Tuesday Walk in Gwen Bowden’s Garden 25 May 2021

A group of 14 of us visited a beautiful native garden with extensive plantings and a healthy understory. It showed what can be done for our birds particularly the small ones which have declined significantly due to loss of habitat. There were 23 species spotted. Straw necked Ibis and Brown Goshawk flew over, Rainbow Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella Galah, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Honeyeaters-Spiny-cheeked, White-plumed, Brown, Yellow-faced, Red Wattlebird, Eastern Spinebill, Rock Dove, Spotted Dove, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, and Finches- Double-barred, Zebra, and a Common Miner.

A very rewarding morning- Thankyou Gwen 

Lyn Allen

Saturday Outing to Quirindi 26 June 2021

On a brisk winter morning 16 keen Birdo’s set off for Quirindi, first stop was the bike path which winds its way along the banks of the Joseph and Jacob Creek on our left and back up through the many trees and shrubs on the way back. Brett informed us that he had a hand in the planting of the many she-oaks which are growing very nicely.

We always enjoy birding in this area with its many and varied habitats.

First up we saw five Olive-backed Oriels perched in a large deciduous tree with several Red Wattlebirds for company. The creek showed signs of heavy rains in that area with flattened reeds and fast flowing water. A small family of Dusky Moorhens were tottering on the edge of the reeds and one lone Darter was drying off in another tree.

We soon had the usual parrots plus White-browed Scrubwrens, some thornbills and also three Weebill. These little birds amused us as they hovered like hummingbirds as they fed on the blossom available to them.

We saw two raptors, a Nankeen Kestrel and a Black Kite. It was so easy to fill in time along here with plenty to look at and seats placed at regular intervals along the track and for those inclined, exercise equipment for the public use!

Having missed out on our morning tea we were all eager to drive around to Rose Lee Park for an early lunch after listing 40 species along the bike path.

As soon as we got settled 80 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos came screeching over but for peace sake they moved on. We added Eastern and Crimson Rosella to our new list. Quirindi Creek runs at the rear of the park and once again the heavy undergrowth had been flattened by the heavy rain. We were amused to watch a poor Purple Swamphen trying to swim across the creek but gave up in the end and just went with the flow!

We had a good look at a Whistling Kite as it slowly soared over the paddock and in this area we added a Grey Fantail, several Thornbill, Double-barred Finch and to complete our day two Blue-faced Honeyeaters put in an appearance.

Thanks to all those great birdwatchers who braved the cold to help make this such a very enjoyable outing.

BIRDS SEEN AT BIKE TRACK: Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Rock Dove, Crested Pigeon, Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Black Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen (yon), Masked Lapwing, Galah, Australian King-Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Weebill, Yellow Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Brown Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Olive-backed Oriel, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Magpie-lark, Australian Reed Warbler. Double-barred Finch, Red-browed Finch.

BIRDS SEE AT ROSE LEE PARK: Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Crested Pigeon, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Whistling Kite, Purple Swamphen, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, Yellow Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Spiny- cheeked Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Olive-backed Oriel, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark, Double-barred Finch, Red-browed Finch.

Joan Dunne.

South Australia Road Trip Part Four - James and Kerrie Ardill

Mt Ive to Port Lincoln

Well after a fruitful couple of days at Mt Ive without seeing any of the grass wrens, we left with roads possibly still wet to head towards Ceduna. 

We decided to leave the same way we had come in, firstly because it was the quickest way and secondly we wanted to go and see Lake Gilles Conservation Park. The road out was still a bit wet in patches but 95% of it was dry. When we hit the first patch of wet road, a solitary bird was flushed but landed some 30 metres away. INLAND DOTTEREL !!!!! 30 minutes later of chasing the bird up and down this patch of road I got a reasonable set of photos – certainly better than the bird I saw in 2017 near Bourke.

