Thanks for answering my questions.
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08/11/2007 05:28 <>
RE: [Birding-Aus] Trip Report -
Hay-Griffith-Hillston (NSW) -
4-6 Nov 2007 (long)
Marnix (and others).
Answers to your questions.
The white cones at Loghnan will almost certainly be marking Malleefowl
mounds so that they can be picked up from during aerial surveys. If there
was no obvious mound there they are probably very old and inactive for a
long time. The mound that was active near the southern boundary in the
1990s certainly had a cone nearby but I can't remember the number.
The Dragon sounds like a Nobbi (depends on the size, Mallee Dragons are
quite small - maximum of 15cm total length).
The snake would not be a Death Adder (very rare in western NSW) and Mulga,
and the two Brown Snakes do all occur in the area, but the Eastern Brown is
the commonest species.
The sign refers to a Rankins Springs Bird Trail that a resident of the
Springs was trying to set up. She got money for the signs but nothing (at
least last year) for the brochures or anything else. Carrathool Shire was
the council funding it but not certain what progress has been made.
Hope this helps.
> Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2007 12:17:04 +1100
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Trip Report - Hay-Griffith-Hillston (NSW) - 4-6
Nov 2007 (long) [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
> I have just returned from a wonderful few days out west visiting birding
> spots near Griffith, Hay, Hillston and Rankin Springs. I'd like to thank
> everyone who replied to my requests for information. Overall I picked up
> 'lifers' - Brolga, Australian Pratincole, Chestnut Quail-thrush,
> White-browed Treecreeper and Major Mitchell's Cockatoo. The White-fronted
> Honeyeaters and Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters were a highlight as well
> considering the dearth of honeyeaters around at the moment.
> The weather was varied with unseasonal cold plus rain on Sunday. It did
> rise above 14 degrees in Griffith all day! After about 3pm the rain set
> and it did not stop. Monday and Tuesday, however, were both mild and
> - around 21-23 degrees - perfect for all day birding, despite the
> occasional gusts of wind. The rain did make most unsealed tracks muddy
> some impassable, especially in the mallee country. On the other hand the
> rain produced some flowering of flowers and attracted many birds to the
> roadside puddles.
> SUNDAY 4 NOVEMBER
> The day started, unfortunately, with the sad sight of 3 dead Superb
> lying by the Barton Highway just outside of Canberra.
> Junee Wetland and Boardwalk
> 1 BROWN QUAIL, 1 LITTLE GRASSBIRD (heard).
> Old Junee
> 1 SUPERB PARROT.
> Narranderra Wetlands
> A Koala mum craddling a youngster some 3 metres up. Wonderful sight. 4
> SUPERB PARROTS, 1 WHITE-NECKED HERON.
> Oolambeyan National Park
> In torrential rain 4 AUSTRALIAN PRATINCOLES and >70 BANDED LAPWINGS
> 2 dependant young) along eastern boundary fence. Several BLACK KITES on
> road in.
> Darlington Point
> >300 LITTLE CORELLAS, 1 SUPERB PARROT.
> Fivebough Swamp
> 1,000s of GREY TEAL, >500 GLOSSY IBIS, >100 BLACK-TAILED NATIVE-HENS, 60
> WHISKERED TERNS, 28 RED-NECKED AVOCET, 15 MARSH SANDPIPERS, 5
> SANDPIPERS, 8 HARDHEAD, 1 CHESTNUT TEAL (male), 2 AUSTRALASIAN SHOVELER,
> WHITE-FRONTED CHATS, 20 RED-KNEED DOTTERELS, 3 separate groups of
> VARIEGATED FAIRY-WRENS, 3 SPOTTED CRAKES, 1 BAILLON'S CRAKE, 40
> SHELDUCK, LITTLE GRASSBIRDS and GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA were common, 1
> SWAMP HARRIER, >50 BLACK-WINGED STILTS,1 GREAT EGRET, 2 INTERMEDIATE
> EGRETS, 2 CATTLE EGRETS, 3 ROYAL SPOONBILLS,7 PELICANS, 1 DARTER, 1
> HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO, several FAIRY MARTINS. 24 BROLGA flew into the
> ephemeral swamp at dusk. What an awesome sight to behold from the Hooey
> Lookout. Pairs and small groups flew off and over the swamp all morning
> next day.
