birding-aus Trip to Nallan Station, WA

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: birding-aus Trip to Nallan Station, WA
From: "Roger McGovern" <>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 08:35:25 +0800
With all the recent postings about Spring birding activity in the eastern states, I thought that a brief account from the west might be of interest.
Last weekend, Louise and I took a 4-day trip to Nallan Station which is just over 700km north/north east of Perth (12km north of Cue) in the Murchison Goldfields. At such a distance, the 4 days comprised a day driving each way and 2 days on the station.Full details of the 250,000acre sheep station are available on Frank O'Connor's website - it is owned by April Kiffin-Petersen (08 9963 1054) and you can stay in the old cottage (with evening meals provided by April) or you can camp/caravan.
The weather was gloriously sunny and spring-like and the wildflowers were nothing short of mind-blowing - I've read of 'carpets' of them and it's totally true. It was great to be out in unbroken mulga country for a couple of days and hear nothing but birds. We dipped on a couple of species that we would have liked to renew acquaintance with - notably White-browed Treecreeper and Slaty-backed Thornbill, but we had some great experiences to compensate.
Highlights included:
-  five pairs of Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, a superb bird and a lifer for me
-  a Grey Honeyeater, not a stunning bird but a lifer again after several unsuccessful forays     
   to Kunoth Bore over the years
-  groups of Bourke's Parrots quietly feeding on the ground beside the track
-  several sightings of Orange Chat, one feeding young at Lake Austin
-  a young Black-eared Cuckoo being fed by a pair of Splendid Fairy-wrens
-  flocks of Budgerigars and Crimson Chats everywhere. At one point, there was a mixed group
   of both in a bare tree - what a sight!!
-  a Spotted Harrier perched on a fence post 25m away - my favourite raptor!
If anyone would like a full trip list, let me know.
Incidentally, April's husband David died tragically from cancer two years ago and, after trying to operate Nallan single-handedly, she is being forced to put the property up for sale. After the great success of Gluepot in the South, perhaps Birds Australia should contemplate another venture where scarce species such as Grey Honeyeater, White-browed Treecreeper, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, Bourke's Parrot, etc. could be both the subject of scientific study and a great attraction to all birders visiting Western Australia. Any comments on the idea?
Roger McGovern
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