Praise for Tim Dolby, the unlike spot of Gama and help with bird ID

Subject: Praise for Tim Dolby, the unlike spot of Gama and help with bird ID
From: Patrick Scully <>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2010 14:59:01 +1100
Hi All,
After getting a tip from Dave Torr on a pelagic trip on a good spot for the
Mallee Emu-wren, I decided to head off to the Malee between Chitstmas and
New Year. Jen Spry suggested I look at Tim Dolby's website and having the
book decided to take it with me.
On my way I stopped at Bridgewater for petrel and left my wallet in the
toilet. Sadly, I had too much cash it for someone to hand in. Undeterred, I
headed for Goschen (and got cash out of the bank at Swan Hill) hoping I
might get lucky. I managed to find the Little Button-quail mentioned in
Tim's book as being on the old cricket oval to the north-east (to the right
of the old building).  Tim, do you have any knowledge of the history of
Goschen Reserve? Is the tennis court still used by the locals etc? On my
first visit to Goschen last year, I spotted a bird in the trees on the old
cricket oval, that I was not able to ID, I saw the same bird this time in
the same location and am still not sure what it might be. It is about 20cm,
and not a rounded bird but lean. It has a dull whitish eyebrow, grey to
white chest, and browny to grey back. It is a bird with quiet poise, did not
seem to have any distinguishing bird call, in fact, it  had little calls.
When it landed, the tail seemded to flutter and spead out. It is not a Jacky
Winter. The closest I can see by looking through the field guides is the
female Rufous Songlark and the Black-eared Cuckoo but with more muted colour
then shown in Pizzey (8th Ed.).

I had great success in finding the Mallee Emu-wren at Hattah.  Afterwards at
Ouyen, where I stopped for a coffee, I  was reading the bit on pg 24 about
Bronzewing FFR and came accross a bit about Gama Reserve and that it might
be possible to see the White-fronted Honeyeater there. Paul Dodd had emailed
me excellent instructions and relief photos of where to find Bronzewing FFR
as I'd hoped I might try for the Mallee Fowl, but after reading Tim's
suggestion that the tracks are suited for 4-wheel drive, I chickened out of
going there. And with good reason as following an Internet info last year by
Tim, I had bogged my car trying to go into Lake Tyrrell. To be fair to Tim
in the previous ten years of drought it would not have been a problem.

Arriving at Gama, my first thought was that it couldn't possibly be a good
birding spot. The area was so tiny and a quarry was in the middle between 2
lots of trees. I wondered around and spotted a Rainbow Bee-eater and there
were plenty of Singing and Spiny-cheeked HE. I decided to check out the
trees on the other side of the quarry and found myself looking at a baby
White-cheeked HE, and then  mum or dad  came close to junior,  giving me
plenty of time to ID.
Thanks Tim and for all the tips from other birders,
Happy birding for 2011,
Patrick Scully

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