SW Qld trip

Subject: SW Qld trip
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 13:24:00 +1000
Hello all,

I've only recently returned from a week's trip up to Qld. The main aim was to catch up with Bourke's Parrot- one of my favourite birds but one that I haven't seen for many years. You should be able to get a rough idea of my itinerary from what I saw where. Rough route was Griffith- Cobar- Byrock- Bourke- Ledknapper area- Barringun- Cunnamulla- Bowra- Eulo- Lake Bindegolly- Eulo- Hungerford- Bourke- Cobar- Griffith. Some of the things seen included:

Cobar (Newey Reservoir)- Spotted Bowerbird
Byrock Road (37 km E. Kidman Way)- Spotted Bowerbird
"Coronga Peak"- Spotted Bowerbird. I had intended to take a look at Coronga Peak the geographical feature but time was limited and it wasn't at all obvious how to get there! Coronga Peak is where Striated Grasswrens were collected in the 1800's.
Byrock Waterholes- Fan-tailed Cuckoo
20 km N. Bourke- Red-chested Buttonquail. I literally picked up a female off the road at night. I drove past it at high speed and then for about a kilometre I wondered what it was (as you do) and then turned around to take a closer look only to find it still there when I drove past again. As I went past it it left the road and so I drove about fifty metres down the road, did a U turn and found that the bird had come back to the middle of the road again. This time I had a closer look, identified it, photographed it, picked it up and carried off the road so that it wouldn't be squashed by the next truck.
Ledknapper area- this is approximately 50  km east of Enngonia. Very interesting. Sandhills, spinifex (albeit Buck Spinifex, Grevilleas). Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo, White-fronted Honeyeater, Major Mitchells Cockatoo, Banded Lapwing.

"Bowra" (approx. 16 km NW of Cunnamulla). I stayed here for a couple of days. Julie and Ian McLaren were very hospitable. I think I probably saw about 70-80 species in total which is pretty good for this area. Some of the species included Major Mitchells Cockatoo, Hooded Robin, Crimson Chat, Collared Sparrowhawk, Budgerigar, Black-breasted Buzzard, Southern Boobook, Aust Owlet-nightjar and within my last hour at Bowra one Bourke's Parrot!
All 4 species of babbler including Hall's Babbler which were nesting. Brolgas were very common and all appeared to be in pairs. Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush were also in pairs with the males in full song at four different locations along the "Halls Babbler" track.
On the Slaty-backed Thornbill situation. I can only say that I searched the "lookout" area for thornbills and found many Chestnut-rumped Thornbills but no Slaty-backs. This of course is not evidence that they don't occur, I can only say that I wasn't able to get any evidence that they do. People looking for them should be aware that it can be very hard to see the white iris of Chestnut-rumped Thornbills especially in certain lighting situations. Just because you can't make out the white iris isn't evidence that the bird doesn't have one. CRT are among the most common birds in the Griffith area and I don't often get great looks at the iris colour.

Cuttaburra Road (approx. 15 km west of Cunnamulla)- Budgerigar (60), Crimson Chat, Hooded Robin.
Nine Mile Bore (16 km E. Eulo)- Hooded Robin, Spotted Bowerbird. I spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around a spot that I remembered from my first year of birdwatching many years ago. For about 20 minutes I watched and photographed a Willie Wagtail catching insects? by casting shadows by flicking its tail and its wings as it hopped along the ground. Very interesting but hard to observe as it all happened so fast.
18 km W. Eulo- Brolga (2)
Lake Bindegolly (approx. 70 km west of Eulo)- Red-capped Dotterel (50), Chirrupping Wedgebill, Major Mitchells Cockatoo. When I reached the QPWS visitor display I was a little dismayed to find that the walk to their "bird viewing point" was 4.5 km across the plain making for a 9 km return walk!  I dread to think of the line of British tourists struggling across the plain in 45 degree heat in January! Anyway my time was limited and so I didn't make the deathmarch. On the southern side of the main road you can get to water with quite a few birds that is on private property which allows bush camping.
Unnamed creek, 2 km W. Capsize Creek, which is approximately 30 km east of Lake Bindegolly. Here I heard Bourke's Parrots within 10 minutes of stopping. However, they proved very hard to find. It was only after 2 hours of searching that I found 4 Bourkies. Unfortunately my aim of obtaining photos was only partially fulfilled. Some photos are better than none but what I got was nothing to write home about.
Hungerford (on the Paroo River just north of the NSW-Qld border). There was a lot of eucalyptus flowering here and the trees were full of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters and White-plumed Honeyeaters. Tree Martins were nesting here.
53 km SE Yantabulla- Banded lapwing (2)
Green Creek (7 km NW Fords Bridge)- Brolga (65). They've had a lot of rain in this area and there were extensive flooded grasslands. Brolga were the only species in numbers or of note.
21 km SE Fords Bridge- Red-necked Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Red-capped Plover, Red-kneed Dotterel, Pink-eared Duck, Major Mitchells Cockatoo. This was a delightful little wetland that was on the way out. I'd probably give it a another couple of months at the most before it is dry mud.

This was about it. I also ought to note that there has been a large flock of Major Mitchells Cockatoos in suburban North Griffith in the last week or two. At its maximum I counted fifty but they were usually a bit spread out making counting difficult. They were mostly feeding on fruiting Callitris pines, introduced Eucalyptus seeds, Pecan trees, Banana trees! etc etc.


Mick Todd
Griffith, NSW

PS. If interested, please note that I've changed my email address. Its michaelktodd instead of micktodd.

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