Pat and I recently completed a trip to the Strzelecki Desert, departing
Quorn SA. on 01 July, travelling via Yandama Bore, Tilcha Creek, SE.
corner of Strz. Regional reserve, then to Kaln Bore to Cameron Corner
and then to Thargomindah via Tickalara and Bulloo Downs Station, then to
Innamincka via Coopers Xng, then to Strzelecki Creek (Caroowinnie
Waterhole) returning to civilization via Mulligan Springs on Lake
Callabonna and Hamilton Creek on old Moolawatana (14 July). North and
east of Wooltana Station the country has responded to recent rains,
birds are abundant, many are breeding and some of the ephemeral swamps
and lakes on the eastern side of the desert are inundated.
Although less rain has fallen than at other past notable periods, the
country is responding well producing excellent birding, as good as any
observed since the wet years of the seventies. Possibly due to the
absence of significant rabbit populations (Calici virus), ephemeral
vegetation is more dense than for comparable rainfall events but prickly
weeds are more widespread in many areas.
Bird List. 126 species were recorded. I have added comments to
9 birds seen at Yandama Bore. We observed one only at Tilcha
Bore approx 50 km. NNE. of Yandama Bore about 25 years ago.
Small numbers on most inundated lakes and swamps. Nesting on clumps
surrounded by water at many sites some also with chicks up to a week old.
Only 2 seen and heard. Conspicuous by their absence. Normally
widespread across the acacia plains
Bronzewing Pigeon Common
Large numbers along the Coolabah creeks across the region
Bulloo Downs and Tickalara
1 at Caroowinnie Waterhole
Sitting on nest Strzelecki Creek
Large numbers seen across the whole area
Large numbers across Tickalara and Bulloo Downs but numbers not yet
present in the Strzelecki Creek.
Cormorant Large Black
Up to 100 seen daily on the move north Strz. Ck.
First heard calling on 3rd July north of Yandama Bore Seen and heard
daily across NE. SA. and SW. Qld. since
Dotterel Australian (Inland).
Large numbers mostly single or in pairs across the dune swales of the
NE. Strzelecki Desert. Nesting
Large numbers in many areas. Population is increasing compared to
Many hundreds in some area nesting
Duck White-eyed (Hardhead)
Good numbers at Cooper Xng.
Seen at several locations across the dune fields. Easily accessible
family group observed along dune crest next to Strzelecki Track.
S 29 08.003 E 140 05.828
Small numbers on many of the inundated lakes NE. Strz. desert south west
of Cameron Corner
Harrier Spotted Common
Large numbers spread across NE. Strz. desert and SW. Qld. Many hundreds
across area with up to 20 on many inundated swamps
Only one seen at Poontana Creek. Expected to see many more however,
like Crested Bellbird, conspicuous by absence in such conditions.
Exceptional nomadic irruption occurring across NE. SA. and SW.
Queensland. Most days produce hundreds of sightings
Honeyeater Singing (Black-faced)
Very common along Coolabah Creeks
300+ at Caroowinnie
Kite Fork-tailed (Black)
roosting near top of Coolabah 5km north of Strzelecki
crossing (Old Strz. track)
Large numbers breeding under tree trunks of flooded coolabahs
Native Hen Black-tailed
Parrot Mallee Ringneck
Cooper Creek subspecies common at Tinga Tingana
Pigeon Flock. 7 birds flying fast south towards NSW. in a tight flock
Plover Banded. (Lapwing)
Unusually large irruption across the NE. Strz. desert and SW
Queensland. Breeding in most areas some on eggs and some with advanced
Plover Masked (Lapwing)
small numbers NE. Strzelecki Desert mainly around margins of lakes. Not
usual at this time of year. Apparently not nesting yet
Widespread and common
Irruption across dunefields
Irrupting along Coolabah creeks
1 male at Yandama Bore seeking hollows at dusk. Small numbers at Innamincka
Stilt White-headed (Black-winged)
Hundreds some with recently hatched young at many suitable habitats
Small numbers across area
Whistle-Duck Water. (Whistling Tree Duck)
Not usual in this area. 9 at Curraweena Waterhole on Stzelecki Creek.
3 at Jackson oil field roadside dam
In small numbers spread across the dune fields
Irruption occurring in Strzelecki desert
Irruption occurring in Strzelecki desert Ratio 5:1 with Masked
Thats about all for now. We intend to revisit some of these areas next
week so will post an update on our return
Regards and good birding
Ian and Pat May
Mob. 0428 337 956
Home (08) 88376212
PO Box 110
St Helens Tas. (03)63761966
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