Trip Report-SW Qld. & NW NSW

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Subject: Trip Report-SW Qld. & NW NSW
From: "The Dam Lamb Service Clan" <>
Date: Sun, 1 Oct 2000 15:34:41 +1000
Finally released from Olympic fever to complete trip report commenced 2 weeks ago! Travelled from Maleny, SE Qld. to Currawinya NP, Thargamindah, Lake Bindegolly, Bourke, and Barraba to home from 19 August to 8 Sept.Completed 14 BOP datasheets covering 6 zones with a total of 184 raptors of only 7 species, quite disappointing in terms of variety of species. Bourke to Walgett produced the greatest concentration of raptors with 62, of which 25 were Black-shouldered Kites. Lake Bindegolly to Cunamulla to Bourke next, with total of 44 raptors, 14 of which were Aust. Kestrels. No Black-breasted Buzzard, no Spotted Harrier, no Letter-winged Kite (damn).
  Currawinya NP was looking just great, even though road to lakes still not passable and not many flowering tees. Highlights of our one week stay (20/8 -- 27/8) were a total of 97 birds, lifer,Chestnut-breasted Quail Thrush, with a pair seen in old quarry near The Granites. Other highlights in the Park were:
    Hall's Babbler-- party of 3 near homestead airfield
    Major Mitchrll Cockatoo--  seen daily in groups up to five,
    Owlet-nightjar-- roosting in tree above campsite at 10 mile bore, arrived in one second flat to quiet practice play of taped call
    Black Honeyeater-- single bird flying crazy patterns on edge of flodded clay pan on track to lakes
    Black-tailed Native Hens-- pair in same area, not seen since my SA birding days
  Ranger,Andrew does regular waterbird surveys and is a good source of info. on where the good birds are.
    Left Currawinya on 27/8,taking unsealed road west from Hungerford and then north to Thargamindah. Plan was to stop at couple of points to do 20 min. Atlassing. We were rewarded at second stop (completely at random) with flushing of 3 Spotted Nightjars only 5 meters from car. We were able to locate one bird again for a second long and rewarding view of second lifer for trip. Moral of story? Atlassing pays!!!!
    Lake Bindegolly gave us 84 birds in 3 days, most within 500 metres of camp on south side of road. Highlights here included:
     Blue-billed Duck
     Pink eared Duck
     Grebes ---- all three species, with Great Crested with young
     Musk Duck-- male displaying with loud whistle, head thrown back, tail thrown forward, only 10 metres from shore. No females in sight, Coots, swans etc. all unfazed by his spectacular display
      Glossy Ibis--flock of 10
      Brolga-- three separate parties of 5,5,6
      Bustard-- group of 3, seen initially in same scope view as party of Brolga
      Chirruping Wedgebill-- third new bird for trip, up to 7 seen in one small area
      Night duet of Clamourous Reed-warbler and Little Grassbird,which is OK enough by day but becomes disharmonious and melancholic after the third hour!!!
 Bourke was visited to see Bourke, rather than to bird, but bird we did over 3 days. Saw 65 birds (30/8 to2/9) with a single Orange Chat pished -up with fairy-wrens in lignum best find in area. Best places we found were the nature reserve next to Fort Bourke, about 12km SW of town, and a small wetland next to old rubbish tip and sewerage farm which had Glossy Ibis.Worth a visit  to the cemetery to see the sculpture associated with Fred Hollow's grave. The information centre in the old rail station provided a bird list after much searching, but it appears out of date (?1991) and had some puzzling ommissions (exotics like starling, sparrow, rock dove but also Great and Intermediate Egret, Little Black Cormorant,Dusky Moorhen etc.) We addd 9 to the list.
      Finally on to Barraba to experience the Travelling Stock Routes (TSR).Stayed 6 days ,saw 97 birds, 45 of which were seen within 500 metres of Bob's caravan park on the Manilla River.Did 6 of the TSR's and the Glen Riddle Recreation Reserve, adding 4 birds to the most recently published Bird Routes brochure. Found routes 8 & 9 the best, Tarpoly and Borah Reserve.Didn't see any Regent Honeyeater (although I see they have been seen in the town in past weeks!!) , mugga ironbark had not burst into flower but looked very close to doing so. Our highlights were:
        Grey Goshawk-- daily patrolling Manila River at caravan park
        Turquoise Parrot--- pair at Borah Reserve, scoped on ground, always a treat
         Speckeled Warbler-- many pairs at number of sites
         Brown Treecreeper-- bringing food to stump, however our tentative peeks into stump failed to find mother or chicks
         Crested Shrike-tit--- seen at 2 sites
         Hooded Robin
         Diamond Firetail-- although other birders informed us we had missrd Plum-headed by 10 mins.
         White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
Horton's Falls produced very little, though we did get our only Yellow-faced and Yellow-tufted honeyeaters of trip there.
Nanganhrah TSR (7/9) gave us Brown Quail, Little and Musk Lorikeet (excellent still views in scope), and Shining -bronze Cuckoo.
        Barraba certainly lived up to it's reputation. Most interesting facet is the unusual (for us) combination of birds at the one place, eg. Eastern Yellow Robins, King Parrots, very common here at Maleny, in same habitat as Speckeled Warblers, Brown Treecreepers, etc.
       All in all, a great trip.
           Russ Lamb, Maleny, SEQ
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