The last couple of days (9th to 10th July 2006), Stuart Pickering, David
Mitford and I all enjoyed a short but very enjoyable birding trip to
northern Central NSW.
The main goal for the trip was to twitch the Grey-headed Lapwing at
Burren Junction in which we succeeded. We also enjoyed seeing many
interesting birds which we do not usually see closer to home.
Our first highlight was just 5km south of Gunnedah where we bumped into
an amazing concentration of raptors (30 seen at one time but many
however too far to identify). Here we had awesome views of 4 Black
Falcons all at the same time. We watched them very close over our heads
and one bird was seen in a stoop at fast speed going for a Willy
Wagtail. It was a truly great experience to watch. The other raptors
seen here included a Brown Falcon, Wedge-tailed Eagle and several of
Black-shouldered Kites and Australian Kestrels. We also saw 2-4 Black
and 3 Whistling Kites around Gunnedah itself and Blue Bonnets.
At Narrabri, we saw our first group of Cockatiels and Yellow-throated
Miners. Many of these were seen further on.
At Burren Junction it did not really take long to get our eyes on the
Grey-headed Lapwing next to the Silos which we watched from the car and
took some good photos for a fairly lengthy time taking some photos. It
was cooperative and approached us within a few metres of our car were we
were able to see its small yellow wattles above the bill. It is a neat
looking bird indeed and an excellent tick for all 3 of us.
Also around Burren Junction were several Blue Bonnets, Red-winged
Parrots, Mallee Ringnecks, hundreds of Cockatiels and Galahs, about 25
Zebra Finches, lots of White-winged Wrens, a Wedge-tailed Eagle, a Brown
Falcon, 15 Banded Lapwings as well as 600 Plumed Whistling Ducks at the
dam next to the Silos.
Between Burren Junction and Walgett, we saw 3 Emus, good views of
several Blue Bonnets and 3 Red-winged Parrots, a Diamond Dove, 8
Black-faced Woodswallows and several Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters.
At Walgett, we saw a White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (light-phase), Crested
Shrike-tit, Brown Tree-creepers and I may have also heard briefly some
very distant Red-tailed Black-cockatoos.
Heading back to Sydney on the second day, we were surprised to find a
Sacred Kingfisher at Wee Wa perched on a power line over the Namoi
Back towards Narrabri were 7 Black Kites soaring over the road.
At Pilliga Nature Reserve near Coonabarabran we saw a good mix of
woodland/forest birds including both Rufous and Golden Whistlers; a few
Speckled Warblers; Chestnut-rumped, Buff-rumped and Yellow Thornbills;
several Brown-headed Honeyeaters; Varied Sitellas and heard
We then drove back through the Hunter region passing both the towns of
Coolah and Merriwa were we saw both Little and Musk Lorikeets near the
flowering White-box beside the highway en route.
Our last but brief birding stop was Wallaby Scrub Rd, were we saw just
before dusk a brilliant male Red-capped Robin.
The Grey-headed Lapwing certainly provided us with the good excuse to
tick an awesome rarity, see some new areas in NSW and enjoy a good
couple of days out of Sydney.
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