> MONDAY 5 NOVEMBER
> Spent the night in Griffith. I revisited Fivebough Swamp in the morning
> have merged sightings from both visits above.
> 1 MAJOR MITCHELL'S COCKATOO.
> Binya State Forest
> 2 BAR-SHOULDERED DOVES (Along Whitton Stock Route by puddle in middle of
> road), 2 WHITE-BROWED TREECREEPERS (Along road to Mt Brogden Walking
> 500m from Whitton Stock Route), Black-eared Cuckoo (possibly heard at
> in road towards Spring Hill), BROWN TREECREEPERS (nesting in large euc.
> crossroads of Whitton Stock Route, Mallee Rd, Spring Hill Rd), 3
> SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATERS (at start of road to Mt Brogden Walking Track),
> HOODED ROBINS (male and juvenile), plenty of other birds such as
> CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILLS, RED-CAPPED & YELLOW ROBINS, WHITE-BROWED
> BABBLERS, SITTELLAS, SPECKLED WARBLERS, WHITEFACES.
> 1 CATTLE EGRET (br. plumage).
> Campbell's Swamp
> There was surprisingly some water present after the rains. 4 COCKATIEL, 2
> SWAMP HARRIERS, 2 WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOWS (nesting), 1 SINGING
> HONEYEATER, MISTLETOEBIRDS.
> Nericon Swamp
> Bone dry. Only birds were several MISTLETOEBIRDS and WEEBILLS.
> Lake Wyangan
> All seen in drying patch of lake along causeway between northern and
> southern lakes: 10 SPOTTED CRAKES, 1 MARSH SANDPIPER, 1 SHARP-TAILED
> SANDPIPER, 5 RED-KNEED DOTTERELS, 1 GREAT EGRET, 2 CHESTNUT TEAL, 1
> BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL, 2 DARTERS, LITTLE GRASSBIRD (heard), >30
> BLACK-TAILED NATIVE-HENS, 2 LITTLE EGRETS, 9 PELICANS, 11 BLACK-TAILED
> Merriwagga State Forest
> 1 Shingleback Skink.
> 1 dead Major Mitchell's Cockatoo along highway.
> Kidman Way
> The section of road between Hillston and Matakana produced an EMU,
> Western Grey Kangaroos, 6 COCKATIEL, several GREY-CROWNED BABBLERS,
> BEE-EATERS and a BLACK KITE. 2 BROWN TREECREEPERS and a BLACK KITE by the
> Lachlan River.
> Nombinnie Nature Reserve
> I explored the mallee along One Eye Fire Trail looking for Malleefowl and
> spent an hour at a woodland site in the water supply reserve just off the
> Kidman Way. In the woodland the grassland was carpeted in flowers which
> attracted many birds to feed on the insects. In the mallee I found
> BELLBIRD, INLAND THORNBILL, SPLENDED FAIRY-WREN, MULGA PARROTS and
> RED-CAPPED ROBINS. In the grassy woodland I had RAINBOW BEE-EATERS,
> WHITE-BROWED WOODSWALLOWS, BLUE BONNETS, MASKED WOODSWALLOWS, SITTELLAS,
> WHITEFACE, RESTLESS FLYCATCHER, HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO, TRILLERS,
> WINTER, STRIPED HONEYEATERS, SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER, BROWN FALCON and
> GREY-CROWNED BABBLERS.
> TUESDAY 6 NOVEMBER
> Spent the night in Hillston.
> Lake Woorabinda (Hillston)
> A picturesque but drying lake along the Lachlan River. >200 LITTLE
> CORELLAS, 150 GLOSSY IBIS plus both other ibis species, 2 LITTLE EGRETS,
> INTERMEDIATE EGRETS, 6 GREAT EGRETS, 12 PELICANS, 22 YELLOW-BILLED
> SPOONBILLS, 18 ROYAL SPOONBILLS, 3 BLACK-FRONTED DOTTERELS (incl. 1
> 3 RED-KNEED DOTTERELS (incl. 1 juvenile), 100 BLACK-WINGED STILTS, 1
> WHITE-NECKED HERON, 2 MARSH SANDPIPERS, 10 SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS. Along
> the shore and river were LITTLE FRIARBIRDS, SACRED KINGFISHER, YELLOW
> ROSELLAS and GREY-CROWNED BABBLERS.
