Trip report - NW Victoria, Nov. '07

Subject: Trip report - NW Victoria, Nov. '07
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 10:33:57 +1100
A brief report of a 10 day trip from Melbourne to St Arnaud (west of 
Bendigo), Ouyen and Mildura.

Late October and early November was an ideal time to visit some 
box-ironbark habitats south of St Arnaud (eg. St Arnaud Range Nat. Pk.) 
and the Victorian mallee districts.  There was plenty of evidence of 
breeding birds at many sites we visited.  North west Victoria has a suite 
of large and small bushland, nature and flora/fauna reserves throughout 
the countryside.

Armed with Chris Tzaros' great book on the box-ironbark, Geoff Durham's on 
Wyperfeld, Atlas of Victorian Wildlife species lists for various reserves 
and plenty of topographic maps for navigation we camped in St Arnaud Range 
Nat. Pk. then moved onto Wyperfeld N Pk, Mildura and finally Ouyen as a 
base for a few days.  Murray-Sunset and Hattah-Kulkyne Nat. Pks were 
visited along the way.

Some highlights were as follows:

- Regent Parrots at Wyperfeld camp and Lake Hattah
- Redthroat (3), Southern Scrub-robin and a field-wren on the Discovery 
Walk at Wyperfeld.  Unusually, we also got 2 Black Wallabies here.
- Cockatiel's, Bluebonnet, Pied Butcherbirds carolling and Mallee Ringneck 
at Tiega Bushland Reserve (west of Ouyen)
- White-browed Treecreeper in native pine just north of Walpeup
- A suite of waterbirds at Lake Yerang in Hattah-Kulkyne N Pk. (eg. Great 
and Intermediate Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Whiskered Tern in breeding plumage)
- Yellow Rosella and Regent Parrot at the Hattah N Pk information centre
- Great views of a pair of Crested Bellbird (male feeding a female) on the 
road near Cardross Lakes south of Mildura
- Chestnut-crowned Babblers at Carwarp Bushland Reserve south of Mildura
- Powerful Owl heard calling at Teddington Reservoir camp site, St Arnaud 
Range Nat. Pk.
- Great views of a Wedge-tailed Eagle on a rabbit kill at Bryces Rd., 
Narraport (east of Birchip)

Many of the mallee remnants we visited had mixed flocks of thornbills, 
Southern Whiteface and sometimes White-winged Trillers and robins as well. 
 Great to see young thornbills being fed by adults at many mallee sites. 
There was plenty of Brown Treecreepers, Rainbow Bee-eaters, Pied 
Butcherbirds and woodswallows about but few Rufous Songlarks.

Our most commonly encountered bird would have been White-browed 
Woodswallows in association with at least two other species of woodswallow 
(Masked and Black-faced).  The most widespread bird was the Red-rumped 
Parrot.  Remarkable to see how far the Common Blackbird is now in north 
western Victoria.  House Sparrows were also encountered in Black 
Box/Lignum woodland remnants, living quite independently of man ....

All the above sightings have been forwarded to the Atlas of Victorian 

The Victorian mallee is a superb place for birding ...

Durham, G. (2001) Wyperfeld: Australia's first mallee National Park. CSIRO 
Publishing, Collingwood.
Tzaros, C. (2005) Wildlife of the Box-Ironbark Country.  CSIRO Publishing, 

Martin O'Brien

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