TRIP REPORT - SOUTH-WEST QUEENSLAND
29 March - 7 April 2002
Over Easter, my wife, Rosemary, and I travelled to the area around Cameron
Corner, primarily in south-west Queensland, but also birding in north-west New
South Wales and north-east South Australia. We had recorded 154 species by the
time we left the dry country on the Friday after Easter on the way to the April
boat trip out of Port Fairy in Victoria.
The highlights were:
· 29 March, travelling to Cunnamulla (Queensland) from Victoria via Griffith
and Cobar - Little Crow, Grey-crowned Babbler and several Spotted Bowerbirds
from the road around Bourke (New South Wales). The roads were all sealed
through this area so the travelling was easy and fast.
· 30 March, Nine-Mile Bore, Eulo (Qld) - fantastic views of Hall's Babbler,
Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, Bourke's Parrot and Spotted Bowerbird, as well
as seeing Blue-winged and Mulga Parrots, White-browed Treecreeper and
Chestnut-crowned Babbler. The bore is a terrific spot with a nice overflow area
and is sign-posted.
· 31 March, Lake Bindegolly National Park and Thargomindah - at the lake on
our 11 km walk (which was a bit long and hot), we saw Blue-billed Duck, Great
Crested Grebe, Little and Intermediate Egrets, Black-tailed Native-hen, Caspian
Tern and Orange and Crimson Chats. Black-breasted Buzzard, Ground Cuckoo-shrike
and Brown Songlark were seen near Thargomindah. Large numbers of flies were the
major down-side through this leg.
· 1 April, travelling from Thargomindah to Cameron Corner - Black Falcon,
Chirruping Wedgebill, Brown and Pied Honeyeaters and Rufous Songlark travelling
through Noccundra to Cameron Corner, where the dirt road after Noccundra was
quite passable but care was needed because of its rocky base as we passed
through gibber country. We camped in the dunes just to the west of Bollards
Lagoon (South Australia), seeing another group of Ground Cuckoo-shrike and
easily finding Eyrean Grasswren in the healthy looking cane-grass on the tops of
the dunes. However, the volume of flies continued to be very annoying.
· 2 April, Strzelecki Track (SA) to Strzelecki Crossing - we went looking for
Grey Falcon and Letter-winged Kite, but saw no sign of either. We did find
Diamond Dove, Budgerigar, Orange Chat, Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Red-browed
Pardalote and White-backed Swallow. Somewhat surprisingly to me, we couldn't
find Banded Whiteface anywhere.
· 3 April, Sturt National Park (NSW), Tibooburra and Pyampa Station (Qld,
near Wompah Gate) - Sturt National Park was a bit disappointing as we looked
unsuccessfully for both Inland Dotterel and Gibberbird. We did see Banded
Lapwing and Crimson Chats. After stocking up and showering at Tibooburra, we
travelled up to Pyampa (having sought permission from owners Ross and Marg Betts
- see below). We saw Gibberbird on the extensive gibber plains on the way into
Pyampa. In the evening, we made our way into the lignum looking for Grey
Grasswren and luckily found a pair on the first large bush we came to. We spent
some time looking around the immediate area where GGs seemed reasonably common.
We also saw Redthroat, Orange Chat and White-backed Swallow.
· 4 April, Pyampa to Mootwingee National Park (near Broken Hill) - uneventful
trip down to Mootwingee where we camped in very good facilities (including hot
showers). We did some exploring in the picturesque gorges, and added the fourth
babbler, White-browed, to our trip list. (No Hall's, but we didn't seek them
· 5 April, Mootwingee to Ouyen (Victoria) - back into the mallee habitats for
some nice birds, including Mallee Emu-Wren and Gilbert's Whistler.
· 6 April, Ouyen to Port Fairy - easy travelling with many expected additions
of typical Victorian birds.
· 7 April, Port Fairy boat trip - an outstanding boat trip (see Mike Carter's
detailed report of last week, but I will mention the Great Shearwater, Sooty
Albatrosses, South Polar Skua and a probable Grey-headed Albatross as stand-out
Surprising misses were Red-backed Kingfisher, Banded Whiteface and White-browed
Woodswallow. Other things we thought we might see but didn't were Plum-headed
Finch, Little Woodswallow, Grey-headed and Black Honeyeaters and Night Parrot.
We only saw one each of BB Buzzard and Diamond Dove, one pair of Hooded Robins
and two small flocks of Masked Woodswallows.
The area has had little rain over summer, so the vegetation quality was lower
and the potential water bodies significantly reduced. We didn't find any areas
that were "blooming", which explains us missing some of the species that follow
the rain. Our total trip list was 194 species, with which I was quite pleased.
There was not much variety in the mammals we saw. They included Eastern and
Western Grey Kangaroos, Red Kangaroos, Euro and Dingo. Dead kangaroos near the
road were very common, particularly around Eulo. (We didn't drive at night or
near dawn or dusk so faced few driving problems with kangaroos, but clearly many
others did.) We only saw a few rabbits, which was terrific, but lots of goats
We had assistance from a number of people, including Alan Morris (whose
knowledge of species in NSW is peerless) and Trevor Quested (whose posting on
Pyampa Station on Birding-Aus on 7 October 2000 was very helpful - it also had
the contacts for the owners). Thanks to them and others whose Birding-Aus
postings for this area over recent years were very helpful.