Trip Report WA : Kununurra/East Kimberley, 10th-15th Sept 2005

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip Report WA : Kununurra/East Kimberley, 10th-15th Sept 2005
From: "Dam Lamb" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 04:56:00 +1100
Headed into WA with great expectations, and excitement of starting a new State list.Stayed at Kununurra for five nights with view to checking-out many of the sites posted on Frank O'Conner's webpage. Started out with driving along Ivanhoe Rd , checking-out the irrigation channels.Spied a huge flock of Magpie Geese in an irrigated paddock (aren't they all) on Mills Rd., watched one goose fighting-off two Wedge-tailed Eagle on the ground, fully expected it to be killed, but despite having an injured wing it put up stoic resistance and in the end the eagles seemed to lose interest and the goose walked away.Our attention was then drawn to smaller birds in the field which included Wood Sandpiper (6) , Pacific Plover, and Australian Pratincole.These were the first of many Wood S'pipers we were to see in the west.Pied, White-faced and White-necked Heron were also present, along with Straw-necked Ibis.
 The next day we were off to Lake Argyle, taking the tourist bus from the town.Had a brief ( 2 hr) boat trip on the lake, little bird life, but did see Short-eared Rock Wallaby, Bottle-nosed Catfish, and species of Archerfish. The highlight of the day was the trip down the Ord Rv from the dam wall to Lake Kununura (55 km).I had been given hope of a Black Bittern by the captain who said he had seen one up a creek 2 days previously. I stationed myself at the back of the boat with views of both sides , held-on (some parts of the ride were quite fast), and hoped. Went-up one creek without success, then to the end of the second creek (Spillway Creek).As the boat turned, I resigned myself to yet another bittern-free attempt when my trusty spotter Maria saw a bird crouched on an overhanging mel.branch close to the water.As I raised my binos she yelled" Black Bittern" ( big tick) and I finally, at long last, had the blighter in my view.The captain slowed the boat, looking almost as relieved and excited as me, and we had good views for over a minute before the bird tired of our attentions and flew upstream.The other (non-birding) passengers were a bit bemused and bewildered by the excitement at the time, but a couple diseek me out later to learn more about the strange goings-on.At last, the Great Black Bittern Quest was over.
   A day-trip to Wyndham the next day started with an aborted drive down the Gibb River Rd to Emma Gorge, which was closed for repairs (to the accomodation, we presume, not the gorge).Stopped at The Grotto which proved very fruitful, with Spinifex Pigeon, Diamond and Peaceful Dove easily seen, Brown Falcon overhead, and heaps of Zebra Finch.Had morning tea at Parry Creek Farm where the lagoon level was very low and very few waterbirds. We did however get excellent views of a pair of Barking Owls across the creek, and an adult White-browed Robin which pleased me infinitely more than the juv. I had seen at Mary Rv a week or so earlier.Marglu Lagoon was a much better prospect, with a hide with a steel-grated floor which made telescope placement a tricky business.We scoped 39 species in under an hour, best of which were Wandering Whistling, Pink-eared Duck, Radjah Shelduck, Green Pygmy-goose, 4 species of Egret, all Ibis, Common Greenshank, Black-fronted Dotterel.Searched the foreshore at Wyndham Port unsuccesfully for both Whistlers, but did get Wood Sandpiper,Mangrove Gerygone, Yellow White-eye. It was a surprise to see a small flock of Star Finch flitting through the mangroves as well.A trip to the sewerage works didn't produce anything of note.
   The next day started with the (non-birding) highlight of the whole trip, an early morning sea-plane flight from Lake Kununurra, up the Ord Rv, over east side of Lake Argyle, the Ormand Range and finally, the absolutely spectacular Bungle Bungle Ranges.Flew home over the huge Argyle diamond mine, then over  Lake Argyle again, dropping to 200m and touching-down on the lake .Were able to clearly see the crocs and cormorants and pelicans on the lake shore.Later that day after the heat had abated, again drove around the irrigation areas north and west of the town.Remarkably, at the 3rd irrigation channel on Ivanhoe Rd ( the Thomas & Thomas site, now 13+ years on) found a pair of Yellow-rumped Mannikin (tick) .Also got great views of Spotted Harrier, Black-breasted Buzzard and Crimson Finch along Ivanhoe Rd.
Left Kununurra on the 15th, battling head winds all the way to Fitzroy Crossing. Stopped for lunch at Mary Pool, about 105km west of Hall's Creek where we saw Yellow-tinted and Brown Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Great Bowerbird and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos. Spent time in the pool at Fitzroy Crossing Resort trying to cool down, late afternoon walk along the river produced Barking Owl (seen), Black-fronted Dotterel, Double-barred and Star Finch, and White-breasted Woodswallow.The heat put paid to our plans to spend more time in the central Kimberleys, so we set our sights on Broome.
  Russ Lamb, Maleny,SEQ
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Trip Report WA : Kununurra/East Kimberley, 10th-15th Sept 2005, Dam Lamb <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU