Goonoo SF and Ingalba NR

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Goonoo SF and Ingalba NR
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2001 19:14:09 +1100
Hello birdos,

After having recovered from the hectic pace of the twitchathon (in which the Woodswallows were victorious!!- thanks David and Carol for inviting me), I took the opportunity to visit Goonoo State Forest about 40 km north of Dubbo. Armed with advice and maps from Judie Peet (thanks Judie) I visited a few spots one afternoon and then spent a couple of hours there the following morning, including a bit of spotlighting the previous night. Being a large block of forest I only visited a relatively small area. I still have vivid memories of my first visit to Goonoo when I was a young birdwatcher (16) on a camping trip with my parents. It was here that I saw my first Turquoise Parrots on 20 April 1987. Eight birds on the 20 April and then 18 on the 21 April. I even remembered the very plant of Spurwing Wattle at Paddy's Dam that I sat under on the 21 April 1987. I remembered it because it was this very same shrub that all the Turks landed in, above and around my startled head, before going down to drink. The shrub is still there 14 years later and doesn't look as though it has grown one inch! Its amazing the little events that leave a mark on your memory.

Anyway, I saw no Turquoise Parrots in 2001 but I enjoyed some other interesting sightings including-
Glossy Black-cockatoos busily feeding on the cones of Casuarinas at heights of under three metres in the late afternoon. I was able to get surprisingly close- unfortunately photographs proved difficult to get, poor patchy light and thick vegetation making movement difficult. Later in the evening approximately 30 came down to drink at Paddy's Dam treating me to a great show.

Malleefowl - I watched one bird for a couple of minutes in the mid-afternoon and was then fortunate enough to spend over an hour watching a bird excavating and then half filling its mound the following morning. It seemed to wait until the rays of the sun hit its mound and then it began its excavation moving around its mound in a clock-wise fashion. It would work away for a couple of minutes at one spot before moving a metre to its left and starting there. At its greatest depth the bird was completely invisible in the bottom of its mound. Only when the suns rays had begun to leave the mound did it begin to refill its mound. When the depth was near its peak I watched a White-eared Honeyeater repeatedly dive into the centre of the mound. I can only think that it was after insects in the turned over soil.

Compared to this everything else is a bit of an anti-climax but I did find Chestnut-rumped heathwren at one spot, and listened to Boobook, Barn Owl, and White-throated Nightjars the night before. It was a very full moon and the Nightjars were extremely vocal- something I've noticed with Large-tailed Nightjars during my time on Cape York.

After this I had some work commitments to take care of. One of these commitments was pleasurable- meeting the very knowledgeable Neville Schrader, thanks Neville, I look forward to chatting to you again soon. Eventually I had time to do a spot of birdwatching at Ingalba Nature Reserve, just to the west of Temora. Spotlighting was a bit poor except for the obvious highlight of two Barking Owls. Just to make sure that I hadn't forgotten about them one decided to add its calls to the dawn chorus the next morning. Other birds here included Chestnut-rumped Heathwren (at its probable western limit) and Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Crested Shrike-tit and Varied Sittella (one of my favourite birds).

After a busy week I think I might see if I can have a non-bird weekend!


Mick Todd

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