Over the last few weeks

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Subject: Over the last few weeks
From: "Penny Drake-Brockman" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2004 20:52:53 +1100
Dear aussers
Had a very busy birdie Christmas/New Year, with a few beautiful sightings. 27-30 Dec at Coolah Tops National Park (31 43 59/150 00 53), near Coolah and Cassilis, and overlooking the Liverpool Plains, NSW. At the Myall site 31 38 07/149 53 58) after crossing over Pandora's Pass, we found heaps (50+?) of Red-winged Parrots with many dependent young, at least 4 if not 6 Painted Honeyeaters, and a few Spiny-cheeked and Striped Honeyeaters. The Mistletoe in the Myall was in very heavy fruit. Further along, at Cox's Creek (31 31 08/149 54 28) we found a small flock of Plum-headed Finches. It was fairly dry and hot down in the plains, so we didn't hang around and got back quickly to the pleasant coolness of Coolah.
On the way back to Gloucester I managed to run my car through a barbed-wired fence! Stupid......
Then for New Year, went with many friends to a property near Nowendoc, south of Walcha. Spent the morning of New Year's day driving through Nowendoc State Forest, not a lot of birds but good sightings of Black-faced Monarchs, a Satin Flycatcher and Rufous Fantails. 2nd January, we spent all day driving through Mummel Gulf National Park and adjacent State Forests which you pop in and out of all the time, or so it seems. Birds were again on the quiet side - one Latham's Snipe at New Country Swamp in the NP - this could do with some further investigation after some rain - it was a bit on the dry side but did have water. Then on leaving the NP at the top most part of Top Station, we heard Scarlet Honey-eaters as we were clearing trees off the track, only to find further down a huge trunk across the track so we had to turn round on the narrow steep track and find an alternative track which lead eventually down to Nowendoc. On the way we saw 3 Glossy-black Cockatoos, glimpsed a Spotted Quail-thrush, and saw a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles. We had spent most of the day at over 1,000 metres, in mixed forest with many tall Tree Ferns and beautiful prostanthera shrubs in full bloom. As we headed back to the property, a farm dam on Thunberbolts Way, near Nowendoc (36 37 30/151 34 04) contained 2 Pink-eared Ducks and 2 A.Shoverllers, a Black duck with 5 ducklings, amongst others, with Clarmorous Reed-warblers singing their hearts out in the reeds.
Back in Gloucester, the Latham's Snipe are still at the wetlands but these are drying up and we have had almost no rain with all the beautiful and promising black thunder clouds passing off to either side. Oh for rain..... At least it's cooler today.
Happy New Year to all on birding-aus and continues bringing in the news reports.
Penny D-B
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