Just back from conducting 13 keen birders around the delights of Victoria
(only 1.5 wet days) and having just seen the report from Barry McLean of
Crimson and Oranga Chats, Pied and Black Honeyeaters, Rufous and Brown
Songlarks and WW Trillers reported in the Mildura district, had to respond.
We stayed at Pine Plains (beautiful place) on the east side of Wyperfeld NP
and then at Colignan just north of Hattah Kulkyne NP, and saw all the above
at Hattah and the songlarks and trillers at both places.
Chats were on samphire on the Boonoona system salt ponds (road leading off
the Calder highway to Colignan) and the two honeyeaters and chats over the
railway line on the disused salt mines just west of Hattah general
At this last site, one member reported as the coach was heading north that
he "thought" he had seen a pair of Grey Falcons display flying over some
tall trees to the right of the salt mines track. Could have rung his neck!
I've not seen these yet and would have loved to have confirmed the
sighting. However it's an indefinite sighting and hope someone out there
can check it out. Directions: take the turning opposite the Hattah service
station, over the railway line, turn immediate right, drive about 2 km to
where the mallee opens out and there are tracks right and left along the
pylons. He walked the righthand track for about one kilometre. I took the
left hand track and found the Black with White-fronted Honeyeaters among
the sand dunes and spinifex 1-2 km.
Large numbers of Pallid and Horsfield Bronze-cuckoos throughout this
region, and Black-eared at Wyperfeld.
Also Regent Parrots were in large numbers at both places, two Malleefowl at
Wyperfeld, and a great view of a Chestnut Quailthrush at the side of the
Calder Highway, and two Mallee Emu-wrens at the car park by the Nature
Trail in Hattah Kulkyne NP.
Earlier in the tour we saw Regent Honeyeaters nest building near the
school at Thurgoona, near Albury. Then further along Orange-bellied Parrots
on Swan Island, a Spotted Harrier at Lake Murtnagurt (Bellarine Peninsula),
the Purple-crowned Lorikeets at Deakin University, lots of Crescent
Honeyeaters at Distillery Creek (all thanks to Margaret Cameron), an Olive
Whistler and Bassian Thrush at Melba Gully, no Hooded Plovers at Killareny
Beach (it was blowing like blazes and raining at the time), and many good
close sightings of birds rare to NSW birders, such as Splendid Wrens, Mulga
Parrots, Mallee Ringnecks and Yellow Rosellas.
Good sightings of Black-faced Cormorants at Bay of Islands breeding on the
isolated rock off shore and Rufous Bristlebirds around your feet at various
carparks along the Ocean Road!
A great trip by Outback Track Tours, with all up 210 species (including
target species Orange-bellied Parrot and Rufous Bristlebirds and, for a
few, the Malleefowl and Mallee Emu-wren). Sadly we dipped on the Banded
Stilt - bad weather at Linlithgow and Natimuk might be responsible but with
all that rain about they may have headed to the interior to breed. Any
Records will eventaully get onto BA Atlas sheets.
Cheers for now.
Penny Drake-Brockman, Examination Recitals Co-ordinator, Sydney
Conservatorium of Music.
Tel: 02 9351 1254.
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