Trip Report: Little Desert in Spring (revisited2013) - bird sites and it

To: "Tim Dolby" <>, <>
Subject: Trip Report: Little Desert in Spring (revisited2013) - bird sites and it's amazing flora
From: "Ross Macfarlane" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2013 17:12:57 +1100
The Tooan monitoring site is quite new, but there were active nests there in 2012.

-----Original Message----- From: Tim Dolby
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 11:31 AM
To: Ross Macfarlane ; 
Subject: Trip Report: Little Desert in Spring (revisited2013) - bird sites and it's amazing flora

Big thanks for this Ross. That's great news! Six active mounds at Nurcoung FR is very pleasing; it would interesting to know how they're doing in Mt Arapiles-Tooan SP. As and aside, I think the Malleefowl around Kingston (Mt. Scott CP) may be slightly further south again, so (the good news is) we've both been trumped.

The biggest turn-out of participants to the recovery group is great to hear; the Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group is such a strong conservation team, testament to public participation in scientific research and pro-active conservation.



From: Ross Macfarlane 
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 7:46 AM
To: Tim Dolby; 
Subject: Trip Report: Little Desert in Spring (revisited2013) - bird sites and it's amazing flora

Tim et al,

FYI I can advise that Little Desert is definitely not "Australia's
southern-most population of Malleefowl", as we are monitoring established
populations south of the National Park, e.g. in Nurcoung FFR and Tooan-Mt
Arapiles State Park. They are only just south of LDNP but we are following
up local intel on locales even further south. If established, they may not
become well-known if they are on private land, but the birds are definitely
there. Nurcoung is a small, inaccessible area but of 28 nest sites we have
mapped in the reserve, 6 we active (i.e. 6 breeding pairs) in 2012.

P.S. "we", i.e. the Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group, just had our annual
training weekend at Wyperfeld NP with our biggest ever roll-up - close to 90
there including 20+ first-timers (and 10 juniors.) Looking forward to
another successful season "Around The Mounds"...

Ross Macfarlane
VMRG Secretary

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Dolbyhe
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 10:59 PM
Subject: Trip Report: Little Desert in Spring (revisited
2013) - bird sites and it's amazing flora

Hey bird fans,

See below a recent trip report to the Little Desert in sunny Victoria; it's
an update to a previous report. To see the full report with images see It is, of course, meant to be a bit of
birding and, in this case, floral fun. Any corrections  (it was written
fairly quickly) or suggestions, please don't hesitate to hassle me! Ps. may
have overdone it with the orchid images - but 'twas pretty special this


Tim Dolby

The Little Desert in Spring (revisited 2013) - bird sites and it's amazing

I've just returned from week (with family and friends) in the Little Desert
(early Oct, 2013), a superb Victorian national park. A bit like my recent
Chiltern report, this is an update of my original report on the Little
Desert. Basically it's my personal take on this wonderful park its good
birding site, and some thoughts about the wonderful plants.

Some Background Notes
In terms of birds, the park is pretty special. With a list of nearly 230
species, this makes it easily one of the best birding sites in Victoria.
When I visit, I have a bit of a wish-list. It's one of the only places in
Victoria you might expect to see Slender-billed Thornbill - so I usually try
and target that - and there's an uncommon and localized population of Rufous
Fieldwren. While resident species worth looking for include Southern
Scrub-robin is resident, Shy Heathwren, Variegated Fairy-wren, and
Purple-gaped, White-fronted and Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. Depending on the
time of year, you can see Spotted Harrier, Blue-winged Parrot, and classic
summer migrants such as Rainbow Bee-eater, Peaceful Dove, White-winged
Triller and Rufous and Brown Songlark. More recently Elegant Parrot, rare in
Victoria, has been recorded in the park, so this is another bird to look
for. Importantly the park also supports Australia's southern-most population
of Malleefowl, although (despite the park being known for its Malleefowl)
they are thin on the ground.

Aside from these, it's always worth looking for inland and dry woodland
specialists such as Black-tailed Native-hen, Banded Lapwing, Purple-crowned
Lorikeet, Spotted Nightjar, Inland and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Chestnut
rumped Heathwren (rare resident), Gilbert's Whistler, Crested Bellbird
(becoming increasingly rare), Jacky Winter, Red-capped and Hooded Robin and
Diamond Firetail. There are some interesting subspecies such as Grey
Currawong (black-winged ssp melanoptera), Spotted Pardalote (yellow-rumped
xanthopygus) , Varied Sittella (black-capped pileata) and the Variegated
Fairy-wren (purple-backed assimilis).

In terms of rare species to the park, Australian Bustard have also been
recorded several times - usually at sites that have been recently burnt.
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo have been records in the south of the park, and
there are recent records of Bush Stone-curlew. There are occasional records
of Painted and Little Button-quail, Black-eared Cuckoo, Cockatiel,
Budgerigar, Australia (Mallee) Ringneck, Red-backed Kingfisher, Black
Falcon, Orange and Yellow Chat, Black Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped
Honeyeater, Western and White-throated Gerygone, White-bellied
Cuckoo-shrike, Forest Raven, White-backed Swallow and Zebra Finch. The last
time Regent Honeyeater was recorded was 1900, so I wouldn't count on seeing
that species!


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