Part 2 of notes on BOCA's Easter Camp.
One evening, in a wood-shed near our camp, Evan Thomas (who ran the
property for many years before handing it over to one of his sons),
presented a good old-fashioned slide show, using a very old slide
projector, of Barham area birds. Evan has taken magnificent photos over
many years. Outstanding shots they were. And without the help of Photoshop
~ no cropping or colouring. Good close-ups of birds like Gilbert Whistler.
All in a logical sequence, right way up, without long pauses between
slides. Many of Evan's photos appear in Peter Discher's book, Birds of the
Barham Area (still on sale from BOCA and BA birding shops).
There was time to explore some of the nearby forest areas. At the
suggestion of Evan, Bob Wheller and other local birders, one day we drove
south about 25km south to Clump Bend onto Gunbower Island near Koondrook
Just as they had predicted, Clump Bend (35 38 55S; 144 08 34E) proved to be
a birding hot spot. It seemed a rather unlikely spot for birds as there
were lots of campers alongside the Murray River, with barking dogs and
noisy kiddies. A gun shot rang in our ears.
We had no sooner parked our vehicles than we observed a group of
Grey-crowned Babblers in a nearby roost. Thick Dwarf Native Cherry
(Exocarpus strictus) grew under Red Gum. A small group of us took off
through the scrub, away from the campers. Over a radius of about 500
metres, we observed White-winged Chough, Kookaburra, Black-faced Cuckoo
Shrike, Grey Fantail, Silvereye, Common Bronzewing, Yellow Thornbill,
Weebill, Noisy Miner, Whistling Kite, White-plumed Honeyeater,
White-throated and Brown Treecreeper, Grey Shrike Thrush, Yellow (from of
Crimson) Rosella, Striated Pardalote, Superb Fairy Wren, Willie Wagtail and
Golden Whistler. Despite passing traffic throwing up clouds of dust, a
party of White-browed Babblers put in an appearance.
And the highlight: a male Gilbert Whistler sitting still in the sun on a
dead twig of a nearby sapling. None of us had a camera with us. Why is my
camera always left in the car when something great puts in an appearance
(or the battery goes dead just as the shutter is pressed)?!
After having seen Evan's wonderful slides the evening before, it was easy
to identify, its nankeen (or should that be rufous or buff?) 'throat' being
clearly visible. Then a female Gilbert Whistler appeared and sat still at a
A Pelican flew overhead and a Brown Falcon patrolled high above.
Good spot that. Clump Bend. Bare (or should that be bear?) it in mind. It's
not shown on the brochure the Echuca Branch has prepared of birding spots
on Gunbower Island. It should be.
Other good birding spots within 35km of our camp site included the sewage
treatment ponds, Barham Lake and the bushland around Barham Golf Club where
a group of Bush Stone Curlews stood still in the shade of Box trees.
The bush around the sewage treatment ponds has been so heavily overgrazed
by horses and cattle that not a blade of grass remains. Horses appeared to
be eating leaves but, when we approached further, we soon realised that
they were scratching at the bare soil and unearthing pieces of Lippia
(Phylla nodifolia), an introduced plant used locally as a lawn grass.
I was welcomed home by the calls of a Yellow Rosella, by the resident
Blackbirds and by a large flock of Magpies circling overhead. I don't think
I've ever seen as many Magpies flocking together.
To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)