Crossing the Back Paddock 1 [Contains LWK Reference]

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Crossing the Back Paddock 1 [Contains LWK Reference]
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 18:58:05 +1000
A variety of reasons saw me driving to the far side of the country a month ago,
and the circumstances meant loitering was not an option. However, I did get to
make some interesting observations during my high speed transit [including a
couple of lifers].

Day one involved dropping Leanne at the Brisbane Airport at the crack of dawn
and then heading west and south.  On the run out to Goondiwindi I saw two small
flocks of budgies and some parrots with blue shoulders in the trees by the BP
servo east of Inglewood [couldn't find them with the nockerlockers to ID them]. 

A pair of sore eyes meant a slightly early stop at Nyngan.  There was a large
flock of black tailed native hens at the riverside caravan park, and a group of
different corvids [I'm used to torresian crows & Oz ravens].  They appeared to
be smaller and emitted short relaxed calls with no tonal variation - ah ah ah
ah].  I figured they were little ravens.

The drive across Aus took me through a fair bit of drought affected and degraded
land, and that evening I was treated to a fair old dust storm.  There was
however, a bit of rain the next morning, which meant the roos were out having a
drink from the puddles of water that collect on the bitumen.  Given their
thirsty state, they were fairly oblivious to the passing traffic, and posed a
traffic hazard not normally experienced by coastal dwellers. 

The land between Cobar and Wilcannia was in particularly poor condition [due to
goat blight].  There were lots of apostlebirds about, and I saw a nice flock of
black tailed cockies while filling up at Wilcannia [the most expensive petrol
between Brisbane and the 'Nullarbor'].  

There was a lost looking feral pigeon at the Spring Ck rest area to the east of
Wilcannia.  I don't think it would count as a tick for anyone, as I think it was
probably a 'ship-assisted' migrant [like a number of contributers to this list]
- I saw quite a few boats being transported west that day.  A pair of blue
bonnets sitting in a bush had me reaching for my field guide and binos [their
red bellies had me initially thinking of scarlet chested parrots].

There was also a flock of major mitchells near the Ag checkpoint at Oodla Wirra.

On the humourous side, while tacking through the southern end of the Flinders
Ranges during the middle of the afternoon, I noticed a white kite sitting in a
roadside tree [near Willowie].  Remembering that letter-winged kites are
nocturnally oriented and that they disperse during droughts, I hove to and
unlimbered the binos.  I had a clear view of the underwing bar running out from
its armpit, but in my fatigued state, I had it fixed in my mind that LWKs had a
wingbar that runs the full length of their wing and so drove off thinking it was
the common black-shouldered kite.  It wasn't till I was flipping through my
guide that night at Kimba that I realised my mistake.  Fortunately, I had a
photographic impression of the wingbar lodged in my brain or I would have missed
that tick.

Moral - two heads are often better than one.

Regards, Laurie.

[To be continued]
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