Desert Parks Trip Part 2...

Subject: Desert Parks Trip Part 2...
From: "Michael Ramsey" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2004 14:14:28 +1000
The morning at Wymlet tank was beautiful as well as the first Mulga Parrot for the trip. Birds were otherwise quiet at this location. Red-capped Robins singing in the trees were great. Next stop was Mournpall Camping area at Hattah-Kulkyne National park. the surrounding mallee here was filled with birds. I was thrilled to see two new species, a Crested Bellbird with it's beautiful, if what somewhat manic song, and a lone Mallee Emu-wren in spinifex. What a great sighting. A Major Mitchell Cockatoo was feeding in grass, Mallee Ringnecks were commen here. On a drive down to the Murray River a White-winged Fairy-wren was spotted in saltbush. Many Emus were along the river as well. A flock of Apostelbirds was also seen. Great little birds.
Off the Mungo National Park through Mildura. A stop at the waste water treatment plant was fantastic. So many birds here and my scope got a lot of use. Black Ducks, Grey Teal and Australian Shelducks all had ducklings. Black-winged Stilts were very common. A White-bellied Sea-eagle being harrassed by Noisy Miners was great to see. On the road to Mungo a pair of Black-faced Woodswallows were the first for the trip. At Main Camp at mungo there were many cheeky Apostlebirds, snatching food from campers. They were also breeding along with Yellow-rumped Thronbills and Southern Whitefaces. A pair of Red-backed kingfishers, my first sighting was great. They reminded me a lot of butcherbirds.  On the lake floor a Spotted Harrier was see. The eroded lunette "the walls of china" was beautiful at dusk. Here White-backed Swallows were seen as well as a flock of Little Crows.
A long trip to Melbourne ahead of us but much of it was broken up by birding. On Arumpo Road to Balranald major Mitchell Cockatoos, Crested Bellbird, Inland Thornbill, Emus and Black-faced Woodswallows were seen in Mallee along the road. Near Kylalite near Swan Hill, a small flock of Cockatiel were seen, the only seen on the trip. Brown Songlarks were also seen giving their songflights in paddocks. Reedy lake near Kerang was fantastic. A bird hide here revealed views of thousands of Straw-necked and lesser numbers of White Ibis nesting in Lingum. I estimated almost 10,000 Straw-necked Ibis. Three pairs of Swamp Harriers harried over the swamp while White-breasted Woodswallows patrolled overhead. The last stop for the trip was Pyramid Hill were Singing Honeyeaters were calling in wattles around the summit.
Overall we saw 175 species. I had listed 52 arid or Mallee species I aimed to see and of that I saw 36. Some that still elude me, and probably others are the Red-lored Whistler, Chestnut Quail-thrush and Striated Grasswren. Oh well, can only plan another trip.
Michael Ramsey, Whittlesea, Victoria,

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