A Visit to Bowra HSD Cunnamulla 11-12 May 2003

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Subject: A Visit to Bowra HSD Cunnamulla 11-12 May 2003
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2003 17:20:04 +1000
Hi Birders,
Enroute to north-west Queensland to have a go at finding some Grasswrens & Emu-wrens, Robin Benson and I decided to stay two days at the Bowra property, owned by Ian and Julie McLaren, 12 km NW of Cunnamulla (as advertised in Wingspan).  Cunnamulla area has been in the grip of a most severe drought and the Bowra property has been suffering badly as a result. However earlier in the year as a result of Cyclone Benny, bring rain further north in Queensland, the up there made the rivers run again and water came down the creeks on Bowra, while on Anzac day, two weeks before our visit, widespread rain was received across SW Queensland and gave Bowra a good drenching. So by the time of our visit, grass was starting to re-appear on the property and waterbirds were present on the newly filled waterholes. We stayed in the cottage that is for rent and organised for Julie to provide our evening meals. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the McLarens, rain began to fall in the early morning of 12/5/03 and had the appearance of looking like it was setting in. So, as we only had a 2 wheel drive vehicle and the soil between Cunnamulla and the house is pretty sticky, we reluctantly decided to leave early. Good job we did as it rained there for the next two days, and over 40 mm of rain fell, giving the McLarens a welcomed respite from the drought.
We arrived at Bowra about 1030 hrs and were soon out birdwatching. In the Mulga Scrub we found that the White-browed Treecreepers were easy to find, and we saw them at 3 seperate sites. The common fairy-wren turned out to be the Splendid Fairy-wren and a number of males were seen in full breeding condition. As a result of the previous recent rains, Pallid Cuckoos and Horsfield Bronze-Cuckoos were all fired up and called throughout the day. The Hall's Babblers were easy to find from the directions given by Julie, and we had great views, this bird being a new species for Rob. Both Grey-crowned and Chestnut-crowned Babblers were seen nearby giving good comparisons. Other interesting birds seen included a flock of 14 Pink Cockatoos; plenty of Red-winged Parrots & Blue Bonnets around the house; both Red-browed & Striated Pardalotes in the eucalypts; great views of Crested Bellbirds and the inland race of the Varied Sittellas; and good numbers of Southern Whiteface, Thornbills and Red-capped Robins. In our 7 hours of birding we saw 44 species. We look forward to our return when good seasons have returned and the rain stays away. Ian & Julie were great hosts and full of interesting and helpful information.
Alan Morris
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