To: "" <>, Reg Clark <>, tim morris <>, Craig Arms <>,
From: morris <>
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 16:24:10 +1000
Hi Birders,
Robin Benson & I recently made a visit to western NSW, stopping off at
Round Hill Nature Reserve, Lake Cargelligo and its nearby Sewerage
Treatment ponds (17-18/9), our first visit to Gluepot Reserve in South
Australia (19-22/9), then returning to Tarawi Nature Reserve, which is
located 120 km N of Wentworth in western NSW (23-24/9). The Reserve was
described in the Autumn 1999 issue of Australian Birding in an article
by Reg Clarke. We travelled with great weather conditions, while
seasonally the surrounding area has had good winter rains and everything
is green! We travelled up to Tarawi via the Nulla Homestead Road and
then returned to Wentworth via Nialla Lake and Nearie Lake Nature
Reserve located on the Darling River Ana Branch, staying overnight at
Balranald, visiting Homebush to look for Redthroats and then returning
via the Hay Plain, Rankin Springs, Caragabal and Corowa to home on the
Central Coast During the trip we saw over 180 species of birds and will
submit 54 Atlas sheets. Bird lists for Round Hill, Gluepot, and Tarawi
are available on request.

Our first stop was at Turrill State Forest near Cassillis where amonst
the various common bushbirds were Speckled Warblers, White-throated
Gerygones calling loudly, and a lone male Redwing Parrot, slightly to
the east of its usual range.The next stop was at Willandra Crossing,
just west of Dubbo and our first mixed flock of White-browed and Masked
Woodswallows were seen. They were to be seen most days of our trip
thereafter and every day when in NSW. Rufous Songlarks were abundant and
a Swamp Harrrier was seen flying over the Macquarie River. Enroute
between Lake Cargelligo and Round Hill Nature Reserve near Murrin
Bridge, a Spotted Harrier was coursing over the grassy plains and the
first pair of Crimson Chats for the trip were seen too.We only had one
hour & ten minutes at Round Hill (near the ex wheat paddock) because of
fading light due to the approaching rain and saw only 22 species. The
rain sent us back to Lake Cargelligo and was the only rain encounted
during our trip other than when crossing the Blue Mountains at the very
end. Highlights at Round Hill included Chestnut Quail-thrush, Shy
Heathwren, many Common Bronzewings in courtship flights, 2 singing male
Black Honeyeaters, Red-capped Robin, singing Western Gerygones,
Bar-shouldered Doves and Woodswallows but no Red-lored Whistlers.
    An early morning visit to Lake Cargelligo (where we stayed at the
Budget Motel - the manager says he gets many birdwatchers!) produced
Great Crested Grebes, Whiskered Terns, Little Friarbirds and European
Blackbirds. The Sewerwage ponds were great! Avocets, Stilts,
Sharp-tailed & 2 Marsh Sandpipers, Common Greenshanks, Little
Grassbirds, Red-capped & Red-kneed Plovers, several pairs of Australian
Shelducks with downy young, a flock of 32 Glossy Ibis, Shovellers &
Pinkear, Brown & Rufous Songlarks, Red-necked Stints and Pink Cockatoos!
In box woodland near Rankin Springs were Grey-crowned Babblers,
Apostlebirds & a Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo.
    While having morning tea on the Hay Plain just north of Hay, we had
Kestrels nesting,White-winged Trillers, White-winged Fairy-wrens &
Superb Fairy-wrens in the saltbush, many Black Kites, a Hobby taking a
swipe and missing a Starling, and many White-necked Herons feeding in
the table drains. When lunching in the mallee between Balranald &
Euston, the western form of the Grey Currawong was seen along with
Red-capped Robins and the yellow-rumped form of the Spotted Pardalote.
The first Banded Lapwings were seen in Victoria near Lake Cullullerne,
where there were Whiskered Terns, Swamp Harrier, White-breasted
Woodswallows and Black Kites.
This was the first visit to Waikerie for both of us and is where you
pick up the Gluepot key! Got the last motel room in the town due to the
Golfing tournament where we had time to complain about the SA
government's rule of confiscating all the fruit and vegetables we were
carrying, some purchased in neighbouring Mildura! However had great
views of Caspian & Whiskered Terns along the Murray River, a Buff-banded
Rail on the riverbank, Singing, New Holland & White-fronted Honeyeaters
in the parks and both species of Spoonbills.
We had a great three days in Gluepot - alas no Red-lored Whistlers but
for Robin, his first views of White-browed Treecreepers and my first
views of Striated Grasswrens, and about 30 Black-eared Miners in one
large flock, a new bird for both of us. The volunteer ranger, one Graham
Harrison, was doing an excellent job cleaning the campsites and talking
to all the visitors!  We both had excellent and regular views of
Southern Scrub-Robins (including one with nest and egg), Shy Heathwrens,
saw 6 pairs of  Chestnut Quail-thrush, many Hooded Robins, Gilbert's
Whistlers, Spendid Fairy-wrens and Mulga Parrots. Our Grasswrens were
seen near Grasswren tank! And like a recent article said " when first
heard calling, if you squeak at them, one will come blouncing out to see
who is there" and that is exactly the way it was. However, we did not
find any until the last 2 hours that we were at Gluepot. The Black-eared
Miners were in one big flock that crossed out track and in ten minutes
had disappeared completely but we had good views of a number of
individuals. We could not get over the number of Restless Flycatchers
and Willy Wagtails seen throughout the mallee, such a dry habitat
compared to where we usually see them in NSW.
    We returned to Waikerie and stayed at Wentworth leaving early in the
morning for Tarawi. On the saltbush plains just north of Wentworth were
large numbers of Brown Songlarks, Crimson, White-fronted and Orange
Chats. Our first Wedge-tailed Eagle in 6 days was seen here too. Further
north on grass plains were 1000s of Masked & White-browed Woodswallows
feeding in the grass on wingless grasshoppers? Here also was a Little
Eagle & 27 Emus in the one flock. In a Black Oak stand near Nulla
Homestead we found 3 Pied Honeyeaters and a small flock of Budgerygars,
along with Crimson Chats, Red-capped Robins, Apostlebirds, Brown
Treecreepers, Singing Honeyeaters and Pink Cockatoos. 53 species were
seen at Gluepot. It was great to see the recovery of the bluebush from
years of overgrazing, and so see so few rabbits and goats (we saw ony 2
rabbits and the one flock of 6 goats in 3 days).

