Hot birding down the Lachlan

To: Chris Charles <>
Subject: Hot birding down the Lachlan
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 00:04:31 +0000
Chris, thank you for a fascinating trip report.

On extreme temperatures and spouses: While surveying Gouldian Finches near 
Victoria River, NT, in the early 1990s I spent hours lying on the bare ground 
near eroded waterholes with little tree cover.  It was hot.  Once I measured 
the ground temperature at 56oc.   I would never have expected anyone else to 
join me in such conditions, including my (male) field assistants.  I sent them 
off to watch the shadier water bodies.

Denise Lawungkurr  Goodfellow
PO Box 71
Darwin River, NT, Australia 0841
043 8650 835

On 17 Jan 2017, at 8:38 am, Chris Charles <> wrote:

> A spouse that goes birding with you in 44 deg?
> You seem to have won the lottery of life Chris.
> Chris Charles
> +61412911184
> Licole Monopods
> <>
>> On 15 Jan 2017, at 5:22 pm, Chris Lloyd <> wrote:
>> Some months ago the idea of a week birding in western NSW seemed like a good
>> idea. A warm but pleasant amble down the Lachlan  with the caravan brought
>> us to Forbes and three booked nights at the CP. Now closer followers of
>> ancient rituals and weather forecasts would already have noted some red
>> flags. We simply noted that the CP was choka-block and moved straight to
>> Gums Swamp. Nothing spectacular but a good collection of old friends and,
>> like all the countryside around, plenty of  water and greenery. Returning to
>> the Park we found an unusual number of men with large black sideburns and
>> women sporting some variation of the onesie with sequins. The penny dropped
>> when an otherwise perfectly competent string quartet moved from Dublin to
>> Memphis while rehearsing in the camp kitchen at the request of the large
>> impromptu audience. At this point it was 6pm and a bracing 36° with 38° for
>> the following day.
>> A day of retail therapy, the library and the hysterical society kept our
>> cool until an inevitable return to the van and afternoon of recline in the
>> air-con. It was not to be as the combined assault of frig and AC compressors
>> brought on a denial of service from the aging circuitry of the Park. Tempers
>> flared as much trousers as the system tripped out every half an hour or so.
>> There were compensations. For those rooting for the King there was a crooner
>> at a battery power mike and for us the delight of warm beer and wine while
>> watching the aerobatics of four first year Collared Sparrowhawks intent of
>> playing tag with cockies while a brace of White-faced Heron observed both
>> phenomena.
>> It was with a brave face that we informed Rhinestone cowboys and girls that
>> we were headed for the milder climes of Lake Cargelligo. 39° in Condobolin
>> made the bitumen toasty for the dog’s pads and a hefty 20 knot
>> north-westerly made clothes driers redundant. As we motored along the Valley
>> Way to LC the Bureau raised the bar for the following day to 44° and we
>> started to consider professional help.
>> Then we struck the ephemeral lakes and flooded paddocks. Most of the world’s
>> population of Pacific Herons seemed to have descended and around their legs
>> wandered Black-winged stilts of all ages, Red-necked Stints, coots, and
>> plovers. Overhead in the wind were the Marsh Terns in flocks of dozens while
>> all three ibis species strutted their stuff in the greasy water. There was
>> nothing new, just thousands of ‘good’ birds loafing or foraging as the whim
>> took them. There were stilts on to their third or fourth clutch while the
>> previous off-spring wandered around the sitting adults. Ducks and grebes
>> seemed to have endless trails of bobbing heads either behind them or on
>> their backs. A pair of Plumed-whistlers did not seem to have lost one of
>> their near grown brood to the Kites as they wove through a forest of egret
>> and spoonbill legs and bills. A quick dash through the furnace blast to the
>> water’s edge showed that, what appeared a still surface from three metres
>> away was a swirling stew of on algae, insects, fish and crustaceans. It
>> might be hot but nobody was going starve.
>> Friday lived up to everyone’s expectations and to the 44° nature added a
>> powerful north-westerly and thick black clouds to provide an apocalyptic
>> edge. Gallons of water and a little bit of German refrigeration engineering
>> kept two adults and a small spotted dog from joining their respective makers
>> as lunchtime hit the 40 mark and climbing. But nothing stopped the birds. We
>> peered in awe out the windows as half a dozen Major Mitchells cartwheeled
>> across the park and Peewees and Pied Butcherbirds used the sprinklers to
>> assist the luncheon efforts. Two Butcherbirds carried out a full mating
>> display of neck pecks and vocals on the wing while their youngster watched
>> on. The White-Ibis, using their suburban experience wandered about lawns and
>> bins exuding an air of ‘nothing to see here’ as dog and humans cringed under
>> wet cotton. The one great saving grace of the west in summer is the evenings
>> and despite the mid-forties onslaught by midnight you are reaching for the
>> sheet and then the blanket.
>> Dawn brought 30 degrees and a south-westerly that brought the ‘feel’ down to
>> 25° but with a sun that had the bite of a White Pointer. So it’s off for a
>> day along the Lachlan and the lakes. Once again no new birds but who needs
>> new birds when thirteen adult Nankeen Herons rise from a water race and
>> disport themselves around the trees? Everywhere water moved there were
>> fishers dipping a bill in their favourite hole. At the regulator there was a
>> line of black and tans in their yellow waders as the water rolled past. No
>> one was missing out and even the ill equipped ibis were making a catch. Just
>> up river a human family complained they had got little other than carp
>> fingerlings.
>> The locals were as awe inspiring as the birds as they maintained their
>> laconic bonhomie to melting birders and still mowed lawns, welded pipe or
>> served customers. Cargelligo again lives up to its reputation as a hot spot
>> to bird.
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