MONDAY (26/3) - Mullewa to Cue (Nallan Station)
At dawn, along the road between Mullewa and Cue, roadside birding produced a
great number of mulga birds. Several Redthroats, Chestnut-rumped
Thornbills, Southern Whitefaces, both Grey-crowned and
White-browed Babblers, several White-fronted Honeyeaters, Crested
Bellbirds, Black-eared Cuckoo (heard), 2 male Crimson Chats,
Red-capped Robins, Yellow-throated Miners, a Grey
Honeyeater and a Bourke’s Parrot were seen. Also saw 7 Banded
Lapwings beside the road at Yalgoo.
I stayed the next 2 nights at Nallan Station (14 km north-east of Cue) which
is currently owned by Michael and Sandy Clinch. They can provide visiting
tourists with both accommodation and meals and I took both of these options. The
stations covers thousands of hectares of mulga and there is a great list of
birds available on what is found there (see Frank O’Connor’s web site). When
birding in the mulga, be very careful as one can get lost very easily. Michael
told me that a couple got lost on their property and had to stay in the bush
over night in the cold.
At Nallan Station, an afternoon walk produced Slate-backed Thornbills,
2 stunning Splendid Wrens in full breeding plumage, 2 male Mulga
parrots, Hooded Robins, Crested Bellbirds, several
Redthroats and several Western Bowerbirds feeding on palm fruits
about the homestead. Saw also a Gould's Goanna (Varanus gouldii) and
Lozenge-marked Dragon Ctenophorus scutulatus) and several Red
Kangaroos in the bush here.
Along Sandstone Rd (heading east of Cue) produced 3 Little
Button-quail, several Chiming Wedgebills, lots of Masked
At night about the cottage I stayed on Nallan Station, saw a few
Variegated Dtellas (Gehyra variegata) (a species of Gecko) feeding under
the roofs. Also saw some frogs which I have yet to identify as well as a very
large Praying mantis (about 20 cm in length).
TUESDAY (27/3) – Cue
Birded after dawn around Sandstone Rd and was thrilled to see a swarm of 2000
plus Masked Woodswallows with 20 plus Pied Honeyeaters, 6 plus
Little Button-quail, many Crimson Chats, a Mulga Parrot and
a Budgerigar or two. Nearby saw a male Redthroat, Slate-backed
Thornbills, Southern Whitefaces and a Grey Honeyeater.
A visit to lake Anneen after lunch produced good number of common waterbirds.
Saw about 40 Pink-eared Ducks, 4 Gull-billed Terns and
Australian Hobbies hawking about the lake edge. Several more Crimson
Chats (nesting) were found in the saltbush/bluebush areas, along with
Zebra Finches and White-winged Wrens.
WEDNESDAY (28/3) – Cue to Paynes Find
Again near Sandstone Rd, there were still the thousands of Masked
Woodswallows, hundreds of Crimson Chats and a few Pied
Honeyeaters but was delighted to see 6 Bourke’s Parrots feed along
the roadside close at hand.
Just out of Mt Magnet (about 80 km south of Cue) about 10 km on the road to
Yalgoo, I saw many White-fronted Honeyeaters feed on some flowering
shrubs. On a hill nearby on the south side of the road, near the 10 km sign to
Mt Magnet, I walked up the hill and found 3 Chestnut-breasted
Quail-thrushes (a male with 2 females). I approached them slowly to obtain
good views of the birds feeding on the ground for an hour. Like other
quail-thrushes, this species had very high-pitched calls and do run ahead of you
Went back up the road to Lake Austin and found 4 Rufous Fieldwrens and
White-winged Wrens with fledglings.
At Paynes Find (150km south of Mt Magnet) later on the day, found
Redthroats, Slate-backed Thornbill amongst other thornbills,
several Ringneck Parrots (Port Lincoln forms) and a pair of
THURSDAY (29/3) – Paynes Find to Perth via Northam
Drove to Ninghan Station (about 40 km south of Paynes Find) after speaking to
the owner Ashley Bell at the Paynes Find Tavern. Like Nallan, the Bell family
allows tourists to stay on their property. At Ninghan, it is also mainly mulga,
but there is also more open stony areas which may produce Banded Whiteface and
Inland Dotterels, though I did not see any there. However I did see a party of 4
Ground Cuckoo-shrikes there. It has been a while since I have seen these
and they are truly stunning members of the Cuckoo-shrike family. Saw them
feeding on the ground and perching in the mulga trees. Nearby there was a
Gould’s Goanna probably taking its first morning stroll as it was early
in the morning and the monitor was partly covered in dirt.
In the town of Wubin (153 km south-west of Paynes Find) situated in the
mallee and farming area, I saw atleast 100 Western Corellas perched in
trees beside the main street.
On my way back to Perth, I stopped at Northam and saw 10 tickable Mute
Swans at Apex Park beside the Avon River. I also saw here a good variety of
other water birds including 10 Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Great
Egrets, Black-fronted Dotterel, Pied Stilts, a Hardhead
and a Common Sandpiper. I remember reading about Northam and its
aboriginal history in a book called "My Place" written by Sally Morgan which was
a very interesting story.
Arrived back in Perth at mid afternoon after travelling about 6000 km.
FRIDAY (30/3) – Johns Forest National Park
Spent part of my second last day in Perth at Johns Forest (about 15 - 20 km
east of the CBD. There were 4 Red-tailed Black-cockatoos, Red-capped
Parrots, a Western Spinebill and a venomous Western Tiger
Snake (Notechis scutatus occidentalis). After dusk, saw a Yellow-footed
Antechinus (with a nest?) in an old hut near the ranger’s house. What a