Follow by Email

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Bowra Trip April 2016

Finally after 6 months of planning the trip of the year it was now upon us, all the anticipation, the constant emails back and forth with people trying to organise accommodation, and asking for as much birding information at the places we had planned on stopping had come to an end.
We had been planning for so long, initially this trip was only to head to Deniliquin to participate on a tour lead by Philip Maher from http://www.philipmaher.com/main.htm to try and find the Plains Wanderer. We had constant emails from Patricia Maher explaining that the Plains Wanderer had moved on in early Feb and that it would be unlikely that we would locate, but after such an exercise to arrange 17 birders from Victoria we decided to continue on with the show. So while in a group chat Greg McKay made mention that Bowra Station was only a mere 1000kms from Deniliquin, which laid a seed in my mind. Could we do that?
So i put it too the other 16 attendees if they would be interested, i had no idea if anyone would be keen, but too my surprise we ended up with 8 that were wanting to go, so that's where the fun began.
My driver Bill Twiss ( a terrier on the road) discussed about leaving Thursday the 7th April to drive to Terrick Terrick National Park just north of Bendigo, so after discussing this with the other 17 members of the group at least half decided that we would meet at Terrick Terrick on Thursday night and go do some quail finding, we dipped on anything but Australian Pipits as we walked 8 or 9 kms through paddocks in search of anything of excitement! We however did find a beautiful little Fat-tailed Dunnart.
   Fat-tailed Dunnart

We set up camp at 11.30pm before a quick sleep to be up at dawn chorus, where we packed the tent and walked around the Picnic Area, some lovely birds seen in this national park and we had prolonged views of Hooded Robins and Restless Flycatchers.
    Restless Flycatcher
    Hooded Robin

On walking back to camp i nearly walked into this beautiful Golden Orb Spider!
                                                Golden Orb Spider

While cruising around the rock we came across a little waterhole in the granite where the birds seemed to be congregating around so the Filthy Flockers took this as an invite and decided to have a sit down and wait and see what turned up.

    Filthy Flockers

I am not one to sit still, so i took off around the rock and picked up a few birds, Pied Butcherbird and Red-capped Robin. We were in search of the Gilbert's Whistler which we heard a few times but couldn't get any visuals, but as we were walking through the pines Tim Nickholds and I flushed a daytime Boobook Owl from a tree, i have never seen a Boobook during the day and this was totally unexpected and awesome!
    Southern Boobook

We got some pictures before leaving it in peace, a lot of birds were hounding it and making its life hell, so the last we saw of it it had roosted in a pine so hopefully was able to get some well deserve rest!
Heading back to the car we got great views of Varied Sittella and a pair of Red-capped Robins.
    Varied Sittella

From here we headed back out, heading to a place where Tim Nickholds had found a group of Black-faced Woodswallows, it seems that Terrick Terrick NP is now a very reliable spot for this bird, and we found it pretty easily near the Davies Homestead.
    Black-faced Woodswallow

After the Woodswallows we headed to the Meadows which is a paddock east of the main NP that is part of the Terrick Terrick where it is usually good for White-winged Fairywren and other small bush birds, we heard and saw a few White-winged Fairywren but nothing great, however another huge surprise was another daytime Boobook. Totally unexpected, the Meadows is actually a paddock predominantly covered in Lignum which is basically no taller than 1.5m and here was this Southern Boobook sitting upon it. We initially thought Brown Falcon because Boobook seemed unlikely but when the binoculars were placed upon the bird it was clear to see!
    Southern Boobook
    Southern Boobook

Our Terrick Terrick NP bird list: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974364

Our next stop was to Johnson's Swamp just near Kerang, Simon Starr had seen some lovely birds around this swamp so thought it was worth checking out, the swamp was rather low and hard to access but some lovely birds were seen, nothing of real excitement though!
Our Johnson's Swamp bird list: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974365

From here we were heading to Deniliquin to meet up with the other birders, on the way we stopped at Barham where we found 9 Wild ( dodgiest tick in Australia) Ostrich. This population is classed as wild and we had views from the road, nothing close but worth the stop.
    Ostrich

Bird list from the Ostirch :  http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974372

