Returned a couple of days ago from one of the most birdless trips ever;
Mildura, Lake Mungo, Broken Hill, Menindee, Tibooburra, Sturt National Park,
Cameron Corner, the Old Strezlecki Track (newly graded, from Merty Merty
Station to Innaminka) Innaminka, Walkers Crossing, Birdsville, "Big Red", (the
easternmost and largest dune of the Simpson Desert), Birdsville Track, Marree,
flight over Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges including Wilpena Pound, home via
Apart from Big Red where I wanted to photo Striated as well as Eyrean
Grasswren, both seen there about three years ago, birding was not targeted,
(seen them all) but the absence of roadside sightings compared to previous
trips through the area was remarkable. Particularly Wedgetail Eagles. Sturt NP
used to have literally hundreds if not thousands, this time, zero. Also hardly
any kangaroos, the roadkill was attended by a few corvids but perhaps only ten
wedgetails the whole trip, including the Flinders Ranges where a pair performed
a mating flight for us. Even corvids were sparse, Galahs were the commonest
Menindee Lakes empty other than an artificial impoundment at the
northern end, with a Brown Treecreeper the most exciting bird seen, Black
Swans, Pelicans, Whistling Kite. The Darling River stagnent and lifeless.
Male White-winged Fairywrens never fail to excite, squeaked up to the
top of a shrub at Lake Mungo and in the swale west of Big Red. Blue Bonnets
with a chick in a dead cypress trunk in the Mungo camping ground.
Marree at dusk turned up a solitary LETTERWING KITE flying over the town
to the northwest.
Lake Eyre still has water, about fifty pelicans in four groups seen on
the water, our pilot was very surprised, said he had not seen any for weeks. No
other birds despite scanning through the bins from 500ft.
Wilpena Pound was green with plenty of birds along Wilpena creek,
including Red Capped Robin, Chestnut-rumped, Yellow-rumped and Inland
Thornbills and a tamish SOUTHERN SCRUB ROBIN on the low side of the creekside
track into the pound itself, about halfway along. Probable female Redthroat
also along that track.
Back in Mulgoa Valley, this morning I saw three REGENT HONEYEATERS at
Henry Cook's place, a white morph Grey Goshawk over the driveway at home.
Plenty of action up Mayfair Rd, including Golden Whistler, Variegated
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