Adelaide to Gulf of Carpentaria - some birding observations

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Subject: Adelaide to Gulf of Carpentaria - some birding observations
From: "Bob & Trish Sothman" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 2009 18:09:24 +1030
A few observations from a trip during October from Adelaide to Karumba via 
Birdsville Track, Mt Isa, Lawn Hill NP and back via Georgetown, Cobbold & 
Carnarvon Gorges, Bowra Station and Broken Hill.

Mass sightings included 10,000+ budgies between Boulia and 60km North (first 
seen at Mungaranie with small flocks through to Mt Isa), 100+ Australian 
Pratincole 60km North of Birdsville (regularly seen from Maree to Bowra 
Station), 500+ Brolga in the Burketown area, 32 Pink Cockatoo at Bowra Station.

All 6 falcons seen with Peregrine at Birdsville, Black at Boulia and Grey at 
Lawn Hill.

Around Mt Isa, the good season made finding grasswrens fairly easy, eg 
Kalkadoon located in 20 min at Mica Creek & Carpentarian located in 35 min at 
McNamara Road - if all grasswrens were so easy!!!; also a flock of Pictorella 
Manikin at Lake Moondarra.

Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Buff-sided Robin and Purple-crowned Fairy-wren were 
"easy" at Lawn Hill/Adels Grove, with Grey Falcon the highlight.

Bowra Station was very dry, which was probably the main reason only 63 species 
seen - specialities like Hall's Babbler & Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush were 
relatively easy to locate - Bourke's Parrot proved more difficult before 
excellent views.  Only raptors were Whistling Kite and Collared Sparrowhawk, ie 
no Grey Falcon.

Absolutely no cisticolas of any sort near Karumba. An amazing situation appears 
to have resulted from too much rain earlier in the year.  There is absolutely 
no vegetation (I was informed it has all rotted along with a lot of the seed 
bank) at the area 20 km from Karumba where Phil Gregory (Dec-08) reported 
Zitting Cisticola.  Some cattle producers between Normanton and Karumba are 
reported to be in dire straights as there is no cattle feed and they are having 
difficulty getting Government support as it is not normal to qualify for 
drought relief because of too much rain, but their plight is so obvious.

The following sightings appear to be close to the limit of normal range - 1x 
Brush Turkey at Karumba, 2x Cotton Pygmy-goose & 1x Pied Currawong at Cobbold 
Gorge, 1x Golden-headed Cisticola at Riversleigh NP site D.

Summer is definitely on the way with a lot of the country traversed rather dry 
and getting hot (eg 38C in Bourke 22.10.09.)

Bob Sothman


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