Fivebough Conference/Fair

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Subject: Fivebough Conference/Fair
From: "Neville Schrader" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 12:25:56 +1100
After four educational and enjoyable days at the conference and fair, and 
afternoon at the swamp was a welcome break. There appeared to be no end to the 
waterbirds to be found at Fivebough and the highlights were to see the three 
species of crake ( Ballion, Spotted, Spotless) all feeding together in the 
open, so that good views were obtained by just about everyone. The afternoon 
arrival of Glossy Ibis (8000 - 10000) to roost after a day in the rice paddy's 
was spectacular, as was the large number of Whiskered Tern (1000+). It was 
impossible to estimate the number of Sharpe-tailed Sandpipers but they would 
have to have been 100+ birds along with smaller number of Marsh Sandpipers and 
a single Wood Sandpiper. The Little and Brown Bittern's were calling but didn't 
show their face  out of the reeds. the same can't be said for the Clamorous 
Reedwarblers, Little Marshbirds and Golden-headed Cisticola. If you haven't 
visited Fivebough make the efforts its worth it.

After the fair was over we spent two days looking around Leeton and Griffith 
though the oppressive heat limited some activities, despite the heat we went to 
Binya SF (27.11.2006) to find signs at the entrance proclaiming to all this was 
a Shooter Forest followed by a sign stating no shooting, its getting confusing. 
Despite this the first bird heard calling was a Painted Honeyeater and then 
followed by a multiple of sightings. A single rare hot Diamond Firetail was 
also sighted along with a Gilbert Whistler.  We then continued up the Stock 
route to Cocoparra NP hoping it would be a little cooler , no such luck and 
bush birds were few and far between, so a retreat to Leeton was decided on 
especially the air-conditioning.

It looked like the heat was not going to end so we decided to move camp to Lake 
Cargelligo, on the way we called into Rankin Springs to find they had just 
released a "Bird Routes of the Rankin Springs region". A great little 
publication, unfortunately we couldn't take the time to explore some of the 
locations they suggest. At Lake Cargelligo we found the lake to be about half 
full and not overly populated with birds . Great Crested Grebes 29.11.2006 were 
observed as were Australian Shelducks, Little Black Cormorants and Whiskered 

A  check of the local Sewage ponds revealed Red-capped Plovers (4), Orange Chat 
(30+), Baillions (2) and Spotted Crake (6) and Black-tailed Nativehens (20). At 
the caravan park a single Olive-backed Oriole and four Pink Cockatoos were 
feeding in the Gum trees and enjoying the sprinklers.

The following day 30.11.2006 we headed out to Hillston along the river road 
checking Lake Brewster on the way. L. Brewster itself was dry but the weir 
still held a reasonable amount of water, besides the usual cormorants Little 
Pied, Black and Little Black) feeding below the weir along with the three 
species of Egret (Large, Intermiate and Little). A pair of Yellow Rosellas were 
of interest since they are rarely reported in the Lachlan Catchment. A Hillston 
the Sports lake was nearly dry and had large numbers of glossy (500+) and Egret 
species (Large, Intermiate and Little) were feeding in mud.Other species were 
Royal Spoonbill (10) and Yellow-billed spoonbill (4) along with two Marsh 
Sandpipers. A single Spotted Harrier flew over but didn't appear interested in 
the congregation of waterbirds, the same can't be said for the Whistlering 

On our return we travelled the Rankin Spring road to locate the Loughnan Nature 
Reserve a small mallee area surrounded by cultivation, Whilst only an hour was 
sent in the reserve few birds were seen I guess due to the drought, though I 
was surprised to see Mallee actual flowering and that was were we observed 
Yellow-plumed (2) and Brown-headed Honeyeaters (4).

Another hot day a LC meant we didn't go birding until the afternoon to Crystal 
Waters were we observed 33 Banded Lapwing at the waters edge most being 
immatures. There was nothing else new to be seen so we returned to the Sewage 
ponds to again locate the Orange Chats, at the entrance a immature 
Black-shouldered Kite was found hanging from the fence at first we though it 
was caught on the barb -wire but on catching it was found the bird was starving 
and subsequently died later. The parents were feeding in the location but 
completely ignored the bird. Life's tough in a drought. The Orange Chats were 
soon relocated along with a Single Brown Songlark and two Stubble Quail the 
last reluctant to leave its patch of seed. The crakes were still present and 
feeding well out from the reeds so excellent views were obtained.

Leaving LC on the 2.12.2006 we headed for Condobolin and home a short stop at a 
creek near Condobolin produced Eastern Rosellas, Jacky Winter, Purple-backed 
Fairy-wrens, Little Friarbirds and Sacred Kingfishers. A visit to Gum Lake  
found the lake nearly dry but full of waterbirds, which include 50 Royal 
Spoonbills, (60) White-necked Herons, Grey-crowned Babblers and Rainbow 
Bee-eaters were feeding on the edge of the lake.

Overall a great week and a half without travelling a long way from home.

Neville W. Schrader OAM
2 Elizabeth St.,
Parkes NSW 2870

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