Bookmark - Ceduna 01/10
December 28, 2009 — January 21, 2010
Jack and Bill Moorhead from Bundaberg set out and met up with Karen Blake (Brisbane) and ,later , Peter Marsh (Port Augusta) to see Scarlet-chested Parrots in South Australia. Along the way, Jack hoped to top 700 on his Australian list which started at 689 and would finish on 703. Jack, at only 13 , could well be the first birder in Australia to reach that milestone at under 20 or maybe even 30! All the mallee specialists including Red-lored Whistlers, Mallee Fowl and Mallee Emu-Wrens were seen well and photographed. Although the neophema remains to be seen, all had a brilliant 7500km road trip , despite battling up to 48oC temperatures, which also included many new butterflies, lizards and dragonflies.
Jack’s Oz Total: 689
This morning we got up reasonably early to a miserable drizzling Brisbane morning. After having a quick breakfast we headed south down the Pacific Hwy towards Merimbula. The first birding stop we had was just after lunch when we stopped at the Lesser Yellowlegs sight near South West Rocks where we had seen it with Ken Shingleton previously. Once we arrived at the spot we immediately found the Marsh Sandpipers and the Lesser Yellowlegs was right beside them. It is a bird about the size between a Marsh Sand and a Common Greenshank but with the plumage very similar to a Wood Sandpiper (of course the legs are orange as well!). The GPS location is S30 54 59 E 153 31 06. After seeing Karen’s first new bird for the trip she opened up a bottle of red wine and drank it out of the bottle. Other highlights when driving were White-headed Pigeon, Forest Raven, Eastern Osprey and Swamp Harrier. We ended up staying the night Ramond Terrace. The highlight here was a pair of Musk Lorikeets. For dinner we had a three course Thai meal and stayed at Sleepy Hill motel. Also of note this is one of the only spots we have every checked for bedbugs and when we locked ourselves out the front door opened by shaking it. This is a good example of NSW quality.
Jack’s Oz Total: 689Read more.
This morning we got up with the sun in Ramond Terrace. We thought that there might of been a Channel-billed Cuckoo outside laying an egg in something’s nest until we realised it was just Karen snoring. After packing up our gear we had Bacon and Egg McMuffins and started to drive south. While going through the western side of Sydney a last minute decision was made to go into Royal National Park to look for Rock Warbler for Karen. From here we went down Lady Carrington Dr and walked about 2.5km down the track to where we had seen it before. We didn’t find the Warbler here but Karen got Satin Flycatcher. Another interesting sighting was 2 male Variegated Fairy-wrens feeding chicks in a nest. There were no females present here but the males had figured out that if they nested right beside the track the preditation risk was much less. Other highlights were; a young Pacific Baza, Satin Bowerbird, Crimson Rosella, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Black-faced Monarch and Rufous Fantail. After having a quick lunch we left at around 1pm. Driving south we saw a Spotted Harrier and Brown Falcon. One of the factors about Karen that haven’t been mentioned in these reports is here drinking sounds. She has got a waterbottle but instead of squeezing it of using gravity she prefers to suck the water out. If you can imagine it it’s like someone using a straw to suck out the last of a drink. We ended up making it to Tura Beach at around 7:30pm where we met up with Grandma and Poppy as well as Uncle Micheal and cousins Carmel and Zoe. Here we would spend two nights.
Jack’s Oz Total: 689Read more.
This morning we got up reasonably early and searched the beach in front of there house for Hooded Plovers. Dad had seen them here previously but we had no luck on this visit. Once we had searched the beach unsuccessfully, Grandma and Poppy had checked and they had been reported recently on a beach in Bournda National Park. We went here with Grandma and after walking north a couple of hundred metres we came across a pair of HOODED PLOVERS. This is easily one of the nicest plovers in Australia with its black head, short red bill with a black tip and bright red legs. After this successful morning we spent the rest of the afternoon with the family playing games etc. We then stayed up all night and saw the new year in. Karen stayed up an hour later than everyone else because ‘she wanted to stay up for Queenslands new year’. It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that there was still more than half a bottle of red wine to be finished.
Jack’s Oz Total: 690Read more.
