2001 Highlights

Subject: 2001 Highlights
From: richard baxter <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2002 23:36:07 -0800 (PST)


               My first tick of 2001 came on the 7th Jan with a King Quail at Pittown Lagoon, Sydney.  A bird that I have had difficulty finding and thanks to birding-aus it is finally ticked.  While in the area, I located a Pilotbird at Pearce's Pass near Bilpin and Lewin's rail at Mill Creek Dharaug N.P, Sydney, thanks to a tape.

               The February Newcastle Pelagic bought another new bird, a Kermadec Petrel, seen off Port Stephens and just after a White-necked Petrel had cruised past the boat.  Things were pretty quiet through Autumn and on the 26 June Mick Todd and I spend a morning in Awaba State Forest near Newcastle where we located 5-8 Chestnut-rumped Heathwren and a relatively small area.

             The arrival of a Ruff on Ash Island on the 11 Sept proved a highlight, but I unfortunately missed the Lesser-yellowlegs which turned up a couple of days later.  Apart from the Yellowlegs, September turned out to be a good month.  On the 23 Sept I dropped into Eulo and Lake Bindegolly in SW QLD and managed to locate the Halls Babbler, but after two trips to the area in three years I have still not seen the Quail-thrush.  The following day I drove up to Boulia via Windorah and Coorabulka Station.  This day bought Gibberbird, Bourkes Parrot, Inland Dotteral and Letter-winged Kite in addition to lots of other great birds.

            On the 25 Sept I wandered down to the river at Boulia to find flocks of Budgerigars and Flock Bronzewings drinking and the river generally alive with birdlife.  That day I tracked down Spinifexbird as well as Carpentarian and Dusky Grasswren before heading over to see Purple-crowned Fairywren on the Victoria River in the N.T.    The highlight of the 28-29 Sept was a Grey Falcon near Halls Creek and Long-toed Stint at the quickly drying Derby Sewage Overflow.

             On the 30 Sept I dropped in to Broome Bird Observatory where I ticked a Grey Plover and saw 7 mangove species in half and hour from Streeters Jetty, which is close the the main street of Broome.   Broome has doubled in size since my last visit 12years ago, but the birding is still fantastic. 

              In October I headed up to the Kimberleys where I saw Yellow Chat at the Derby overflow, which by this time had barely any water left in it.  The highlights of a couple of weeks in the Kimberley were Banded H/E, Green-backed Gerygone, White-lined H/E, Chestnut-backed Button Quail and Black Grasswren.  On returning to Broome, Oriental Pratincole had arrived at the Broome STW, with many more waders also now present. 

            On the 17th Oct I joined the North West Wader Expedition at Port Headland Saltworks, where the highlight was definately a flock of 51 Red-necked Phalarope, lots of Broadbilled S/P, several Painted Finches and hours setting nets and banding waders with Clive Minton and crew.  From here I travelled down to my favourite part of Australia, Coral Bay and the Exmouth Peninsula. Chiming Wedgebills were easily seen from the road around Coral Bay and Western Bowerbirds as well as Rufous Fieldwren were plentiful around Exmouth.  A short walk from the car in Cape Range N.P produced Rufous-crowned Emuwren and plenty of Bustards.

            Monkey Mia on the 24-27 Oct produced the usual good birding which included Thick-billed Grasswren, which seem to be even more plentiful, even though the resort has tripled in size sinse my last visit.  Southern Scrub Robin, Laughing Turtledove and Wedgebills were also very common around the resort, with plenty of waders also about at low tide. 

             On the 29 October I ventured out to the Abrolhos Islands and saw Roseate Tern, Common Noddy, Fairy Tern and Bridled Tern. The end of Oct came with another new tick, a Blue-breasted Fairy wren at the Murchison River bridge near Kalbarri.

           In November I returned to Broome to find Red-backed Button-quail and Asiatic Dowitcher at the BBO as well as Oriental Plover and Barn Swallow at the sewage works.  Several visits to the sewage works searching for snipe finally resulted in Adrian Boyle locating them on the 5 November and resulting in one of my best ticks of the year.  Over the next few weeks I drove back to Newcastle with stops at many great birding spots like Marglu Billabong, Kununurra, Timber Creek, Mt-Isa and although I saw hundreds of birds, unfortunately did not see anything new. 

A good year of birding.  Bring on 2002! 

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