We bush-camped about 100 km east of Perth , on a side road right off the
Great Eastern Hwy.just before Clackline Roadhouse, looking for Western
Shrike-tit on Frank O'Connors advice. None was seen but we gathered three
common endemics, Long-billed Black Cockatoos, Western Spinebill, and
Western (Brush) Wattlebird, its' red eye evocative of the "red-eye special"
midnight flight from Sydney to Perth , as well as Galah, Aus. Ringnecks,
Common Bronzewing, Red Wattlebird, New holland and Brown Honeyeaters,
Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, Striated Pardalote, and Grey Fantail.
Northam yielded the famous Mute Swan, withYellow Spoonbill, Black-fronted
Dotterel and Black-winged Stilt keeping it company on the mud banks,and
Black Ducks and Coots in the water, Crested Pigeons, Welcome Swallows nearby
and overhead at the Avon River Bridge.
Dallwallinu was the next brief stop, a pair of Wedgetailed Eagles, a few
Kestrels and Pied Butcherbirds spied on the way, a flock of about 200
Western Corellas flying over the town as we picnicked in the park, which
was small but birdy with Galahs, 28,s (Aus. Ringnecks), Laughing Doves, Grey
Shrike-thrush, Western Gerygone, Brown & Singing Honeyeater, Yellow-rumped
Thornbill, Weebills and Silvereyes, and Willie Wagtails of course.
Mt. Gibson Rd. turnoff; Yellow-rumped miner and Red-browed Pardalote, Tree
Cue was next, late in the day. It's heritage-listed main street of
deserted hundred-year old two-storey buildings looks like a Drysdale
painting or the set for Western movies. The Hotel deserved to be deserted,
but Nallan Station, which boards birders, was booked out and we were too
tired to camp.White-plumed Honeyeaters all we could remember.
The following dawn and Nallan Station was also deserted except for an
old-timer boiling the billy on his campfire, but following Frank's excellent
website advice and Ed. Vellas report, we crossed and walked left through the
mulga along the airstrip just behind the homestead, with Red-capped Robins
common, and Zebra Finches on the strip. Six Ground Cuckoo-Shrikes were
feeding in a green depression at the end of the side-strip to the right,
with Australian Magpies and Pee-wees, more Red-capped Robins.
A track continued on beyond the side-strip, through a white gate after a
hundred metres or so, and past a thick clump of tall trees on the left which
proved to be a literal oasis. Saw a female Western Bowerbird, Crested
Bellbird, Chiming Wedgebills, Black-faced Woodswallow,White-browed and
Grey-crowned Babblers, and the ubiqitous Singing Honeyeaters on the way.
In the 50m. or so around the waterhole, found two of the Thornbills we
were after, Slaty-backed and Slender-billed, as well as Inland, Chestnut-
and Yellow-rumped, on the opposite side to a Collared Sparrowhawk.
The return alongside the side-strip with the birds waking up added Mulga
Parrots, the Western buff-flanked form of Southern White-face, Hooded
Robins, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Red-backed Kingfisher, Grey Shrike-thrush
and Pied Butcherbird.
Breakfast was on back at the Homestead, we had a chat and cup of coffee
with the very welcoming owners and thir weekend guests, declined their
invitation to stay, as we had other fish to fry, but photographed the
homestead and its garden, and the Western Bowerbird's bower across the
paddock from the shearing-shed, and saw the violet-plumed male before
Milly's Soak, left off the Highway just north of Nallan, and still on the
station,only had a six-pack of Emus on a drive through, but would be on our
visiting list next time.
Part #3 Cape Range National Park to follow.
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
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