Easter birding (Gluepot, Kinchega. Mutawintji etc)

Subject: Easter birding (Gluepot, Kinchega. Mutawintji etc)
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 18:15:53 +1100

G,day all,

Although a little belated, I though I might post a summary of my Easter birding
trip to the list.  It may assist others with trip preparation, or merely provide
interest to some subscribers.

Since Birds Australia purchased the Murray Mallee reserve (Gluepot) in SA, I
have wanted to check out what it has to offer in terms of it's birdlife.  This
was an opportunity that I wasn't about to let slip, so early on Good Friday,
and I headed up the Calder (via Lake Tyrrell, where I ticked Rufous Fieldwren,
or Calamanthus for those who prefer - thanks Ken Harris) and camped the first
night on the mighty Murray at Hattah, where the lovely Regent Parrots were a
sight and a half in the evening sun as they flew over the river towards their
roosts.  Magnificent stuff, and truly one of my favourite birds.

The next day saw us travelling through the Murray Sunset, on the sandy Pheeny's
Track, stopping at points along the way in search of the elusive Red-lored
Whistler - so elusive it eluded us all trip!!  Some nice sand driving
though in my newly acquired 4WD, and we made it to Yarrara FFR for a late
lunch.  I got another tick there, White-browed Treecreeper, in a very birdie
patch of woodland.  Considering it was the middle of the day, the activity was
high, with lots of Hooded and Red-capped robins and Southern Whiteface.  We then
made tracks for SA, and along the way,were stopped at the agricultural station
where they confiscated my spuds, onions and capsicum.  That would have made
for a very bland pasta sauce later on, so instead, fish n' chips were on the
menu at Waikerie.  Ferried the Pajero over the Murray and was at Gluepot just
dark.  The bird list for Gluepot is real impressive, and some of the
species in really wanted to see included Scarlet-chested Parrot, Black-eared
Miner, Red-lored Whistler, Striated Grasswren and Malleefowl - all nationally
threatened species.  SCP's were a real possibility, having been seen at the site
where we camped (Babbler camp-site) just days previously.  We never caught up
with SCP, Malleefowl or whistler, but got the grasswren and miner.  Two more
ticks!! Thanks to Rohan Clarke, David Baker-Gabb and Peter Waanders for
suggesting some good spots to look,and David, I agree that 'Babbler' is the
nicest camp-site.

Spent two cold nights (below zero) at Gluepot, which is the dustiest place I've
ever been to (you're right Peter!!).  All of the car's interior was now covered
with super fine red dust that worked it's way through all the door seals and
coated everything.  We then headed east for Wentworth, then up the road to
Pooncarie.  We stopped briefly in Pooncarie, on our way to Kinchega National
Park, which consumes the
famous Menindee Lakes.  Arrived there after dark too, but somehow, as we
discovered the next day, we picked the best possible spot along the Darling
River in the whole park.  Complete with our own private driveway and sand bar,
we had a lovely little secluded position tucked away from everyone else.  Spent
two nights at 'Kinchi'.  No doubt, the highlight was the sighting of Red-tailed
Black Cockies that roosted in the red gums just opposite camp, and come evening,
they would hesitantly make their way down to the river for a drink.  A beautiful
sight.  Other ticks at Kinchi included Chirruping Wedgebill and Little Crow
(hard to get excited about latter but it did mean that I now have all Australian
corvids, except of course the introduced House Crow, which is ship-assisted and
all the rest of it!!!-please no more on that debate).  Also of interest at
Kinchi was the behaviour of the resident camp-site owlet nightjar, who sat for
two days at the entrance to his hollow in a red gum, calling regularly
throughout the day.  I set up the scope on him and obtained some great views of
this very cute species.  Thanks
Colin Field for recommending a good area on the river.

Nest day, we reluctantly left our site on the Darling and travelled north
heading for the Silver City, Broken Hill, then out to Mootwingee NP, which is
now Mutawintji (it's correct and rightful Aboriginal title).  On the way, we
spotted a Bustard beside the road.  We got out for a better look, and the stupid
Bustard began to wander on to the road, almost getting hit by a Jackaroo towing
a van!!  We
arrived at a packed camp-site just on dark, but still still managed to nestle
our way down back and find a quiet spot.  I had big plans for Moot, and really
wanted to get some good ticks, like Hall's Babbler, Bourke Parrot, Cinnamon
Quail-thrush, Red-browed Pardalote and Little Woodswallow.  To cut a long story
short, I got none of the above and not one tick at Moot.  Breath-taking
landscape though, and we are glad we made the effort to get there, and walk some
of the sandstone escarpment country that bissects this remote and gorgeous
national park.  But you're right Susan, those feral goats are a real problem and
I don't see why the NPWS can't do something about them.

All up, eight lifers for the entire trip, and a very enjoyable trip to 'the

Thanks to the many list members that provided site information, and happy
birding to all.


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