We arrived at Deniliquin at 5.00pm, set up camp and settled down to a few yarns and a lot of laughs. We had a 7.30am pick up from Philip Maher so people were in bed early. The following morning everyone was up early and excited, the 17 birders boarded the mini bus. Tim Bawden, Tim Nickholds, Greg and Janice Mckay, David Livemore, Brad White, Robin Rider (aka Pete), Alison Nisbett, Tanya Hattingh, Jenn Stephens, Graeme Gillette, Adam Fry, Matt McCrae, Bill Twiss, Cindy McDonald, David Adam and Myself, were keen as the bus left Deni, heading to our first stop where we found Superb Parrots. Only a few weeks prior this would have been a lifer for me but after heading to Wunghnu this bird was so last week! But we had awesome but fleeting views of males and females as the flew from tree too tree.

 
    Superb Parrot

After the Superb Parrots, we headed down a dirt track where we picked up Striped Honeyeaters, White-winged Fairywrens, Mistletoebird and a group of Red-capped Robins. A lovely little hotspot and birds very pretty active.
   Red-capped Robin
   White-winged Fairywren (Female)
    White-winged Fairywren( Male)

From here we headed to a revegetation plot Philip Maher had planted over the last 15 years and there was some great habitat but by now the birds were becoming scarce, it was heating up and the birds had taken shelter. We had a quick look around the local tip where we had Black Kites everywhere and a family party of Grey-crowned Babblers.
   Grey-Crowned Babbler

We were dropped back at the Caravan Park just on 12pm where we had a few hours to relax before Philip Maher came back and picked us up at 3pm. Some people went too the Pub but i was here to go birdwatching so Bill Twiss and I decided to check out the State Park, we found a few birds Crimson Rosella (Yellow), Laughing Kookaburra and Pied Butcherbird.
    Crimson Rosella (Yellow)
   Laughing Kookaburra
    Pied Butcherbird

3pm came around fast, and we were back on the bus, again following the same route we first looked for the Superb Parrots, where i was being paparazzi on the group!


From the Superb Parrots, we went and checked out the sot where Ground Cuckoo-Shrike were seen a few days prior, no such luck though we did get some Greater Bluebonnet, and a very exciting ( thought it was a cuckoo-shrike ) Pallid Cuckoo!
    Greater Bluebonnet
   Pallid Cuckoo

On the road towards the Plains Wanderer paddocks we came across a roosting Wedge-tailed Eagle which gave us a close opportunity for photos.
    Wedge-tailed Eagle

We arrived at the farm where we would be searching for the Inland Dotterel, Plains Wanderer and anything else we could find, not much around before dark, we searched the paddocks where the Inland Dotterels had been seen but missed on them. We arrived to a beautiful bush dinner organised by Patricia Maher and after a filling dinner, a few drinks ( beer, wine and coffee), we split up into 4 cars all driven by Phili Maher and his friends from the station we were on. Pretty quickly we had located the Inland Dotterel, 1 car had flushed them but had lost sight, but luckily we had Matt McCrae in our car as he spotted the birds about 1 metre from the car as we drove. A quick stop and a very excited few minutes ensued as we snapped photos through windows, crap shots but we were sure how long they would stay around, after all the cars arrived we got out ( leaving Brad White locked in the back on the 7 seater! OOPS!!
We were able to view these beautiful stunning most memorable birds for nearly 15 minutes, allowing closer than i thought approach. It was a lifer bird for all 17 of us and i reckon that is bloody awesome! It will always be a bird that everyone will remember and remember the trip we had! A truly special moment!
    Inland Dotterel
    Inland Dotterel
    Inland Dotterel
    Inland Dotterel

Tim Bawden had some targets other than birds this weekend, Mammals and we ticked off three for the year for him, Red Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo and another couple of beautiful Fat-tailed Dunnart.
   Fat-tailed Dunnart

We had no expectations on finding the Plains Wanderer which we didn't find, but the highlight of the trip was certainly the Inland Dotterel, the birding was very quiet and very frustrating at times and being such a large group made it hard for Philip Maher to get around too everyone, but overall it was a great days birding with over 80 species seen!
I will certainly be going back to find the Plains Wanderer this year!

Our list for the Deni Trip: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974091

We had a few drinks back at camp to celebrate such an awesome bird, before retiring to bed around 1am. It was to be an early start as the 8 of us heading north were planning on leaving at 8am. Funnily enough we were ready and set off just before 8am with a quick stop off at Maccas for a coffee!
We farewelled the returning travellers before heading towards Hay, its a very dry and barren drive from Deni to Hay with 140kms of nothing! Not many birds seen at all, a few Emu and a couple of Bird of Prey but nothing overly exciting, we travelled in a 5 car convoy, all communicating with walkie talkies, which made bird sightings more enjoyable, with more eyes around. Just before arriving into Hay Greg and Janice found a flock of Banded Lapwings in paddocks on both sides of the road, so a quick u-turn had us looking at these stunning birds. Also here was Zebra Finch.
    Banded Lapwing

From Hay we headed towards lake Cargelligo, where we stopped at the Waste Treatment Plant and the Lake Cargelligo itself, not much around the Treatment Plant a little disappointing, and the lake was huge and predominantly treeless, so wasn't much birding done. A quick stop off at Chat Alley with literally dead silence, no birds at all bar 1 Pied Butcherbird and a few randy cows!
So the morning was relatively crappy, not much excitement at all, we then travelled towards Euabalong, driving at 100kms Bill said to me i think that bird was a cuckoo-shrike, a quick radio call to cars behind us who hadn't heard me but had stopped, then the shout of Ground Cuckoo-shrike filtered through the walkie-talkies a quick u-turn from Bill and I had us speeding down the road to see the Ground Cuckoo-shrike, perched atop of a dead gum, it was flushed from the roadside fence and up about 50 metres where it sat for us, luckily it stopped so all got a good look!
    Ground Cuckoo-shrike

Gps Co-ords on my Ebird list : http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28848961

From this sighting we stopped into Euabalong to celebrate, everyone on such a high, a very nomadic and hard to locate species was now on our life list! We quickly composed ourselves and were back on the road heading to Round Hill NP and camping spot at Whoey Tank. A huge thanks has to go to Tim Dolby for his unbelievable great blog http://tim-dolby.blogspot.com.au/ 
His description of this area, he knowledge and his birding know how certainly contributed to our success, the road into Whoey Tank was not signposted but Tim gps co-ordinates were spot on! We pulled up into the camp ground ( be mindful no amenities) and set up camp quickly before we started to explore.
    Whoey Tank- Round Hill NP

We all split up after setting up camp, sometimes a rookie mistake as always someone else finds the good birds! The others all found Spotted Bowerbird ( a lifer for me ) which i subsequently missed! I did however find Southern Whiteface, Bar-shouldered Dove, Mulga Parrot and White-browed Babbler.

    Southern Whiteface
    Bar-shouldered Dove
 
   White-browed Babbler
   Mulga Parrot

After cooking some dinner and sitting around for a little Tanya Hattingh and I decided to have a look around at the spiders that were giving off eye shine. Some awesome arachnids were seen!






We woke early and explored Round Hill NP for an hour, a few great birds around, Collared Sparrowhawk chasing a Pied Butcherbird literally 20 cms from my head was truly special!
Birdlist for Round Hill NP: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974094

We then planned on heading to Tim Dolby spot for the Red-lored Whistler, no one had seen them there for many years and i knew of many people that had been there and missed but we were there so was worth a look! We pulled in Nombinnie Nature Reserve, its another mallee area that abuts the Round Hill NP, so a quick drive had us driving down the road into the reserve. We stopped at any sound of bird action, we pulled up and all got out and went for a stroll at one point, again everyone walking in there own direction, this time however i came home with the biccies! Tanya and I located a small group of Grey-fronted Honeyeaters.
   Grey-fronted Honeyeater

