Easter at Cobar

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Easter at Cobar
From: "Neville Schrader" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 20:05:07 +1000

  Over the Easter period our original intention was to join the Atlas camp at Kaleigh, but with weather forecast not to promising the wife and I decided the next best was to go to Cobar and carry out birding from there.

  A quick stop at Nyngan for lunch started the list off with Darters, White-browed Woodswallow, Peaceful Dove and Brown Treecreeper and a couple of Whistling Kites being the more interesting.

Arriving at Cobar on Friday afternoon it was set-up the caravan then down to the local town water reservior. Interesting water birds, Darter, Plumed Egret, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black  Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant and Little Pied Cormorant . The arrivial of about 50 Pink-eared Ducks added to the duck numbers, as did the Red-kneed and Black -fronted Dotterals. Unidentifed waders feeding on the far side shoreline enticed me to the other side. the five waders turned out to be Sharp-tailed Sanpipers. Whilst getting into a good position just incase, I heard the call of a Painted Honeyeater, which I then investigated and found 10+ feeding on the berries of Grey Mistletoe. The site was also satuated with Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters feeding on Climbing Saltbush berries. Other honeyeaters also at the site Black (3), Brown (8), White-fronted(6) all feeding on flowering Pale-leaf Mistletoe (the only clump found flowering during the weekend). Along with other species such as Grey Shrike-thrush, Rufous Whistler, Spotted Bowerbird and Bar-shouldered Dove, the wife informed me the list was hitting the 70 species mark. Which doesn't make for a bad afternoons birding. Heading back to camp we added Rainbow Bee-eater, Pink Cockatoo and White-breasted Woodswallow.

  Rain that night made us consider we had made the right decision to say at Cobar, the next day was windy and chilly, but also sunny. Our intention was to head down towards the Red Tank oad, then to Yathong returing to Cobar depending on road conditions. A Red-winged Parrot as we drove out of the caravan park was a good start to the day. Even though it was too cold and windy to move from the comfort of the car,  we started to get additions Hooded Robin, Red-capped Robins, Common Bronzewings and of cause Emus along the road. Not included is the large number of goats and pigs. After a two hour drive we arrived at a spot were I had seen Striated Grasswrens 25+ years ago and proceeded to search. The first birds to get my attention was a family of Yellow-fronted Honeyeaters, a Chestnut Quail-thrush and Mulga Parrots After two hours I finally reckoned I had heard the contact call of a Striated Grass-wren, but further searches proved fruitless, back to the car along the way finding two Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters and Yellow-rumped Pardalote feeding in a flowering Mallee. After refreshments I again went on a circular search around the area where I had believed I heard the call, this soon flushed a pair of grass-wrens who headed at high speed into a clump of Porcupine Grass, I moved to what I considered to be a good position and decided to attempted to out wait them. After what appeared to be hours (probably 30 minutes) one bird came out into the open to sun itself. I guess the wind was a bit much for even grasswrens.  With that accomplished we continued along the road searching other mallee patchs to the Yathong turn-off but saw little. Getting late we started back to Cobar adding Brown Treecreeper and Southern Whiteface to the list.

  Next morning 31/3/02) we headed out to Louth then to Tilpa and back to Cobar. Our first stop produced Brown-headed Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Inland Thornbill, Cockatiel and Jack Winter. A stop to see Black-faced Woodswallows, also added Chestnut-crowned Babbler. Out of Tilpa we got Brown Songlark, Singing Bushlark. At Tilpa on the Darling River, two Red-tailed Black Cockatoo  flying over head was a welcome addition. As we left the plains country we spied two Orange Chat and right after in a patch of Mulga two White-browed Treecreepers and a pair of Hooded Robins. With that we called it quits and headed back to Cobar adding more Pink Cockatoo and cockatiels to the list.

On the last day an early morning trip out of Cobar to another reservior produced White-faced and White-necked Heron, a pair of Diamond Firetails, a very vocal Crested Bellbird and in a Mulga thicket a single Southern Yellow Robin, with that we packed up and headed home to Parkes. Overall we saw over the four day period 116 species. There was some notable absentees which I normally expect such as White-winged Trillers, Varied Sittellas, White-fronted Chats, Western Gerygones and few raptures.

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