Desert Parks Trip Part 1...

Subject: Desert Parks Trip Part 1...
From: "Michael Ramsey" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 13:57:04 +1000
Hi all,
Last week my partner and I travelled through Western Victoria and New South Wales, visiting the parks Little Desert, Wyperfeld, Murray-Sunset and Mungo. Mallee and arid zone species were the general target for birding and a great spread of species was seen. Not all species are mentioned, just ones I considered interesting or new.
Arrived at Little Desert and set up camp at Ackle Bend along the Wimmera River. This is a great spot with the heathlands of the "desert" adjoining the Red Gum and Black Box along the river. New Holland Honeyeaters were very common in the heathland where a new bird for me was also seen, a Southern Scrub-robin. Further afield at Pomponderoo Hill Tawny-crowned and White-fronted Honeyeaters were in the heath along with a Brush Bronzewing, Hooded Robin, Variegated Fairy-wren and the black-winged race of the Grey Currawong. At night a Tawny Frogmouth and Southern Boobook were heard.
Early in the morning at Ackle bend a Blue-winged Parrot and a large flock of Masked and White-browed Woodswallow were observed. A Black-chinned Honeyaeter was also seen along with a small flock of Diamond Firetails. We were still based at Little Desert but travelled further today. The first stop at Pink Lake , just west of Dimboola I had an oppurtunity to use my new scope. A surpirse sighting were three Pacific Golden Plovers, I have always considered them to be coastal birds. At the Sancturay Nature Walk in Little Desert many birds were nesting. My first White-winged Trillers for the spring were sighted along with a many calling Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo's. Travelling to Nhill a Brown Sounglark, Singing Bushlark and Spotted Harrier were seen in grain crops. Just outside of Nhill we stopped at the waste water treatment plant. A suprise sighting of three Sharp-tailed Sandpipers in a wet paddock was great, along with a Bla! ck-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel and Brown Falcon around the plant.
On the way to Mt Arapiles a stop at Greenhill Lake revealed a flock of Red-necked Avocets, Black-winged and Banded Stlits in the middle of the lake. My first Pallid Cuckoo for spring was calling nearby. Mt Arapiles had great views, along with great views of a pair of Peregrine Falcons circling over the rocks. A northerly record of a pair of Crimson Rosellas was also seen. On the way back to Little Desert some more stilts and avocets were seen at Mitre and Duchembegarra lakes. Near Wail, south of Dimboola a Blue-Bonnet and Mallee Ringneck were sighted.
On the way to Wyperfeld a couple of Spotted Harriers were seen in grain crops. At Wonga Campground at Wyperfeld  many Mallee species were found. Large flocks of White-browed and Masked Woodswallows were overhead giving their chap calls. A Major Mitchell Cockatoo was a great sighting along with my first Shy Heathwren in thick tea-tree. A short trip around the park to Eastern Lookout where a flock of beautiful Regent Parrots were seen as well as a Yellow-plumed Honeyeater and Splendid Fairy-wrens in the Mallee.
Early morning at Wonga Campground I was woken up by the plantive call of a Black-eared Cuckoo. A Southern Scrub-robin was also heard. My first Inland Thornbills for the trip were in thick scrub. On the way to Murray-Sunset National Park, a stop in native pine woodland near Patchewollock was worth it to see a White-browed Treecreeper. In Murray-Sunset we camped at Wymlet Tank. The dam still had a little water left in it but it was quite dry in the surrounding Mallee. A lot of Yellow Mallee was flowering which attrached hundreds of Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters around the camp. A Black Falcon was a great sighting flying high overhead. At night an Owlet-Nightjar was heard calling in the Mallee.
To be continued...  

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