I spent last Saturday to Monday birding at Round Hill and Lake Cargelligo.
The weather was dry, sunny and cool. There doesn't appear to have been rain
for some time, and the countryside is quite dry. In general, birds were
plentiful until 9 am, after which they became increasingly hard to find.
At Whoey Tank, the highlight was probably the 8 mulga parrots feeding on
green ground cover. In addition, a malleefowl was heard calling several
times, and eventually briefly seen. Other notables included southern
whiteface, mistletoebird and mallee ringneck. Gilbert's whistler was seen
twice in the wheat paddock, but did not call. A male was calling at length
beside railway line. I saw 2 crested bellbirds, neither of whom gave their
chiming call at any time. However, a third gave a loud, extended, cackling
call, which is new to me - I guess it is their alarm call. Other notables in
the wheat paddock included weebill, shy heathwren, and non-breeding splendid
fairy-wren. All the thornbills were sighted within the Nature Reserves:
chestnut-rumped, buff-rumped, yellow-rumped, inland, and yellow. There was
no sign of red-lored whistler, no raptors, and no cuckoos.
A small drainage pond at the Round Hill level crossing was full of water.
Here, we sat in our vehicle for 45 minutes and got great views as a stream
of birds came in to drink, including both grey-fronted and yellow-plumed
honeyeater, white-fronted, striped, spiny-cheeked, brown-headed, and
white-eared honeyeater, more mulga parrots, and silvereye. Common bronzewing
came, but didn't drink.
Chat Alley was as dry as a bone. A fairy-wren was heard, but not seen.
Three visits to the Lake Cargelligo Sewerage Treatment Works yielded a
breeding pair of Australasian shoveler, many hoary-headed grebe, 3
Australian shelduck, and (unusually) 6 darters, but no freckled duck.
Another unusual sighting was the 6 pairs of pied honeyeater that were
roosting in low prickly bushes in an adjacent paddock at 5 pm. When I got to
within about 5 m , they flew up into a large tree beside one of the ponds.
Some were still present in the saltbush on the next morning, and had been
joined by double-barred finches. There were no crakes . The waterfowl all
seemed to be much more flighty than usual, and I did wonder if there were
any gun-shy refugees from Victoria.
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