SA Riverland (Berri-Renmark)

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Subject: SA Riverland (Berri-Renmark)
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Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 17:32:40 +1000
Hello again,

While Cathy was looking hard for Striated Grasswrens around Uluru last
week, I spent a some time near Berri in South Australia.  Managed to get
out on a couple of brief dawn and dusk bird-watching trips. Highlights

Cooltong CP (between Berri and Renmark, about 1km east of the A20
Berri-bypass, north past the Pistol Club for a few kms).  Drove in along
the southern entrance road for about several km at dawn, and stopped on
a dune top looking for Striated Grasswren. After about 5 minutes of
looking, was extremely happy to get  brief views of a single bird
scurrying between Spinifex clumps, luckily at one stage it stopped at
the base of a small mallee and turned to show us its face.  Heading back
to the car, I contemplated whether or not I should admit my success to
Cathy.  I stopped in a swale/washout on the way back to the highway, and
in addition to Southern Whitefaces, Chestnut-rumped Thornbills, Chestnut
Quail Thrushes, Jacky Winters, Hooded Robins, and Yellow-plumed
Honeyeaters, came face-to-face with 2 Mallee Fowl, which slowly and
nonchalantly wandered off through the trees. I was very pleased with the
results of this pre-breakfast trip!

Dishers Creek (just west of Renmark, accessed from an obvious but
non-signposted all-weather dirt road).  Wandered around here one
late-afternoon for a couple of hours.  It is an eerie place, and as a
result of being used as a drainage disposal basin for many years, 99.9%
of the trees are dead, with the main vegetation being saltbush. This
saltbush was alive with birds.  There were Chestnut-crowned Babblers,
White-fronted Chats, Hooded Robins, Blue-bonnets, Red-rumped Parrots,
and Southern Whitefaces.  A highlight for me were several Redthroats
which were calling madly. On the water there were plenty of ducks etc,
with at least 15 Freckled Duck being a highlight.  No sign of any
Blue-billed Ducks (in any case - these are resident year-round at the
Fyshwick Sewage Ponds at home in Canberra).  Several raptors, with a
Peregrine Falcon, Brown Falcons, Black Kites and Whistling Kites (not
the hoped for Square-tailed variety though). A lone Great Egret, and a
lone black-fronted dotterel were also spotted.

Some great birds, and a few new ticks as a bonus!
Thanks to those who've posted about the areas on Birding Aus which
helped me focus in on some great areas in the limited time I had for
birding. Thanks also to Peter Waanders and Sean Dooley for your advice.


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