This morning we woke up early in Tura Beach. After having a quick breakfast and saying goodbye to Grandma and Poppy, we headed west for the first time in the trip. We had been recommended the route through Brown Mountain for scenic and time reasons. At around 08:30 we stopped at a wet gully going through the forest and stopped in hope of Olive Whistler. After playing the call for a few seconds a response came in the distance. An OLIVE WHISTLER then flew to the top of a close bush at eye height. We had magnificent views of the white throat, olivy brown back, grey head and other features of it. The GPS location is S 36 36 01 E 149 26 47. We also heard a possible Gang Gang Cockatoo here. Just along the road Karen also saw her first Superb Lyrebird by the side of the road. Further along this road we drove through Kosciuszko National Park which had no new birds but the scenery was amazing. From here we then basically drove to Deniliquin with stops only for fuel and lunch. Trip additions were Rufous Songlark, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Bush Stone-curlew, White-winged Chough and our first Grey Butcherbird after driving 2300km for the trip. Once we arrived in Deni, we stayed at the main caravan park on the river. Crimson (Yellow) Rosellas were common here. After having a swim in the river and dinner a bit of rain started fall. A flock of about 20 Fork-tailed Swifts flying over was the first indicator of a storm front coming over. We ended up with around an inch with about that much in the camper trailer as well!
Jack’s Oz Total: 691Read more.
This morning we got up at 5am and but all the wet camper trailer contents out on the lawn. After having a shower and packing bags, we headed out with Phil Maher on his famous Plains Wanderer weekend. First we drove out to the rice fields and quickly located an Australasian Bittern stalking through the rice. From here we then went to a farm dam where highlights were Hoary-headed Grebe and Pink-eared Duck. While driving along the car behind us located a group of 5 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes. Phil had located a site for Painted Honeyeaters and we went there while it was still early. Almost straight away we had got onto at least 6 Painted Honeyeaters. It was great to see this little pink-billed honeyeater again so soon. Other birds here were Striped Honeyeater, White-browed Woodswallow and other good birds. We then went to a small patch of bush and found a male Black Honeyeater along with more Painted Honeyeaters. While down here a Superb Parrot flew across the road but it was untickable. At another spot we found another male Black Honeyeater and a Little Eagle. We then continued to bird great roadside sights but with no major sightings. Once we got into Deni we went to a Eastern Great Egret rookery and were surprised to find that almost all of them were still in the trees despite the storm the night before. Also of note here was a Laughing Kookaburra eating a Pacific Black Duck duckling. It was now about 1pm so we went and had lunch and prepared for the long night ahead. 2 hours flew by and in no time and we were back in the cars doing more birding. On the way out we stopped at the trip with the sight of around 400 Black Kites. Upon looking at the flock closely a pair of Black Falcons was located. The pair soon landed overhead after doing some close overhead flybys. We then went to a regular sight of Superb Parrot where Phil had seen over 100 just previously. As soon as we pulled in a flock wheeled overhead and we had soon located an adult male and female SUPERB PARROT sitting in a tree. The male is a magnificently tight bird and the small red bib is very noticeable, especially when calling. The contrast between the lime green body, the yellow face and red bib is amazing and there is no transition zone between the colours. The female is also mainly lime green except for a pink undertail. We then went out into Robert’s (the other leaders) paddocks to look for chats. White-fronted Chat, Orange Chat and White-winged Fairy-wren were all found reasonably easily. We then filled in time while we waited for the sun to set so the Plains Wanderers would be easier to find. Just before sunset a magnificent pair of Inland Dotterels were found walking around the plains. At this sight we had the sandwiches that we had acquired at the bakery for dinner. After dinner and putting a jumper on, we got in the cars and started spotlighting. A single Fat-tailed Dunnart was located almost immediately. Soon after we got the call of a pair of Plains Wanderers on the radio. We raced over and got onto the female and male PLAINS WANDERER walking between the cars. The female is much nicer than the male with a brilliant thick black band around its neck with lovely white spots scattered throughout it. The shape is like a Painted/Black-breasted Button-quail but with a much longer neck and legs. The rufous chest band is also magnificent and the male is also quite nice. It is the same shape as the female with a base colour of light brown with scattered spots. We then continued to do more spotlighting a quickly found a pair of Little Button-quail. It was great to see them on the ground up close with there bright pink legs, finch bill and brilliant overall rufous colour. A female Stubble Quail was also located and soon after a male. This is also the first time I have seen them on the ground so it was great to see the intricate detail on them. An Eastern Barn Owl was located soon after midnight along with a couple of Boobook Owls. On the drive back to Deniliquin we found a freshly killed Curl Snake. This was a great night spotlighting and we got back into Deni at around 1 in the morning.
