Just back from a fantastic trip to South Australia. Thank you to all those
that provided me with the necessary information and best sites etc. I will
send it in two parts.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA TRIP - OCTOBER 9th -15th 2004
We arrived in Adelaide about 9 A.M. and picked up our hire car from the
airport and headed north. Our first stop was the salt lakes and surrounds on
the road to Port Gawler.
There were plenty of Whiskered Terns patrolling the air above the lakes.
Other highlights included several White-fronted Chats together with 3
Slender-billed Thornbills and a party of White-winged Fairywrens.
Our next stop was east of Hammond, just south of Quorn to visit friends.
Their farmhouse is just above a permanent water hole in the creek and
several different species were seen here. A pair of Black-fronted Dotterel
were attending 3 eggs in the rocky edge of the driveway, seven Black-tailed
Native-hens were around the edges. Southern Whiteface, Black-eared Cuckoo
and Horsefield's Bronze-Cuckoo were other highlights.
After overnighting in Quorn we headed north through Parachilna on route to
Several more White-fronted Chats were seen between Quorn and Hawker and as
we drew closer to Parachilna we started seeing Crimson Chats, Chirruping
Wedgebills and Emus.
Just south of Lyndhurst we saw the first of many Orange Chats, Australian
Pratincoles and 3 Banded Lapwings. We checked into the Lyndhurst Elsewhere
Hotel and headed straight out to the famous "Thomas & Thomas "
Chestnut-breasted Whiteface site. As previously reported, this is on private
property and it is courteous to ring the managers and ask permission before
entering. There was no problem doing this but they do get upset if people
wander around unannounced which is understandable. Also as has been
mentioned before, the first site with the two gates is 27 km from Lyndhurst,
not 26km as mentioned in T & T.
Recent rains have transformed the area and this was obviously good for
There were many Orange Chats nesting here and a couple we must have got too
close to as both the male & female did the "broken wing" routine. A single
Rufous Fieldwren was seen here on the flats. Heading to the "hills" we saw
several parties of White- winged Fairywrens and then distant views of 2
Thick-billed Grasswrens in a small bush. Over the next rise we found a small
party of 4 Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, which appeared to be 2 adults and 2
immature. We had great close and extended views of them feeding on the
ground in front of us before they flew off. We had then spent about an hour
there and three of my four target birds had been seen!
We then visited the "rusty car" site, 1 km down the road, and saw another 2
CBWF here, the male being much more coloured than the one seen earlier. A
party of 4 Chirruping Wedgebill was seen as well. After what was to be just
a quick 2-hour reconnoitre for the next morning we managed to see all the
target birds except Cinnamon Quail-thrush. We returned to Lyndhurst for the
night and after enjoying the hospitality of the local pub didn't get to bed
until quite late. However this only delayed the early morning start from
5.00 to 5.30 A.M. !
On the way up the Strezelecki Track back to the CBWF site, we added a few
birds not seen the day before, such as Spotted Harrier , Little Eagle and a
fast flock of 8 Budgerigars. Five Wedge-tailed Eagles were seen on the
ground a couple of hundred metres off the track. At the "gates site" we
found 13 CBWF, and got really good looks at 2 Thick-billed Grasswrens as the
male chased the female through bushes and along the ground. They also sat in
a dead bush offering excellent views. At the rusty car site we saw 2 CBWF
and along with the day before, Chirruping Wedgebills. Other species seen
here were, Zebra Finch, Red-backed Kingfisher, Black-faced Woodswallow,
Crested Pigeon, Richard's Pipit, Brown Songlark, Galahs, Little Corella, and
Singing and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters, and four Nankeen Kestrels.
On the way back to Lyndhurst we stopped about 5 kms down the road (23 kms
from Lyndhurst) where there were more Orange & Crimson Chats and also a pair
of Rufous Songlarks and I flushed a Little Button Quail.
In the afternoon we headed south via Copley, where we had a great lunch, and
visited Aroona Dam just south of Leigh Creek. The surprise here (for me
anyway) was seeing 12 Musk Duck the majority of which were males so maybe
the females were on nests somewhere. Other water birds seen included:
Hoary-headed Grebes, Eurasian Coot, Hardhead and Little Pied Cormorants.
Below the dam wall Variegated Fairywrens were common. Heading back to
Lyndhurst we found more Black-tailed Native-hens at a dam on the outskirts
of Lyndhurst and 2 White-backed Swallows at the Ochre Cliffs, 5 kms north of
The next morning we headed south again to Parachilna where we stayed
overnight. The hospitality and food were fantastic. We checked in and
visited Brachina Gorge in the Flinders Ranges where we easily found
Redthroat and Elegant Parrots, Chestnut-rumped Thornbills, Grey-fronted
Honeyeaters and Rainbow Bee-eaters. The afternoon was very windy and 40
degrees so we decided to spend the afternoon at the bar at the Parachilna
Hotel, tough but somebody had to do it.
A pair of very opportunistic , or crazy , Zebra Finches had built a nest
between the two metal sheets of the sign to Parachilna Gorge and Blinman.
They would not have to sit on the eggs to incubate them at those
To be continued ...
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