Three weeks in SE Outback

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Subject: Three weeks in SE Outback
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 16:59:59 +1000
Hi All,

returned from three weeks birding in southeast outback with some good
sightings and news. All of this time was birding with Phil Maher.

Deniliquin district: Plains-wanderer, Superb Parrots and Inland Dotterels.
Nombinnie Nature Reserve: Black-eared Cuckoo on 7 August
Bourke: Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are now town birds with 30 on 8 August.
Also 9 Brolgas and a great female Peregrine near the treatment works.
Cunnamulla: Only Bustards on the trip (2 males). A few splashes of green
from isolated thunderstorms and first sightings of several nomadic species.
Eulo: Hall's Babbler, White-browed Treecreeper and Chestnut-breasted
Quail-thrush-country severely drought affected.
Noccundra: Small nos of Bourke's Parrots and a couple of pairs of
Gibberbirds. Locals reported 50mm of rain in two years. Severely drought
Tibooburra (11-13 August) to Bollards Lagoon, SA (14-15 August): Looks like
a garden of Eden with many desert ephemerals flowering following substantial
rain and the desert nomads were present in good numbers including
Budgerigars, display flighting Pied Honeyeater and small nos of Black
Honeyeater, freshly arriving Australian Pratincoles, nesting Crimson Chats,
Red-backed Kingfisher, displaying Brown and Rufous Songlarks, clouds of
White-browed and Masked Woodswallows.

Good sightings included a Blue-winged Parrot at Bulloo Overflow (12 August),
Qld where the Grey Grasswrens were especially elusive probably having not
bred for a couple of years with the overflow completely empty. Also a pair
of Black-breasted Buzzards, a few Bourke's Parrots, Cinnamon Quail-thrush,
Inland Dotterel with chick, a couple of Black Falcons and several Spotted

Bollards Lagoon was also in great season and both Banded Whiteface and
Eyrean Grasswren were seen in the region.

Less rain as we headed west to Strzelecki Crossing but the Lyndhurst region
seemed pretty good finding a nesting Chestnut-breasted Whiteface and a
couple of parties of Thick-billed Grasswren. An Emu shepherded his stripy
chicks through the town. Cold fronts produced bitterly cold weather in the
Flinders Ranges (18-19 August) but we enjoyed a pair of Short-tailed
Grasswrens, several Elegant Parrots and Redthroats.

The mallee was also fairly slow with the bird populations having down sized
with the severe drought but had a stunning Red-lored Whistler, several
Purple-gaped Honeyeaters, Slender-billed Thornbill,Regent Parrots and
Striated Grasswren in SA and Striated Grasswren, Mallee Emuwren in Victoria.
A good Victorian record was a Black-eared Cuckoo in Pink Lakes on 22 August.

So if you have put off birding in the arid-semi arid zones of the southeast
it is a good time to head out this spring as it should be very spectacular
if somewhat patchy.

All the best


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