Jack’s Oz Total: 693Read more.
This morning we got up at around 7am after the big night of spotlighting. We searched a few wetlands for Little Bitterns but didn’t get onto any. We did a bit of birding around town with highlights of Brown-headed Honeyeater, Striated Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill and other more common species. From here we went out to Gulpa State Forest. We stopped at one spot and got onto Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and Western Gerygone in a paddock that Phil had replanted by himself. Continuing on further we located a nesting Spotted Pardalote. This individual was a hybrid between the red-rumped form and the yellow-rumped form (this is one of the only spots they overlap). Also here was a male Hooded Robin and Red-capped Robin. Once we arrived at the Gilbert’s Whistler site, we walking into the forest and soon got onto a pair of GILBERT’S WHISTLERS. They are much bigger than a Rufous Whistler (which was also in the tree) and with a much darker chest. The male also has a brilliant red throat with dark lores and a light rufous belly patch. Their call is also quite similar to Rufous Whistler. Also here was a Diamond Firetail. On the way out again we stopped at a good spot for Shrike-tit and a Crested Shrike-tit flew in almost straight away. We then finished the Plains Wanderer Weekend feeling very successfully and packed up straight away hoping to make it to South Australia before sundown. We got into SA just before the sun went down (and after losing all of our potatoes and onions to te Vege nazis). We stayed at Berri Caravan Park in Berri so the next morning we could go out with Bob Goodfellow in Jolly Goodfellow birding. For dinner we had a mince and noodles dish and had an early night.
Jack’s Oz Total: 694Read more.
This morning we got up at around 5am and had a shower and breakfast. Bob met up with us at 6am and we started the drive out to Calperum Station. Calperum Station is beside Gluepot but has a much bigger area and most of the birds are easier to find here. Dad had been here with Bob previously. Bob is the only birding operator that can get in here and it is well worth going out with him. On the way we had a flock of Regent Parrots fly across in front of the car. Once we got into Calperum we had some Regent Parrots (20) perched in a tree beside the road. We had extended views of them there. Also here were Mulga Parrots, Australian Ringneck, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater and a Black-eared Cuckoo calling in the distance. We then drove up a bit until we heard Miners calling beside the road. We stopped and a flock of miners flew across the road. 4 of the 8 were full BLACK-EARED MINERS while the others were hybrids. The dark sub-mostacial stripe was noticeable along with the dark rump and only a pale tip to the tail (similar to that of Masked Woodswallow). We believe the others were hybrids because of the sub-mostacial stripe being the same colour as the throat and the pale rumps on some. This was the main bird that we wanted for the day and we got it almost straight away. We didn’t see anymore Miners for the day (except Noisy at the Caravan Park). Throughout the next stops we got onto plenty of Pied Honeyeaters, Grey Currawongs, Gilbert’s Whistler and other great mallee birds. The next new bird for me was when a female CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH was seen up ahead on the road. Once we turned of the car off the male turned up and they both walked up to within 10m of the car. They male is a stunning bird with a partial black band across its chest, a brilliant chestnut rump and an overall bluey grey colour. From here we then headed to a Red-lored Whistler site. On the way Bob was telling us the story from 6 years ago when a Dutch couple were having lunch by the side of the road and a Malleefowl walked across the road in front of them. When we looked beside the car we were stoked to find that a MALLEEFOWL was standing by the side of the road looking at us. They are an amazing bird that has a shape reminiscent of a Scrubfowl but a colour like a Crested Pigeon. The orange throat is amazing on them along with there gigantic feet. Malleefowl are very hard to find at Calperum Station and we feel extremely privileged to see one. Once we made it to the Red-lored Whistler site we heard one calling almost instantly. After tracking down the call and phishing them in, we had excellent looks at a male RED-LORED WHISTLER. They are a lot bigger than a Gilbert’s Whistler (so huge compared to other whistlers) with an amazing orange throat and lores and the same coloured orange chest. This is my favourite whistler after seeing all of the Australian ones now. Bob also showed us an old next of the whistler which was in a triodia clump. While driving along ,we stopped the car at good Striated Grasswren habitat and when we stopped the car a Striated Grasswren was seen sitting on a branch beside the car singing its amazing call. This grasswren is a lot different to other Striated Grasswrens and the chestnuty back looks more like a