SW QLD - NW NSW TRIP 27 SEPT - 4 OCT 2003
Giles Daubeney and Aidan Sudbury.
Sept 27 Melbourne-Deniliquin-Hay-Lake Cargelligo-Round Hill NR.
Sept 28 Cobar-Bourke-Warrego Floodplain (40 km N of Berrigan)
Sept 29 Cunnamulla-Eulo Bore
Sept 30 Eulo-Dyvnor Downs-Lake Bindegolly-Thargomindah-Noccundra-Narylco
Oct 1 Sturt NP-Tibooburra-Bulloo Overflow on Pyampa HSD, 8km NE Qld
Border at Wompah Gate
Oct 2 Sturt NP-Tibooburra-Broken Hill.
Oct 3 Wentworth-Sunset NP Vic.
Oct 4 Sunset NP-Melbourne
After an early 4am start, we had lunch at a creek between Lake Cargelligo
and Round Hill NR. And arrived at Round Hill soon after. The main target
bird being Red Lored Whistler. Armed with several pieces of info on likely
sites we soon found ourselves in thick mallee. We did not see or hear the
RLW. The managed a few good mallee birds in the old wheat field, before
moving on to Whoey Tank. Driving in on the track to the tank we saw a pair
of Major Mitchell cockatoos. As we neared the tank we saw many White winged
trillers, woodswallows, and bee-eaters. After parking the car and saying
hello to a group of NSW birders, we had a good look around. We managed to
flush a little buttonquail. Following it up to where it went down, we could
not see it, we were only about six feet apart when it flushed again between
us, this time flying round the side of the dam and not to be seen again. I
soon spotted my first new bird - Crimson chat, a pair feeding amongst the
wild flowers with trillers. We soon had hooded and red capped robins,
southern whitefaces, and another little buttonquail, pied butcherbird.
After setting up camp, Aidan called me over, he had heard a black eared
cuckoo calling and soon found it - another new bird.
The next morning we returned to the Mallee to resume the hunt for the RLW.
On the way a bar shouldered pigeon flew across the road - not yet 7am and a
new bird (you can tell I live in Melbourne).
We spent another couple of hours searching for the RLW without success.
Pushing on to Cobar we had lunch at the New Tank and then spent an hour or
so picking up lots of new birds for the trip. The piping call attracted us
to a Pied Honeyeater. Aidan soon got on to the call of a spotted bowerbird,
we followed it through a grove of pepper trees before it finally flew and I
got the briefest of views of another lifer (No.4).
At Bourke we saw Blue Faced Honeyeater in the car park of the local
supermarket. On the roadside from Bourke I saw a Red Winged Parrot in a tree
as we drove by (No 6). We arrived at our planned overnight spot on the
Warrego river flood plain just as the sunset. Whilst setting up tents a
large raptor sailed overhead - it was a black-breasted buzzard followed
closely by a second one. (3 new birds seen today without binoculars).
The next morning we turned east on to the St George road at Cunnamulla. We
went 20 kms down the road checking out the Mitchell grass plains. There was
very little grass seeding. We stopped at a creek and saw lots of birds
including spotted bowerbird. There was a grey teal trying to distract us by
hobbling away with an apparent broken wing leaving its mate and 6 ducklings
immobile next to a log in a muddy puddle. Had great view of a pair of Red
Winged Parrots as they flew past close by. Good views of white browed
Turning back west we travelled through Cunnamulla and onto Eulo Bore. We
then went in search of the Chestnut breasted quail thrush. Following some
recent directions Aidan picked up a female on the crest of a ridge a couple
of kms East of Eulo Bore. We had good views for 5-10 minutes before it flew
off down the hill. A lifer for both of us.
Our chosen lunch spot was an area about 4 kms East of Eulo Bore where there
was a creek bed and lots of vegetation (relative to neighbouring surrounds).
>From picnic chairs I was able to watch a spotted bowerbird eating berries
out of a tree from 10 metres, variegated fairy wren in full breeding
plumage, white browed treecreeper and a pair of Major Mitchell cockatoos. A
search of the surrounding area found brown honeyeater - another tick for me.
We also flushed a brown goshawk from its hiding position in the trees a
number of times.
Later in the afternoon we spent time observing the bore. Plenty of spiny
cheeked honeyeaters and zebra finch, not much else for a while. Then 2 red
winged parrots flew into the trees next to the bore followed immediately by
38 apostle birds that sort of took over the proceedings for a while. As dusk
fell, a couple of crested pigeons arrived.
The next morning as the sun came up we were back in position. After a fairly
slow first hour a couple of spotted bowerbirds came in to drink. Soon after
a single Bourke's parrot flew over the dam and landed in the shadows for a
drink. We had identified it immediately as it flew in. A good start to the
day. Shortly after another two Bourke's parrots arrived, this time drinking
in full sunlight allowing us to see the brilliant pink under body well.
