I have spent a terrific week around and travelling to and from the
Leeton-Grifith areas in the Riverina of NSW. The area was extremely
dry but with patience and persistence I did find quite a lot of birds
and most of my target species, as well as two lifers (bitterns). I
travelled up from home (Braodford) through Corowa, Urana and
Narranderam spent two nights in Leeton and one if Griffith and came
back through Coleambally, Jerilderie and Tocumwal.
Day 1 2/1/07
First stop was the Corowa Sewage Pons, a familar place for me. Little
Grassbirds were calling in reeds around the ponds and a pair of
Blue-billed Ducks were seen with other waterfowl. White-backed
Swallows were overhead and a Brown Songlark could be heard calling in
a nearby paddock. A group of 10 Magpie Geese were also seen, they have
been here for over a year now. A Buff-banded Rail was also spotted
underneath in a thick willow. Next stop was to Coreen State Forest.
Along the Corowa-Daysdale Rd a few groups of Grey-crowned Babblers
were seen as well as a small group of Black-faced Woodswallows and
Blue Bonnets near Lonesome Pine State Forest. Coreen State Forest had
the first Apostlebirds of the trip and a calling Western Gerygone.
Upset Galahs alerted me to a male Black Falcon that was circling over
a paddock nearby.
Next stop was at Urana at the J.M Smith FFR on the south edge of town.
There was still some water in a billabong that had attracted
Black-tailed Native-Hens and many martins, accompanied by a lone
Fork-tailed Swift. White-breasted Woodswallows were also breeding here
and Rainbow Bee-eaters were spotted as well.
Buckingbong SF was the next visit where a few more dryer country birds
were seen including Mallee Ringneck, Inland Thornbill, Southern
Whiteface, White-browed Woodswallows and a single Emu. Gillenbah SF
near Narrandera produced many of the these birds as well along with a
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater. Along the Murrumbidgee at Narrandera a
coupel of Dollarbirds were spotted along with Little Friarbirds, a
Little Eagle, Black Kite, Yellow Rosella and unexpected Striated
Thornbills in the red gums along the river.
After settling in at Leeton I headed off to Fivebough. WOW. This place
was amazing. Even though the emphemeral part of the swamp was dry
there were still thousands of birds in the permanent part. I was blow
away in about 20 minutes when in one small area of swamp I saw 8 Wood
Sandpipers, over 20 Marsh Sandpipers, 20 or so Australian Spotted
Crakes (more than I have ever seen my whole life), Spotless Crake
and Baillon's Crake. At dusk hundreds of Glossy Ibis came into roost
(and also thousands of Starlings into the reeds near the sewage ponds,
quite a spectacle). Other good birds included Red-necked Avocets,
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, three Freckled Ducks, Zebra Finch, Variegated
Fairy-wren, White-winged Black Tern, Whiskered Tern and Stubble Quail.
I stayed till well past dark and was rewarded with an Australasian
Bittern flying over the reeds, a lifer for me. I cooul also hear one,
possibly two Little Bittern. Sorry Dean, no Painted Snipe.
Day 2 3/1/07
Spent the morning at Fivebough again and saw even more birds. There
were even more Australian Spotted Crakes and waders seen, possibly
because I had better light in the morning. A Black-tailed Godwit, 5
Red-necked Stints, Latham's Snipe and 15 Red-capped Plovers added to
the wader list. Intermediate Egret was also seen as well as a Cattle
Egret in breeding plumage (wrong season for this I think). A Little
Bittern was heard calling again as well.
I then headed out to the east of Leeton to visit some of the state
forests around there. At Bungabil SF a suite of dryer forest species
were seen such as Inland Thornbill, Speckled Warbler, Chestnut-rumped
Thornbill, Red-capped Robin, White-winged Triller and also an Eastern
Yellow Robin. Moombooldool SF was very dry and not much to see except
some White-browed Babblers and a Restless Flycatcher. Heading back
into Leeton spotted a Banded Lapwing in a paddock near Fivebough Rd as
well as a soaring Wedge-tailed Eagle. I also spotted at Hooey Rd
Lookout (over Fivebough) and even though it was dry hoped to see some
chats. None were found but a Blue-faced Honeyeater was seen in a
In the evening I headed down the the MIA 1 State Forest along the
Murrumbidgee River looking for Superb Parrots. Only one was heard but
I did manage to see Dollarbird, Sacred Kingfisher, nesting Black-faced
Cuckoo-shrikes, Noisy and Little Friarbirds. Back in Leeton a large
flock of corellas were feeding on a sprots oval, most were Little
though one Long-billed Corella was seen among them. Yellow-throated
Miners were also the miner species around Leeton as well which
To be cont.
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