Mick's SA-Vic trip report- Part 2

Subject: Mick's SA-Vic trip report- Part 2
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 17:37:45 +1000
Part 2- of Mick?s trip to SA and Vic.
PART 2- Flinders Ranges (Willow Springs)- northern Eyre Peninsula- Adelaide

22/8   Willow Springs- I stayed at the Willow Springs campsite on the eastern side of the Flinders Ranges NP, only about 20 km from Wilpena Pound. I know that is entirely inappropriate to have a campfire these days but I certainly enjoyed having my first campfire for about five nights. On arrival I was handed a map showing exactly where the Short-tailed Grasswrens could be seen complete with GPS locations! I was a little bit sceptical about this and the following morning spent the first three hours searching the Spinifex covered hillsides for my own spots. Nothing! So I plugged the locations into my GPS and trotted away to where the GPS locations were suggesting (not where the crosses were marked on the map!). Almost immediately I could hear grasswrens and sure enough I was soon gaining typical glimpses of grasswrens. There was no singing- only contact calls. The best looks that I got of the grasswrens were about 15 minutes later after I had finished photographing a pair of Port Lincoln/ Mallee Ringnecks feeding on grasstree heads. There were two birds a good distance away down the slope merrily hopping around foraging. I got a lot of distant photographs and had extended views for about 20 minutes. They are quite distinctively dull in terms of their markings in comparison to the Striated Grasswren. The short tail was also obvious. This was the longest I?ve ever watched grasswrens and may have been the highlight of my trip. On the way back down to the car (incidentally where I saw the grasswrens was about a kilometre in from the road) I saw four Elegant Parrots perched in the Red Gums along the dry creek line. The males looking resplendently yellow in the morning sun.

A quick visit to Wilpena Pound had me looking for the bush soon afterwards. Tourist buses (full of tourists- I should have expected that) and cars everywhere! City people looking for silver spoons for their collections. I thought I?d indulge at least a little and decided to have a cappuccino. At least that?s what they called it. I?m not sure what it really was. It was a relief to get out of there. So, my advice is visit the Flinders Ranges by all means, but avoid the Pound!

22/8  Lake Gilles CP (52 km SW of Iron Knob, 33 03, 136 45)- The first bird I saw when I got out of the car was a gorgeous male Blue-breasted Fairy-wren which I promptly snapped a few quick photographs of. His song was quite different to that of the Variegated Fairy-wren. The depth of the blue colouration on the male was quite different as well as the navy blue chest. This turned out to be the only fully-coloured male BBFW that I saw on the trip. I identified Variegateds on the Eyre Pen. in a few places but only after concerted efforts at identification.

23/8  Pinkawillinie CP- eastern end (33 04, 136 03)- Birds here included Spotted Nightjar, Stubble Quail (in field adjacent), Southern Scrub-robin, Golden Whistler, Western Yellow Robin, Shy Heathwren and White-fronted Honeyeater. There are areas of country in Pinkawillinie that are quite similar in structure to the mallee of central NSW and I could see how Red-loreds had been discovered in this region in the mid 90's by Matthew et al (1995). Unfortunately I didn?t find any.

23/8   Buckleboo (32 45, 136 01)- Birds here included Rufous Treecreeper, Gilberts Whistler, Grey Currawong, Horsfields Bronze-cuckoo, White-fronted Honeyeater, and Grey Shrike-thrush.

23/8  Gawler Ranges NP (32 44, 135 33)- Birds here included Rufous Treecreeper, and Grey Shrike-thrush.

23/8  Pinkawillinie CP- western end (32 49, 135 28)- Southern Scrub-robin

23/8  Corrobinnie Hill CP (33 02, 135 40)- Western Yellow Robin and Silvereye. I also found a couple of species of ground orchid here that I have photographed but not yet attempted to identify.

24/8  Port Davis area (33 15, 137 59)- Elegant Parrot (32), Black-tailed Native-hen, Grey Fantail.

24/8  Clinton CP (Port Arthur- 34 08, 138 03)- Banded Stilt (3), Grey Fantail, Black-tailed native-hen.

24/8   Port Gawler CP (34 39, 138 27, adjacent to the Penrice Saltfields)- Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Red-kneed Dotterel, Elegant Parrot (1), Brown Thornbill, White-browed Scrubwren and Slender-billed Thornbill.

On the road into Port Gawler, only a few kilometres from the highway there was an large flock of about 400 Black-tailed Native-hens. The car in front of me stopped out of curiosity and then I did too. I must have looked like I knew what I was looking at because he asked me what they were and I told him. He then asked me whether they were edible! He?d been fishing so I think he had hunting and gathering on his mind.


Mick Todd
Griffith, NSW

Reference- Matthew, Croft and Carpenter 1995. A record of the Red-lored Whistler on Eyre Peninsula- South Australian Ornithologist.

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