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From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 11:48:06 +1000
Hello All,

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 Blue-winged Parrot. 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 Cuckoo. 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 great time!


Mick Todd
Griffith, NSW

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