On the way between Wungong and Two Peoples Bay, the Dryandra Woodland
is a main remnant of the once seemingly boundless WA wheatbelt woodlands.
Dryandra is well tended by CALM, (the WA Dept. of Conservation And Land
Management,) locally based at PO Box 100, Narrogin, W.A..Two pamphlets, with
maps, that nicely supplement Frank O'Connors Birding Western Australia
indispensable website are available, viz "Dryandra Woodland Travel Guide",
and "Dryandra Woodland Visitor Information" from CALM.
After a quick reconnaisance we set up the scope at CONGELIN DAM about
mid-afternoon for what proved to be a concentrated session of viewing of
local spp.flying in and lining up on the sloping tank wall to drink. It was
so good we stayed until after dark and returned along the path from the
nearby campground next dawn.
In the afternoon, Grey Currawongs kept up a constant to and fro to
the waters edge, Red Wattlebirds plunged and shook, a group of Western
Spinebills repeatedly posed poised on a branch in the water before quickly
diving in and out.
We'd seen, and heard, Red-capped Parrots flying off in the bush, but
nothing like the dozen drinking and loafing on the far bank for an hour
before dusk, their flamboyant purple-yellow-red and green colour combination
a little like that of a Red-headed Gouldian Finch. They have a loud
unmistakable call, audible for half a kilometre or more.A large group of
immaculate Twenty-eight parrots with red foreheads moved the Red-caps to one
side, for some reason all the birds chose the same corner of the tank to
Five Common Bronzewings lingered , but a pair of Brush Bronzewings
only stayed long enough for the male to show off an unexpected and quite
spectacular glowing iridescence in the setting sun before drinking, his mate
dutifully following, and they flew off together. Like other pigeons and
doves they drink by sucking up the water without lifting their heads, other
birds have to scoop up the water and skoal it down, billfull by billfull.
A flock of fifty White-naped Honeyeaters came, joined by New Holland
and Brown Honeyeaters, next morning also Tawny-crowned, White-eared,
Yellow-plumed and Brown-headed, all unconciously cooperating for great views
as they checked out the scene before drinking.
Around the dam, Red-capped Robin, Golden and Rufous Whistlers and
Restless Flycatcher as well as the everpresent Willie Wagtail and Grey
Fantail, plenty of very yellow Weebills.
Small bats flew around at nightfall, but no Nightjars seen. A pair of
invisible ducks landed on the far side, and then took off unidentified in
the spotlight, which later picked up a comical little beast called a
"Woylie", slowly hopping along, head down, its paws tucked under its chin,
just off the campground path.
The OCHRE WALK nearby produced our first Western Yellow Robin since
(Port) Lincoln N.P. a couple of years ago. Rufous Treecreepers were
numerous, more on fallen timber than in trees. There were platelets but no
Button-quail seen. Western Spinebills and Western Thornbills, Blue-breasted
Fairywrens, Scarlet Robins, Golden and Rufous Whistlers and Red-capped
Parrots were notable. We did get a lightning look at a Numbat.
At the OLD DAM for lunch; Little Wattle birds, plenty of Honeyeaters:
New Holland, White-Cheeked, White-naped, Brown, and Yellow-plumed, Western
Spinebill, the two Whistlers, Blue-breasted Fairywren, and also Tree Martin
and Black-faced Woodswallow. Wedge-tailed Eagles overhead.
We checked out all of Frank's Western Shrike-tit sites, plus a few
others, without success, before leaving for Albany, (pronounced "Al" -bany,
not "All"-bany we were soon informed) and Two Peaples Bay.
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
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