A quick drive down to the intersection where Tim Dolby explained on his blog, the junction of the old wheat paddock and cactus track. After all 5 cars came to a halt we started to head down towards cactus track, but literally 5 metres in Tim Nickholds heard the call of the Red-lored Whistler, a quick turn around and we located the bird calling from the roadside verge. It was flitting and calling from either side of the track and we were able to identify it from call alone, as the bird was a juvenile the plumage wasn't complete. After many photos and being extremely confident on it being a Red-lored Whistler we continued down Cactus Track, where we picked up Southern Scrub-robin, Shy Heathwren, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and a calling Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush.
    Red-lored Whistler
    Southern Scrub-robin
    Chestnut-rumped Thornbill

Birdlist from Nombinnie Nature Reserve: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974095

From Nombinnie we headed towards Cobar, again not overly much birdwise on the road verges,  we did see our first Apostlebirds along here though.
We pulled up into Newey Reservoir and Sewage Plant, some lovely birds seen, i got my first Spotted Bowerbird, and there was Red-winged Parrots and Striped Honeyeaters flying around, a quick stop for lunch and some photos.
    Striped Honeyeater
   Red-winged Parrot

Birdlist for Newey Reservoir: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974097

From Cobar we headed to Gundabooka NP where we had arranged to stay in the Belah Shearers Quarters 30kms off Kidmans Way. The road in was pebbly in places and a little rough but still doable in a 2wd car, i wouldn't like to try it in the wet!!
We arrived to the shearers quarters where we put our stuff in rooms, before exploring, Tim Nickholds flushed a pair of Major Mitchell Cockatoos. We then started to have a look around , Tim and I headed off together and found some lovely birds, White-browed Treecreeper, Mulga Parrot, Red-winged Parrot and we both heard Budgerigar but we could  not locate it. We did however find a lovely dam with lots of water so we went back to camp where we grabbed our chairs and sat down by the dam with a few drinks and watched the birds come in for a last drink!
    Mulga Parrot Tree!
    Red-winged Parrot

A few of the creatures seen around the camp that night were pretty cool.
    Unidentified Lacewing

    Desert Tree-frog


We awoke early and headed back to the dam where we were greeted by 50+ Mulga Parrots, Australian Ringneck and Red-winged Parrots.
    Mulga Parrot
    Mulga Parrot
    Mulga Parrot
   Mulga Parrot

We stopped a few times on the way out on Gundabooka but not much around this morning, we wanted an early start as it meant getting to Cunnamulla earlier.
Birdlist of Gundabooka NP: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974370

 On the road out of Gundabooka to Bourke Tanya and Alison did manage to get our first Major Mitchell Cockatoos that were visible on Kidmans Way.
   Major Mitchell Cockatoo

In my excitement on getting a photo of these beautiful birds, I dropped my phone, which delayed Bill and I as i had to search for it, as the 4 other cars headed into Bourke, its always the way, we came into town and we saw the 4 cars pulled up in a little carpark, getting out of the car they told us they had both Little Crow and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo fly over. At that point though the Little Crows flew over calling loudly so was able to get some dodgy photos.
    Little Crow

As the others had seen the Red-tailed Black Cockatoos they decided to go do some shopping in town as Bill, Tim and I headed to the Bourke Town Wharf, as we got out of the car we heard the Cockatoos flying overhead, then we were able to get them roosting atop of a dead gum!
    Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
   Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Birdlist from the Town Wharf : http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28889237

From Bourke we headed to the border, a few hours drive, again birding on the roadside wasn't overly exciting, alot of Black-faced Woodswallows tough!


About 80kms from the border we came across a group of 3 Brolga walking the paddocks, a weird bird i thought to see out in the deserts of South West QLD.
    Brolga

We arrived at Bowra Station just after 1.30pm.

We quickly introduced ourselves to the caretakers and then quickly set up camp. I was first finished so i went for a quick walk to the bore drain. Red-winged Parrots, Chestnut-crowned Babbler and Emus abundant.
   Bore Drain
      Chestnut-crowned Babbler
   Red-winged Parrot
    Emu

Once everyone was set up we headed out to the Gravelpits, looking for Hall's Babbler and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, we dipped on all the targets and was a little concerning, we did get Major Mitchell Cockatoo and Spotted Nightjar from its daytime roost.
    Major Mitchell Cockatoo