Carpentarian Grasswren. The next stop was in a prickly acacia patch where Southern Scrub-robins are often seen. We played the call quickly and at least 3 SOUTHERN SCRUB-ROBINS came in. They are a very nice bird that runs along with its tail cocked showing its rufous rump all the time. The black stripe through its eye is also very nice but the main thing is its character. I had now see all of my possible new birds before lunch which left me stranded on 699 birds. We went and had lunch at Oak Bore. Bob had bought lunch for us and it was a magnificent chicken salad. Also at Oak Bore we saw the resident pair of White-browed Treecreepers. We couldn’t head to the regular sight for Shy Heathwren because the road was flooded out so we went to a different spot where they are seen irregularly. It was also an area of Prickly Acacia with burnt out areas all around it. Once we played the call we got onto a pair of Shy Heathwrens after a lap through the island of vegetation. A Black-eared Cuckoo was heard calling here and when we tracked it down we saw it perched up in a tall dead tree. Karen got 2 new birds at this site. After this amazing morning and early afternoon we sadly left Calperum. On the way we stopped at a Redthroat sight. 2 male Redthroat were seen easily along with a family of White-winged Fairy-wrens. We left with amazingly, seeing every single bird we had hoped for. Bob Goodfellow is certainly recommended if you want to see these birds. Bob then dropped us off at the Caravan Park at around 4pm and we had an afternoon sleep. For dinner we had Beef Stroganoff and had an early night.
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we slept in until around 9am to catch up on lost sleep. After having breakfast and packing up the camper trailer we left Berri at around 10am. The aim for today was to drive to Port Augusta and pick up Peter Marsh. We had some quick stops for fuel and lunch but the birding highlight today was Karen’s first tickable Musk Lorikeet. We got into Port Augusta at around 4pm and picked up Peter Marsh who had flown into Adelaide and caught a bus to Port Augusta. We had decided to stay the night at Lake Gillies Conservation Park to look for Slender-billed Thornbills. Where we bush camped, the habitat was more mallee rather than samphire which the thornbills prefer. Splendid Fairy-wren and Inland Thornbill were the best birds around the camp. For dinner we had Butter Chicken. When we went spotlighting we found 2 Blind Snakes on the track; Ramphotyphlops endoterus and Prong-snouted Blind Snake .
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we got up early in Lake Gillies Conservation Park. The highlight of the morning was while walking along east boundary of the park, a male Gilbert’s Whistler which provided excellent views perched in the early morning sun. Other birds included Inland Thornbill, White-browed Babbler, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Grey Currawong and many others. We packed up camp at around 10am and headed towards Ceduna. Once we got to Ceduna we fuelled up and filled all the water containers before having a big lunch (there wasn’t many of them for the next couple of days). From here we headed out to Yumburra Conservation Park to look for Scarlet-chested Parrots. Once we got in there, there were surprisingly high numbers of birds with lots of Variegated Fairy-wrens and probably Blue-breasted Fairy-wrens but we were too busy looking for the parrots that we didn’t look at them in enough detail. Grey Currawongs, Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters, Masked Woodswallow, Dusky Woodswallow, Striated Pardalote and Weebill were the most common birds. We walked around in suitable habitat but no parrots were found except Australian Ringnecks. For dinner we had Lamb Tikka Masala and watched a Tawny Frogmouth land in the tree above our heads. When we went spotlighting we found a Starred Knob-tailed Gecko on the road.
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we got up with the sun at 7am and walked around Inilia Rock Hole in hope of finding some Parrots. We got 3 new parrots for the campsite; Mulga Parrot, Budgerigar and Galah. Other highlights for the morning we walk were Pied Honeyeater, Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters, Grey Currawong and all of the normal suspects. Unfortunately it gets into the mid forties by about 10am and stays this temperature until around 9pm. These temperatures were very tiring so we did a few walks and slept through the middle of the day. One hot spot was found on the road to Yumburra Rock Hole and we saw Varied Sittella, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater, Masked Woodswallow, Dusky Woodswallow and Striated Pardalote. Unfortunately the flies and forty degree temperatures only stop around 9pm so we couldn’t cook until then so dinner was always at 10-11pm. Dinner tonight was a roast lamb cooked with potatoes. Spotlighting was excellent and we found 5 Starred Knob-tailed Geckos, 2 Sandy Inland Mice, a Southern Shovel-nosed Snake and a Carpet Python that isn’t supposed to be in the area.
