birding-aus Kinchega National Park

Subject: birding-aus Kinchega National Park
From: Colin Field <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 1999 15:14:32 +1000
Bird List - Kinchega National Park, 10-17 May 1999
(Menindee NSW, S32 24 E142 25)

Observations of Colin and Yvonne Field

Bittern, Australasian
Black-cockatoo, red-tailed
Blue bonnet
Bronzewing, common
Butcherbird, grey
Butcherbird, pied
Choughs, white-winged
Cockatoo, Major Mitchell's
Coot, Eurasian
Cormorant, great
Cormorant, little pied
Cormorant, pied
Cuckoo-shrike, black-faced
Dotterell, black-fronted
Dove, diamond
Dove, peaceful
Duck, Australian wood
Duck, Pacific black
Duck, pink-eared
Eagle, wedge-tailed
Egret, great
Egret, intermediate
Fairy-wren, white-winged
Grebe, Australasian
Grebe, hoary-headed
Gull, silver
Heron, Nankeen night
Heron, white-faced
Heron, white-necked
Honeyeater, spiny-cheeked
Honeyeater, white-plumed
Ibis, Australian white
Ibis, straw-necked
Kestrel, Nankeen 
Kite, black
Kite, black-breasted
Kite, whistling
Kookaburra, laughing
Lapwing, masked
Miner, yellow-throated
Native-hen, black-tailed
Pardalote, striated
Parrott, red-rumped
Pelican, Australian
Pigeon, crested
Raven, Australian
Ringneck, mallee
Scrubwren, white-browed
Shelduck, Australian 
Shoveller, Australasian
Shrike-thrush, grey
Shrike-tit, crested
Sparrow, house
Spoonbill, royal
Spoonbill, yellow-billed
Swallow, welcome
Swan, black
Teal, chestnut
Teal, grey
Thornbill, chestnut-rumped
Treecreeper, brown
Wagtail, willie
Wedgebill, chirruping
Whiteface, southern
Woodswallow, black-faced

First identifications for us at this location:

yellow-plumed honeyeater
buff-rumped thornbill
diamond dove
Australasian bittern
black-breasted buzzard
black-faced woodswallow


The Australian bittern was great to see, and a real surprise.  We saw it at
"weir 32" on the Darling, in Kinchega NP.  It is a low weir, and there were
herons (most notably white-faced and white-necked) fishing.  They flew up,
mostly into the trees on the opposite bank, as we arrived.  With them was
this brown bird that Yvonne first saw, and Colin declared it on the spot to
be a bittern.  It sat in the tree, and we got a good look at it.  It flew
back down (where it was almost invisible on the rocks) and resumed fishing.
 It was great.

Kinchega was a bonanza of large water birds and birds of prey.  The
predominant birds of prey were black kites, whistling kites, wedge-tailed
eagles, brown falcons and black-breasted buzzards.  Birds of prey were
everywhere, which we took as an indication that there were lots of birds to
be preyed upon.  There were flights of water birds everywhere.  By far the
most spectacular were the flights of pelicans.  They really are majestic as
they soar to heights, then slip back down off the thermals.  The other
flights were mostly of great cormorants and Australian white ibis.

When we were camped on River Drive, the most plentiful birds were the
white-plumed honeyeaters, the brown tree-creepers and grey shrike-thrushes.
 The tree-creepers were particularly easy too see as they were all over the
ground in addition to being on the sides of trees.

The most common heron was the white-necked heron.  Now we've seen these
before, and they were always, at least to us, very black and very brightly
white.  We've only ever seen solitary birds.  In Kinchega, there was often
more than one in the same place.  We wondered what we had seen first up.
The first one we saw was a dirty brown looking bird with a dirty tan,
barred neck.  When we checked with Mr Pizzey, we saw that it showed bars on
the neck for the white-necked heron.  We had never seen the bars before.
We subsequently saw the odd black and white bird, but most were not clearly
black and white.

It was while we were on Riverside Drive that we saw our first diamond dove.
 There were numbers of peaceful doves around the place (most noticeably
feeding along the road).  Yvonne would say "peaceful dove" and I would say
"just be sure it's not a diamond dove".  Then she found one on a log
overhanging the river.

When we moved through to Emu Lake camping ground, the nearby country was
very different.  It was drier and predominantly saltbush.  Colin set out to
work it over properly.  He had two main objectives, chats and banded
plovers.  He found neither, but eventually did find (all first timers)
chirruping wedgebills, buff-rumped thornbills and black-faced woodswallows.
 There were also southern whitefaces, which we had seen before.  They took
a terrific amount of stalking as you can imagine when the highest of the
saltbush only came to the waist.  We were surprised to find the buff-rumped
thornbills and black-faced woodswallows flying pretty much together.  It
took a lot of study of the thornbills before Colin got a good enough look
at them to see that they were buff-rumps.  The colour was beautiful.

The wedgebills were amazing.  They just ran out of one dense saltbush and
disappeared into the depths of the next dense saltbush.  We would only get
flashes of dark scurrying shapes.  Then we got better looks and saw their

One walk we did while at Emu Lake camping area took us into some reasonably
dry country.  Colin wandered off and effectively "lost" Yvonne.  Then he
hear a breathless Yvonne calling.  She had "found" the long sought after
banded lapwing. Well, we were excited.  It eventuated that they were on the
edge of a waterhole, and were not banded lapwings but black fronted
dotterells (well, after all, things look much bigger through binoculars).
They are beautiful little birds, so the disappointment was not great.
While walking along the edge of that waterhole we saw three pink-eared
ducks.  The light was perfect, the three of them lined up side on to us,
and they stayed still for a prolonged period.  We got such a good look that
we even saw the miniscule "pink ear" very clearly on each one.

We launched a borrowed inflatable boat at the Moreton Boulka picnic area.
Colin is sure he missed something, but the way he did it it was almost
unmanageable - you row from a position seated below the rowlocks and the
boat floats on the surface rather than in the water so it tends to steer
alarmingly.  In addition, we were terrified of running it onto a submerged
stake and holing it.  So, his fantasy of sneeking around the inaccessible
and therefore quiet areas of shore in search of crakes and rails was just
not on.  Yvonne's main pre-occupation was keeping a low profile (Colin was
under stress, with all that that implies) and getting back ashore dry.  But
..... we somehow disturbed a roost of some 20-30 nankeen night herons.
We've seen them before but we've never seen them (or heard them) in such
numbers.  Good view of them.  Oh, and we got out again dry and without
holing the boat.

We though the birds at Kinchega were terrific.  Our disappointments were
not seeing crakes, rails, chats or banded lapwings.

Colin Field
PO Box 51, RIVETT ACT 2611, Australia
Phone: +61 (0) 2 6288 9237
Fax: +61 (0) 2 6287 4106
Mobile: +61 (0) 418 607 487

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