To: <>
From: "Lorne Johnson" <>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 15:48:58 +1000
Hello bird lovers... Lorne here...

I'm back from a five day expedition into the Victorian mallee and NSW Riverina 
from Wed. 26 April to 30 April. I saw six lifers:

1. Black-eared Miner - A pair on the road between Nowingi and Colignan; 
although a little dubious to announce this as they interbreed with YT Miner, 
these birds looked exactly like the illustration in Simpson & Day. They looked 
nothing like YT or Noisy Miner.

2. Mallee Emu-wren - Brilliant sightings of parties of birds at three different 
spots in Hattah-Kulkyne NP... the first  on the northern corner of the Old 
Calder Highway and Nowingi tracks, the second opposite that corner eg. south of 
Old Calder Highway and third, 9.5km north of Hattah General Store on left hand 
side of Calder Highway, where proposed toxic waste dump is meant to go. I was 
fortunate to get decent views of the birds at all sights and even stood 
directly over porcupine grass clumps they were hidden in!!! With a gentle nudge 
of the clump, the bird would come whizzing out! Great trilling call and insect 
like 'see see' memorable. Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters dive bombed males when they 
called on top of porcupine clumps.

3. Striated Grasswren - With party of MEW at corner of Nowingi Tk. and OCH. I 
literally had a five second view; disappointing really, I got no sense of the 
bird from this.

4. Regent Parrot - Lake Hattah (southern edge), on my fourth try there. The 
male's coloration superb.

5. Gilbert's Whistler - a lone female at Terrick Terrick NP (southern boundary 
on track leading to cemetary).

7. Rufous Fieldwren - Six birds in different parts of Lake Tyrell; a little 
more reserved than the Striated; hard to get close to.

Other birds of note: Pied Honeyeater at Nowingi and Old Calder int. and on 
Colignan-Nowingi road; Emu in Hattah-Kulkyne and 12 individuals east of 
Jerilderie; big mixed flock of WB, Masked, BF and Dusky Woodswallows at 
proposed toxic waste site near Hattah; Banded Lapwing, Spotted Harrier and 
Black Kite on Yallakool Rd. west of Deniliquin; Little Eagle and Budgies on 
Calder Highway near Hattah; Hooded Robin in Hattah-Kulk and at Terrick Terrick; 
Crested Bellbird, Striped, YP, WT and SCheeked Honeyeaters at Hattah, WW 
Fairy-wren on Nowingi-Colignan Rd and on Nowingi track.

I put in time for Scarlet-chested Parrot at Ngallo South Rd. near the S.A. 
border and on the Nowingi-Colignan road - no luck. I also followed up an old 
record of Grey Falcon at Cowangie - no luck. Around Deniliquin at night I went 
looking for Inland Dotteral, LW Kite and Plains-wanderer about Deniliquin one 
night - failure. No Elegant parrot at Pyramid Creek south of Cohuna. Dipped on 
the Little Stint at Lake Murphy. Malleefowl and CQThrush invisible everywhere I 

Also, on Anzac Day, Dr. Richard Nowotny showed me around the WTP at Werribee. I 
had two ticks here: Wood Sandpiper and Striated Fieldwren. Richard and I also 
had some other interesting species: 6 Zebra Finches (a most rare visitor and 
cool record), 2 WB Sea-eagles (also ratehr rare), 2 Brown Falcon, 100s of 
Pink-eared Duck, 10 or so Freckled Duck, 50+ Blue-billed Duck, many shoveler, 3 
Cape Barren Geese, Mountain Duck, 10 BT Native-hen, 2 Banded lapwing, 
Red-capped and Double-banded Plover, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Tern, 3 or 
4 White-winged Black Tern (one in spectacular breeding plumage), a brown 
songlark, Golden Whistler and Flame Robin. Unfortunately, no Blue-winged or 
Orange-bellied Parrots. The RN Phalarope had also done a runner. All in all, a 
tremendous five hours or so in one of this country's most supurb birdwatching 
destinations. A big thank you, Richard, for your generosity, time and expertise.

And also, thanks to the many people on the birding-aus list who helped me over 
the last couple of years with directions etc. about NW Vic. Big ups to Edwin 
'Birdman' Vella for technical details re. stint plumage etc. when I phoned from 
the field.

I wanted to do a mallee birding trip back in 2004, but never got about to it, 
so it was great to finally realise a dream.

Thanks for listening,


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