I've just returned from a trip up to north-eastern South Australia with
some friends from the east coast. The route for me was from Griffith
through Wilcannia- White Cliffs- Wonnaminta- Packsaddle- Tibooburra-
Onepah- Tibooburra- Cameron Corner- Merty Merty- Tibooburra- Broken Hill-
Ivanhoe- Griffith. Highlights included:
11 km E. Wonnaminta HS- Orange Chat (20), White-backed Swallow (2) and one
Green Lake (approx. 100 km S. Tibooburra)- Pink-eared Duck (3000+),
Freckled Duck (3), Blue-billed Duck, Hoary-headed Grebe, Black-tailed
Native-hen (400+), Red-capped Plover, Orange Chat (30+), Caspian Tern,
White-backed Swallow, Black Falcon, Silver Gull and Aust Pelican, and much
much more. The place was simply throbbing with birds. As I only saw small
parts of the overall lake I can't even guess how many birds are present.
Pyampa- property on the Qld side of the Wompah Gate, owned by the owners of
Onepah which is on the NSW side of the border. The highlight here was
without doubt the Grey Grasswrens. I was fortunate enough to be able to
spend about 20 minutes watching, recording and photographing the grasswrens
as they went about their activities. It was about 3 pm and there was only
limited feeding taking place. More preening and calling to each other. Most
views were through dense lignum. I don't think I saw a bird completely
unimpeded by vegetation at any stage! Other birds here included Orange Chat
(which were by far the most common chat on the trip), Budgerigar and Pallid
Onepah HS- Ground Cuckoo-shrike (5) and fabulous views of a Collared
Sparrowhawk feeding on a budgerigar.
Sturt NP (Fort Grey)- Black-breasted Buzzard (2) and Crimson Chat (30+).
Great views of roosting Tawny Frogmouths and Owlet-nightjar.
Cameron Corner- House Sparrows. Highlight might be the wrong word in this case!
Bollards Lagoon- 3.6 km W. Bollards Lagoon HS- Eyrean Grasswren (3+). This
was on a sandhill with very little sandhill canegrass (Zygochloa paradoxa).
The main plants present were Acacia ligulata and a species of saltbush that
I haven't identified yet. These birds gave us the best views of the trip
including a few minutes watching a bird perched in the open on a branch. At
the end of this time another bird emerged from the bush beneath and
attempted copulation with the first bird. We don't think it was successful
but the intent was certainly there! We saw more Eyrean Grasswrens at two
other sites, 17.7 km and 27.3 km west of Bollards Lagoon HS. Both of these
sites were largely Sandhill Canegrass. Other birds seen on the Bollards
Lagoon property at numerous locations included Cinnamon Quailthrush, Pied
Honeyeater and Banded Whiteface. On the way back I watched and photographed
a pair of Letter-winged Kites at a bore 36 km west of the Bollards Lagoon HS.
Merty Merty- Ground Cuckoo-shrike (7).
109 km E. Menindee- Black-tailed Native-hen (approx. 100). Not a drop of
water in sight!
My only regret is that my companions are still out there, no doubt having a
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