Winton-Birdsville-Charleville Birding Trip

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Winton-Birdsville-Charleville Birding Trip
From: Gary Wright <>
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 20:14:52 +1030
It seems like you had some very happy birding.  What a fantastic trip!


2009/10/13 Bob Black <>

> Hi All,
> Lorelle and I spent the last three weeks of September on our first SW Qld
> birding trip, with quite a list of new species to see. We drove from
> Byfield, near Rockhampton, to Winton and Bladensburg NP, south to Diamantina
> NP, back to Boulia and south to Birdsville, east to Windorah and Welford NP,
> then home via Charleville and Roma. Some highlights of a great trip were;
> Bladensburg NP- We spent a day searching for unsuccessfully for Striated
> Grasswren. The Hakea lorea trees were in spectacular flowering, and among
> many honeyeaters and Crimson Chats we found quite a few Black and Pied
> Honeyeaters, some close to the main camping area. While sitting by the creek
> in our camp before the sun hit the waterhole we noticed a Little Buttonquail
> drinking quietly in the pool. Great looks to go with the many flushed birds
> on the trip.
> Opalton -We did a day trip, particularly seeking the Striated Grasswren,
> and searched a lot of likely habitat on the way from Bladensburg, and around
> Opalton. Had great close looks at Rufous-crowned Emu Wren just east of
> Opalton, and more Black and Pied Honeyeaters around water in the excavated
> swimming hole east of ?town. In the late afternoon a search of some good
> Mulga woodland just south of the airstrip (which is east of the road south
> to Jundah, and just south of Opalton) turned up a family of Hall's Babblers.
> we drove about 1.5 km south on this road to a small patch of Spinifex across
> the road from the first small mesa on the east of the road. After walking
> through this, and across the creek, I heard two faint, thin whistles back
> across the creek, and tried to get between them and the thicker cover to the
> south. One bird called from that thick cover, and the other went quiet, but
> after a few minutes quiet wait a Striated Grasswren hopped out from behind a
> spinifex clump to check me out. Lorelle had just found an Owlet Nightjar,
> sitting low in the open, and being harassed by a pair of Hall's Babblers,
> when I called out "Grasswren!", so had to make a choice. We followed the
> Grasswren through the Spinifex and had good, but brief looks as it sneaked
> looks at us, or hopped between clumps.
> We drove slowly back to Bladensburg looking for nightbirds on the road, and
> saw many Spotted Nightjars and an immature Inland Dotterel, getting close
> looks at them standing on the road.
> North of Diamantina NP- At a dry creek in the Mitchell Grass plain country
> we saw one of many groups of Variegated Fairy Wren seen on the trip. The
> females of this group were blue, like the dulcis race of the Top End. I
> didn't manage a photo.
> Diamantina NP- Near the northern edge of the park we saw our first pair of
> Gibberbirds sitting by the road, and had a great close look, we only saw
> about 5 pairs in the trip.
> On the circuit drive we came across two Oriental Plover standing on a bleak
> claypan 1 km NE of lake Constance, and pondered why they had flown all the
> way from North Asia and chosen that particular bit of barren, windswept
> plain. Nearby was an Earless Dragon-Tympanocryptis intima.
> Boulia-Bedourie- About 120 km s. of Boulia we found a group of about 450
> Flock Bronzewings sitting in a paddock near the road. Among them was one
> which was completely white, except the black face markings.
> Bedourie-Birdsville- A huge group of Flock Bronzewings about 70 km S. of
> Bedourie, roosting near a dam about 500m E. of the road. About 4,500.
> Between Cluny station and the Cuttaburra crossing of Eyre Creek, another
> group of 5,000-6,000 Flock Bronzewings all around the road, in fairly
> recently dried herbaceous floodplain. Also along this stretch were hundreds
> of Australian Pratincoles and about 25 Oriental Plovers.
> Cuttaburra Crossing- A nice campsite for a few days, with many Crimson and
> Orange Chats, a Black Falcon, and Pink-eared, Musk and Freckled Ducks on the
> waterhole. A determined effort failed to find any signs of Grey Grasswrens.
> Driving around the track through the floodplain at night we flushed an
> almost certain male Plains Wanderer.
> Birdsville- Arrived just before the big sandstorm, and waited out two days,
> hoping to get out to the Simpson Desert to look for Eyrean Grasswrens. A
> cool southerly change had us out on the dune beyond "Big Red" at sunrise,
> being sandblasted by the southerly gale. We found a few families of Banded
> Whiteface in the swales, including a pair with fluffy young, but by early
> afternoon had to reluctantly concede that no sane grasswrens would leave
> cover in such cold and windy conditions. We tried not to extend these
> observations to ourselves. As we reached the dune east of "Big Red" (Little
> Red?) on our way back to Birdsville, we saw that the tempest had
> miraculously calmed, and couldn't resist a look at this dune. I went south
> from the crossing, Lorelle north, and after another hour in much nicer
> conditions, and more White- winged Fairy Wren false alarms, I returned to
> the car for lunch to find Lorelle had found a pair of Eyrean Grasswrens in
> five minutes!. As I ate lunch at the crossing the pair hopped into sight,
> moving south down the dune, and we followed them for quite a while, getting
> lovely looks at them going about their lives.
> Welford NP- One of the richest bird sites of the trip, with about 80
> species seen in a day and two nights. Mulga and Bourke's Parrots, Redthroat,
> Crested Bellbird, and Hooded Robin on the Mulga Drive, and wonderful looks
> at Chestnut-breasted Quailthrush, Splendid  Fairy Wren, Crested Bellbird in
> late afternoon on the Desert Drive. Also seen at Sawyer's Creek on the Mulga
> Circuit was  a 2 metre plus Perentie preparing to eat a very freshly killed
> 1.8 metre King Brown Snake in a dry creek bed.
> Happy Birding-Bob Black
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