower) and Balaustion microphyllum (Bush
Pomegranite). A little further down the road we stopped to find Darwinia purpurea (Rose Darwinea), before
continuing on to the Coalseam Conservation Reserve. Here the ground is covered with a colourful blanket of
spring annuals and everlastings. Podotheca gnaphaloides (Billy Buttons), Lawrencella davenpoertii (Sticky Everlasting),
all present. Notable birds included Peregrine Falcon. It was now time to make our way to Dongara to the Old
Mill Motel, our accommodation for the night.
Friday 9th September
Weather: Fine and sunny with a slight breeze.
Seting off from Dongara, today was to be mostly a travelling day. However, we made a number of stops along
Highway. One sharp eyed member of the group spotted a pacific or White-necked Heron hunting in a roadside
(Common Lamb Poison or Granny’s Bonnets) and Stackhousia brunonis (Winged Stackhousia). Morning tea was
taken in the town of Eneabba, where we were joined by Magpie Lark, Magpie and Wattle Birds. Diurus corymbosa
aff. (Rosy-cheeked Donkey Orchid) and Tersonia cyathiflora (Button Creeper) were also found. As we were leaving
the town, Doug showed us White-backed Swallows sitting on an overhead Line. We soon made a roadside stop
to see the Grasstrees Xanthorea priessii and Xanthorea drummondii both flowering after last years burn. Before long we
turned east and left the Brand Highway behind us, and made our way to Coorow. Along the way we stopped in
the Alexander Morrison National Park. Heare we found Hakea gilbertii, Boronia ternata, Petrophile scabriusculus and
Commersonia pulchella, and along the roadway a Wedge-tailed eagle was circling. We were now entering an area
where the majestic Eucalyptus salmonophloia (Salmon Gum) are to be found. Lunch was taken in the bush near
Marchagee. A Bobtail Skink was disturbed as we arrived, but did not move too far away as we ate. Melaleuca
uncinata (Broom bush), Allocasuina obesa (Sheoak), Hakea brownii and Hakea platyphylla (Cricket Ball Hakea) were all
present. One short stop near New Norcia produced Trymalium ledifolium and Pterostylis vittana (Banded Greenhood
Orchid), as well as a Scarlet Robin. Another had Hibbertia miniata and Hakea undulata. We were now fairly close to
our destination, the El Caballo Resort Hotel at Wooloroo, where we spent the night.
Weather: Fresh and bright at first, becoming warmer.
The prospect of the Dryandra Woodlands had us on the road promptly this morning, being seen on our way by a
York, stopping at Avon Assent for morning tea and some bird watching. The lookout point produced Striated
Pardalote, Rufus Whistler and Horsefield’s Bronze Cuckoo. We travelled on through Pingelly and on to
Popanyinning, where we took a comfort stop. From here the shortest route into the Dryandra Woodlands was
along a series of gravel roads, and it wasn’t very long before we found ourselves botanising in this unique habitat.
Our first stop produced Lechenaultia formosa (Red Lechenaultia), Caledenia saccharata (Sugar Orchid), Cyanicula
Currawong were glimpsed by several group members. We took our lunch at the Old Mill Dam, passing stands of
contained, until artificial alternatives were introduced in the 1960s.A short walk after lunch produced good views
of Rufous Treecreeper together with Stackhousia monogyna, Mirbilia floribunda (Purple Mirbilia) and Cyanicula
gemmata (Blue China Orchid). As were reached the vehicle Doug spotted a Numbat being chased by a Magpie.
Several members of the group were able to glimpse this shy and rare marsupial. A short visit to the Congelin
Dam produced a small group of Pterostylis aff. nana (Hairy-stemmed Snail Orchid), before we made our way to
an area of Dryandra bush, as we traveled we stopped to photograph the magnificent Dryandra nobilis (Golden
Dryandra) and Dryandra polycephala (Pingle). The area we stopped in had several plants we had yet to become
acquainted with. These included Isopogon crithmifolius, Isopogon formusus (Rose Coneflower), Hakea ruscifolia (Candle
Hakea), Santalum murrayanum (Bitter Quandong) and Dryandra subpinnatifida var. subpinnatifida. Leaving the
National Park, we made our way to Narragin and the Albert Facey Motor Inn, our accommodation for the night.
We arrived in time for a pre-arranged meal at 17-00hrs. This was in order that we could return to the National
Park to undertake the night Marsupil spotting tour at Bana Mia. It was already dark when we re-entred the Park,