My wife, Lyall, and I camped at Whoey Tank in Round Hill Nature Reserve from
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd September. We then stayed overnight at Lake
Cargelligo. We have been regular visitors to this area since 2005. At
present, the countryside is in magnificent condition - the best in our
experience. (Lake Cargelligo had yet another 2 inches of rain on the Monday
prior to our visit.) The red bare earth around Whoey Tank is now a carpet of
yellow, white and blue flowers. True, the blue is mostly Patterson's Curse.
Eremophila trees and bushes are in flower, as are the wilga and some
eucalypts. The adjacent Nombinnie Reserve is also looking healthy, albeit
not as spectacular as Round Hill. There are ponds and puddles along all
tracks. We found the waterhole at the small quarry to be a great location
for seeing birds, especially when we used our car as a hide.
Birds are plentiful, both in number and variety of species. Whoey Tank is
dominated by Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and White-browed Woodswallow. Black
Honeyeater is common; Pied, Striped, White-fronted, White-eared, Singing,
and Brown-headed are also present. We literally bumped into a nest with a
female Black Honeyeater in it. She briefly vacated the premises, leaving two
eggs behind. Happily she returned to sit on the nest after a couple of
minutes. Good views of Parrots - Mulga, Ringneck, Blue Bonnet - were
obtained with difficulty. New Round Hill species for us included Speckled
Warbler, White-winged Triller (common), and Pallid Cuckoo, the last being
harassed by a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater.
We spent two and a half hours at the Wheat Paddock in Nombinnie Nature
Reserve, where bird variety was less. A very large flock of Woodswallows has
taken over the northern section - mostly White-browed, with some Masked.
Spiny-cheeked honeyeater was common, but others were a little scarce. We did
see Grey-fronted, White-fronted, White-eared and Black. We clearly saw Shy
Heathwren, glimpsed Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush, and dipped on Southern
Scrub-robin. There were three calling male Gilbert's Whistler, but sadly no
Red-lored. After several brief encounters with fast-moving Splendid
Fairy-Wrens, we finally got great close views of a breeding male from our
The Round Hill-Nombinnie tiny birds were difficult as usual, but we
eventually got good looks at most: Inland, Buff-rumped, Chestnut-rumped,
Yellow-rumped, and Yellow Thornbill, also Weebill and Southern Whiteface,
but dipped on Western Gerygone. We almost ran over a pair of Stubble Quail
on the main road, and dipped everywhere on Malleefowl. The only raptor that
we saw was a Little Eagle on a huge nest along the railway line.
Chat Alley in mid-afternoon was unproductive, but we did manage a confiding
Horsfield's Bushlark, and Spotted Harrier, both nearby. We probably saw the
Black Falcon at distance near town.
A late afternoon visit to the Lake Cargelligo STW at the same time as a
group from the Illawarra Birders Club yielded Baillon's and Spotted Crake,
and some migratory waders, in particular Common Greenshank. Thanks to Martin
Potter and Chris Brandis, who kindly allowed me to join them and moreover
pointed out the Greenshanks. Australasian Shoveler and Pink-eared were the
pick of the ducks. The highlight of the next morning visit was a group of
glossy ibis and roosting whiskered terns - the Greenshanks had gone. Most of
the water birds at the STW are very wary, and fly immediately upon seeing a
human. Interestingly, the migratory waders are an exception to this. Have
the local birds been shot at - here or in Victoria??
We drove back to Sydney on Monday morning, stopping at Gum Swamp, Forbes
(both coming and going). The swamp is very full and we could find only the
usual ducks and grebes.
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