Trip report - Nhill area June 10-13 2013

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Trip report - Nhill area June 10-13 2013
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2013 09:04:06 +1000
On Monday 10th (Queen's Birthday) Iian Denham, Christine Shelley and myself
set off for 3 nights in Nhill. Our main aim was to try and add two birds to
our Victorian lists - Bustard and Redthroat. We detoured on the way up via
the Mt Zero cabins in the northern Grampians and found our first emu of the
trip - we would see lots at Wyperfeld. Then on to McKenzie Creek (SW of
Horsham) which was recommended in the Wimmera guide put out by the old
Horsham branch of BOCA and also appeared in Eremaea as a good dspot for
Peaceful Dove. No doves seen - just a few normal woodland birds. Our next
stop was at Coker Dam where Elegant Parrot had been reported on the same
day last year - but no luck! We arrived in the early afternoon in Nhill.
After checking in we went searching for Bustard in the Yanac/Telopea Downs
area but with no luck - although we did see our first Hooded Robin,
Splendid Fairywren, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater of the trip.

Tuesday was to be Little Desert day. After a brief stop at the dry Nhill
swamp we went to the Stringybark which was very quiet, although the area
across the road had plentiful Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters along with Scarlet
Robin and a small group of Sitellas. We heard several Shy Heathwrens, but
could not get any of them to show themselves. The aim was then to visit the
Phillips Track and Red Gum swamp, but they proved too much for our Forester
so we had to do a rethink. Off then to Mt Arapiles where we had excellent
views of Shy Heathwren at the start of the nature trail. Alas no
Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens, but we did find Dusky Woodswallows, Diamond
Firetails and a Restless Flycatcher. Natimuk Sewage Works had a good range
of ducks, and Lake Natimuk added to the total along with Black-fronted and
Red-kneed Dotterels. The Natimuk Creek Reserve was quite good, with both
Brown and Stubble Quails along with a White-bellied Cuckooshrike. we
decided against McAcbe track (see Jenny Spry's report for confirmation that
we made the right choice) and instead found our way to the Ellis Crossing
area mentioned in the Wimmera guide. We stopped for a possible Babbler but
were immediately distracted by a pair of Painted Buttonquail. More Hooded
Robins and Diamond Firetails and finally our first Peaceful Dove.

On Tuesday night it rained - 30mm by 7am, and Nhill was to receive at least
another 20 that day. We headed north through partially flooded roads and
eventually got to the Birdcage FFR, where we found our first Purple-gaped
Honeyeaters. A quick stop at the Hindmarsh Outlet Creek was enough to find
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and Splendid Fairywren, with our first
Bluebonnets being seen close by. The southern end of Lake Albacutya was
very productive, the highlight being a Gilbert's Whistler and our first
Ringnecks and Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters long with a Red-capped Robin.
Finally we got to Wyperfeld - the weather had been reasonable but it was a
very dull day. Along the entrance road and the nature drive we found both
Mulga and Regent Parrots. Time then for the Discovery Walk - lots of
honeyeaters in the first section, but still no sign of White-fronted. AFter
the Devil's Pools we easily found a male Redthroat, and shortly afterwards
a pair of Major Mitchell's flew over. On the way back we managed to find a
Southern Scrub-robin. Remarkably we had 5 Thornbill species on the walk -
Brown, Striated, Yellow, Yellow-rumped and Chestnut-rumped.

Thursday morning and time to head for home. Over breakfast we saw the trip
report from Jenny Spry about Bush Stone-curlew in Horsham - so - after a
few texts - we headed to Horsham and quickly found two of the birds near
the hospital as she had described. A new bird for our Victorian list,
making up for the failure to see Bustard on Monday! We then went on to the
Cherrypool area mentioned in Dolby's book - unfortunately the lake was dry
and the highlight of the birding was a small group of White-browed Babblers
- not at all shy.

On then to Dunkeld where between coffee and lunch (both at the excellent
Old Bakery) we birded around Mt Sturgeon. It was very quiet - the weather
was not very helpful - and the highlights were a male Scarlet Robin and an
Eastern Spinebill feeding almost at ground level on a low correa.

The drive home was mainly in the rain - quite a few White-necked Herons and
a single Spotted Harrier being the highlights.

A good trip in failry poor weather with around 115 species seen! Our only
real dips (apart from Bustard) were White-fronted Honeyeater and Elegant

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