Trip report Coutts Crossing to Adelaide and return

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip report Coutts Crossing to Adelaide and return
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2013 17:43:13 +1000
My wife Val and I travelled with Stephen Debus, Russell Jago and Matt Templeton 
to Adelaide for the Australasian Raptor Association Conference held at the 
Adelaide Zoo last weekend.  It was a swift car trip which took us three days 
each way.  Despite the constant travel we did manage to clock up a few good 
sightings.  Four of us travelled from Coutts Crossing to Armidale where Stephen 
joined us.  On the way we observed 50+ Pied Currawongs at Nymboida.  They may 
well have been migrating back to the high country as they usually do this time 
of year.  The first of two roadkilled Eastern Barn Owls was seen at Bective 
Creek, between Tamworth and Gunnedah.  A pair of adult Spotted Harriers at 
Somerton floated past the vehicle giving great views.  A lunch stop at Carroll, 
east of Gunnedah produced both Little and Musk Lorikeets flying overhead as 
well as 2 Black Kites, Red-rumped Parrots and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos posing 
for the camera.  Seven more Black Kites WSW of Gunnedah were followed by the 
second Eastern Barn Owl roadkill south of Coonabarabran.  Another Black Kite NE 
of Gilgandra and 3+ N of Forbes were recorded before we arrived at Gum Swamp, 
Forbes.  This is a great location to see Freckled Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks and 
Australasian Shovelers and we weren’t disappointed seeing 64+, 250+ and 50+ in 
that order.   An adult pair of Peregrine Falcons was perched in a eucalypt 
while an adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle sat low on the nest as its mate, 
apparently not in full adult plumage, flew through the dead trees near the 
nest.  We spent the night in West Wyalong and were surprised when Stephen 
observed a male White-winged Triller in non-breeding plumage as we were leaving 
the next morning.  Between West Wyalong and Hay a small flock of Superb Parrots 
caught our attention.  We stopped for photographs and we estimated that there 
were over 100 birds present.  A pale morph Little Eagle soared high over the 
road.  At Hay we saw the largest flock of Black Kites for the trip with over 
200 spiralling high on a thermal with 6 Australian Pelicans.  More Black Kites 
were seen over a local park with 3 Whistling Kites.  The Black Kites were 
probably additional to the earlier flock.  We were interested to see how many 
Black Kites were in their usual inland haunts as there are so many in coastal 
areas at present.  A flock of 50+ House Sparrows E of Yanga National Park was a 
surprise but was within their known range.  We had planned to camp at Gluepot 
Reserve, in South Australia, but decided that we would stay at Robinvale in 
Victoria, over the Murray River from Euston.  Twenty Regent Parrots were a 
delight in the caravan park the next morning and this was a new species for a 
couple of the group, including me.  A visit to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park 
allowed better views and photographs of the Regent Parrots with over 30 
present.  On to Adelaide and the weekend conference at the Adelaide Zoo.  The 
return trip involved a night camping at Gluepot where the black-brown form of 
the Grey Currawong (subspecies melanoptera), the Crested Bellbird, 
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Weebill and Spiny-cheeked 
Honeyeater were present.  The only threatened endemic bird observed was the 
Black-eared Miner.  Russell had good views but I only had fleeting glimpses as 
they disappeared across the road and into the trees.  Black Kites were present 
at Euston (30+), Balranald (2) and Peak Hill (7) and an adult Spotted Harrier 
was photographed quartering a grassy paddock.  We did a mini bird of prey watch 
between Forbes and Gunnedah and in addition to the Spotted Harrier we listed 18 
Nankeen Kestrels, 10 Black-shouldered Kites, 5 Brown Falcons, 1 Whistling Kite, 
7 Black Kites, 1 Black or Whistling Kite, 1 Brown Goshawk.  Five separate 
Eastern Barn Owls in the Tamworth area, a Masked Owl near Ebor and five Tawny 
Frogmouths finished off an enjoyable trip.  I will be posting a number of the 
photographs on my website.   

Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
| 02 6649 3153  | 0429 601 960


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