Top End Trip

To: "COG-L" <>
Subject: Top End Trip
From: "Lindsay Hansch" <>
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 17:20:37 +1000

Rhonda and I have just returned home form our winter “escape”.  We had planned to depart on 3 April and head to the south-west (WA).  But, late in planning we decided to buy a new caravan – you probably guessed it, delivery dates kept slipping and we finally departed on 13 May.  Our first stop was the Barossa Valley where it rained on us for five days with strong westerly winds and more forecast.  So we made a decision to abandon WA and headed north, doing Cober Pey, Uluru, Allice, Mataranka, Katherine, Litchfield, Darwin, Kakadu, then back to Tennant Creek and east to Mt Isa.  From there we followed the Matilda Highway through, Longreach, Blackall, Cunnamulla, Bourke and home (13,000km in all).


Birding was good but we missed a lot, being inadequately prepared for a Top End/western Queensland trip.  Nevertheless we recorded 241 species including 65 lifers.  Best birds were the Banded Fruit-dove, White-lined Honeyeater, Red Goshawk, Hooded Parrot (female only and in the streets of Pine Creek), Carpentarian Grasswren, Bourke’s Parrot, Hall’s Babbler and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush.  We searched for and missed the Flock Bronzewing, White-throated Grasswren, Gouldian Finch, Chestnut-quilled Rockpigeon, Grey Falcon and Kalkadoon Grasswren.


For anyone heading to the area some gems for birding were Mataranka, Fogg Dam near Darwin (great waterbirds) and Cunnamulla.  At the latter we stayed at a property just out of town called Bowra Station for four days during which we recorded 97 species including six lifers (including Bourkes Parrot and Hall’s Babbler).  Bowra is also a good location for the Grey Falcon (even though we failed to find it).


Lindsay Hansch

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