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we walked the area 4km up the road to Yumburra Rock Pools. Here the highlight of the morning was Western Yellow Robin as well as Red-capped Robin, Australian Owlet-nightjar, Red Wattlebird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and the other usual suspects. It was now getting hot again so we drove back to the camp and continued past the ‘Park Maintenance Vehicles Only’ sign. Along here the highlight was a Brown-headed Honeyeater on the top of one of the low sand dunes that had lots casuarinas on it. We then had our rest/sleep/tyring not to get too hot period and then went out again. We had decided to drive the dog fence to the right and other drives. Nothing new was found although when we came back to the campsite, a pair of White-browed Woodswallows had joined the flock of Masked and Dusky. For dinner we had a magnificent Beef Curry.
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we got up to our last morning in Yumburra Conservation Park and our last chance to see Scarlet-chested Parrot. We had decided to head back to the area around Yumburra Rock Pools for the Parrot. Highlights here were Western Yellow Robin, Red Wattlebird and other of the same species. On the way back to the camp we saw a Australian Ringneck flying with a parrot half of its size. This turned out to be a Mulga Parrot but we saw more Western Yellow Robins, Pied Honeyeaters, a Brown-headed Honeyeater and others. When we got to the camp Karen had found a flock of Crimson Chats around the camp as well as other birds. We then packed up camp before the real heat of the day kicked in (48 degree heats!) and had breakfast. A Bynoe’s Gecko had decided to take rest under the tent also. On the way out of the reserve we saw Spotted Harrier and Willie Wagtail. We didn’t see any Willie Wagtails our hole time in Yumburra Conservation Park along with Australian Magpies and Crested Pigeons which were actually a kilometre down the road. The air-conditioning in the car had decided to give up and followed the fridge so we had the windows down on the drive into Ceduna. Once we got into Ceduna we settled into a shady site overlooking the ocean with Pacific Gulls on the beach and Little Crows above our heads. We then had a swim in the ocean only to find out that we were surrounded in Jelly Fish! The shower was much safer! At the bar we had a cold drink or two and a counter meal before having a 3 hour sleep in sub 45 degree heat. We ended up going back to the pub for dinner and when we got back we had a hot sleep (we had gotten used to this by this stage).
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we slept in at Ceduna Caravan Park to catch up on some lost sleep. When we finally got up we had a shower, breakfast and went to get some food for the next couple of nights. On the rocks were Sooty Oystercatcher, Pacific Gull and some Australian Pied Oystercatchers flew past. After we got all the food, we packed up the camper trailer at around 11am and headed east. On the way we stopped off at Lake Gilles again and went to the salt lake. Here we searched unsuccessfully for Slender-billed Thornbills for an hour (the temperature was well over 40 degrees again). Highlights here were Southern Whiteface, Hooded Robin, White-winged Fairy-wren and others. Some of you may know that Peter is a offshore yacht master, purple ribbon member of the Rothbury wine society, registered mediator, registered patent attorney, fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors but not many people know that Peter is a Sharman. As a Sharman you can receive messages from Um-beki. It was here that Peter had a left bum twitch and got a message from The Twitching God, Um-beki. The message was that he was happy for a 13 year old to get 700 birds but only if Barbary Dove was the 700th bird. At the time we denied it but the left bum twitch detected by the Sharman (in this case Peter) is diagnostic that Um-beki will only have things go one way. From here we drove towards Stokes Hill to look for the Short-tailed Grasswren. We ended up only making it to Dutchmen Stern Conservation Park. When we got to the gate it was closed for feral animal control. Because it was getting late we ended up camping at the gate and defended off the shooters with their AK47s. For dinner we had a mince and noodle dish with sage, basil and parmesan cheese drizzled on top.
Jack’s Oz Total: 699Read more.
