Augusta & Cape Leeuwin Birding Sites

Key Species : Southern Giant-Petrel (chance), Cape Petrel (chance), Great-winged Petrel, White-headed Petrel (good chance), Soft-plumaged Petrel (chance), Blue Petrel (small chance), prion sp. (small chance), White-chinned Petrel, Grey Petrel (small chance), Flesh-footed Shearwater (spring/summer), Little Shearwater (spring/summer), Black-browed Albatross (good chance), Shy Albatross (good chance), Yellow-nosed Albatross, Hooded Plover, Pacific Gull, Bridled Tern (summer), Red-capped Parrot, Rock Parrot, Red-winged Fairy-wren, Southern Emu-wren. Mammals : Australian Sea-lion, Humpback Whale, Southern Right Whale.

Augusta (Post Office S34 18 55" E115 09 33") and Cape Leeuwin are located about 320km or 4 hours south from Perth.  From Perth, head south to Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River (Post Office S33 57 06" E115 04 31").  Cape Leeuwin is probably the best seawatching site in the south west.  The birds are usually a fair distance offshore, but there is usually more activity than Cape Naturaliste or Albany.  I have listed a few places to stay at the end.


1. Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse (lighthouse S34 22 30" E115 08 11")

The lighthouse is only open from 9am to 4pm.  If you enquire at the Augusta Tourist Bureau (08 9758 1695) you might be able to arrange access outside these hours.  The lawn inside the asbestos fences is one of the best sites to find Rock Parrot.  I usually take a folding chair and sit in the lee of the lighthouse with my spotting scope facing south.  Winter and spring is the best time of the year but you should see some seabirds all year around.  Australasian Gannet, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Great-winged Petrel and Flesh-footed Shearwater are the most common species but I have also seen regular Black-browed Albatross, Shy Albatross and Little Shearwater plus White-chinned Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Hutton's Shearwater and Southern Giant-Petrel. Bridled Tern can be seen in summer.  Rock Parrot has also been reported near the Waterwheel (S34 22 06" E115 08 04").


2. Augusta to Cape Leeuwin

The beaches and rocky shore between Augusta and Cape Leeuwin are worth searching for Hooded Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Eastern Reef Egret and a few migratory waders in summer.  The road past Dukes Head and Deere Reef leads to the mouth of the Blackwood River where I have seen Fairy Tern, Pacific Gull and Red-necked Avocet.  On an empty block at a corner near Deere Reef I have seen Rock Parrot.  Look for Southern Emu-wren and Red-winged Fairy-wren in the coastal heath.


3. Boat Trips

Seabirding from the coast can be very good, but there is nothing like being on a boat with the seabirds coming in close enough to photograph.  I hope one day to organise a pelagic trip from Augusta.  One company that does deep sea fishing and whale watching cruises from June to early September is Naturaliste Charters on their 16 metre (50 foot) vessel MV Naturaliste Lady.  The whale watching trip is phenomenal but there are unlikely to be many seabirds unless there is a southerly wind.  The trip departs most days at 10am from Flinders Bay.  Contact Terri and Steve Mitchell on (08) 9755 2276.


4. Hamelin Bay

From Augusta head north and turn left on to Caves Road and then left to Hamelin Bay.  I have seen Hooded Plover, Terek Sandpiper and Ruddy Turnstone on the beach and Rock Parrot in the car park. Bridled Terns breed on the offshore island in summer.


5. Boranup State Forest

From Hamelin Bay continue north along Caves Road.  Turn left onto Boranup Drive which goes through some regrowth karri forest.  There are places to camp and picnic areas for lunch.  This is a good site for Western Rosella, Red-winged Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin, Rufous Treecreeper, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, etc.


6. Alexandra Bridge

From Augusta head north to Karridale and turn right on Brockman Highway.  500 metres or so past the Alexandra Bridge turn left and follow the road to the camping area on the edge of the Blackwood River. Look for Red-winged Fairy-wren, etc.


Also see the Birds Australia WA series of bird guide brochures including Augusta, and my web page for Cape Naturaliste.

Augusta Tourist Information Centre, 70 Blackwood Avenue, Augusta 6290 (08 9758 1695)

Clovelly Holiday Units, 12 Blackwood Avenue, Augusta 6290 (08 9758 1577)

Augusta Homes For Holidays, 88 Blackwood Avenue, Augusta 6290 (08 9758 1290)

Baywatch Manor Resort (YHA Backpackers), 88 Blackwood Avenue, Augusta 6290 (08 9758 1290)


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