Scrub-robins at Little Desert NP

Subject: Scrub-robins at Little Desert NP
From: "P. Scott Chandry" <>
Date: Thu, 02 Nov 2000 11:57:47 +1100
Greetings all,

I though I would share some recent observations on Little Desert National Park (LD) my favorite Victorian national park. For those of you unfamiliar with LD it is located west of the Wimmera region of western Victoria near the border with SA. The park and surrounds formed the start site for the Laughable Kookaburras twitchathon team.

The Kiata Campground at LD is a gem of a camping spot where I can guarantee you will hear numerous Southern Scrub-robins in the morning. In fact, this year they are either more numerous or more obvious than I have ever seen them (in the 7 or so years I have been going there). For Victorians, and in particular Melbournians this would have to be the easiest and most convenient location to see a scrub-robin. They are calling on and off throughout the day and during the twitchathon we even saw one foraging well away from cover - moving about somewhat like a blackbird. This area is also normally a very reliable and easy spot for Hooded Robin but they made themselves a lot more difficult to see this year. The campground also is very reliable for Variegated Fairywrens, White-browed babbler, Brown Treecreeper, Weebill, Little Wattlebird, Boobook, Aust Owlet Nightjar and Dusky Woodswallow. This year there were also large numbers of White-fronted Honeyeaters and Rufous Songlarks and of course New Holland HEs in near plague proportions (the numbers of these species varies greatly from year to year). A few Budgies even showed up just outside the camping area.

The Salt Lake track within about 1 km of the campground is a fantastic spot for such things as Purple-gaped & Tawny-crowned HEs, Gilbert's Whistler, Shy Heathwren and at times Slender-billed Thornbill.

The town of Nhill just north of the park is a very reliable spot for Black Kites as well as the occasional Whistling Kite. The small sewage ponds at Nhill can at times be surprising and I have seen Musk Duck, Spoonbills, White-necked Herons, Brown Songlark, Hardhead and even the occasional shorebird.

Sadly the Sanctuary Nature walk just down the paved road from the track leading into the campground is somewhat degraded. In the past this was an excellent site for Mallee Ringnecks but it has now been 3 years since I have seen a ringneck there. Unfortunately the Malleefowl which has been so reliable at this site has most likely died or left the area. The mound is not being tended and grass is growing in it. I can remember arriving at this site for the twitchathon 4 or 5 years ago and finding it literally exploding with honeyeaters but my visits during the last 2 years have found it to be currently very unproductive and not really worth visiting.

I haven't listed all the possible sites and birds and would be happy to discuss specific species or sites if anybody is interested. I didn't want to make this a 10 page lecture on LD.

Good birding

P. Scott Chandry

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