Back O' Bourke trip

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Back O' Bourke trip
From: "Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins" <>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 18:00:54 +1000
Members of the Tamworth Birdwatchers Club were asked to create a birdlist for the owners of a station way out between Yantabullah and Engonia, north of Bourke NSW.   They have set up a tourist enterprise, offering outback bush camping on the Maranoa waterhole (a six kilometre long permanent stretch of water where the Duracks are supposed to have camped on their way to the Kimberly), B & B and cabin accomodation or even camel tours.   They wanted to be able to add birds as an attraction too.
I joined the group that went there and we spent nearly a week surveying their 100,000 acres.   Due to the extremely dry season with resulting lack of seed, insects, flowers etc, bird numbers were pretty low.   We did find two birds however that will be a big plus for them.   They have a number of Hall's Babblers and Chestnut-breasted Quail Thrush.   There were lots of grey crowned babblers too.   They were the most common, but the Hall's Babblers were easily seen in a number of locations.
Another interesting sighting was a Laughing Kookaburra that was fishing like a kingfisher.   Has anyone seen that before?   It spent its day sitting above the waterhole and swooping down to the water where it picked up what were either small shrimps or fingerlings.
The property has a number of swampy areas that still have some water in them( a spotted crake was our best bird there), a bore set up with a spa type bath which is heaven for the campers, and also has some fascinating mud springs.   Most appear to dried out now, but we were told one was still active.  
If anyone would like to go there, the place is called "Comeroo".   They have a website headed "Comeroo Cattle Station" and a glossy brochure can be found at the caravan parks and motels in Bourke.   We hope to return sometime after rain to add to the list.
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