> Loughnan Nature Reserve
> I spent almost 4 hours in the morning exploring the 365 ha mallee
> I did not find any sign of Malleefowl. The land is crisscrossed with roo
> tracks and I saw both Western Grey Kangaroo and Red Kangaroos (Are they
> found here?). I couldn't even find a track which led to the inactive
> in the SW corner. I entered the reserve at the SW corner and explored a
> large section, then I drove to the NW corner and explored a section
> and finally I entered the reserve just south of an open wooded spot and
> explored there. The undoubted highlight was a single female CHESTNUT
> QUAIL-THRUSH. I later flushed what I think was the same bird further in.
> All up Loughnan was very quite and required a lot more work to find birds
> than I suspect Round Hill would for example have taken. Despite this my
> persistence paid some dividends with good close views of a male CRESTED
> BELLBIRD in a mallee, a single YELLOW-PLUMED HONEYEATER, 3 STRIATED
> PARDALOTES (I was hoping to see the Yellow-rumped race of Spotted), both
> INLAND and CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILLS and many groups of SPLENDID
> FAIRY-WRENS and RED-CAPPED ROBINS. Also RINGNECKS and MULGA PARROTS,
> BEE-EATERS, BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATERS, a WESTERN GERYGONE and WEEBILLS. A
> BROWN SONGLARK was in a field across the road. No sign of any Shy
> Heathwrens unfortunately. The mallee I saw did not seem dense enough to
> support Southern Scrub-robin either.
> Near the SW corner I found some large white cones with numbers on them.
> first one had 08, the second 65. I couldn't find anymore. I wonder if
> anyone has any idea what they could mean?
> Other highlights were a dragon with a bright yellow dorsal stripe and a
> possible second thinner, vaguer stripe nearer its belly. Could this be a
> Mallee Dragon or was it just a Nobbi Dragon (ssp. coggeri)? The tail end
> a snake disappearing down a burrow at the base of a shrub. It was a dark
> sand to brown-red colour with lighter bands. It didn't look like a Death
> Adder. What could it have been? Do Western Browns occur this far east? Do
> Mulga Snakes occur here? Or was it just an Eastern Brown?
> Also the biggest native cockroaches I have ever seen. There were quite a
> number around, some disappearing down burrows. I took a photo of one in
> case anyone can identify them. Happy to forward it.
> Monia Gap Road
> This unsealed road runs for 91 kms from Hillston to Rankin Springs. More
> common roadside birds were RINGNECKS, BLUE BONNETS, APOSTLEBIRDS and
> YELLOW-THROATED MINERS. An Echidna was crossing the road at one point. I
> then found a hotspot some 28 kms before Rankin Springs with roadside
> plantings(?) of acacia and other shrubs among some pines. Water had
> collected in roadside puddles attracting birds and a large Eremophila was
> flowering nearby. Feeding from the flowers were 3 WHITE-FRONTED
> and many YELLOW-THROATED MINERS. Nearby were MULGA PARROTS and an EMU
> 2 chicks and another Shingleback Skink. At an empty dam nearby there was
> strange sign: "Half Way Dam - Bird Watch No.7'. I wonder what this could
> mean? Is this a stop on a known birdwatching route? I have never heard of
> Rankin Springs
> 4 EMU
> Taleeban Mallee
> The road in was wet and muddy and I had to park a km short and walk in
> rest of the way. At the NW corner the area was flooded. When I finally
> in I obtained good views of CRESTED BELLBIRD, SPLENDID FAIRY-WREN,
> VARIEGATED FAIRY-WREN, CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL, RED-CAPPED ROBIN,
> RINGNECKS and many YELLOW-PLUMED HONEYEATERS. This species was by far the
> most common honeyeater present. Overhead I watched a LITTLE EAGLE. I
> believe I heard a Gilbert's Whistler as well but couldn't track it down.
> Unfortunately I could only spend an hour here. I would have liked to
> longer as I had seen Shy Heathwren and Spotted Nightjar at this site in
> spring 2003.
> Yiddah Creek (West Wyalong)
> 1 ROYAL SPOONBILL, 1 GREAT EGRET.
> 2 SUPERB PARROTS, 2 COCKATIEL.
> Yeo Yeo (Jindalee)
> 1 COCKATIEL.
> 6 COCKATIEL.
> 1 BROWN SONGLARK.
> Marnix Zwankhuizen
> Senior Analyst/Programmer
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