OUTBACK BIRDS - PART 5 - 5 October to 6 October
On our way to Tibooburra on Saturday 5 October with lightning and rain along
much of the way. Richard Jordan put his great driving skills to good use as
we made our way into Tibooburra. I really must congratulate Richard on his
driving ability, well judging the various quagmires and getting us through.
The landscape has changed again with many large sections of just plain soil or
with pebbles/gibber, not even a small amount of vegetation. Where there is
vegetation it is just a few inches high.
Got to Tibooburra at 1.20pm and stayed at the Family Hotel. Lunch under a
carport while it rained and three little pigs greeted us from their pen. They
loved the mud! A bit over an hour later the weather had cleared and most of
the group attended the Tibooburra Gymkhana watching barrel and keyhole races
and buckjumping. People who live out this way are very dependent on horses
for transport and working on their properties, and even small children were
competing in horse-riding events. The locals had come from far away so
Tibooburra was not a quiet little town this weekend.
I thought Tibooburra would be bigger than it was - it's quite small though it
did have two petrol stations and two pubs.
A short birding walk around Tibooburra during this afternoon and the morning
of 6 October revealed House Sparrows (how did they get way out to
Tibooburra?), Black Kite, Australian Magpie on its stick nest, Zebra Finches,
Black-faced Woodswallow and White-breasted Woodswallow, Crested Pigeon,
Magpie-lark and Willie Wagtail nesting.
Just out of Tibooburra is the Sturt National Park boundary, and the Granites
Nature Trail. Not at the trail itself but nearby we found Cinnamon
Quail-Thrush (Lifer No. 26), first of all myself and another person finding a
female on the white pebbly plain (before breakfast) and then when returning
over two hours later our whole group of 17 people got to see a male/female
pair in the same place, head bobbing back and forth as they walked on the
On the Granites Nature Trail, there are tall trees and thicker shrubs amongst
the boulders and stony hills. Distant scenery included mesas in this
"jump-up" country. A casual walk here (as we waited for Sturt National Park
roads to dry out a little) revealed Rainbow Bee-eater, Singing Honeyeater and
White-winged Fairy-wren. Also our sole flowering Sturt's Desert Pea for the
trip. What a beautiful flower.
Moved on into Sturt National Park to Olive Downs camping area, and once again
Richard's driving skills got us through two particularly boggy spots. We'd
come too far to turn back now. Full cloud cover all day 6 October.
One of these boggy spots was where Silver City Highway crossed Twelve Mile
Creek, an oasis that revealed some 28 species of birds including four species
of Woodswallow (Black-faced, Masked, White-breasted and White-browed), a Brown
Falcon having very light trousers and almost no moustache, Cockatiel, Nankeen
Kestrel, Red-browed Pardalote heard but not seen, White-faced Heron and
Settled into Olive Downs by 4.00 pm so off for a walk on the Jump Up Loop
Trail. This comprised a large loop through the hills around a large open
plain. There were some posts marking the trail for part of the way but these
disappeared, so beware in this area and watch where you're going (and
particularly where you've got to get back to!).
I thoroughly enjoyed my time of solitude on this trail and experiencing the
feeling of this environment. And getting really close to birds! Australian
Raven and the short ak-ak call of the Little Crow (this call and later
sightings made Lifer No. 27), Chestnut-rumped Thornbills, good close views of
Black-faced, Masked and White-browed Woodswallows including immatures.
Crimson Chats flew in over the open plain and sat in a tree only six feet away
from me. I saw a female Pied Honeyeater sitting in a tree, and then a male
flew in and displayed in front of her by fanning his tail and spreading his
wings. Unfortunately the female didn't react and he flew away. Noted a white
dot against black on the rump in flight.
Dark is now not until 6.40pm. A great sunset, clear starry night and cold at
Next instalment: 7 October - Grey Grasswren day.
Happy birding to you all
(I know it makes me happy)
Sydney NSW Australia