About a week ago, John Boyce wrote of the Superb Parrots currently in the
Nathalia district in far North-Central Victoria. I have been tardy in
giving my report, but here it is.
After comparing notes with John and watching a standoff between the
Boobook Owl (mentioned in his post) and a goanna, I set off.
However, a mere 100m down the same road that the Superb
Parrots were feeding in I came across a party of 6 Grey-crowned Babblers.
These birds are rare and very much threatened in Vic. Well done to those
who sponsored a (Vic) team in the recent twitchathon as this species is one
of the Woodland birds which stands to benefit. Also in the area were
Pied Butcherbird, Cockatiel (7), Striated Pardalote, Little Friarbird,
Brown Treecreeper and those already mentioned by John.
Next stop was the Mathoura district in NSW where a local birder had told me
of a couple of good spots. Mathoura is about 30-40 km north of Echuca (Vic)
on the Cobb Highway (the road to Deniliquin).
The first spot is a swamp
where a bird observation tower has been built. I was told that at this time
of year you can often hear Little Bitterns calling from the rushes. However,
to cut a long story short I did not make it - the track was flooded. To get
there take the Picnic Pt road from Mathoura and _watch_ for the Bird
Observatory sign on your right (it wasn't obvious to me). Apparently, you
can also reach it from further along the road by parking at a wooden gate
which straddles either side of the road but the directions I received were a
bit hazy. Stop at the servo/kiosk in Mathoura for a map and directions.
The second good spot I visited was a grassy area with scattered trees a
couple of kms before the swamp turnoff. It is at the turnoff to Tocumwal,
7 kms from Masthoura. When you arrive you probably will think it doesn't look
much but it holds many interesting birds. In the hour or so that I could
spend there, the highlights included Southern Whiteface, Striated Pardalote
(breeding), Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, White-breasted Woodswallow and
Diamond Dove. The latter strikes me as a southerly record - there was recent
discussion that Diamond Dove is a good Vic-tick to get and I only missed by
30 km! Still, I'm not complaining as it was wonderful observing it feeding
amongst Red-rumped Parrots. As Irene recently commented, they are tiny and
were noticeably smaller than the parrots.
.---. .----------- Mark Bennett
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