    We were at Tarawi for a day and a bit. The habitats seem the same as
Gluepot Reserve but again no Red-lored Whistlers! The Striated
Grasswrens were easier to find than at Gluepot, while Southern
Scrub-Robins, Gilbert's Whistler and Shy Heathwren abundance appeared to
be similar. Other highlights included a Black-eared Cuckoo at Tarawi
Bore, Red-backed Kingfisher, Wedge-tailed Eagles, White-browed
Treecreepers, Crimson Chats, our first views of Grey-fronted Honeyeaters
for a long time and Chestnut Quail-thrush. The Crimson Chats and
White-fronted Honeyeaters were in  recent (1998/99) bushfire burnt areas
and the Grey-fronted Honeyeaters were feeding in regenerating mallee
burnt in a hazard reduction two years previously. We saw 62 species at
Tarawi including 2 species not on the April 1999 updated birdlist, viz
Great Cormorant at the house dam and Red-backed Kingfisher along the
northern boundary.
>From Tarawi we called briefly at Nialla Lake on the Darling River Ana
Branch, here a lone Curlew Sandpiper, along with over 600 pelicans,
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Red-capped Plovers, Grey Teal, Shelducks,
Budgerygars and a Brown Goshawk were noted! In contrast nearby Nearie
Lake had only a few Pelicans, Pied Cormorants, a Hoary-headed Grebe and
a few Grey Teal. However there were plenty of White-winged Fairy-wrens
in the bluebush around the Lake! Emus, Black-tailed Native-hens, Great &
Little Egrets, White-necked Herons and White-browed Woodswallows were
seen in the immediate vicinty close to or along the waters of the Ana
On the last day,  an early morning trip was made to Homebush, 36 km N of
Balranlad to see we could find the Redthroat known to have been present
there 12 years ago! No luck with the Redthroat, however greast views of
Crimson, White-fronted and Orange Chats yet again, Cockatiels & Brown
Songlarks. On the Hay Plains between Balranald and Hay, where the
natural grasslands were well established due to good recent rains,were
plenty of Brown Songlarks and Singing Bushlarks, a Black Falcon made a
pass at one of two Spotted Harriers, a Wedge-tailed Eagle and 2 large
flocks of Black-tailed Native-hens were seen. Morning tea was again
taken at Rankin Springs, this time in a different patch of box woodland,
where there were yet again Masked and White-browed Woodswallows,
Southernn Whitefaces, Brown Goshawk and Western Gerygone.
    Our final stop was at Caragabal Cemetary where in 20 minutes we saw
33 species in a patch of box/belah/pine woodland. These included the
first Sacred Kingfisher and Leaden Flycatchers for the trip, Peaceful
Doves, Brown Treecreepers and the last Apostlebirds! Once again there
were woodswallows and both Yellow & Chestnut-rumped Thornbills. Our
final special bird was a Grey Goshawk at Bumbaldry near Conimbla NP near
Cowra a bird well outside its normal range for NSW.

Alan Morris
NSWFOC Records Officer
40 Aston Wilde Avenue,
Chittaway Bay NSW 2261
(Note new address)

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