Trip report Lyndhurst, Flinders Rangers, Yorke Peninsular, SA, 1-4 Sep 06.
Following a conference at Victor Harbor I did a whistle-stop tour of
the above sites. All the sites I mention were reached (with care) in a
Toyota Yaris (rented).
1 Sep - Strzelecki Track (Mt. Lyndhurst) and Aroona Dam.
2 Sep - Flinders Ranges (Stokes Hill Lookout and Bunyeroo Gorge) and
3 Sep - Yorke Peninsular (Innes National Park)
4 Sep - Yorke Peninsular (Innes National Park) and Port Gawler
Detailed itinerary, site info and birds:
31 Aug - Drive from Victor Harbor to Lyndhurst. Stopped c200 km south
of Lyndhurst at 10.30 pm as driving was getting 'hazardous', to say
1 Sep - Strzelecki Track (Mt. Lyndhurst).
Target birds: Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, Thick-billed Grasswren.
It is necessary to contact the landowners of Mt Lyndhurst before you
head out there to obtain permission. Their number is 08 8675 7796.
They will probably charge you $20 for entry onto their land that you
can either drop off at their homestead or the roadhouse (petrol
station) in Lyndhurst.
27.2 km 'rusty car' site. Look for the small track that runs north
(left) from the road which forks into two after about 20 metres. Take
the left-hand fork, past the rusty car (it's about 50 metres from the
track), and park by the 'no pubic access' sign. Check the flatter area
to the west of the mine entrance. I searched for 6 hours (8am - 2 pm)
for Chestnut-breasted Whiteface but saw none.
Birds (total seen in brackets): Thick-billed Grasswren (8) Rufous
Fieldwren (4), Cinamon Quail-Thrush (2) (plus 4 along the side of the
Strzelecki Track on the way), Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (2),
White-winged Fairy-wren (common), Chirping Wedgebill (2), Emu (2),
White-backed Swallow (1).
25.7 km 'two gates' site*. After 25.7 km you'll come to 2 gates about
100 metres apart, in the fence on the south (right) side of the road.
Park by the second gate and walk through the gate. Check the hills
(and gullys) to your left.
Birds: Chestnut-breasted Whiteface (3 birds, 200 metres along 3rd
gully from left).
Aroona Dam (dusk).
Birds: Musk Duck (10), Hoary-headed Grebe (c20), Variegated Fairy-wren
(common below the dam)
Evening drive to Hawker.
*I'd noticed a bit of confusion over the distance from Lyndhurst to
the 2-gates site, so on the way back I measured it. From the 2nd gate
(furthest from Lyndhurst) to the junction of the Strzelecki
Track/Leigh Creek main road is 25.7km. I'd seen it written that it was
27 km (and not 26 as quoted in Thomas and Thomas), but this obviously
can't be true as the rusty car site is 27.2 km and it's definitely
much more than 200 metres between the two sites!
2 Sep - Flinders Ranges (Stokes Hill Lookout and Bunyeroo Gorge), Port Augusta.
Target birds: Short-tailed Grasswren (STGW), Elegant Parrot, Banded Stilt.
Stokes Hill Lookout - From the 3D map in the car park look south-west.
You will notice that ranges in the background disappear behind a
ridge/hill about 1km away from the car park. This is where you want to
be heading. On the way you go over a fence where you should see 2 well
grown trees about 15 metres apart from each other. The left-hand tree
is a eucalyptus, the right-hand one a pine. There were 2-3 STGW's in
this area. Continue up the hill in front of you. When you get a bit of
height, align yourself with Stokes Hill Lookout car park with the gap
between the 2 trees and head up to the Yacca's on top of the hill
(Yacca is a grassy plant with a big spike growing out the top of it).
Strategy - I got really good views of STGW here by squeaking them out
with Audubon bird caller/scarer(!). When you hear their high pitch
calls, crouch down and start squeaking as high-pitched as possible.
The birds often climb up isolated higher rocks to see where the
squeaking is coming from.
Continue straight on through a small eucalyptus glade and you come to
a valley running away from you with a fence running down the
right-hand side of it. Start at the top of the valley and walk down
the valley along the fence. I had about 8 birds along this stretch.