This morning we got up before the sun and packed up the camp quickly. It was already very warm and windy so the conditions weren’t going to be great. While packing up camp a couple Neophemas flew over which were probably Blue-winged Parrots but we didn’t get a good enough look. From here we then drove through Flinders Rangers magnificent scenery but didn’t stop until Stokes Hill. It was incredibly windy but we still worked the area around the lookout for about 3hrs. The only birds here were Australian Pipit, Zebra Finch and Wedge-tailed Eagle. Um-beki had spoken so why we even tried for the Short-tailed Grasswren is unknown. It was very disappointing non-tha-less. We had to drop Peter off in Adelaide AND see the Barbary Dove so we headed off at 11am. On the way we had a short stop in Hawker for bacon & eggs while Karen went straight to the bottle shop. The next stop was in Roscommon Street, Adelaide where Dad saw a Barbary Dove fly straight over our heads but the only thing I saw was a white bird disappearing into the distance. No tick, no 700. We then walked around for a bit and Peter found a BARBARY DOVE sitting on the powerlines. Although not the best 700th bird it will probably be remembered. They are a very white dove with a neat black colour. We had a toast to 700 while Peter got changed in the street. From here we then said goodbye to Peter at the airport as he flew to Sydney. It was around 5pm now so we decided that we would try and find the Ruff in Goolwa. We arrived in Goolwa and went down Barrage Rd to the location 400m past the bird hide. The Ruff couldn’t be seen from a quick look but Dad saw a Lewin’s Rail just in front of the bird hide. Others here included; Latham’s Snipe (6), Marsh Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-kneed Dotterel, Caspian Tern, Australasian Shoveler plus many more. The sun was now going down so we went to Goolwa Caravan Park to stay the night. Here there were many Musk Lorikeets showing very well. For dinner we had an amazing Butter Chicken while we watched the temperature plummet from 45degrees to 30degrees to 25degrees. Fortunately we went to bed before the rain started…
Jack’s Oz Total 700Read more.
This morning we slept in till about 11am in the morning. Karen got us up to a similar situation as in Deniliquin; an inch of water on the floor. After mopping up the floor we left Karen to wash and dry everything while we checked out Barrage Rd. At the 400m past the bird hide we almost immediately saw a RUFF fly in. The very long legs and neck were very noticeable along with its bright orange/red legs. Its bill is very small and down-curved and its wings scalloped. The feeding style of this bird is different to most others; because it is so tall it has to bend down almost to its legs to reach the water. We raced back to get Karen and we all had good views. All of the same birds were there but no Lewin’s Rail could be found. We then went back to the camp for a lunch (hot chicken sandwich). Around the camp we did a bit of a bird and found Purple-crowned Lorikeet and Australian Shelduck. From here we went beyond the barrage where we found a few hundred waders. They were; Grey-tailed Tattler (1), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (160 including one which had an orange leg flag above the knee on the right leg), Common Greenshank (20), Bar-tailed Godwit (34), Eastern Curlew (1) and Black-winged Stilt (30). Unfortunately there was no rail or pec. It was now getting a bit late so we headed back to the campground and had kebabs for dinner.
Jack’s Oz Total 701
This morning we got up at around 8am and had a bacon sandwich for breakfast. After packing up camp and getting Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeet on the day list we left Goolwa and headed towards Victoria. We were planning on going to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park to look for Mallee Emu-wren. 5hrs later we arrived at the National Park with a few Budgies and Cockatiels on the way. Just after lunch we set up camp in the Mournpall Campground on Lake Mournpall. From here we drove up the Nowingi Track with a few stops for Gilbert’s Whistler and other birds. One of the stops was on top of a sand dune with lots of Triodia around. After walking around we heard an emu-wren calling and almost straight away we got onto a pair of MALLEE EMU-WRENS. They are an amazingly nice birds; certainly one of my favourites. The male has a brilliant rufous cap following on to a streaked back. The blue face is iridescent along with the pink legs and streaked eye patch. We found that the female had more character, hoping around in the Triodia bushes and doing laps around the trees. What an amazing bird! After watching them for a while we went back to the campground and put on a pork roast. A quick look at the lake found Grey Teal (10), Eurasian Coot (2) and Australasian Grebe (1). Before dinner, Karen had decided to mark all of the trips we had done on a map of Australia. She had decided to argue against us that on the last night of the Gary Junction Rd that we stayed at Alpha not Comet. Upon checking the report she was proven wrong and had to do a silly dance in front of the fire. Luckily she had had lots of practice listening to Michael Buble. The dinner was amazing and after it we went spotlighting. Just before the Kangaroo Fence we found a single Tessellated Gecko along with many calling Australian Owlet-nightjars and a Southern Boobook.
Jack’s Oz Total 702Read more.
