Outback Twitchathon - An Orange Perspective

To: "Birding-Aus" <>, "Chris Gross" <>, "Sheree Host" <>
Subject: Outback Twitchathon - An Orange Perspective
From: "Stephen Gross" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 22:06:57 +1000
The Orange Chatters (Chris Dwyer and Stephen Gross) decided to go outback a week later than most others and what a difference in the weather conditions. As we drove through rain between West Wyalong and Hillston on Friday night our plans for an overnight stay and then start at Willandra National Park were looking decidedly uncertain. A change in plan meant a stopover at Hillston and then a very early 4 AM rise on Saturday morning to get to Willandra by 6. In darkness the weather looked ominous, the kangaroos dangerous and the red soil road decidedly sticky. However we decided to take the plunge and continue on.
Arriving in Willandra right on 6:00 we awaited the rising of the sun and the first stirrings of the birds. As the sky lightened the day turned out to be not quite as bad as we first feared and the initial birding count nabbed us Little and Australian Ravens, Apostlebirds, a variety of thornbills, both pardalotes, Red Capped Robin, White Browed Babblers, Mallee Ringnecks and a Striped Honeyeater. Along the creek was a Darter. We continued through Willandra with constant attention to approaching patches of rain and of course the birds.
Heading out of Willandra towards Roto and Yathong NR we picked up Banded Lapwing, White Winged Fairy-Wren (unfortunately no males in breeding dress), 2 Crested Bellbird on the road and Bluebonnet. By this stage the dark clouds had come closer and as we turned into Yathong NR the rain started falling and the wind became heavier. Despite these adverse conditions we still managed some new birds including Major Mitchell Cockatoo, Mulga Parrot, Hooded Robin and a Brown Headed Honeyeater. One distraction was the suicidal kangaroos that were determined to drink from any traces of water, invariably always in the middle of the road. Travelling through Yathong the rain again cleared but the wind made birding difficult and all we managed were more thornbills.
From Yathong we headed to Cobar and the Newey Reservoir and what a hot bird spot this place is. We added 25 birds here including a Caspian Tern, 3 Crimson Chat, a Mistletoebird that was extremely fluffed up against the wind and at one stage tried to seek cover in the reeds, a Blackbird, many Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters, 17 Black Tailed Native Hen and many Double-Barred Finch. Cobar itself added a the usual feral suspects plus Blue Faced and White Plumed Honeyeaters. Abandoning our planned overnight stop along the Darling River near Louth due to local weather information we headed up to Gundabooka National Park and a very quiet night. 
Sunday morning dawned to a marvellous clear sunny day and the birding here began slowly at first with Singing Honeyeater but soon sped up as we quickly counted Varied Sittella, 2 White Browed Treecreeper, 2 Chestnut Breasted Quailthrush crossing the road in front of us, Red Winged Parrot and Spotted Bowerbird. A search for Hall's or Chestnut Crowned Babbler only produced Grey Crowned which just simply wouldn't turn into any of the other two babblers. Leaving Gundabooka we headed up to the Darling River and then towards Bourke picking up Common Bronzewing and Western Gerygone. A group of babblers brought us to a quick stop and after some chasing we had Chestnut Crowned Babblers. We found this section of road between Louth and Bourke to be the driest area we saw.
Arriving at Bourke STW we were delighted to see 22 Brolga plus our only Little Corellas and a White Bellied Sea Eagle circling in the sky. Lunch at the Port of Bourke produced 2 Red Tailed Black Cockatoos, what truly magnificent birds. We were now getting a little desperate for a few more common birds such as Wood Duck, Peaceful Dove and Brown Treecreeper, all of which had so far successfully eluded us. So we headed for Nyngan, eyes peeled for of all things any signs of Wood Duck. Nyngan came up with the goods and we saw perhaps the entire outback population of Wood Ducks on the surprisingly full Bogan River. Here along the river we were able to add Peaceful Dove, Brown Treecreeper, Clamorous Reedwarbler, Purple Swamphen and a Little Egret. The outskirts of town also produced huge flocks of Cockatiel feeding on the ground.
All up we managed a total of 110 birds. This has been a fantastic event. Thanks to those who sponserd us and to Birding-Ausers who helped us with our some of our outback birding location enquiries.
Stephen Gross
Orange, NSW 
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Outback Twitchathon - An Orange Perspective, Stephen Gross <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU