Binya State Forest near Griffith NSW

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Subject: Binya State Forest near Griffith NSW
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 15:52:58 +1000
Hi Birders
On Sunday 14 September 2003 I spent the morning at Binya SF, 18 km ENE of Griffith and just a few kilometres east of Yenda in the Riverina Region of New South Wales. My companions were locals Keith Hutton and Mick Todd, and despite the cold, windy and eventually wet morning, we saw over 52 species for the four hours. Initally while the sun was still out, and there was little wind, birding was very good  and on arrival we were greeted by the calls of the Speckled Warblers and Yellow-tailed Thornbills, and then by the mournful trill of the Black-eared Cuckoo. The smaller birds were right to be alarmed as the Black-eared Cuckoo is hosted by both species. We had good views of the Cuckoo, possibly a first year male as its plumage on the back was not an even grey, as it fed on the ground and perched in low Cypress Pines. Nearby were a number of full coloured male Mulga Parrots, presumably the females were off nesting nearby and Southern Whitefaces were also busy hopping over the green herbs and grass. While watching the Cuckoo, we also heard the call of a Painted Honeyeater. Compartment No 5 of Binya SFwhere we were birdingis a farourite site for the species and Keith Hutton recorded a maximum of 22 here at this site last summer. Keith soon had whistled up this bird and it put on a great display for us inbetween feeding on the nectar of the flowers of the Grey Mistletoe that grows in the Yarran Acacia omalophylla. The mistletoe is also favoured by Spiny-cheeked and Singing Honeyeaters so there was a bit of competition for the nectar flow!. Altogether we saw 3 and heard another 2 Painted Honeyeaters, more are expected later in the month as October is when the population seems to peak here in Binya SF.
In the Bimble Box and Western Grey Box areas, we also saw Brown-headed, White-plumed, Striped and Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters, as well as Noisy and Little Friarbirds and an occasional Blue-faced Honeyeater at the edge of the forest near Yenda. Crested Bellbirds were present in the area where there is abit of mallee intrustion into this otherwise Cypress pine/ Box woodland and in the areas more dominated by Bimble Box Eucalyptus populnea, we saw a number of Turquoise Parrots, Dusky Woodswallows, Brown Treecreepers and a pair of Hooded Robins. Eastern Yellow Robins are a common bird of the forest along with summer migrants such as Rufous Whistlers and Western Gerygones. Within the woodland and forest White-browed Babblers were commonly seen while there were a few Grey-crowned Babblers along the forest boundary with the farming and grazing areas. The undergrowth was enlivened with both Inland Thornbills (common) and Chestnut-rumped Thornbills (less common), while Spendid Fairy-wrens were more readily seen than Variegated Fairy-wrens. A Restless Flycatcher was also in the Bimble Box woodland along with many calling and active Rufous Songlarks, Pallid Cuckoos were calling in the distance. Some of us saw Diamond Firetails but not me, but there were plenty of White-winged Trillers for all to see. Another Black-eared Cuckoo was found later in the morning in the Bimble Box area again where the Speckled Warblers were very agitated and Rainbow Bee-eaters were heard and seen. Altogether a great birding spot and very easy to access from the Yenda-Ardlethan road.
Alan Morris
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