A Yanchep National Park “reccie” initial foray…

Well, we had a hire car… so best to drive it somewhere, don’t you think? So off to Yanchep  we went…

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We were almost at Yanchep National Reserve when alongside the road, I espied a flash of pink. Fortunately I had no cars behind me so almost at a mini roundabout, I was able to pull over the car and investigate. I’d bought some wild bird seed for all manner of Australian species, so wondered if this may be necessary or useful at some point – it was, almost immediately. The flash of pink was caused by a pair of Galahs… not rare birds by any stretch, but nonetheless beautiful and in there own way, somewhat comical. I recall well from my business attire and putting ‘colours’ together in my wardrobe, that grey and pink collaborate very well together. This bird epitomises this fact…


These Galahs were pretty friendly and largely unruffled by our presence, as long as we kept our distance. A Canon EF500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter allows that distance 🙂 . It seems this bird was more commonly spending its’ time on the golf course that was next to the road and I saw other galahs there. Surprisingly they were more wary, despite their usual interactions with local golfers.

A39T5112-impWhen galahs become ruffled, their crest instantly is raised in alarm. And what a pretty crest that is too! I threw some seed for these birds and they tucked in heartily, focusing on the larger pods. Meanwile passing motorists were taking much interest in this guy in camouflage wear with long lens and sturdy tripod, so I thought it best to move on to Yanchep National Park itself.

The drive into the park was met with the sound of many birds and an opportunity to quickly glimpse a few of them too. The first i saw was a resplendent little bird that was easily one of the most skittish I’d ever seen. I was driving along the road to the park VERY slowly, window down, listening, watching, when i espied a flash of brilliant blue. I’d no idea what this tiny bird was. It looked like a wren, but I’d never seen such gorgeous colours on a wren. Surely not. I got my camera gear and stalked the bird, but to no avail. It would not venture out of the depths of deep thicket for anything but the briefest of moments – enough to make your heart race and skip, but not enough to allow your lens to focus and shutter to click.

At the entrance to the park, a small admission fee is required and the National Parks attendant was wonderfully friendly and super informative. I mentioned the little blue bird and she commented that it was a Splendid Fairy-Wren and “good luck trying to photograph that – they’re shy and so far I haven’t managed to shoot one except at extreme distance”. This made me feel a little better and also inspired me for the challenge to do so. We made our way into the park, parked easily and set up our photography gear.

The first thing I noticed was the serenity of the place. A39T6016

Calm. Green. Soothing. It was a weekend. But no screaming kids nor noise other than naturally provided. Bliss. A lovely lake with mudflats, though sadly you could only approach from one side and there was no ability to get onto the lake itself. A39T6025

It was very pretty though and we decided to have a decent walk around to “reccie” the place and establish if a full day or so here would be worthwhile.

A39T5506-impAcross the lake the first bird I saw was a White Headed Stilt.

There were many of them, but this loansome fella was in reasonably close proximity, extracting savouries from the shallows and mud beneath.

A39T0223-impNext to make a welcome appearance was an Australian White Ibis and at distance I could see, but not shoot, many ducks and what looked like a heron, albeit one I was less than familiar with. The lake certainly looked like it would provide some good shooting opportunities, so we walked on and were greeted by a bird that was to be seen very regularly, though always with pleasure.

A39T5979-impIt seemed that Australian Ringneck Parrots were very common and with a little patience, they allowed you to get reasonably close to them. A lot of squawking could be heard and one of Australia’s common birds, an Australian Magpie, put in regular appearances.

A39T5847-impI found it strange that this bird could be termed a magpie. Even though magpie’s are members of the crow family, they’re typically distinguished by longer tails and do not take on the typical shape of a crow. I would have thought that this bird might have been called a Pied Crow as this would be more appropriate, perhaps, but nonetheless, a magpie is what it is called. Their behaviour is totally crow like and their demeanour is again akin to a crow.

We had decided that Yanchep would indeed be a place we’d come back to and so began to look out for places to take in, and shoot, the upcoming sunset from the park. As the light began to rescind into a distant hemisphere and the sun bade its’ farewell to the park for another day, we set up alongside the lake to see if the sunset would be prettily reflected off the lake itself. It was pretty, for sure, though with foreground artefacts so far in the distance, this made for less than spectacular shots of the sunset…

We thought we’d make our way back to the car and as we did so, a  Laughing Kookaburra was sunning itself.

A39T5401-impSadly the bird could only be photographed ‘into the sun’, but it was a pleasure to see this bird – i hadn’t seen one for many years and i’d never photographed one previously. The old song I knew so well as a child began to play in my head “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree-ee, merry, merry king o the bush is he-ee, laugh, kookaburra laugh, kookaburra gay your life must be”.

What a pleasant day and a lovely end to a “reccie” outing… we DID go back and we even stayed at the park overnight too – that’s for a future post.

Happy Days indeed… 🙂


2 thoughts on “A Yanchep National Park “reccie” initial foray…”

  1. This post brings back fond memories of my trip to WA back in 2009 where I managed to squeeze a few hours of birding at this national park as well. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Nice shots of common WA birds (lol) . If you remember I spoke with you at Yanchep. Have been depressed ever since (jealous of your gear. Look forward to your next post.


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