This morning we got up with the sun and did a bird around the camp. Highlights were; White-winged Triller, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater and many others. We left here at about 10am and headed towards Ballarat. It was a reasonably uneventful drive and we got into Ballarat at around 4pm. We then caught up with the Christie side of the family; Aunty Judy, Carlene and Bob. After catching up Bob showed us around Aunty Maur’s house. Aunty Maur had recently died and was an avid field naturalist in Ballarat. She is one of the main reasons that Dad became a birder and at a family reunion a while ago she twitched the Lesser Yellowlegs with us. We inherited a series of wildlife books including Gould’s Birds of New Guinea, an old Birds of Korea, a series of old Australian bird books including the 2 volume Slater, Leach’s and Cayley’s books. She lived in an old blue stone house where we were going to stay the night. After Bob showed us around we had a quick look around before going out to dinner with Andrew and his mates. We had a long night at the Queens Head Hotel. We slept well that night.
Jack’s Oz Total 702Read more.
This morning we got up reasonably early at the Hotham St house and walked around half of Lake Wendouree. This is only just down the road so we walked around to the Pipers Restaurant for a cooked breakfast. The highlight (for the others) was a Lewin’s Rail flying. A young Eurasian Coot had just bitten it on the bum so it flew a few metres. It seemed that the rail had eluded me… again. Other good birds here were Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (200), Australian Shoveler (1), Australian Shelduck (20), Grey (2) and Rufous Fantail (1). Once we got back we explored the house even more and were amazed by the variety of interests that Aunty Maur had. After we had an afternoon snooze we went back to the Christie’s house and dropped off the keys. We had rung Paul and Ruth Dodd during the day and we had a reply saying that he could take us out to Western Treatment Plant the next day so we drove down to Werribee for the night. After we booked into the Best Western, here Paul and Ruth picked us up and we met up at the Indian Restaurant for dinner. It was an excellent meal and it was great to catch up again.
Jack’s Oz Total 702Read more.
This morning we got up at around 6am and started getting ready for a big day out at Western Sewerage Works. After we got ready we left the Best Western at 6:30am to make it to Paul & Ruth’s place at 7am in Docklands (we had allowed time for getting lost; we used it). We dropped the car off and went in with Paul in his car to Melbourne Botanical Gardens to look for Song Thrush. Once we arrived we had a glimpse of a Song Thrush but soon after we had a SONG THRUSH on the side of the track. The trick with the thrush is to get there early before the crowds come in. They are a rather drab bird which is predominantly brown with a lighter belly with contrasting dark streaking on its chest. After this immediate success we dropped our car back off at the hotel and went with Paul into Western Treatment Plant. As soon as we got inside we were blown away by the numbers of Australian Shelducks (3,000) (we estimated around 20,000 for the whole day). Also at T section lagoons there was Cape Barren Goose (100), Australian Shoveler (20), Blue-billed Duck (2), Musk Duck (6), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (500), Marsh Sandpiper (2), Red-necked Stint (500), Common Greenshank (1), Red-necked Avocet (20) and this is only a sample of birds in the area! We then drove up to the spit to look for Pectoral Sandpiper but with no success in this species but many more including (bush birds); Striated Fieldwren, Horsfield’s Bushlark, Australian Pipit, Eurasian Skylark, Brown Songlark plus introduced birds. Along the road to the spit we got onto Red-browed and Zebra Finches. On the way into the actual WTP we saw a single Black Falcon and soon after a pair of Brown Falcons. From here we continued to Beach Rd Ponds were we had seen the Little Stint with Paul and Ruth previously. While scanning the flock of waders a single Pectoral Sandpiper flew in. Although I had seen them before it was excellent to have such extended close views. The bill is slightly longer than Sharpies and two-toned yellow and black. The streaking down the chest is strong and is also well cut off. Red-kneed Dotterel was also in the same flock. We then continued on and stopped where we found 3 Great Crested Grebes in the ponds. Paul had never seen them in the ponds and it was also unusual that we saw an Australasian Darter there as well. On the right where there is the rocky area on the right we stopped to look at the terns. We ended up finding 6 including; Fairy Tern, Little Tern, Common Tern, Crested Tern, Whiskered Tern and White-winged Black Tern. It was excellent especially to look at the size difference between Fairy and Little Tern (quite noticeable). At Lake Borrie we got onto 2000 Pink-eared Ducks with many Australasian Shovelers. We continued onto the Borrow Pits and for once we weren’t looking for Orange-bellied Parrots! Here we saw Black-tailed Native-hens (6) and others. We had decided to meet up with Ruth at Serendip Park we she had been working all day. She had just closed the park so we walked around and watched the baby Brolga being fed along with the parents doing a half display. Of note in the bird aviaries there are free flying Eurasian Tree Sparrows which come into the feeders with the House Sparrows and Red-browed Finches. Unfortunately the Freckled Ducks aren’t wild! At the wetlands that we went to there was around 200 Magpies Geese along with 2 White-necked Heron. A Black Falcon was also seen flying past (there area resident pair here). After Ruth gave us the cooks tour we unfortunately had to go back to the Best Western after an amazing day. We can’t thank Paul and Ruth enough for there generosity of there time and vehicle. After having a shower we went to dinner. We decided to go to Uncle Leo’s Pizza and Italian restaurant which was amazing. We had an early night back and the hotel.
