Notes on Bimbowrie, Boolcoomatta, Mt Ive and Eyre Peninsula

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Notes on Bimbowrie, Boolcoomatta, Mt Ive and Eyre Peninsula
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Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:47:35 +0000
Max has just finished our trip report for a return drive to Mt Ive in the 
Gawler Ranges from Sydney two weeks ago - thanks to all those on BA who helped 
out by providing us with some pointers for various sites, and here's a few 
notes of our own for the archives regarding some of the lesser-known areas we 
went birding. A full report can be found at



1: Bimbowrie Station - Mentioned in Dolby and Clarke’s new book, allegedly good 
for Thick-billed Grasswren and Cinnamon Quail-thrush (plus bonus Yellow-footed 
Rock Wallaby on a number of the hills). Currently in a bit of a limbo situation 
after being bought by the government to be made into a reserve, we found the 
grasswren and the quail thrush eventually, but only with a lot of effort. The 
grasswren, however, none of us saw well enough to tick, despite many hours over 
two different days a week apart (we only ever had definite evidence of a single 
pair, though possibly heard others at different spots). We just camped next to 
the public road, but the situation will probably change in the near future. 
Also seen were a number of Elegant Parrots, Redthroat, Black-eared Cuckoo (a 
long awaited bogey for me), and White-backed Swallows. See ALA for GPS 
coordinates of Thick-billed Grasswren records.



2: Boolcoomatta Station - Located just east of Bimbowrie (both stations about 
an hour west of Broken Hill, then 30kms or so north of Olary) - unlike 
Bimbowrie, this is owned by Bush Heritage and is actually set up very well for 
visitors (currently they are working on finalising trail routes and information 
pamphlets), so access was arranged by a quick email. Inland Dotterel are 
present (we only got on to one juvenile, but the manager had seen numerous 
groups of 5+ in the previous weeks), and the grasslands look perfect for Plains 
Wanderer (which has been recorded), though we only saw Little Button-quail 
(albeit we were spotlighting in atrocious weather). Honestly this is just a 
fantastic reserve, in the middle of nowhere, with free camping under the stars 
and Bush Heritage working hard to make it a great place for nature enthusiasts 
to visit - would definitely recommend. Hundreds of Emus and Kangaroos all over 
the plains. Gibberbirds are around, though we only saw Orange and Crimson 
Chats. A map and birdlist is provided on arrival with all the trails marked.



3: Mt Ive Station - southern edge of Lake Gairdner - access again easy (they 
have a website). Short-tailed Grasswren, for us at least, was very easy, and 
gave superb views. Recent information is that apparently the Flinder's 
population (specifically Stokes Hill) is in a fair bit of trouble, or at least 
not very reliable anymore, so this may well become the best site for this 
species in the future (and indeed, that was the whole reason we decided to 
drive to the Gawler Ranges in the first place). We heard two birds in the 
evening at -32.444939,136.084167, then saw two birds extremely well the next 
morning on Mt Scott at -32.440716,136.061806. They are also on Mt Ive itself, 
and probably the rest of the hills around the homestead. Western Grasswren is 
allegedly easy around the dam just east of the campground, but recent rain had 
rendered that area seemingly unsuitable for grasswrens (and if they were there, 
they would never be seen in the lush greenery!). We didn't explore the rest of 
the station, but it would be an interesting place to look around with more 
time. The bird list is a little dodgy and could use a fix-up!



4: Whyalla CP - much more well-known by birders as being easy for Western 
Grasswren. This bird was not easy. Four hours of searching eventually got us 
great views just to the north west of Wild Dog Hill, with other birds glimpsed 
on the south east side. That was all we got with 5 good birders searching all 
morning. Slender-billed Thornbills did play ball. Best moment of the day was 
outsmarting one of the grasswrens, which didn't run out of a bluebush clump and 
sat 20cms from our faces peering under it for a few minutes.




Other interesting observations for the trip included:

A mob of 200+ Emus running next to the road south of Wilcannia at 
-31.722327,143.497818 - an amazing spectacle, wouldn't think this is a usual 


Redthroat, Rufous Fieldwren and Chirruping Wedgebill at sites north of Broken 
Hill (see eBird lists).


Thanks to an eremaea list by Clive Curson from 2011 we stopped at 
-31.577548,145.038965 just west of Cobar and picked up White-browed 
Treecreeper, and a large number of Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters (the northern 
limit of their range it seems).


Quite easily found some Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush at the Cobar Vegetation 
tip, -31.445479,145.777597, on the right hand side of the road at the top of 
the hill, exactly where they were supposed to be based on past gen. 


The Eyre Peninsula has obviously had some decent rain in the past month or two, 
and the whole drive from Iron Knob to Mt Ive was spectacular. Greenery 
everywhere, and flocks up to a hundred Crimson Chats, songlarks of both species 
everywhere, a dam with a large ground of Black-tailed Native Hens, and numerous 
Hooded Robins being the highlights. 


It was terrible weather whilst we were at Lake Gilles CP, however Western 
Yellow Robin was easily pished in on the western boundary of the reserve, and 
Rufous Treecreepers were seen at a random stop along the highway. Blue-breasted 
Fairywren was probably heard at one stop, though we couldn't get a visual. 


Our raptor tally west of Lithgow resulted in:
Black Kite: 624

Nankeen Kestrel: 124

Black-shouldered Kite: 42

Whistling Kite: 32

Wedge-tailed Eagle: 29

Brown Falcon: 21
Little Eagle: 4

Spotted Harrier: 4

Australian Hobby: 3

Black Falcon: 2

Swamp Harrier: 1

Brown Goshawk: 1
Collared Sparrowhawk: 1

Emus surpassed Black Kites, with 774 being counted.





Joshua Bergmark

with Max Breckenridge and Ashwin Rudder, birding alongside Grant Brosie and Rob 

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