Mildura Observations

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Mildura Observations
From: "Bob & Sadhana Cook" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 23:41:04 +1000
Hi Birders,  ... felt an urge to share ....

Having recently purchased a house close to the Mildura Sewerage Farm (best
birding spot in Mildura), we have been busy spending most available time
human nest building, but I have at least started a new "property" list.  To
cheat a little, I include the whole of the Sewerage Farm in "my property"
for this purpose!!!  (well, Russ Lamb includes his whole little valley in
Maleny, so I reckon I should be given a bit of latitude as well).

The sewerage farm is special both for its population of waterbirds of all
kinds and also, as the main pond is closely surrounded by a combination of
mallee woodland, open farmland and stands of farmed eucalypts, there is a
great environment for woodland birds and raptors.  It also is within 200
metres of the Murray River along its overall length of about 2 kms and is
adjacent to a further extensive area of reserved mallee woodland.

First reasonable sortie was a 2 1/2 hour meander about 3 weeks ago
(fortunately, no bodily function interruptions were required!!!).  This
produced 52 species in total with most notable being 6 raptors, namely,
Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Sea Eagle, Little Eagle, Brown Goshawk and Swamp

Also White-breasted, White-browed and Dusky Woodswallows, resident
White-browed Babbler family (I have seen here several times), White-winged
Choughs, Zebra Finch and Little Friarbird.  Seven duck species were
observed, but I am still to add Freckled, Blue-billed, Hardhead and Musk
that I have seen here before.

Since then I have brought the list up to 67 species through random
passing-by observations.  The best of these was late afternoon yesterday,
sighting an Australian Hobby patrolling and observing an area of open
grassland within the farm boundary.  While it was perched on the powerline
along the boundary, it was not disturbed by my wandering up to stand and
watch it almost immediately below, i.e. no more than 6 or 7 metres below.

Once I get some more birding time, I am confident of adding significantly to
the count for this total area of around 40 or 50 hectares.  Previous trips
(not to be counted yet as I was not formally "listing") have included at
least another 20 notable species.

Being the coldest part of the year again, the annual phenomenon of dying
"bone fish" is occuring in the Murray River right by the Mildura Wharf.
This produces a huge pig-out by the local bird population, mainly Silver
Gulls and Pelicans, but also Great, Little Black and both Pied Cormorants
and Darters.  On one morning last year I counted over 120 Pelicans in a
stretch of river no more than 300 metres.

Another random observation of note was on a return business trip today to
Swan Hill.  On the Sturt Highway, about 10kms West of Euston, a group of
four Regent Parrots overflew the car.  I have seen these magnificent birds
on three previous occasions between Robinvale and Boundary Bend, i.e. about
50 - 75 kms further East, and also in Hattah-Kulkyne Nat Park, about 75 kms
further South.

Happy birding!  (and No, Val, I don't wish I was a woman!)

Bob Cook
North West Victoria

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