Trip Report Scotia Sanctuary

To: "Birding Australia" <>
Subject: Trip Report Scotia Sanctuary
From: "Chris Coleborn" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 14:53:22 +1000
G'day All,

In central western New South Wales, ancient, vast and dry plains stretch out
and dominate the landscape. Here sweeping shrub steppes and dry grasslands
gradually merge first into stands of Casuarinas, and increasingly mixed
woodlands. Out here, with the far horizon and the great blue dome of heaven
above - a land drenched with sunshine, the Mallee Woodlands reach out from
the west and encompasses the land with its unique flora and fauna. Its raw
beauty was dry and dusty, and its sounds muted, however it still was
amazingly full of life.

It is in this area that a special property can be found called Scotia
Sanctuary, after a species of Eremophila found locally. It is a sanctuary
because the owners, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, are seeking to
reintroduce species once occurring in this area but who are now extinct over
much of their previous range. The vision is that once again these special
creatures, which from time immemorial had once roamed and enriched the land
with their presence, would inhabit the bushland of the area. Among them are
Numbats, Stick-nest Rats, Woylies, Bilbies, Bridled Nailtail Wallabies &
Marlas. For some days over the Easter holidays I joined some folk associated
with the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria who were mammal, bird and
reptile surveying Scotia.

Though there has been no substantial rain for six or more months, the Mallee
looked healthy, with some species of this amazingly adapted tree flowering
and with new shoots. There was also no ground water on the property, with
only water available to animals being some small leakages of water from some
pipes around the Scotia homestead complex. It was very satisfying to see the
special captive breeding animals, and to trap some free ranging ones too, as
well as a good range of reptiles and butterflies, but the birds, despite the
dry, were impressive.

A total of 67 species of birds were seen, some unique to the Mallee. In the
such as PEREGRINE FALCON & LITTLE HOBBY were seen. It was good to see in the
Casuarina areas numbers of WHITE-BROWED TREECREEPERS with their distinctive
tinkling call and striking markings. In the thick shrubby areas SHY
along the ground or scampered into the foliage. Sometimes we would catch the
song of the Shy Heath-wren and Southern Scrub-robin. GILBERT'S WHISTLERS
also sang occasionally, and there were several good sightings of this shy
bird too. In the Mallee scrub and triodia areas, MALLEEFOWL roamed, & it was
a toss up between seeing a Malleefowl or a Numbat that motivated our hours
of walking patiently through the autumn Mallee. Several times there were
excellent sightings of STRIATED GRASSWREN, coming out of the refuge of the
porcupine grass clumps onto the low branches of small shrubs where their
wonderfully cryptic markings and delicate colourings could be much
appreciated. Good numbers of CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH and CRESTED BELLBIRDS
were also seen as was an occasional of the black Mallee form of the GREY
were the most notable, though being the Mallee the YELLOW-PLUMED was its
usual ubiquitous self. In the morning and evening light MAJOR MITCHELL
COCKATOOS glowed with their delicate radiant pink and shell white colours.
There were good numbers of AUSTRALIAN RINGNECKS & MULGA PARROTS to be seen
and an occasional BLUE BONNET. The full bird list is below.

It was a very satisfying time - thanks to those who organized it.

Chris Coleborn

Malleefowl, Whistling Kite, Brown Goshawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Falcon,
Australian Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Major
Mitchell's Cockatoo, Galah, Mallee Ringneck, Blue Bonnet, Mulga Parrot,
Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Spotted Nightjar, Australian Owlet-nightjar,
White-browed Treecreeper, Brown Treecreeper, Splendid Fairy-wren, Variegated
Fairy-wren, Striated Grasswren, Striated Pardalote, Shy Heathwren, Weebill,
Inland Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow
Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater,
Yellow-throated Miner, Singing Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater,
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Grey-fronted Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater,
White-fronted Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Red-capped Robin, Southern
Scrub-robin, White-browed Babbler, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Varied Sittella,
Crested Bellbird, Gilbert's Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush,
Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Willie Wagtail, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike,
Masked Woodswallow, Black-faced Woodswallow, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey
Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird,Grey Currawong, Australian Magpie, Australian
Raven, White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Richard's Pipit,Welcome Swallow.

Birding-Aus is now on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message 'unsubscribe
birding-aus' (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU