Trip Report - Cansanova Scrub, Lyndhurst and Strezlecki Track

To: <>
Subject: Trip Report - Cansanova Scrub, Lyndhurst and Strezlecki Track
From: "alan morris" <>
Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2007 17:38:54 +1000


Robin Benson and I made an eight day trip to South Australia with the
purpose of trying to see the Western Whipbird & Red-lored Whistler at
Casanova Scrub, near Meningie, in south-eastern SA, and then to Mt Lyndhurst
and the Strzelecki Track to see the Chestnut-breasted & Banded Whitefaces. I
had not seen the Western Whipbird while Robin was yet to see the two species
of Whiteface. Initially we were heading for Tibooburra and Cameron Corner
first, and then making our way across to the Strzelecki Track, and then down
to Mt Lyndhurst and further south. However it rained the first night that we
were away so that when we were leaving Cobar on the second morning (where 26
mm fell) we heard that the road was closed between Milparinka and Tibooburra
and from Tibooburra to Cameron Corner! When we reached Broken Hill, we
confirmed that the roads were indeed closed, so we reversed our planned
route, and instead went to Meningie and the Casanova Scrub first, and then
headed north to Port Augusta, Lyndhurst and the Strzelecki Track. Alas
virtually no rain fell in south-east SA so that that area remained very
droughtified and in poor condition. Permission to visit from landowners at
Casanova Scrub and Mt Lyndhurst was organised before we left.

On our trip out west we stop first at Cassillis Park, Cassilis near Merriwa
NSW and amongst the bush birds managed to see a party of Speckled Warblers
and Sittellas. At a spot near Ballimore, 3 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes flew across
the road, a bird not seen again during the trip. On arrival at Cobar we
checked out the New Tank, which was very low but there were a party of
Double-barred Finches feeding near the water, Spotted Bowerbirds were
feeding on the Peppercorn Tree fruits and a Common Sandpiper was the
highlight of the nearby STW! On the common to the NE of town we found
Splendid Fairy-wrens. Next morning we saw 13 Pink Cockatoos at Baden Park,
while at Metford Tank, about 60 Km E of Broken Hill we managed to see
Chirruping Wedgebills, Zebra Finch, White-winged Fairy-wrens, Singing &
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater. Not much birding as we drove down through
Wentworth (NSW), Mildura, Ouyen (Vic), Pinnaroo and onto Meningie, SA

On the morning of 30/3 we were up and away early, arriving out at the
junctions of the Pipeline & Goldfields Track by 700 hrs, in Casanova Scrub.
For the next two hours we checked out a number of spots in the Scrub but
neither heard nor saw Red-lored Whistlers or Mallee Whipbirds. We did see
Purple-gaped Honeyeaters, a Malleefowl mound that had fresh Malleefowl
Tracks on it where a bird had recently done some scratching around, Common
and a Brush Bronzewing, Southern Scrub-Robin, White-eared Honeyeater,
Spotted Pardalote & Sitellas. During the middle of the day, we explored the
Coorong and Lake Albert, seeing over 300 Australian Shelduck and 16 Cape
Barren Geese on an irrigated field; 100+ Red-necked Stint, and a few
Red-capped Plover and Greenshanks along the Coorong Shoreline. Caspian Tern,
Crested Grebe, Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon, Kestrel and White-fronted Chats
were also seen. In the late afternoon we returned to the Casanova Scrub,
this time concentrating on the section adjacent to Gordon Rd. Here the
mallee consists of an extensive area of low banksias scrub and taller heath
where it joins with the low eucalypts. Dusky Woodswallow, Golden Whistler,
Striated Thornbill, Brown-headed, New Holland & Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters
were found. An early morning visit the following day, saw a flock of 63
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flying over, White-browed Babbler, Inland
Thornbill, Grey Currawong and Shy Heathwren, and more Southern Scrub-robins
but no target species.