Birds: Short-tailed Grasswren (about 10 birds in total), Elegant
Parrot (a pair at the car park, plus about 4 more in the area),
Red-capped Robin (1 pair), Australian Ringneck (race zonarius),
Weebill (common), Inland Thornbill.
Bunyeroo Gorge - Between Wilpena and Stokes Lookout, take the road to
Bunyeroo Gorge. As you enter the gorge, park in the car park on the
right, walk down to the stream and head left. This is where the best
habitat is (there was hardly any water in the stream when I visited,
and the little water present was along this stretch).
Birds: Diamond Dove (1), Yellow-throated Miner, White-plumed
Honeyeater (common), Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (2), Emu (2), Red-rumped
Parrot (6), Australian Ringneck (race zonarius) (10), White-crowned
Babbler (5), Little Eagle (1).
Port Augusta - At the junction of the A1/B83 (to Quorn/Hawker) go west
(towards Port Augusta). Go over the causeway which crosses the
saltflats (still on the A1), then take the 1st road to the left
immediately after the end of the causeway. After about 100 metres,
turn into the public BBQ/toilet area and view the salt lagoon from
Birds: Banded Stilt (125)
Evening drive to Yorke Peninsular (Innes National Park).
3 + 4 Sep - Innes National Park (entry fee $7 per day)
Target birds: Western Whipbird, Malleefowl, Rock Parrot, Brush
Bronzewing, any 'western' birds.
Pick up a free map from the self-registration point. All the places
mentioned below are on the map. All directions are given taking you
are driving from the visitors centre towards Browns Beach (the end of
the park road).
Birds found in various places around the park: Grey Currawong, Brush
Bronzewing, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Pacific Gull, Spiny-cheeked
Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, White-browed Scrubwren,
Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo, Emu.
Site info: West Cape Road. Thomas and Thomas mention a site for
Western Whipbird that involves climbing the dunes after about 300
metres and looking down on a big bush. I did this and found lots of
big bushes, and no sound of any whipbirds. The Cape proved to be quite
a good place for sea watching (stiff south-westerly wind).
Birds: Rock Parrot (10+). Seawatch: Giant Petrel sp. (1), Australian
Gannet (100+), Fluttering Shearwater (20), Pacific Gull (10), probable
Flesh-footed Shearwater (10).
3.3 km past West Cape road. From the start of West Cape Road, continue
towards Browns Beach and after 3.3km park near the left-hand bend by
the big eucalyptus tree (just after a left-hand bend with a fenced off
area to the right of the road) - I found this area to be very
productive and had a number of Western Whipbirds singing, plus plenty
of other stuff.
Birds: Southern Scrub Robin (common), Crested Bellbird (1), Fan-tailed
Cuckoo (2), White-browed Babbler (3), Western Whipbird (3+ heard but
not seen well).
Birds: Bay - Hooded Plover (2), Turnstone (15), Pacific Gull (7).
Campsite: White-browed Babbler (10).
Finally, although Thomas and Thomas describe Malleefowl as common, I
only saw 1 bird. Just before the turning to Inneston, pull over to the
left side of the road where you will find a plaque dedicated to the
Cape Spencer Cookhouse. 30 metres along from this (in the direction of
the Inneston turning) there was a Malleefowl tending to what looked
like the start of a mound.
4 Sep - Port Gawler
Target birds: Slender-billed Thornbill
Site info: Head North from Adelaide on the A1 towards Port Wakefield.
5 km north of Virginia, take the left-hand turn to Port Gawler. After
a couple of kms you will reach the saltmarsh. I stopped at the
junction by the 'Port Gawler Conservation Area' sign. The road that
runs straight ahead leads you to the mangroves. I was pushed for time
at this site, so only had about 20 minutes to look around.
Birds: White-fronted Chat (3), Whiskered Tern (19), Greenshank
(1).Didn't see any thornbills (look in the samphire flats).
Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Rohan Clarke, Laurie Knight, Tony
Russell, David Parker, Clive Garland, Keith Brandwood, John Turner,
and (especially) Peter Waanders, all of whom responded to my RFI on
This trip report is also posted on the Surfbirds website at:
I've also posted some good photos of Short-billed Grasswren on ABID:
All the best,
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