Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

South-East Oz Pt 1: Stanthorpe to Round Hill Reserve


Shy Heathwren

We left home on September 6 for a lengthy road trip through NSW and Victoria. First stop was Glen Alpin near Stanthorpe, staying by the Severn River at the Country Style Caravan Park. There were plenty of Dusky Woodswallows here. It's always nice to be in the Granite Belt but we could do without the weather – down to -2 on our first morning.

Dusky Woodswallow
We moved on to Armidale the next day, calling in on the excellent birding area along Old Wallangarra Road, where a Yellow-footed Antechinus was of interest in the short time available. A couple of Little Eagles were seen on the way south for a 2-night stay in the Armidale Tourist Park. I spent a full morning in the ironbark woodlands of the Yarrowyck area west of Armidale, along Gwydir Park Road and Gwydir River Road.



This is a known site for Regent Honeyeater, but none were to be encountered. Few ironbarks were flowering though plenty were full of bud.


Square-tailed Kite
Fuscous Honeyeater was abundant. Other good birds included a Square-tailed Kite quartering the woodland and a Rufous Songlark. The cold weather persisted with the temperature dropping to -4 in Armidale.


Rufous Songlark
We moved on to Dubbo, overnighting in a free camp 10km north of town in the Terramungamine Reserve. It's a pleasant spot by the Macquarie River, but not much was around in the way of birds. 


Macquarie River, Dubbo
We went upmarket the next night in the Dubbo City Holiday Park. We drove south-west through Parkes, seeing a Pink Cockatoo east of Condobolin. Our base for the next 4 nights was the Lake View Caravan Park by the lovely Lake Cargelligo, where we met up with our friend Kathy Haydon. A pool by the road just outside the town of Lake Cargelligo on the Condobolin road had Red-necked Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, a flock of 30 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (some in partial breeding plumage) and Australasian Shoveler.


Sharp-tailed Sandpipers
Another pool had Black-tailed Native-hen and Red-kneed Dotterel, with loads of Australian Pelicans about.


Australian Pelican

Black-tailed Native-hen
The Lake Cargelligo Wastewater Treatment Plant is an excellent spot. Musk Duck and Hoary-headed Grebe were among the birds here. 


Hoary-headed Grebe
In the reeds were large numbers of Australian Reed-Warbler and Little Grassbird, with White-winged Fairy-wren and White-fronted Chat in the saltbush.


Black Falcon
A Black Falcon was among the raptors present.


Little Grassbird
Best of all were the three species of crake together at the treatment works. Over a couple of days I saw and heard 20+ Baillon's Crakes, 8 Australian Spotted Crakes and 5 Spotless Crakes.


Australian Spotted Crake adult

Australian Spotted Crake immature 

Baillon's Crake

Spotless Crake
We had a full day in the mallee of the Round Hill Reserve and adjoining Nombinnie Nature Park, concentrating on the area around the so-called old wheat paddock. 


Malle at Round Hill
Many mallee trees were in flower and honeyeaters were abundant: Black, White-fronted, Yellow-plumed, Grey-fronted, Brown-headed and White-eared Honeyeaters were everywhere.


Black Honeyeater

White-fronted Honeyeater

Grey-fronted Honeyeater
We saw a total of 5 Gilbert's Whistlers and heard 2 or 3 others in various spots; there was no sign of Red-lored Whistler.


Gilbert's Whistler
Shy Heathwren was encountered several times, offering nice close-up views.


Shy Heathwren
Southern Scrub-Robin was another mallee speciality that performed nicely.


Southern Scrub-Robin
Other birds included Mulga Parrot, Southern Whiteface, Red-capped Robin, Splendid Fairy-wren and Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo.


Splendid Fairy-wren



Southern Whiteface

Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo

Mulga Parrot
On the way back we stopped near the railway line on the southern boundary of the nature reserve and had a most co-operative pair of Chesnut Quail-thrush close to the car.


Chesnut Quail-thrush
Further on we stopped at the so-called Chat Alley, where plenty of White-fronted Chats duly appeared in the saltbushes.


White-fronted Chat
A Shingleback was encountered on the road.


Shingleback





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