Brookfield CP and Magazine Road wetlands, SA trip reports

Subject: Brookfield CP and Magazine Road wetlands, SA trip reports
From: "Nicholas Talbot" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 20:18:40 +1000
Hi all,
Philip Griffin and I managed two birding trips during my recent visit to Adelaide. On the 16th of September we headed out to the Brookfield Conservation Park (between Truro and Blanchetown). The weather forecast looked bad but we managed to get to 23 species on the trip out from Adelaide. At Brookfield itself we started with an Australian Raven and Whistling Kite flying over when we arrived at the gate as well as hearing Grey Currawong and followed that with three species of parrot in the first half an hour, including Mulga Parrot and Mallee Ringneck feeding on the ground as well as Galahs flying over. A short walk near the road added Southern Whiteface, another Mulga Parrot and Brown Treecreeper as well as hearing a Crested Bellbird. From the car on the way further in to the park we got good views of Blue Bonnet, a single Black-faced Woodswallow and the first of many White-winged Chough. Our next stop was at the beginning of the Mallee Trail with the wind starting to get up. We found Grey Shrike-thrush and Singing Honeyeater. We flushed a bird from the ground but couldn't get a decent look at it. The best guess was a Pallid Cuckoo. We also found Variegated Fairy-wren, a Striated Pardalote apparently feeding on the ground and Weebill feeding at the base of the understorey bushes along with others higher up in the mallee. I think the little birds sticking so close to the ground was the warning sign that our promising start to the day was about to disappear in some really bad weather. Back on the track we added several groups of Chestnut-crowned Babbler and a single Yellow-plumed Honeyeater but then followed about an hour of driving through the mallee without adding another species. The expected Jacky Winters, Red-capped Robins, Hooded Robins and Chestnut Quail-thrush were nowhere to be seen. In fact the highlight of this even more windy stretch wasn't a bird but four Sleepy Lizards within about 100 metres. On the way out we added Tree Martin and Kestrel but that was it. When we got back onto the highway it started to rain heavily as well. Considering what we have previously seen at Brookfield it was a fairly disappointing trip.

On the 18th of September we headed to Barker Inlet wetlands and racked up 33 species in 25 minutes including three species of tern (single Caspian and Gull-billed Terns and a pair of Whiskered Tern), a Swamp Harrier, a Whistling Kite and a Red-kneed Dotterel and three Australian Shelduck. Neither of us have seen Gull-billed Tern around Adelaide before, although they do occur from time to time apparently. The highlight though was a flock of about 30 Fairy Martin picking up mud and grass from the road side and then disappearing to add it to their nests (possibly under a nearby bridge). It was interesting to see that the flock was sticking together, arriving en-masse for a mud picking session and all heading off at once before returning about twenty minutes later.

We moved on to Magazine Road wetlands where we saw 39 species in just over an hour and a half with the highlights being very close views of some Red-capped Plover, several Black Swans with cygnets, about 15 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, 4 Wood Sandpiper, lots of Black-winged Stilt, Grey Teal and Hardhead and a 'lutino' Cockatiel that had doubtless escaped from someone's aviary. There were also two close encounters with Eastern Brown Snakes including a spectacular pair of males intertwined in combat next to the car at the end of the walk.

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