Cowra-West Wyalong-Forbes (NSW) - 4 to 6th October 2003

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Subject: Cowra-West Wyalong-Forbes (NSW) - 4 to 6th October 2003
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2003 19:45:35 +1000

Just came back from a pleasant trip in central west NSW travelling through Cowra, West Wyalong and Forbes. The weather experience on this trip was mainly fine, being fairly warm during the day but cold at night and early in the morning but with heavier rain coming back to Sydney. The central western NSW area is slowing coming out of drought and the areas between Bathurst and West Wyalong appears to have many fields of green, yellow and purple. Though I did not see or expect any lifers on this trip, it was good to see again a few birds that we don?t normally see around Sydney.


On the 4th October, I left home in central metropolitan Sydney around 4:45 am, arrived at Cowra at about 8:15 am and finally at West Wyalong at about 10:30 am.


On my way to West Wyalong saw at least 10 Superb Parrots perched in both dead and live Eucalypts about 30 km east of Cowra (Cowra itself is approx. 300 km west of Sydney CBD). The area around Cowra seems to be fairly reliable spot to see these parrots at this time of year, and you just bump into them as you drive through.


Soon after arriving just outside West Wyalong (the town is about 500 km west of Sydney), I checked inside and outside the Back Creek SF where Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters were numerous but also saw White-winged Trillers, Rufous Songlarks, Mallee Ringneck, Diamond Firetails, Double-barred Finches, Red-capped Robins, Variegated (Purple-backed) Wrens, Speckled Warblers, Western Gerygone, Mistletoebird, as well as Chestnut-rumped and Inland Thornbills. Despite lots of mistletoe in flower/ fruit there were no Painted Honeyeaters and the Black, Pied and White-fronted Honeyeaters present there a year ago may have long gone.


At The Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve (which is about 10 km south of West Wyalong CBD along the Newell HWY and is well sign posted) I saw 3 Shy Heathwrens but none of the other mallee specialties (the Scrub-robins are probably extinct now from here and the Gilbert?s Whistlers I saw here 3 years ago were not around or just quite and not in other potential spots). Other birds present here included Cockatiels; 4 Superb Parrots flying over; Rainbow Bee-eaters; Brown Treecreepers; White-browed Babblers; Blue-faced, Brown-headed and Striped Honeyeaters; Red-capped Robins and Western Gerygones.


About 2.5km down the road from the nature reserve (towards Alleena) in an open paddock (adjacent to mallee) got within a 10-20 metres of 3 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes feeding on the ground, 2 Banded Lapwings and some White-fronted Chats.


In the mallee along the road to Tallimba (about 10 km west of the Town of West Wyalong) had good views of a Crested Bellbird calling beautifully (heard one or two others as well), Variegated Wrens, a brilliantly coloured male Mulga Parrot,  2 Yellow-tufted and a White-naped Honeyeater (both seem to be just or outside their normal range and also heard Shy Heathwrens. I had good views after dusk of 3-4 Spotted Nightjars on the ground and in flight.  I could easily see their white spots in the wings and the reddish-brown colour, white throat and other markings of the one seen on the ground. Malleefowl have also been seen in recent months beside a track on the other side of the road but did not show when I was there. A few pairs of Malleefowl still hang on the edge of town.


Along the road to Lake Cowal via Clear Ridge saw more Cockatiels, Mallee Ringnecks, Red-rumped and Blue Bonnets parrots (my best views of the later species), White-winged Trillers, Rufous and Brown Songlarks, Zebra and Double-barred Finches, Yellow-throated Miners, aswell as many White-winged Choughs and Apostlebirds. The lake itself appeared completely dried out. On the edge of the Clear Ridge SF saw Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and Jacky Winter.


Finally Gum Swamp in Forbes (about 380 km north-west of Sydney) produced 3 breeding plumaged male Blue-billed Duck, at least 10 Freckled Ducks (even saw one swimming away before I got out of the car as I approached the bird hide), 200 plus Pink-eared Ducks, 50 or so Hardhead, a single male Australasian Shoveler and Chestnut Teal, 15 Hoary-headed and a few Australasian Grebes, Darters, a Whistling Kite and a Peregrine Falcon passing through.  In the eucalypts on the edge of the lake and in surrounding woodland were Little Friarbirds, Sacred Kingfisher, Grey-crowned Babblers, Red-rumped Parrots, Rufous Songlarks, Brown Treecreepers, both Fairy and Tree Martins and Cockatiels.


A Black Kite (one of a few raptors seen on the trip) was also seen flying over the road on my approach to Gump Swamp.


Edwin Vella


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