Tip Report - Sydney - Canberra - Chiltern - Hattah - Sydney April 2009 (

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Subject: Tip Report - Sydney - Canberra - Chiltern - Hattah - Sydney April 2009 (longish)
From: "Troy Mutton" <>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 16:29:49 +1000
Hi birders,

Sorry for the belated trip report. Have been too busy with uni, work and
birding to get around to writing it up!

I had to go to Albury for 8 days of residential school for university,
so decided that I'd get some birding done at the same time. I chose to
camp in Chiltern and commute to Albury each day, as that would give me
at the very least the mornings to go birding, and was much cheaper than
staying in Albury itself. Some photos from the trip are here

12 April 2009 - Sydney - Wagga Wagga via Canberra

Left Sydney fairly early and drove to Canberra. First stop was the
Newline Paddock heading out towards Queenbeyan, where the birds were
plentiful. A couple of Speckled Warbler, loads of Dusky Woodswallow, and
a couple of Southern Whiteface were the highlight here. Headed out to
Fyshwick STW afterwards to get onto some Blue-billed Ducks, which I duly
did. Nothing much else unusual about, so it was off to Wagga Wagga where
I was crashing at my aunty's place. On the way, came across a pair of
Wedge-tailed Eagles circling low just north of Gundagai - I love those

13 April 2009 - Wagga Wagga - Chiltern

After a night out on the town eating one of the mildest Indian Curries
I've ever had, I was up early and out and about. First stop was Berry
Jerry SF to the west of Wagga Wagga. I swing by Berry Jerry every time
I'm in the area, and this was the best visit yet. Restless Flycatchers,
Red-capped and Scarlet Robins (the former ended up being possibly the
most common bird of the trip), Crested Shrike-tit and some very tame
Brown Treecreepers were the highlight. Next stop The Rock, just south of
Uranquinty. Pulled over to get some photos of a Hobby, and plugged in
the battery charger after getting some shots off. Bam - no music, mirror
control or power to any of my cigarrette lighter powered things. Got the
manual out, couldn't find the "Instrument Panel Fuse Box" so decided I
should probably go to Albury and get this sorted out. Ended up being up
behind the glovebox, but it meant I missed The Rock this time. Continued
on my trip to Chiltern, and the first of many visits to the Honeyeater
Picnic Area.

14-21 April 2009 - Chiltern to Albury

Visited pretty much all the spots I wanted to go to in Chiltern, except
for Mt Pilot. I also got everything that I was after, which were
specifically Painted Button-quail (at Honeyeater Picnic Area),
Grey-crowned Babbler (Fisher's Road) and Diamond Firetail (under the
train tracks at Wenkes Road). Other good birds were 3 White-breasted
Woodswallow at Dam #1, 1 Black-chinned Honeyeater at Donchi Hill Road
(is it Donkey or Donchi Hill?), Turquoise Parrot at Bartley's Block, and
a few close encounters with Whistling Kites around Chiltern itself.

22 April 2009 - Chiltern to Hattah-Kulkyne NP, via Lake Tyrell

The wind was starting to pick up as the first of 3 cold fronts began to
make an impact on the area, and by the time I got to Lake Tyrell, it was
blowing a gale. Managed to get on to a pair of Rufous Fieldwren and
Singing Honeyeater, but everythign else (except the flies) was blown
away. Up to Hattah where I first set up camp at Lake Mournpall, then
went to check out the Nowingi Track briefly. It was pretty much dark by
the time I got there, so back to the campsite to head out there the next

23 April 2009 - Hattah-Kulkyne, Bronzewing FFR, Wymlet Tank.

Out early to the Nowingi Track, where I managed to find Malleefowl
footprints, but no Malleefowl, heard and saw a very quickly flying away
Striated Grasswren, and had no joy with Emu-wren despite walking around
for about 3 hours. The wind had picked up to around 40-50 kmh at this
stage, and the noise of the bark moving in the wind pretty much made
hearing anything very difficult. Also saw what I assume was Tim Dolby's
footprints (he'd been there a couple of days before), which helped me to
not get lost - thanks Tim! Flushed a pair of Regent Parrot and watched
them fly away, thinking that would be my only sighting - satisfactory,
but not great. Back near the start of the Nowingi Track, I headed to the
North side, up the small hill, and found a great little hotspot of
birds, including 1 Chestnut Quail-thrush, Crested Bellbird, Rufous
Whistler, both pardalotes, Singing and White-eared Honeyeater, and Jacky
Winter. The Quail-thrush was a bonus bird, as I wasn't expecting to find
one there.

Next headed out to Bronzewing FFR, where I did expect to find
Quail-thrush. Which I did. Also came across a pair of Emu and a Shy
Heathwren on the Eastern side of the park. The wind was belting along at
a nice clip and there were some more than insignificant clouds building
off to the SW. Damn.

Headed out to Wymlet Tank next, which was pretty much dry. In about 4
hours time, it would not have been dry. Was heading out to Tim Dolby's
Red-lored Whistler site when the road turned to the left and looked very
sandy. My Corolla is a great little car, but not a 4wd, so I stopped,
got out to survey the road, and decided that I'd best not continue as
the road was quite sandy. The car was bogged, but I managed to get it
out after about 20 minutes of digging and laying sticks under the
wheels. Other birds at Wymlet Tank were around 60 Blue-bonnets that
seemed to want to always have half a tree between me and them, making
all my photos rubbish. More Ringnecks and a party of 5 goats, including
one stuck in the mud calling out for assistance was pretty much it for

Driving back to Hattah got a phone call from my mum who had been trying
to reach me all day to let me know that there was a "significant rain
event" on the way. That made me decide to move my camp site to Lake
Hattah Campground. Checked out the Grave site on the way between
Mournpall and Hattah, and came across about 40 Regent Parrots in the
trees. Again - it was blowing a gale, so it was hard to get good photos,
so I gave it up and just watched these magnificent birds. Set up my tent
at Lake Hattah with a Restless Flycatcher grinding away above me, and
then got raided by a party of Apostlebirds after I ate my dinner. This
included them knocking over my can of beer and stealing the contents,
which the Blue-faced Honeyeaters also did.

Around 8pm, it started raining, and didn't stop for several days.

24 April 2009 - Hattah - Wagga Wagga

Local radio was full of people quite happy about the rain, as were the
service station attendants, and pretty much anyone I spoke to. I wasn't.
It cut my trip short by a day. No second chance at the Emu-wren and
Grasswren. I'll have to go back I guess! Dropped in to the Balranald
Bird-hide, which was dry and largely useless. Pied Butcherbird,
Australian Hobby, Ringnecks and some Choughs the only birds around. Came
across 2 parties of roadside Emu on the Hay Plains. Basically it was
belting rain for the whole trip, so didn't do much.

25 April 2009 - Wagga Wagga - Sydney.

Still raining. Uneventful drive back with little to no birding, to then
unpack a sopping wet tent and gear to dry out.

All in all, a great trip, and I can't wait to get back to Hattah. Got 6
lifers, 60 odd for the year list, and about 45 for my Victoria list.
Very pleased. Species list available on request.



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