Griffith & Tullakool (NSW) Trip

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Subject: Griffith & Tullakool (NSW) Trip
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2002 18:06:22 +1000
Hi Birders,
John McLennan and I travelled to Griffith for a meeting on Wednesday 3/4/02 by way of the Hunter Valley, Gulgong, Wellington, Parkes, Gum Swamp Forbes, Griffith. The next day, joined by Mick Todd, we travelled to Tullakool Salt Works via Barren Box Swamp, Hay, Moulamein, returning via Denniliquin, Hay STW and Griffith STW. Early next morning and prior to our meeting we spent 2 hours in Binya State Forest with Keith Hutton and after the meeting abour 1.5 hours in the Mt Brogden area of Cocoparra National Park. On 6/4/02 we returned to the Central Coast via Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve, the Mid-Western Highway to Bathurst and the Blue Mountains. Birding highlights included:
There was a Wonga Pigeon & Weebills in a small gully near Kerrabee, our first Emu at Murumbo, a Spotted Harrier and an Australian Hobby at Gulgong, and while having morning tea at Goolma we watched a party of 4 White-breasted Cuckoo-shrikes moved slowly through the Yellow Box trees feeding on insects as they went. At Gum Swamp, Forbes there were still at least 6 Freckled Duck to be found (first reported there on 28/2/02), along with plenty of Pinkears, Yellow-billed Spoonbills and Grey Teal and the usual other waterbirds. We departed Griffith at 700 hrs next morning and as we were passing the southern end of Barren Box Swamp we were treated to great views of a Black Falcon as it crossed the road in pursuit of  (a Starling?). Black-shouldered Kites, Black Kites and Whistling Kites were also at this location. We passed another Spotted Harrier at Moulamein and eventually got to Tullakool Salt Ponds. At the Cheetham Salt Company Ponds, most were dry but the ponds  at the northern end on the Burrabogie Road held some shallow water. Here a Swamp Harrier kept putting up the birds and we estimated there were 2000 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 40 Red-necked Stints, 300 Banded Stilts, 50+ Black-winged Stilts, 600 Avocets, 300 Australian Shelduck, many Grey Teal and some swans and there were some Zebra Finches at the Ponds.
We returned via the Stephens Creek Reservoir where we found a large flock of Red-browed Finches in the picnic area ( western limit of range) and at the Hay STW, the Freckled Ducks recently reported by Philip Brook were not present, but there were 300+ Black-tailed Native-hens, 6 Shoveller, 6 Red-kneed Dotterel, plenty of Hoary-headed & Australasian Grebes and the other usual waterbirds. Our last stop was at the Griffith STW to see the Freckled Ducks and Blue-billed Ducks that others have reported seeing there too. The following morning we spent 2 hours with Keith Hutton in Binya SF near Yenda. We dipped on the White-browed Treecreepers but saw at least 4 Painted Honeyeaters, Southern Whiteface, Singing Honeyeaters, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, White-browed BabblerRed-capped Robin while Crested Bellbirds and Bar-shouldered Doves could be heard calling in the distance. We returned in the evening with Mike Todd, walking the Mount Brogden Trail in the adjacent Cocoparra Nature Reserve. We were looking out for Shy Heathwrens but had no luck there but did see Inland Thornbills & Southern Yellow Robins among othert more common birds.
We returned home on 6/4/02, spending an hour in Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve on the way. It was generally cool and dry in the reserve and no special birds were seen other than Inland & Chestnut-rumped Thornbills, Brown Treecreepers, Common Bronzewings and the other usual suspects. When visiting family at Faulconbridge, Satin Bowerbird, Brown Cuckoo-Dove and White-headed Pigeons were added to our list. A good break away to see the inland birds.
Alan Morris
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