South Coast and Flinders Chase
Flinders Chase National Park has much to offer the keen birder. Much of the park is part of the ironstone plateau and is vegetated with endemic KI Mallee-Ash E. remota and Brown Stringybark E. baxteri association. This mostly stunted whipstick mallee and associated sclerophyllous understory (banksia, hakea, acacia, allocasuarina, grevillea, correa etc) houses a rich variety of birds. Some of the more notable are Southern Emu-wren, Shy Heathwren, Beautiful Firetail, Painted Button-quail, Brush Bronzewing, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and Spotted Pardalote (race xanthopygus). Taller stands of this habitat with dense banksia understory are home to Little Wattlebird.
The coastal strip of FCNP comprises Coastal Mallee E diversifolia association growing on calcareouslimestone and dune. This vegetation type is duplicated all along the south coast of KI. In the sub-coastal zone this mallee grows to a height of about 8 metres and is accompanied by rich stands of Dryland Ti-treeMealaeuca lanceolata. Importantly, the understory is rich with flowering Correa reflexa and C. pulchella during winter and provides a rich nectar source to the specialised Eastern Spinebill. Purple-gaped Honeyeaters are common and perhaps the signature species in this habitat. Also here are Western Whipbird, Painted Button-quail, Golden Whistler, Grey-Shrike-thrush, Scarlet Robin, Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo (summer), Superb Fairy-wren, New Holland and Brown-headed Honeyeater. Close to the sea-shore, along windswept cliff-top and dune, mallee formations are reduced to a stunted coastal heath.
This mosaic of dense thickets and open rocky patches provides ideal habitat for secretive Southern Emu-wrens, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and Nankeen Kestrel. Tree Martins, Welcome Swallows and Striated Pardalote nest in caves and holes of limestone cliff-faces during spring-summer. Riparian clad rivers of FCNP and the south coast (Rocky, Breakneck, Ravine des Casoars, South-West, Stunsail Boom, Harriet, Eleanor River) are home to forest specialists such as White-eared and Crescent Honeyeater, Bassian Thrush, Shining Bronze-cuckoo (raceplagosus and Brown Goshawk.
Most outstanding of the south coast wetlands are Cape Gauntheume Conservation Park, Grassdale Lagoon and Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Wetland species found at these venues include Latham Snipe, Australasian Shoveler, Blue-billed and Freckled Duck, Red-kneed Dotterel, Swamp Harrier, Australian Spotted Crake, stilts, ibis and spoonbills.
South coast beaches are foraging and breeding habitat for the rare and threatened Hooded Plover, majestic (and threatened) White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Eastern Osprey and Peregrine Falcon who live and breed along the rugged south coast cliffs.