In addition to having a successful twitch at Burren Junction when we saw the
Grey-headed Lapwing, Mike Kuhl and I also had a successful two day trip
birding there and back.
We left the Central Coast (Ourimbah) at 6.30 am on Thursday 29 June and made
our first brief stop at Doughboy Swamp, Whittingham, about 5 km east of
Singleton and there saw 300+ Plumed Whistling-Ducks, a new bird for Mike.
Morning tea was taken just west of Willow Tree where the White Box was
flowering and there were many Musk Lorikeets around. At Merrigal HSD, about
2 km west of Breeza at a large Cotton Water Retention Pond there were
hundreds of Grey Teal, 8 Avocet, a few Pinkear & Black-winged Stilts amongst
the other waterbirds. A beautiful male Spotted Harrier was watched hunting
over the long grass at Turrawan, 21 km east of Narrabri.
We arrived at Burren Junction about 1.30 pm, met up with some of the other
birders including Terry Reis, and found out that the Lapwing had not been
seen since earlier that morning and before they had arrived. After lunching
near the silos we checked out the large pond to the east of the railway line
and bulk grain storage site, near the silos. There were about 350 Plumed
Whistling Ducks, 400 Grey Teal, many Wood Duck, a few Pinkear, Mallee
Ringnecks, Blue Bonnets, 1000s Cockatiel, many Galahs, Choughs and
Apostlebirds all feeding on the spilled grain. White-winged Fairy-wren,
Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Zebra Finches were feeding in the grass in the
When we finally found the Grey-headed Lapwing at a pond, over the other
side of the compound on the west side of the silos at 4.30 pm we only saw it
for 6 minutes. This is because while we were watching the Lapwing a Black
Falcon making a stoop on a Cockatiel near the same spot but was mobbed by
Galahs and pandimonium broke loose. The Falcon took evasive action and then
made two more shots at a Cockatiel , flying back and forth over the same
pond. The views of the hunting Black Falcon were stunning and so close to us
and when we turned back to the Lapwing it had flown, scared away by the
Falcon! A half an hours search at the known sites failed to find the Lapwing
so we headed back to Narrabri as it was getting dark.
We spent the night at Narrabri and celebrated the successfuol twitch with a
bottle of the locally produced Kangaloon Estate Wines 2002 Reserve Shiraz, a
good drop. The next day we spent the morning birding along the
Narravri-Bingara Road, stopping at Killarney SF, Bobbiwa Creek and the Sawn
Rocks area of Mt Kaputah NP. At Bobbiwa Creek crossing on the Terry Hie Hie
Rd the White Box was flowering well. The place was full of Musk & Little
Lorikeets, Noisy & Little Friarbirds, White-plumed, Brown and Spiney-cheeked
Honeyeaters and many bushbirds including Shrike-tits and White-browed
Scrub-wrens. At Sawn Rocks, more flowering White Box and the additional
honeyeaters here were Yellow-faced & Yellow-tufted, and Eastern Spinebills.
Grey-crowned Babblers, Inland & Chestnut-rumped Thornbills and Rufous
Whistler were somne of the birds seen near Killarney SF.
In came onto rain by 10.30 am, more likely 10.00 am Burren Junction, and
rained solidly as we drove back to the Coast, the rain turning to showers by
12.30 pm and then it rained on and off for the rest of the afternoon.
Therefore we only made one birding stop on the way home, at Lake Liddell
near Muswellbrook. Here we found a lone Great Crested Grebe amongst the 100s
of Coot, a few Hardhead and Shoveler, but we did see 5 Wedge-tailed eagles
in and around the Lake and the adjoining hills.
99 species for the trip, 5 new birds for Mike and a new bird, the Lapwing,
for me. A visit to Burren Junction is well worth the effort for the other
birds to be seen.
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