I was one of the lucky ones on Monday 17th about 2.30pm when the weather
cleared up enough to make viewing the bird pleasant. Arrived with my
sister to be shown the bird by a couple already there (this a bit of a
twitcher's dilemma - where was the excitement of finding the bird for
oneself? - but it certainly saved time). Then we were joined by Sue
Hamonet and her brother Charlie Mann from Newcastle, who were quite
happy to be shown the bird. It was standing hunched when we first saw
it, clean and neat, standing on a slight rise east of the silos, in the
rough grass. Then after about 20 minutes, it flew to the other side of
the road - foraged a few minutes while we all had great views, then flew
back to the original side of the road further east and vanished into the
rough area beyond the short grass. It didn't seem seriously affected by
the bumblefoot - flew with that leg hanging a bit lower and when
standing tucked that leg under its belly. No Masked Lapwings were around
but there were over 200 Cockatiels (including a begging juvenile) and
200 Galahs feeding around the silos, and 50 or so Feral Pigeons. No
raptors while we were present.
On the way Monday from Murrurundi to BJ, we had some interesting
sightings. On the Kamileroi Highway about 30 km east of Gunnedah, a
large Koala was crossing a huge paddock of winter wheat - right out in
the middle, very wet and disgruntled looking. A short way east of
Boggabri we saw a Black Falcon in the tree and a Peregrine near a huge
cotton water storage dam. Then on the road side we saw 2 ravens
attacking another largish looking bird. On slowly passing saw it was a
Tawny Frogmouth. We stopped and walked back. The Frogmouth was sitting
by a post in grass just off the narrow verge. It appeared to have
nothing wrong with it. We bent down and looked, it opened its mouth wide
and hissed, turned a bit and hissed again, then turned round and flew
into a nearby tree. Thank heavens, no broken bones and no need to
contact Wires. We saw our first Black Kite shortly after Narrabri. Most
of this part of the trip was in intermittent rain.
Spent the night at Coonamble in one of the 2 old hotels and was told
that 2 Brolgas were in the Macquarie Marshes and that news about the GHL
had been in the local paper. Also that they'd had between 40 and 50cm of
rain in the last few days and were very happy and looking forward to
more promised later this week. Saw two huge herds of stock on the TSRs,
one of over 1000 between Wee Waa and Burren Junction, in very poor
condition, the other in good condition on the Coonamble/Barradine Road,
sure making a mess of the vegetation and showing up all the rubbish
thrown from vehicles. A happy sight was a group of volunteers collecting
roadside rubbish just north of Coonabarabran.
Next day returned to Murra on the Coonamble/Barradine road. Lovely views
of Bluebonnets, Cockatiels, Grey-crowned Babblers, and huge groups of
Apostlebirds - one of over 30 - and lots of White-winged Choughs.
Weather was very changeable but bit of sun allowed some stops. One at a
heavily flowering White Box a few kilometres West of Barradine -
honeyeaters Fuscous, Black-chinned, Spiny-cheeked, Yellow-faced,
White-naped and White-rumped Miners. Then had lunch in Pillaga on
Butlers Bird Route (off the Barradine/Coonabarabran road. Again blossom
in the gums and lots of honeyeaters including Black-chinned once more.
Also Speckled Warblers and White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes but no red
robins. On leaving the forest at 2.45pm back to the Barradine/Coon.
road, at a point were the track rises from the Bugaldi Creek with
paddocks either side and trees lining the track, we surprised at least
17 Turquoise Parrots (possibly more), one Jacky Winter, one Mulga Parrot
and 2 Mallee Ringnecks and at the track entry, 4 Mallee Ringnecks
feeding on dead standing seed heads of various weeds in the grass.
Altogether a very pleasant ending to a super twitch.
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