>From here we pushed on west through Eulo, stopping briefly to check out some
babblers - these were chestnut crowned, we were still hoping to see Halls
babblers. About 20 kms west of Eulo we encountered a group of ground cuckoo
shrikes, which allowed good views both in flight and on the ground.
Between Thargomindah and Noccundra I spotted an interesting bird as I drove
along. A quick U turn and we had a red backed kingfisher. We followed it a
little way and soon found another.
At Noccundra we turned south. We stopped at a small roadside dam and found
five sharp tailed sandpipers (which had us going for a little while -
initially we had only seen one and were not sure of our ID, but when we
found another four in the vegetation at the waters edge we realised they
were just sharpies). We were now in good gibber country and at 30 kms South
of Noccundra we turned off on to a side track (Quillberry Yards) and went
looking for gibber bird. All we found were two more Bourke's parrots. Back
to the main road and after another 5 kms, to the west there was a large open
gibber plain. Passing a large tyre at the side of the road, we went off road
in a westerly direction, driving slowly after a km; we found a pair of
gibber chat. (No 10).
Pushing on south we bush camped at Narylico. It rained during the night and
was still raining as we got up and packed. The road began to get interesting
and it was blowing a gale. Not good bird watching weather. After we passed
through the border fence back into NSW and the Sturt NP. We went for a walk
across the gibber looking for inland dotterel. We did not find anything. I
checked out the South Myers Tank (just after 11 mile creek) and saw 5 hoary
headed grebes. Shortly after we stopped to check out a wedge tailed eagle
that was sitting on a short post, when Aidan saw an Australian Pratincole
just in front of the Wedgie on the ground. We got out and went and had a
look, finding a second one (No.11). Arriving in Tibooburra we found they
had closed many of the roads out of Tibooburra due to the weather. We were
left with few options so took off down the Wanaaring road to do the Mt. Wood
loop. After about 10 kms we started to see dozens of Australian Pratincoles
in groups of 2- 4. After about 25 km we turned off onto the loop road. We
then found an Australian Bustard just a few metres off the road. Able to get
great views and a few photographs. Saw several woodswallows and crimson
chat. From here we went up to One-Pah to go looking for grey grasswren.
Stopping at the station house and paying our $10 donation to the Tibooburra
hospital we went out onto Pyampa station.
We saw pink-eared duck and Australian shoveller on the dam, after a couple
of hours, windswept and overcome with flies; distracted by white winged
fairy wrens we gave up on the grasswrens.
The next morning we returned, there was less wind and we succeeded in
getting very brief views of 2 grey grasswrens. We then stopped at the dam on
the way out and whilst checking out the black fronted dotterel, we were
buzzed by a large pigeon, bigger than a common bronzewing - it was a single
flock bronzewing. It landed briefly and then took off for the distant
horizon. (No, 12). We then saw another pair of gibber chat as we rejoined
the track back to One pah and NSW.
At Tibooburra the road to Broken Hill was only open as far as Packsaddle. We
decided to have another look at the gibber plains just 10 km down the
Wanaaring road. We stopped to have a good look at the first Australian
Pratincole we saw, and whilst looking at Aidan picked up an Inland Dotterel.
We soon had another four. (No13). I tried to take a photo (digital) - all I
have got is a gibber plain - they are exceedingly cryptic amongst the rocks.
On to Broken Hill, the road now open. It was soon raining again and the dirt
sections of road proved interesting. We stopped briefly for a quick walk
across some good grassland and soon flushed a single Little Buttonquail (our
4th for the trip).
The next day we set out for Wentworth, calling in briefly to see a couple of
In their garden we saw Little Lorikeets and White Fronted Honeyeaters, as
well as Caspian tern flying up and down the Darling River. Then on to the
Sunset National Park. We had a number of spots to try for Red Lored
Whistler. We failed at everyone.
We found an excellent spot to bush camp, right beside a track with a large
puddle in it that had dozens of birds drinking and bathing. At one point a
Gilberts whistler just hopped down the track to the puddle. If it had been a
RLW we would have had the best views ever.
The following morning we resumed the search, again failing to find or hear
any RLWs, although we did manage to track down a Southern Scrubrobin. At
Lunchtime we abandoned the search and headed for Ouyen and onto Melbourne,
picking up a few new birds for the trip on the way.
Thanks to the following for providing information that went in to the
planning of this trip.
Alan Morris, Tom Tarrant, Chris Coleborn, Mick Todd, Stuart Cooney, Ken &
Anybody (who has read this far down and) would like a birdlist for the trip,
just email me
> Giles Daubeney
> Customer Engineering Support Manager
> John Crane Australia
> (P) + 61 3 9289 4777
> (F) + 61 3 9289 4788
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