Since our last posting - re Swift Parrots in the Port Stephens area, we have
travelled back to our base at Mildura across the width of NSW. We came via
Dubbo, Nyngan, Cobar, Wilcannia and Broken Hill. Although we did all this
in 4 days, we have seen some interesting sights.
A single Jabiru in wet paddocks between Taree and Port Stephens.
Lots of Apostlebirds. I remember some concerns a year or so back re the
population of these in NSW. We have seen at least 20 groups in these four
days, including about 6 groups within 50 kms west of Cobar. These have
ranged from the usual 12 - 20 in a group up to groups of at least 60 or 70.
Major Mitchell Cockatoos. Seven separate sightings. I love these birds -
their delicate pink on almost translucent white and brilliant crests.
Red-tailed Black Cockatoos. A group of about 10 over the Darling River
right in Wilcannia. Majestic birds.
New Tank at Cobar. While the country is very dry, this lake/dam/"tank" on
the edge of the town was alive with waterbirds. Not huge numbers, but
around 80 Pink-eared Ducks being the highest count, about the same as Black
Ducks. Also Hardhead, Aust Shoveller, pair of Blue-billed Duck, a single
Black-winged Stilt, etc. Surrounding bush yielded Striped Honeyeater among
others. 41 species in about 90 minutes.
The lake (lost its name) right on the Eastern edge of Broken Hill. This has
been closed to public access (sneaky birders excepted, of course), so is
very quiet. A good range of waterbirds there. Highlights were two adult
and at least four juvenile Great Crested Grebes and at least 6 Musk Duck as
well as several Hardhead and Pink-eared Ducks.
Tame birds. Everywhere has its own local tame species. At a roadside stop
between Cobar and Wilcannia it was a single Yellow-throated Miner who was
taking crumbs out of my hand while I tickled its belly. These normally
noisy and suspicious birds are rarely game to stay closer than 10 metres,
but this one had learned where to get a free feed in a pretty inhospitable a
Black-shouldered Kites. I reinforce a comment (sorry I forget the
contributor) recently on the large numbers of these "all around". We saw
literally hundreds on the Newell Highway between West Wyalong and
Goondiwindi when going North last month and saw many going out as far as
Dubbo this week. However not a single sighting west of Nyngan. No
Striking Conflicts. First was a large, very dark Brown Falcon (at first I
was suspecting Black Falcon) being heavily harassed by five Major Mitchell
Cockatoos. Is it unusual for these to actively chase and harass Raptors????
Then at Wilcannia, firstly two Red-tailed Black Cockatoos were hassling a
couple of Australian Ravens on a rock shelf in the river, then a Whistling
Kite very aggressively chased and hassled the Cockatoos. Again, this seemed
Overall it is great to be back into the country of Cockatiels, Blue-bonnets,
Ringnecks, Babblers, Wedge-tailed Eagles and the above specialties.
PS: For Russ - yes they definitely were Musk Lorikeets. The Swift Parrots
at Shoal Bay were back again in the same tree and another nearby the next
morning. I had a group of Purple-crowned Lorikeets fly over the Caravn Park
here in Mildura just after we arrived back! Remember my long search for
For Maria - its called Songs of Shiva.
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