At a spot on Gordon Road, in some flowering Eucalypts, there were Musk &
Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Hobby & Brown Falcon, Goldfinch, Pipit, Red
Wattlebird, Noisy Miner, Yellow-rumped Thornbill & Spotted Pardalote as well
as the commoner species. We headed for Port Gawler but saw nothing special
here except for Musk Duck, White-winged Fairy-wren and Greenshank. We stayed
the night at Merinda, 38 km S of Port Augusya, and saw the Pacific Gulls on
the beach, White-fronted Chats and Black-shoulder Kite, while son Drew had
seen an Osprey there the day before. Next morning we headed up to Port
Augusta and had amazing views of Purple-crowned Lorikeets feeding in the
main street outside the Post Office! 28km N of Hawker we watched Zebra
Finches and Chirruping Wedgebills, and Tree Martins and Kestrel at Brachina
Gorge Creek. By midday we were out at Mt Lyndhurst Station, and had no
trouble in seeing 2 Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, 2 Thick-billed Grass-wrens,
& 2 Cinnamon Quail-thrush within the hour, this on the south side of the
road, on the ridge. We lunched on the other side, passed the old car wreck,
where found 4 more Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, Crimson Chat & a Rufous
Fieldwren. At Clarrie’s waterhole, 4 km E of Lyndhurst, there was a
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and 2 Red-kneed Plovers feeding on the edges of the
dam and a pair of Grey Teal trying to hide in the sparse reeds.

We had stayed over-night at the Lyndhurst Hotel and were away next morning
along the Strzelecki Track., before 7 am on 2/4/07. Our first stop was near
Monte Colina Bore, where a Cinnamon Quail-thrush with a chick was feeding on
the road! At the Bore was a pair of Black-winged Stilts with 2 young that
could just fly, while Zebra Finches were coming into drink. The Strzelecki
Creek flats were devoid of any grass, all the trees looked very stressed and
there were few shrubs. Compared to my last visit in September 2000, the area
was very dry and there were few birds to be seen. There was no water at the
Strzelecki Creek Crossing and all the trees were very stressed. From here to
Merty Merty and then to Cameron Corner we stopped at 9 places where Banded
Whitefaces had previously been reported. At every site there was no grass,
the ground was bare and there were few birds. Some recent patchy rain, had
put some water into some tanks and at one such tank there was a pair of
Avocets with 4 just flying young!. Overall few birds were seen on this
stretch, with just a pair of Orange Chats and a Red-capped Robin being the
highlights. Near Merty Merty a Black Breasted Buzzard circled overhead.
While the road was in good repair there were no birds to be seen!

It had rained from Cameron Corner to Tibooburra, on more than one occasion
recently, so there were several boggy patches and there was plenty of short
green grass. Several flocks of Crimson Chats and Masked Woodswllows  were
found along this stretch. Next morning, for the next 100km south along the
Broken Hill Road, there were plenty of birds! There was plenty of green
vegetation and around Bendigo Creek, Milparinka, Peak Hill and One Tree
Homesteads, substantial falls of rain had occurred and the grass was much
longer, there many flocks of Budgerigars and Diamond Doves, but also
Peaceful Doves, Crimson Chats, Chestnut-crowned Babblers, Rufous Songlark,
Blue Bonnets & Red-rumped Parrots, Striated Pardaloet and Zebra Finches,
Brown Falcons and a Spotted Harrier were seen. At the Mutawingie/Broken Hill
road Junction, a Redthroat was finally sighted after a 20 minute search.

Cobar was checked out again that afternoon and on the common, south of Cobar
we found Red-capped & Hooded Robin, Bar-shouldered & Peaceful Doves,
Blue-faced & Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters, Restless Flycatcher and Grey-shrike
Thrush. We finally found some Cockatiel near Miandetta the next day, a
road-kill Tawny Frogmouth, Grey-crowned Babbler and more Common Bronzewings.
At south Nyngan we saw Ringneck & Red-winged Parrots, Black Kites and
another Spotted Harrier. The last Apostlebirds were seen near Elong Elong,
and Rufous & Golden Whistlers at Broke Common.

In 8 days we saw 165 species, but apart from the Tibooburra-Milparinka area,
and from Cobar to Trangie, much of the countryside remained drought stricken
and the birds were very hard to find. (Alan Morris)


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Trip Report - Cansanova Scrub, Lyndhurst and Strezlecki Track, alan morris <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU