Vic/SA/NSW Trip Report (quite long)

Subject: Vic/SA/NSW Trip Report (quite long)
From: "Keith Betton" <>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 03:23:16 +0100
G'day All

I have just completed a really great two weeks birding and below are the highlights. My grateful thanks go to Chris Lester, Tony Russell, Doug Holly and Trevor Quested for their assistance, and to others who kindly responded to RFIs.

Having been to Australia six times before (mainly on business with holiday added on) my focus was really on trying to see birds that would be new for me. These were the highlights for me:

10/8 Arrived in Melbourne straight from London, and within an hour I'm with Chris Lester. 5 Orange-bellied Parrots (2 adults, 3 imm) and a single Blue-winged Parrot at Werribee are an excellent start. We then found several Rufous Bristlebirds at Point Addis, and a brown Pink Robin at Geelong Botanical Gardens (thanks to everyone who made suggestions on where to see this).

11/8 A drive towards Port Fairy to join the pelagic and we stopped at You Yangs where several Black-chinned Honeyeaters were calling.

12/8 The Port Fairy pelagic was expertly led by Mike Carter and added a bunch of new birds for my Australia list and 4 world lifers: Yellow-nosed Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Great-winged Petrel and Thin-billed Prion.

14-15/8 Having met up in Adelaide with Tony Russell briefly I camped with Doug Holly in Calperum. Three Red-lored Whistlers (2m 1f) were elusive the first afternoon, but very easy the next morning (allowing video & photo opportunities). A fairly convincing Black-eared Miner, Redthroat, Shy Hylacola, several Striated Grasswren, Southern Scrub Robin, White-fronted Honeyeater
all gave themselves up thanks to Doug's bionic hearing!
A quick look at Dangalli did not add any new birds. But apparently Scarlet-chested Parrot was seen there about 6 weeks back at a dam some 20km NE of Canopus - GPS reading is 33.20.28 S 140.41.47 E, so it might be worthy of some effort.

16/8 After a night at Broken Hill I made it Bulloo Overflow. The area is quite dry, and only a single Grey Grasswren showed in a two hour search.

17/8 Banded Whiteface and Pied Honeyeater were west of Cameron Corner. A seven-hour search finally yielded a couple of Eyrean Grasswrens. I was just throwing in the towel and having my breakfast when I saw them running around on the sand dune just 50m from my camp!

18/8 After a very pleasant day birding around Strzelecki Crossing I camped at Mount Lyndhurst and met up with a group travelling with UK tour company Birdquest being led by Chris Doughty. They spent ages trying to find the Thick-billed Grasswrens and had failed to see them near the mines. In the end the birds were on the S side of the road. There were around 12 Chestnut-breasted Whiteface around the area, lots of Pied Honeyeaters, a few Black Honeyeaters and Rufous Fieldwrens.

19/8 A whole day in Flinders NP in very windy conditions meant I failed to locate Short-tailed Grasswren despite spending a total of seven hours looking in areas where they are regularly seen.

20/8 A long drive to Ceduna in the hope of seeing Scarlet-chested Parrot - but without success.

21/8 Another long drice to Coffin Bay and in very rough conditions I watched Rock Parrots flying to their nightime roost on Golden Island.

23/8 A morning spent at Pink Lakes in the Murray-Sunset NP. An excellent morning but sadly no Mallee Emu-Wrens revealed themselves in the spinifex. The afternoon was spent at Cox's Scrub some 50km S of Adelaide where with Tony Russell I saw Elegant Parrot.

24/8 A day in Glen Davis/Glen Alice with 8 Regent Honeyeaters being very showy at the location mentioned by Trevor Quested a few weeks back.

For the record I also managed a couple of other "firsts" - a real Australian rugby league game (Penrith v Wests) and the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb (last Sunday in a violent thunder storm!).

In all I saw about 250 species. Many thanks to everyone for their help.

A reminder that if anyone is visiting the UK and wants to see some birds please do get in touch. I am always happy to help.

Regards to all

Keith Betton
(normally in London, but in QLD until 10/9)

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