Round Hill - Lake Cargelligo: Woodswallow Irruption & Other Highlights
A trip to Lake Cargelligo last weekend enabled me to make 3 afternoon visits
to the Sewerage Treatment Works, and spend two full mornings at Round
Hill-Nombinnie. I was not alone: there were up to 10 carloads of birders
around the Wheat Paddock and Whoey Tank and a veritable stream of visitors
to the STW.
For me there were four highlights:
. Three crake species - Baillon's, spotted, and spotless - at the
STW. These were on clear view most of the time within 4 m of the excellent
bird hide; also present wood and marsh sandpiper and orange chat.
. A flock of 500+ woodswallows darkened the sky when I got out of my
vehicle on the main Mt Hope road at the south end of the Nombinnie Reserve;
they were white-browed (90%) and masked (10%); this is my first sighting of
either species in 10 visits.
. A pair of spotted nightjars roosting on the ground beside leaf
litter in the Wheat Paddock mallee; they had been found by a group from
Albury; my thanks to Lyle Harding for taking me there, which involved having
to actually find them a second time.
. A red-lored whistler grudgingly gave brief views as I chased it
for 15 minutes through the mallee and emu bush; but it did entertain with
the full gamut of calls that can be heard on the birdAus CD.
The local mallee endemics - shy heathwren, chestnut-backed quail-thrush, and
southern scrub-robin were all readily seen, as was Gilbert's whistler. (Tony
and Stephanie Dawe found an active Gilbert's nest which they kindly showed
me.) Honeyeaters were a little scarce, and limited to white-fronted,
grey-fronted, striped, white-eared, and spiny-cheeked. Splendid fairy-wren
in breeding plumage was common. Parrots and robins were scarce, although an
eastern yellow robin at the limit of its range was of some interest.
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