OUTBACK BIRDS - PART 6 - 7 October
Last left you at Olive Downs, Sturt National Park.
Monday 7 October had a cold wind, then a warmer wind and sun. A morning walk
go me one of my most desired lifers (No. 28) - Diamond Dove. I love Peaceful
Doves and was keen to see Diamond Dove. It's amazing how small they are and
they have the lovely demeanor of doves. Their wings whistle in flight.
After breakfast we drove back down Silver City Highway and took the Wompah
Gate road which goes to Onepah property and over into Queensland - goal Grey
Along the way we have Australian Pratincole flying and standing in the
paddocks with one running along the ground with head bowed down (after an
insect?). Also Brown Songlark in flight, wings held high, the body as an
undercarriage, legs hanging and giving its trilling call all the way. Emu
being one adult and 10 half grown immatures. Singing Bushlark singing and
flying, with an incredible orange underneath against the sun. Wedge-tailed
Through the Wompah Gate dog fence that comprises the NSW/Queensland border and
six kilometres up the road to Grey Grasswren country (Pyampa property). We
gave the owners the courtesy of dropping in to ensure permission to go onto
their property birdwatching. I understand a few people know of this site, but
in case you don't, go six kilometres from the border and there's some metal
sheds and a windmill at the bore. There used to be a homestead but it's gone,
presumably pulled down. Walk about 15 minutes to the bore, and then another
15 minutes north east to a stand of trees where the grasswren's preferred
lignum is. We did this in very hot sun and the flies were dreadful.
Got to the lignum and Richard Jordan was disappointed to find it virtually
dead, but he wasn't really surprised at this following reports on Internet
over the previous four weeks. There was some new green growth in the lignum
but Richard didn't hold high hopes for finding the grasswren. I had read the
Internet mailings about grasswrens not responding to attempts to call them up,
so I sat down on the ground, quietly hoping for a grasswren to come near.
Absolutely no movement of anything.
Then Richard calls out - he's found Redthroats and so I saw Lifer No. 29 (and
I didn't think I was going to get them here!). Then Brian finds Orange Chats
(Lifer No. 30).
Now I'm standing and walking around slowly and there it was - I came around
two rows of lignum creating a small aisle and the Grey Grasswren was standing
out in the open amongst some very tiny plants. Once it saw me, it quickly
scurried/half flew into a lignum bush, but I got a good enough look to be
quite sure that I saw Grey Grasswren (Lifer No. 31). Two other people in our
group saw them as well. We discussed the fact that the grasswren's habitat
here occupies such a small area, at most two square kilometres, out of such a
huge property, and how easily it could be wiped out. Richard proposed that
fencing the area to protect it from cattle would be great. There's a
conservation project for someone.
Despite the soil being sandy and this appearing to be some of the poorest
country we had been through, there was the bore and some stands of trees and
hence good birding here. Other sightings were Black Kite on nest, Black-faced
Woodswallow, Masked Woodswallow, Budgerigar, Chirruping Wedgebill, Crimson
Chats including a female doing a broken wing act and Jack in our group found
its eggs on the ground, Zebra Finches and White-winged Trillers.
On the way back I got off the bus a few kilometres before camp and went to the
bore near the old homestead. Two Black-fronted Dotterels and two Grey Teal
Sturt National Park is known as a haven for kangaroos; on one 360 degree
sweep, I counted 56 of them.
Next report 8 October and Oriental Plover day.
(I know it makes me happy)
Sydney NSW Australia