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