Trip Report: Cootamundra-Junee-Wagga NSW

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Subject: Trip Report: Cootamundra-Junee-Wagga NSW
From: "alan morris" <>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2006 18:15:44 +1000

I recently attended a conference organised by the Bird Observers Club of Australia (BOCA) held at the Charles Sturt University Campus, about 5 km NW of Wagga Wagga. On the way down from the Central Coast I made by first birding spot at Bethungra, a village part way between Cootamundra & Junee on the Olympic Highway.

I spent some time checking out the Migurra Track, about 3 km N of Bethungra between the Highway and the railway line, constructed by the local Landcare Group. Quite a number of interesting birds here including White-winged Choughs and Grey-crowned Babblers, and a Painted Honeyeater was heard but not seen. I then moved up to the Bethungra Railway crossing and took the side road on the left before the crossing that leads along the railway line. This passes through a large patch of Mugga Ironbark and some Western Grey Box which has plenty of Mistletoe. A colony of Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters occur here and in the past I generally see and hear Superb Parrots. This time last year I had two nesting pairs of Painted Honeyeaters at this spot. None were found nesting although it may not be far off as there were atleast 2 singing males performing well! Also here was my first adult male White-winged Triller for the season in NSW, as well as Mistletoebird, Spotted & Straited Pardalotes and Rufous Whistler.

I stayed onsite at the campus and between our accommodation and the Conference room on campus, there were a number of Yellow Box trees in flower, and up to 18 Superb Parrots seemed to be resident there during my stay. Other birds seen in and around the conference building were a pair of Blue-faced Honeyeaters with 2 young recently fledged, nesting Striated Pardalote & Eastern Rosella, Yellow Rosella, Double-barred Finch, Rufous Songlark, Pied Butcherbird, Rufous Whistler, Yellow-rumped Thornbill & Dusky Woodswallow etc. Nearby, along River Road, in the TSR were more Superb Parrots (max 14), reported to be nesting, 14 Glossy Ibis on a drying out Billabong, Brown Treecreeper, Kestrel, Golden & Rufous Whistler, Wood Duck with 8 tiny ducklings, Little Friarbird etc

On Friday we had an excursion to Ganmain, where the local Landcare Group there showed us their tree planting and bush care efforts in establishing a wildlife corridor, known as Mujurna Trail, that connects some state forests either side of the town with their own reserve along the Creek. Birds seen here included a Blue-winged Parrot, Rufous Whistler, Little Frairbird, Grey Shrike-thrush, Tree Martin, White-breasted Woodswallow, Peaceful Dove etc. We finished this day at the Junee STW where a Black Falcon was seen just before we arrived at the STW, a Hobby made a pass over, and about 300 Plumed Whistling Duck, 62 Masked Lapwing, Whiskered Tern in breeding plumage, many Pinkear, Shoveler & Hardhead, 3 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were some of the waterbirds seen.

On the return home, I stopped off firstly near Ilabo, north of Junee, where on a small wetland there was a Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Brown Songlark in the neighbouring paddocks, and a Brown Falcon flew over, and secondly at Jindalee SF, located about 12 km N of Cootamundra. Here I found nesting Fuscous Honeyeater, many Brown Treecreepers, White-browed Babbler, more Peaceful Doves, a small group of White-browed & Dusky Woodswallow, Zebra Finch, Rufous Songlark, Brown-headed & White-plumed Honeyeater, as well as the more common woodland birds.

All together a pleasant few days birding to complement a very worthwhile conference.

Alan Morris

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