OUTBACK BIRDS - PART 7 - 8 October - 9 October
Tuesday 8 October we left Sturt National Park for "somewhere in Queensland".
Still in NSW on the Silver City Highway, very close to the NSW/Queensland
border at Warri Gate (Warry Warry Gate), we saw seven Oriental Plovers on a
gibber plain with two Australian Pratincoles. What a surprise. They stayed
quite a while so we were able to get the telescope onto them. I certainly
hadn't bothered to put something like that on my wish list for the trip!
Lifer No. 32.
Then up the road to a terrific wetland, round about Windmill Tank. This place
was rich in birdlife, with Hoary-headed Grebe, Australian Wood Duck,
Black-fronted Dotterel, Black-winged Stilt, Glossy Ibis, Hardhead, Little Pied
Cormorant, Pink-eared Duck, Black-tailed Native Hen, Common Greenshank, Marsh
Sandpiper and Red-kneed Dotterel. But wait, there's more....Lifers No. 33 and
I had Painted Snipe on my wishlist, but I never thought I'd see it in these
circumstances. There was a Painted Snipe right out in the open on a sandbar.
Wow. Eventually it flew to underneath a tree where it joined another one.
And another bird not on my wishlist: Wood Sandpiper, giving pretty good views
as it bobbed its tail.
By now it's nearly 11am and we're barely up the road from our starting point.
What a great day's birding so far.
Next stop Noccundra and the waterhole there. Another oasis for birds,
including Cockatiel, Great Cormorant, Pied Honeyeater and Rufous Songlark.
Then to Thargomindah, and our end target was Eulo Bore, but because we'd had
such good birding along the way and it was rough, slow going to Noccundra,
time was running out so we camped at Lake Bindegolly. The burrs and bindies
were bad, by golly. We drove through mountain ranges and a greater variety of
trees and shrubs.
Despite all the rain and lots of water in other lakes etc., Lake Bindegolly
had little water and the part near where we camped (near the road but far
enough away to have no noise) had small ponds of water. Nevertheless, Glossy
Ibis, White-necked Heron and a lone Red-necked Avocet graced us. A Diamond
Dove was as confiding as the ones I'd seen at Sturt. Forty Great Cormorants
flew over at near dark. On the morning of Wednesday 9 October we had lovely
carolling from an Australian Magpie, Caspian Tern flying and croacking, Silver
Gulls, heard a Horsefield's Bronze-Cuckoo, saw Marsh Sandpiper and two
In the bus and just a fraction up the road when two Brolgas graced us.
Then to Eulo Bore, and I was very surprised as to how small it was. For
whatever reason I had pictured it would be larger than its 60 feet diameter.
In a pond next to the bore, an Australasian Grebe ducked underwater and
seemingly disappeared - it came up some 50 metres away. Our goal here was
Spotted Bowerbird, Lifer No. 35 achieved. First saw one darting between trees
and some good views, and then found one on a branch six inches above the
ground, sidling on the branch and displaying, the lilac crown flared. There
was no bower at this point, but an old one about four feet away.
Eulo Bore comprised mallee (acacia) trees and leopard wood trees, and birds
included Australian Ringneck, Blue Bonnets, Black-fronted Dotterel, seven
Grey-crowned Babblers giving their churring sound and one poking at loose
bark, Little Friarbird, Red-backed Kingfisher and two Red-winged Parrot
Back through Eulo, a little country town with parking meters outside the pub.
Parking meters? They're fundraisers for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Then did the rough road into Currawinya National Park. Currawinya had had
rain and the roads were cut up a bit, with water lying in some parts, but it
was generally passable. We had plenty of time so we pottered along slowly and
enjoyed seeing new wildflowers and trees such as Bimble Box. Lifer No. 36
coming up: Crested Bellbird. The call of this bird is incredible, a
bell-like clear and slightly metallic peel carrying long distance and almost
echoing around your ears. That you can be so close and still not see the bird
is amazing, but its grey colour merges well into the vegetation.
We stayed at the shearers' quarters, which had new toilets and a good sized
kitchen and dining room. The quarters have been opened for people to stay in
for about a year, but have so far been little occupied, so the bedrooms were a
little musty, but having the door open for a couple of hours overcame that.
The showers were a little rough but otherwise had lots of good hot water (once
you'd run the fire) and washbasins. All in all good accommodation, with the
toilets featuring Desert Tree Frogs (Litoria rubella) in the washbasin pipes
and under the toilet seats!! A Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) lived near
the air-conditioner and popped up on the window at night. Geckoes graced the
Willie Wagtails had a nest with three juveniles on the eave of the verandah,
we counted up to eight Striated Pardalotes in the rolled up end of a
corrugated iron roof, Southern Whitefaces were nearby and Chestnut-rumped
Thornbills were nesting in the old toilets. Unfortunately the Yellow-throated
Miners are as bad as their Noisy Miner relatives, ganging up and chasing other
birds away. It was noticeable that these small birds stayed near the man made
Three nights at Currawinya National Park, so next report will concentrate on
Currawinya where we got "a second bite of the cherry" at Hall's Babbler,
Bourke's Parrot and Chestnut-breasted Quail-Thrush.
Happy birding to you all
(I know it makes me happy)
Sydney NSW Australia