 A quick call to Scott Baker, who had just been to Bowra settled my nerves as he had no luck in the afternoon but birds very active in the morning, so we headed back towards camp. We went down the Gumholes road where Tim and I found Little Woodswallow.
   Little Woodswallow

We did also get a small party of Double-barred Finch and some Euro!
    Euro

We headed back into camp just on dark, quickly cooked dinner and then headed to the sleeping quarters where Birdcall was at 7.30. This is certainly a must for any birder venturing here, as this gives you up to date recce on what has been seen on that day, the best numbers and the places to visit. We heard all the other birders talking about Halls Babbler and Bourke's Parrot. Oh it did feel like we had missed out on some awesome birds! We however did see 60 species in just over 4 hours in the heat of the day so not really complaining!

Birdlist Bowra Day 1: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974367

This morning we awoke and wanted to be on the road at 6.30am and too my utter surprise we actually were! We pulled up to the Sawpits and started to have a look around, Tanya instantly found a group of babblers, i looked at the habitat and totally wrote off them being Hall's Babbler, but the call come out, they are Hall's a quick walk over and after some consulting the photos and fields guides there was no doubt!
    Hall's Babbler
     Hall's Babbler

While at the Sawpits i think Alison saw the Red-browed Pardalote, and after a short time the bird flew straight into a tree in front of us, a beautiful little bird.
    Red-browed Paradalote
   Red-browed Paradalote

A great start to the morning with 2 lifers, we then headed to the Gravelpits where Scott Baker had said he had found the Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, we searched for a good hour, coming across White-browed Treecreeper and Black-faced Woodswallow.
   Black-faced Woodswallow
            White-browed Treecreeper

At some point i wandered off track, as i was told to stay on pebbly rocks, luckily for the group Alison followed instruction, and we had the call that we had all hoped for..... " I got it ". We all walked over to Alison who had seen 2 birds, now to relocate, i was the last to see it but i think i may have been the only one to get any shots.
   Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush

3 lifers down, we decided to check the Sandy Ridge for Diamond dove and Grey-headed Honeyeater that were seen a few days prior but no luck, we did however find a Red-backed Kingfisher and another Red-browed Pardalote.
    Red-backed Kingfisher

The next on the list was Bourke's Parrot, all the people at Birdcall last night had said they had only seen them around 4pm, but as we were on such a roll we decided to give it at a crack, so we headed back towards airport track, as we got to the location the birds had been seen, we pulled up. Instantly Tim;s ears pricked up, he heard something so we split up, within about 5 minutes Tim called to say he had the Bourke's Parrots. A quick run ( yes i ran for this one) , we got to the birds, a quick view before they flushed and flew away into surrounding trees, we waited for everyone to arrive before searching. They were very flighty in the trees, but eventually we were able to get the to settle down and allowed for prolonged and unbelievable views.
                           Bourke's Parrot
                           Bourke's Parrot
                              Bourke's Parrot
         Bourke's Parrot
                        Bourke's Parrot

Unbelievable morning of birding, we weren't sure if we should head back to camp or continue, but as we were on such a roll we decided to continue down the Airport Track, where we flushed my 5th lifer of the day with a large flock of Crimson Chat. At first i saw the red rump and thought Mistletoebird, but they seemed different, another look through the binoculars and i realised they were chats! WoW

    Crimson Chat

We headed back to camp now, it was getting rather warm and after such a huge morning people needed to have a rest. While resting near the sleeping quarters i heard the Spotted Bowerbird, i tracked it down to find it drinking in a puddle near the lake.
     Spotted Bowerbird
     Spotted Bowerbird

Also along the lake fringes where a few Black-fronted Dotterels.
    Bowra Wetland/lake
   Black-fronted Dotterel

After a quiet few hours Tim and I decided to cruises down the bore drain and see if anything was of interest, not much around in the heat of the day we did see the bore, it was really hot like that of a hot hot shower. would be lovely in Winter! We did find Double-barred Finch, a flock of 6 Spotted Bowerbirds and a small party of Chestnut-crowned Babbler and a few Zebra Finch.
    Artisan Bore
             Double-barred Finch
   Spotted Bowerbird
   Chestnut-crowned Babbler
    Zebra Finch

