Round Hill/Nombinnie Trip Report 15-18 Nov 2009 - PART 2

To: " Aus" <>
Subject: Round Hill/Nombinnie Trip Report 15-18 Nov 2009 - PART 2
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 22:39:26 +1100
Nombinne etc PART 2

Tuesday 17th was not as hot as the previous couple of days with a slight southerly breeze rather than the hot westerly although the forecast was still for 39 degrees. We set out from Lake Cargelligo earlier than the previous day to make the most of the cool hours. In fact we even wore light jumpers for a short time! We essentially repeated the steps from the day before with a concerted focus on Red-lored Whistler which we were destined not to see unfortunately. We expected to see more bird activity due to the 'milder' day however the mallee was much quieter with alot fewer birds around which we found interesting. Although a highlight was a male Brown Goshawk who flew into a tree right above Grant and stayed put for a couple of minutes allowing great views and photos. The previous day we came across a number of birds in the shade of bushes right on the edge of the track. At one spot along the railway line we even saw 5 species all huddled up high in a tiny bit of shade under a raptor nest. After much discussion we wondered if they were all seeking the added coolness of the wind (even though hot) that would have been better on the edge of the road rather than deep in the mallee with less airflow. Then perhaps the birds all went back to their normal patches when the weather cooled a bit.?? The Gilbert's Whistler was nowhere to be seen either and all in all it was a bit depressing after our previous success. After alot of whistler searching we headed west to the paddock of flowering Eremophila hoping for more honeyeaters. A great spot with Splendid fairy-wrens showng well with Chestnut-rumped thornbills but the honeyeaters were the same as monday - Grey-fronted, Spiny-cheeked. A Crested Bellbird was heard in the distance and we had brief views of Chestnut Quail-thrush again which was nice. In the end we made our way back to our cabin stopping at the water trough we had found. We only saw one bird come in which was a Yellow- fronted Honeyeater which was great to see - the only one of the trip, plus a Speckled Warbler.

After another siesta we set out but coudn't face the drive back out to Nombinnie and the threat of another fruitless search for red-lored so we stayed around town and headed to the Lake. Large numbers of Whiskered Terns and 12 Banded Lapwings among other birds had been present below the launching ramp on Sunday when we arrived but they weren't to be found here today. In the distance we could see large numbers of Pelicans and other birds further around so we drove out to Dead Man's Point. Here were the terns both roosting and feeding in stunning breeding plumage. Grant even found a non-breeding White- winged Black Tern whilst checking photos on the back of the camera! Another highlight here was a large flock of red-necked Avocets close to the edge of the lake. We then headed out to "Our Chat Alley" which is not the usual spot but the first road to the right after the airport where Grant and Nick had seen chats on previous visits. We weren't disappointed with great views of male and female Orange Chats! plus White-winged wrens, Brown Songlark. We ended the day watching an airforce Hercules repeatedly coming in to the runway amidst big clouds of dust and pulling up, circling and having another go. It must have done it 10 times so we sat ourselves on the mound at the end of the runway and photographed it coming in and passing right over us as it pulled up! The rush was awesome!! Then it was back to the cabin to cool down and download another large number of gigabytes worth of photos onto the laptop!

Wednesday was our last morning and we spent a great couple of hours at the STW in the morning sunlight. what a great spot this is with great views of Bailon's and Spotted Crakes, Latham's Snipe, Glossy Ibis, red- kneed Dotterel, Blue-bonnets, Cockatiel, Shelduck, Little Friarbird and others. We heard and then saw a group of Major Mitchells in the distance which were the only ones for the trip but helped make it a memorable parrot trip!

We then reluctantly headed for home although we made frequent stops for interesting birds - awesome views of a Wedgie which circled close to the car, more WW wrens, but no sign of any Ground Cuckoo-Shrikes which I was hoping for :( Our next targetted stop was Gum Swamp at Forbes in the hope of Freckled Duck. It was the middle of the day and quite hot with terrible light for photography but we had sightings of Baillon's Crake, Sea-eagle with nestling, hundreds of Pink-eared Duck and Grey Teal, and then 2 Freckled Duck picked up in the scope! Hooray! Another year tick for us all taking Grant to 450 odd for the year. From then it was straight home without any more interruption or excitement. But what a great 4 days! Our trip list was over 140 species with 3 ticks for Nick & Grant and 4 for me plus heaps of photos that we were happy with. Some great birds and countryside plus we weren't at work! Doesn't get any better than that I don't reckon.

David Stowe

PS - I'll hopefully soon put a Visual trip Report up on my pbase site so stay tuned for photos.

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