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2008: Cape Leeuwin Gulls

Pacific Gull

Grey butcherbirds would be regular on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste peninsula. So too would lifer number 888. A large gull floundered by in the persistent wind.

Compared with the UK’s fifteen or so regular and vagrant species, Australia has not been well endowed with gulls, silver gull being the only countrywide species and Pacific adding variety on the southern coasts. Since the middle of last century kelp gull has also colonised the southeast from New Zealand. My large gull had to be one of Pacific or kelp, and I willed the former. The willing worked: a black band at the tip of its tail gave it away. Pacific was far more likely than kelp in the west anyway.

Cape Leeuwin, like Windy Harbour, is a winter sea-birding spot. I was out of season although the weather was trying to persuade me otherwise. I took refuge in the lighthouse café for lunch and then rebraved the elements. One sooty oystercatcher later, I decided not to hang around and picked my way up Caves Road – the tourist drive. This took me through the vineyards of the Margaret River region before a little detour back to the coast at Prevelly.

It was mid-to-late afternoon and I was learning that the search for accommodation couldn’t start too soon. the three-o’clock rule began to crystallise: that was when I started keeping my eye out for lodgings. Prevelly only had a campsite but I had a notion that I should see what I was letting myself in for. It was either there or pushing on to Dunsborough or Busselton.

I enquired within.

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