A few of the team decided to stay at camp, while Tim, Pete and I went in search of the Diamond Dove, Budgerigar and Grey-headed Honeyeater, we dipped on all 3 but was well worth a walk, its such a beautiful place and so much too see, I didn't want to waste any time! We did drag race an emu!
   Emu

We also found a Brown Honeyeater having a drink on the Sawpits dam on the private property side of the road.
   Brown Honeyeater

While we were at the Sandy Creek area again, we did find a small group of 5 Little Woodswallows, it clearly showed how small they were as a Black-faced Woodswallow swooped in, at least double the size! It looked like a raptor compared to the small woodswallow!
   Little Woodswallow

At Birdcall, there wasn't much that we missed today, however the biggest annoyance was a flock of Budgerigar that flew over the camp at 6.30 pm!! Oh well next time! While at birdcall the other birders said about a pair of Australian Bustards in the Saleyards near Cunnamulla and that there was a spot 20kms from this intersection that had a group of Chirruping Wedgebill. We were given the gps locations. After a good birdcall we got 93 species as a combined total, of which our group we got 81 of those!
After everyone left we found another Gecko before bed.

Birdlist Day 2 Bowra: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28974366

 After packing up camp we headed out of Bowra, 7.45am we were on the road, first stop was the end of the road where the Australian Bustards had been seen. We scoured every paddock on the way without any luck. We ended up right at the intersection when Bill calls out Bustard in the paddock. Indeed there was and 2 of them! A quick turn at the intersection and we all parked the cars getting a few pictures!
   Australian Bustard
   Australian Bustard
    Australian Bustards

From here we headed to the Chirruping Wedgebill spot, we pulled up to a Lignum patch, if i had not of known about the birds you definitely wouldn't have stopped, but we got out of the car and about 10 minutes in Tim heard them call, we followed where the call was from and they were quiet, eventually Alison saw a group pop up in the lingnum between herself and Tim and I, 14 Chirruping Wedgebills were seen flitting around and feeding on the floor!
 Chirruping Wedgebill
    Chirruing Wedgebill
   Flock of Chirruping Wedgebill

We then decided to try our luck at Eulo Bore, but the ebird location may have been wrong as there was no bore and a 3 barbed wire fence! We looked around hoping for Slaty-backed Thornbill, however we did get Yellow, Chestnut-rumped and Inland all in that location.
Now we had a long drive, we were headed to 60km north of Moree, a 5.5hr drive which was rather boring and uneventful! We travelled most of it through Mulga scrub with the occasional Wild Goat and some Cattle, we arrived at Boyanga South Shears Quarters just before 5pm, a long day was ensued, but was great to finally be here. A few birds were around with a huge flock of Cockatiel 60+, a few Pale-headed Rosella, Australian Ringneck and Common Bronzewings were the best birds.

    Australian Ringneck
    Pale-headed Rosella
                             Cockatiel

Bill and I awoke at 4.20am to go and pick up Curtis Haynes from Moree which is 60kms from the Gwydir Wetlands where we were birding this morning, the drive in the dark was a little un-nerving. Especially after Bill collided with a crazy Kangaroo, yes the kangaroo decided to use Bill's car as a bounce pad and jumped into the side of the passenger door. A few swear words were had, the thought of the damage must have crossed Bill's mind, and as we pulled up to Curtis place, i was tentative to get out to check the extent of the damage, to my utter amazement and still amazed there was not a scratch! No idea what happened but somehow the kangaroo survived, Bills car survived and we were back on our way to Gwydir.
As we pulled up at Allambie Bridge Curtis explained this was his spot for Plum-headed finch, but instantly once he walked to the bridge and realised there was no water in the creek he knew it was going to be tough! The whole area has been so dry and all the water was nearly gone , all bar one little puddle! The birds around  here though weren't bad with 46 species seen, best bird being Spangled Drongo.
   Spangled Drongo

Birdlist Allambie Bridge Gwydir: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28948040

