Little Desert, Vic. Slender-billed Thornbil

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Little Desert, Vic. Slender-billed Thornbil
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2013 21:43:17 +1000
Hi all,

Queen’s Birthday weekend birding started with a rush, literally. We had
booked into a motel in Nhill, north-west Victoria, for two nights and it is
built in a “U” shape around a central yard with a large tree in it. As we
drove in a Collared Sparrowhawk flashed into the yard, did a lap of the
tree scattering small birds everywhere, chased one, gave up and landed in
the next door’s backyard. What a wonderful way to start the weekend.

On the way to Nhill we had done a bit of a scout around the top end of the
Little Desert and found McCabe’s Hut Track that looked promising because
Birdata showed it as a good spot for Slender-billed Thornbills. We went
back on Sunday morning and drove down the track and, as the saying goes,
had Slender-bills “dancing on our toes”. Well, not really, they were really
shy so it was more like we had Slender-bills dancing like distant spots
before our eyes. Four-wheel drive is essential and unless you have
something bigger than a Subie (mine has 4X4 tyres) I would recommend doing
a u turn after seeing the thornbills and going back out to the north. We
didn’t and we did get through to Dimboola, but it was a bit exciting in
spots. We could have let air out of the tyres but that would have lowered
our ground clearance and we needed all we could get. Even so, we did a
redesign job on the plastic sump guard and now a torn part of it hangs
downward as a memento (smile).

Getting a meal in Nhill can be a bit tricky but the local take-away is
excellent so we went in and ordered a pizza. They were so busy the wait was
40 minutes. What to do? Obvious, go owling! We drove down the Winiam East
Rd, turned right into C Werners Road, and a beautiful Barn Owl flew across
the road in front of us and landed in the stubble of last year's wheat.

Coming home we decide to try again for the Bush Stone-curlews that are
meant to live near the hospital in Horsham. As this was about our third
attempt to find them we were joking as we drove in as to where they might
be, “in that yard?”, “how about that vacant lot?”, “no, under those trees
looks like perfect habitat” – and there it was, standing with its back to
us. We eventually saw three and it was a new state bird for both joy and
me. What a brilliant way to finish the weekend. All up we had 80 species
including Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Hobby and
Southern Scrub-robin.



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