RFI: Outback QLD, Birdsville, Strzelecki, Bowra, etc

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: RFI: Outback QLD, Birdsville, Strzelecki, Bowra, etc
From: "Drew Fulton" <>
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 15:14:03 +1000
Hey Everybody,
    Well, its just over a week since I got back from Cape York and here I am 
preparing for my next long trip.  This time I will be starting from Cairns and 
heading west to Karumba via Georgetown.  Then down to Mt. Isa for a few days 
and then onto Birdsville where I hope to spend a couple days in the Simpson 
Desert before going south on the Birdsville Track and then back north on the 
Strzelecki Track to Merty Merty, Tibooburra and eventually Eulo Bore and 
Cunnamulla via Currawinya National Park.  >From there I will work my way back 
to Brisbane where I will recover and figure out what is next.  So, since this 
really is my first time birding in this sort of environment i have a lot of 
    Can anyone provide any basic tips for birding this sort of area, 
particularly the Birdsville track and surrounds.  Does one simply drive along 
the track stopping at suitable looking places and any water?  I really have 
very little idea of what to expect and would love some basic info on how one 
would approach a trip like this from a birding perspective.  I am going to be 
doing this over a bit more than three weeks so while it is a lot of distance to 
cover, I won't be doing quite the whirlwind trip that Peter Waanders just 
completed.  I know its going to be October so expect hot so no need to warn me 
on that.  It is now or March and I figured this would probably be a better 
time, plus it works into my overall plan quite well.
    Alright, down to the specific species question.  After reading a number of 
trip reporst I am getting the impression that birds like Inland Dotterels, 
Australian Pratincole, some parrots, and others are simply going to be stumbled 
across while driving and don't have particular spots to check.  If I am wrong 
please correct me.  Below are the notes I have for key species after spending 
some time in the archives and in various books.  I would appreciate any new 
information or corrections to anything I have wrong.  Also, any suggestions for 
particular must visit sites would be greatly appreciated.

Letter-winged Kite - any recent sightings or known roots?  I haven't heard any 
reports that this is an irruption year for them, has anyone else?

Grey Falcon - I assume that this will be pure luck while driving but any 
specific sites to check?

Flock Bronzewing - any particular water holes to check?

Black-eared Cuckoo - this seems to be a bird commonly missed so I really don't 
have any info

Rufous-crowned Emu-wren  - any spots in the eastern part of their range? (I 
will be visitng WA and NT next year but thought I would try now)

Carpentarian Grasswren - McNamara's Road near Mt. Isa

Short-tailed Grasswren - Peter Waanders just had them at Stokes Hill but to be 
honest I don't know where that is.  Not sure if I will begtting far enough 
south for this one

Eyrean Grasswren - Birdsville Track at Koonchera Dune or Mungerania station.  
Other reports along Stzelecki (Montecollina Bore, Merty Merty).

Dusky Grasswren race ballarae - Mica Creek site

Thick-billed Grasswren - Lyndhurst site?

Grey Grasswren - is Adelaide gate the most reliable site these days?  where 
else are they being seen

Redthroat - no notes yet

Rufous Fieldwren - Lyndhurst Station sounds promising

Chestnut-breasted Whiteface - Are Thomas and Thomas's instructions still 
effective at Lyndhurst?  Are there any access issues here, aka, who do I call 
for access to the station?

Banded Whiteface - any good spots along the Strzelecki?

Black and Pied Honeyeaters - anything flowering of their liking?

Crimson and Orange Chats - Don't sound too difficult from trip reports.  Any 
particular spots good?

Yellow Chat - I am not finding much on this bird.  Thomas and Thomas mention 
the Pandie Burra Bore off of Birdsville.  Any other sites worth checking?

Cinnamon Quail-Thrush  - along the tracks somewhere?

Chestnut-breasted Quail-Thrush - Bowra/Eulo Bore areas

Black-throated Finch - any spots between the Atherton Tableland and Karumba?  
Are the dams at Georgetown still a reliable spot?

A note on grasswrens.  From all the recent talk about these birds I am quite 
intrigued and excited to do some searching.  The comment has been made several 
times that while checking specific spots is good, really many of these birds 
are in many other places with suitable habitat.  Does anyone have any photos of 
what "suitable" habitat is for the various species, ie healthy lignum, etc?  It 
would be a huge help for someone like me who is trying to learn everything he 
can but everything is new.

Also, if there is anything else you think I may have overlooked which is quite 
likely, please let me know.  I am also interested in any general info on teh 
Simpson Desert as I am trying to decide if I want to spend a day or two going 
in to Poeppel Corner from Birdsville (or other route) or if I should put that 
on the list of things to do some day in the future.

I guess I should say that while birds are my focus, specifically photographing 
them, I am interested in most things involving natural history so if anyone has 
any pointers or suggestions regarding anything please pass them along.

Once again, thanks for all of the help on this.  Hopefully I will have good 
things to report back by the end of the month.



Drew Fulton
Of Emus and Fairy-wrens: Photographing Australia's Endemic Birds

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