From here we headed for a quick drive into Gwydir Wetlands Bunnor section, it is sometimes restricted access, but it is open until end of April. We got a few nice birds, Glossy Ibis, Marsh and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, White-breasted Woodswallows and a group of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. We didn't find any Plum-headed Finches though, but also of note was our first Wild Bore with piglets!
   Wild Boar & Piglet
    Glossy Ibis
    White-breasted Woodswallow
    White-breasted Woodswallow

Birdlist for Gwydir Wetlands: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28947881

Before saying goodbye to Curtis, he gave us one more tip, he said he had seen Plum-headed finch at Narrabri Lake a few weeks prior and said we should check it out. We bid farewell to Curtis and Tim ( who had continued onto eastern QLD) while the 7 of us remaining headed to Narrabri.
We had a message from Tim at 12.20pm saying he had found Plum-headed Finch at Goondiwindi which was awesome and 3 minutes later Greg and Janice who were about an hour in from of Bill and I had found them at the Narrabri Lake. We rushed there hoping we could get lucky as well, the gps took us too the opposite side of the lake but was still worth a check, we picked up Western Gerygone, Blue-faced Honeyeater.

    Blue-faced Honeyeater

 Alison, Tanya and Pete located the Plum-headed Finches on the opposite side, so we quickly jumped into the car and drove around, only 5 or so minutes later Bill and I relocated them feeding on the grass seeds! This would have not been a place i would have ever looked for them so i was glad for Curtis tip off!
    Plum-headed Finch
    Plum-headed Finch

Birdlist from Narrabri Lake:http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28951388

As Bill was feeling okay, we decided to push to Forbes for the night, we arrived at 6.40pm to find Greg and Janice also here. Bill and I discussed our plans, as we had expected to be home on Sunday but as we ere in Forbes on Friday we could make it home Saturday, so after some discussion we decided we would leave Forbes at 4am and drive to Chiltern for 8.30am to spend a few hours having a look before heading home.
We awoke at 3.30am and were ready to leave at just before 4am, a stop in Young for fuel and some breakkie before pushing on, arriving at Bartley's Block at 8.30am.
On arriving we noticed Graeme Gillette occupying the seat, sitting and waiting patiently for the birds to come in, as we walked up another birder also Graeme was sitting alongside. We had a good chat for a few minutes before we moved on, before leaving Graeme said he was looking for the reported Swift Parrots, and i literally walked about 5 metres from their seat and a flock of 25+ Swift Parrots exploded from the gum, they did not make any noise which is totally unexpected but there beautiful colour and underwing pattern was seen by all.
Bill and I continued to walk around the block, Mistletoebird, Western Gerygone, Speckled Warbler and Yellow-tufted and Black-chinned Honeyeater the highlights.
    Mistletoebird
   Speckled Warbler
    Western Gerygone
    Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

We decided to check out the flowering Ironbark in Lake Anderson Caravan Park for the returning Regent Honeyeater, the tree in full flower but no birds around. We then headed to Lancaster Gap Road, where we picked up Turquoise Parrot and Noisy Friarbird.
   Noisy Friarbird

Birdlist from Chiltern: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28971779

From here it was heading home, arriving home just after 2.30pm. A totally exhilarating, memorable and unbelievable birding trips i have ever done, 13 lifers for me being Inland Dotterel, Ground Cuckoo-shrike, Grey-fronted Honeyeater, Spotted Bowerbird, Little Crow, Little Woodswallow, Hall's Babbler, Red-browed Pardalote, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, Bourke's Parrot, Crimson Chat, Chirruping Wedgebill and Plum-headed Finch. 202 species seen in 9 days covering a whooping 3000kms with so so many laughs.
I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend 10 days with, so many special memories will come out from this trip, many new nicknames (poo poker being by far the best) and stronger friendships forged. A huge thanks to Bill Twiss for driving the whole way and for putting up with me! Also a big thanks to those people that sent me info to help me along the way, Tim Dolby, Alan Morris, Jack Moorhead, Curtis Haynes, Jack Winterbottom and Scott Baker and everyone else i have missed, all the information made planning and executing the plan easy, a tight run schedule and some distances travelled in a day, but i am sure that everyone involved got the most out of the experience. I cannot wait for the next instalment!! Who is up for Alice Springs ;)











No comments:

Post a Comment