Round Hill trip

Subject: Round Hill trip
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 09:39:11 +1000
Three birding-aussers, Rod Gardner, Robert Quinan and I, headed for
Loughnan and Round Hill Nature Reserves (east of Hillston and north west of
Lake Cargellico respectively) in central western New South Wales over the
long weekend.

First stop was Gum Swamp at Forbes.  Despite thorough searches by Robert on
Thursday, and Rod and me on Friday, we saw no sign of the Freckled Ducks
seen there in recent months.  We did see our first Cockatiels there, as
well as Sacred Kingfishers, Rufous Songlarks and many waterbirds, Pink
eared Ducks being the most numerous.  White necked Herons were nesting and
a White bellied Sea Eagle was overhead.  Also present were the first of
what felt like many thousands of mosquitos that encountered us over the

We started seeing more typical western birds for the first time as we drove
down Mount Daylight Road on the east side of Lake Ballyrogan.  We saw
Crimson Chats, Blue Bonnets, Budgerigars and Ringnecks as well as Black
faced Woodswallows and Brown Songlarks.

We spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at Loughnan NR.  We found
the Malleefowl mound there but it did not appear to be in use.  Robert had
seen it at easter in much better condition.  We spent several hours walking
around the reserve.  At one stage we heard a booming noise that must have
been the Malleefowl, but we found no other mound and no bird.

Chestnut Quail-thrushes were heard calling in the morning.  Rod had a
couple of brief glimpses, and after a lot of chasing Robert and I had one
fly up over our heads and away.  Other species recorded there included
Splendid Wren, Chestnut rumped and Inland Thornbills, Crested Bellbirds and
Mulga Parrots.  We tried spotlighting for Spotted Nightjars without

As we drove east from Loughnan we saw Diamond Doves, a Red backed
Kingfisher and a pair of Spotted Harriers.

Our next stop on Saturday was at the Lake Cargellico sewage works.  There
was little exposed mud so we didn't have much of a chance for crakes; also
we were there in the middle of the day, and so many of the paddocks in the
area had mild flooding that crakes could have been anywhere.  We did see a
Marsh Sandpiper and a Greenshank and plenty of Australian Shelducks.

After that we visited what Trevor Quested called "chat alley" after his
visit last year.  We saw no chats of any species, but did get White winged
Fairy-wrens.  Again the whole area was lightly flooded which would have
impacted on the chats presumably.

And finally we reached Round Hill where we spent nearly two days.  We spent
quite a lot of time around the old wheat paddock area.  We soon had White
fronted Honeyeaters and Gilbert's Whistlers.  Yellow plumed Honeyeaters
were common.  Other birds we found in that area included  Horsfield's
Bronze Cuckoos, Splendid Fairy-wrens and Little Friarbirds.  A walk through
the old paddock yielded good views of at least two Black eared Cuckoos and
a couple of Crimson Chats.

Rod and Robert both looked for and found Southern Scrub Robins.  They were
calling everywhere at dawn on the road to the old field.  Rod spent fifteen
minutes lying on the ground trying to attract one with a tape without
success.  Then as he was about to give up he squeked and one dropped at his
feet immediately!

We saw or heard no Red lored Whistlers, despite a lot of effort.  As far as
I am aware, none of the other birders there at the time saw or heard any

In the middle of the day we tried the track to the west of the Lake
Cargellico road, several kilometres south of the road to the wheat paddock.
As we were walking in we decided to play a Shy Hylacola tape so we knew
what to listen for, and in less than ten seconds one appeared and started
singing back.  After several hours of wandering around without seeing a lot
we were rewarded with three Grey fronted Honeyeaters.  None of us had seen
them before, but our fears about telling them from Yellow plumed were
unfounded - they were easily distingusishable immediately by the broader
yellow stripe and the call, and on closer examination by the less distinct
striping and the dark lores.  We also saw a small quail or button quail on
the ground that we could not identify from the brief view.

We camped with the group of Canberra birders near the Whooey Tank.  Around
that general area we saw Spotted Bowerbirds, another Black eared Cuckoo,
White backed Swallows, Crimson Chats, many White winged Trillers (seen in
most locations over the trip), Brown Treecreepers, White breasted and
Little Woodswallows and Hooded Robins.  At night we managed to spotlight
Australian Owlet Nightjars at the camp site.  Beside the road as it skirts
Round Hill we spotlighted Spotted Nightjars twice, as well as more Owlet
Nightjars.  Robert flushed two Nightjars off the road in an pre dawn drive
along the road from Euabalong to Round Hill.

The Canberra birders had both Black and Pied Honeyeaters near a pool on the
track from the Whooey Tank back to the Lake Cargellico road.  We spent an
evening and a few hours in the morning there as a result, and I got a
distant look at a Black Honeyeater.  Many birds came in to drink including
Mulga Parrot, Ringneck, Spiny cheeked and Brown headed Honeyeaters and
Southern Whiteface.  It was interesting that all the pigeons that came in
(one or two Crested, a few Bar shouldered and many Common Bronzewings) all
landed nearby and walked to the pool.  Most other species just flew to the
nearest bush and dropped down.

Our return trip added a couple of extra species including Emu.  We ended up
with a list of about 138 species.

Murray Lord

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