Mallee Emu-wren

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Mallee Emu-wren
From: "Bob & Sadhana Cook" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 16:06:40 +1100
After spending many fruitless hours last Spring traipsing around Hattah-Kulkyne NP (NW Victoria), following everyone else's directions for Mallee Emu-wren, we thought we would never see it.  Then today, we visited some quite remote bushland for sale about 10km South of the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.  No more than 5 minutes after arriving and about 20 metres from the car, we spied two of these gorgeous creatures hopping about in, on and around an area of Spinifex about 3 or 4 metres from where we were standing.  The delight of finding such new birds "on your own" is the best! 
This area of around 750 acres (350 Ha) is natural Mallee bushland, heavily protected against any development and now for sale in two lots.  Adjacent block of c. 1000 acres is also protected.  Interesting, when considering the birds seen, is that there is no water for more than 10 kilometres in any direction.
Other birds seen on these blocks or very close by included:
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Collared Sparrowhawk - with young in nest
Common Bronzewing
Crested Pigeon
Mulga Parrot
Mallee Ringneck
Yellow Rosella
Rainbow BeeEater
Splendid Fairy-Wren - brilliant, breeding plumaged male & accompanying harem
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Buff-rumped Thornbill - thought some might be Slender-billed - faint eyebrow, whitish vent!? Bit far North for either??  I assume they may be together.
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Southern Whiteface
Jacky Winter
Crested Bellbird
White-browed Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow
Willie Wagtail
Australian Raven
Little Raven
White-winged Chough
We called into Lake Hattah on the way back.  Water is receding, but still about 3/4 covered.  At least 2000 birds there, didn't have the 'scope so could not see if there was anything exceptional.  100's of BT Native Hens still there, (less one that appeared to be dropped on by a Whistling Kite on the other side of the lake), many Black-winged Stilts, many Red-kneed Dotterel, few Black Swan, 100's of Teal and Coots,  many Grebes, 100's of Little Corellas, many Masked Lapwing.
PS: It was only about 25 degrees, so the trip was quite pleasant.
Bob Cook
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