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This morning we slept in to around 8am. After having a quick breakfast we left and headed back towards Tura Beach. The highlight birding wise was a Grey Goshawk flying along the road as well as the first Forest Kingfisher for the trip. We were now closing in on 300 birds for the trip. When we were about 2hrs from Tura Beach Dad noticed that the temperature in the radiator was rising quickly. Throughout the trip we had noticed a steady drip underneath the car. We called the RACV and they were about 1hr away so Dad checked out the pipes. A plug had a hole in it so he replaced it that just as the RACV person arrived. Luckily Dad had pre-empted this problem and ordered a replacement 5 years earlier. Interestingly there were quite a few Scarlet Honeyeaters here as well – still in Victoria. We arrived safely at Grandma and Poppy’s house in Tura Beach and caught up about the things we had done from last time we saw them. For the dinner the neighbours Peter and Pat came over and we had a roast lamb.
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This morning we slept in and had a lazy morning. For breakfast we had croissants with home made jam. After going for a walk along the beach, we packed up and left after having pea soup for lunch. We headed straight to Jamberoo/Barren Grounds. We got into the rainforest at around 7pm and had a Superb Lyrebird run across the road. It was getting very late now and we were struggling to find a campsite and ended up staying in the car park at Jamberoo Lookout. An amazing lookout it was. While setting up camp we heard a Gang Gang Cockatoo calling. For dinner we had a brilliant chicken and potato curry. A Tawny Frogmouth and Southern Boobook were calling.
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This morning we got up very early at Jamberoo Lookout and headed towards Budderoo National Park. We skipped the first turnoff that has the ‘Budderoo National Park’ sign on the left and went to the second one where we had had almost all of the best birds in July, 2009. As soon as we started walking we saw a few Eastern Bristlebirds fly across the track but it was further on before Karen had her first tickable view. Interestingly here there was a baby Brush Cuckoo being fed by a White-browed Scrubwren. The question comes in is which bird is classified as breeding? They have both laid eggs so are they both breeding? We searched unsuccessfully for Ground Parrot for most of the morning with excellent views of Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail as well as Chestnut-rumped Heathwren. It was now around 11am and so far we had given ourselves a score of B-. From here we went to the spot where we had seen Pilotbird before. The spot is; from Jamberoo stop the first sign saying Budderoo National Park, there is a green locked gate and you have to walk the rest of the way. Stay on the main track and don’t take any left turns. At the end you well reach a small creek. Here we had a pair of Pilotbirds. A female Dusky Antechinus was seen eating a male. After mating the male dies straight away and the female eats him for energy. A straight B was now the rating but unfortunately we had to go towards Sydney. We had a sandwich in Jamberoo township and then headed off at around 1pm. On the way into Sydney we managed not to get lost as we went into Peter and Robin Marsh’s place in Sydney. For dinner Robin cooked us some magnificent pork steaks while Peter organised his twitch to Broome for the Semipalmated Plover in Broome.
Jack’s Oz Total 703
This morning we slept in and woke up to a view of the Sydney Harbour. It was a fairly uneventful drive north towards Brisbane but during the afternoon we met up with Richard Baxter and his children at Crescent Head. After catching up we continued north to Coff’s Harbour where we stayed the night.
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This morning we got up at around 7am and packed up the camp after having a shower. Once we got our key refund we were off at around 7:30am. We had breakfast at McDonalds in Grafton and continued north on the Pacific Hwy towards Brisbane. We arrived in Brisbane after lunch and got into Bundaberg at around 5pm.Read more.