After this long but quite satisfying photo opportunity we proceeded at a good pace back to the main number 1 highway. Halfway there some bird activity on a tree trunk initiated a sudden stop, upon which several photos of the Rufous Treecreeper were kindly allowed. As I chased a solitary bird across the road into a man-made gully, lo and behold there were several birds feeding on the ground and fallen tree trunks. These treecreepers were totally engrossed in feeding which presented some excellent portraits of a new species for me.

In the midst of this chattering shuttering of my camera I stumbled across one of my biggest desires – a pair of Mulga Parrots. They were a bit flighty and I lost them amongst the bluebush several times before I spotted them feeding on the ground near a couple of trees and some ground vegetation. From memory they were feeding on a species of a succulent like a pigface. The cover of the trees allowed a close approach and I was able to capture some shots that displayed the wondrous colours of the male bird.

A solid hour later we continued on our way with a couple of stops to get a Crested Bellbird, a Grey Shrike-thrush and a Dusky Woodswallow posing lovely on a fence post.

Lake Gilles was a pretty place but did not give any interesting birds with some Purple-backed Fairy-wrens and Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters present. We pushed onto Ceduna and given that it was mid-afternoon, we did not stopped again in order to get our accommodation before sunset.

A few Emus were seen in our travels to this point but none that were worthy of being photographed due to distance or obscured by vegetation. I took a series of three photos on the Mt Gawler NP Road of one pair heading over a rocky ridge through a small patch of spinifex.

Next instalment will be  around Ceduna including my very first Grey Plover.

James Ardill

Wandering Around Queensland May/June 2021 - 

Annabel Ashworth

Eric and I headed off in early May for a birding trip. We had no itinerary, didn’t want to rush and just hoped for a relaxing camping trip in a warmer place, with lots of birds. Unfortunately we didn’t meet the last requirement as the bird numbers were poor in most places. Despite bush camping a lot of the time, there wasn’t a lot of birdlife around us. The only plentiful ones were various Corvids, Yellow-throated Miners, White-plumed Honeyeaters, Willie Wagtails and Crested Pigeons. We only saw seven emus on the entire trip!

We headed north to Roma, west to Windorah, then north to Longreach and west to Winton. On the whole, the country is looking fantastic but the Longreach area was still in the grip of drought. The abundant food and ground water further south probably contributes to the lack of birds at any one spot, but the past years of drought must have had a massive impact on numbers.

We did have some interesting birding encounters however, such as finding Rainbow Lorikeets at Barcaldine and a Common Myna out near Longreach. There were only two sightings of Babblers in Queensland. Some Grey-crowned near Goondawindi and Halls at our bush camp east of Windorah. That was exciting. There were also Spinifex Pigeon around that camp. We saw one near a native well at Stonehenge. It was circling the hole trying to get a drink, but the water was out of its reach.

Our camp at Windorah was on The Cooper. We came across a small flock of Bourke’s Parrots there and spent a lot of time trying to photograph them as they fed on the ground. They blend into the ground so well that it was difficult.   Woodswallows were also there plus a few Budgerigars. The Black-faced were common in the drier country whilst there were White-breasted Woodswallows around Quilpie and Mitchell and later on a large flock of White-browed at Lara Wetlands, a wonderful place to visit near Barcaldine. Masked Woodswallows were sighted just once.

At Jundah we bush camped by the river and were entertained by three Jacky Winters who kept returning to the same branch right beside our camp. They continually chased each other, but were quick to hide when a Butcherbird turned up.

We had two full days around Carnarvon Gorge, which included a helicopter flight over a different nearby gorge. That was the only place we saw interesting honeyeaters. We’d had plenty of White-plumed and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters, Yellow-throated Miners and Little Friarbirds, but at Carnarvon we added Striped, White-naped and White-throated. We were also lucky enough to see a Squatter Pigeon .

Other good sightings on the trip were Banded Lapwings and Australian Pratincoles on a back road south of Longreach and a group of Brown Quail which wandered through our camp at Bladensburg National Park near Winton. A large flock of Plum-headed Finch hung around our Quipie camp and we had two sightings of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

We’d been on the lookout for Australian Bustards ever since we reached Queensland, but didn’t see one until our last day there. We had stopped to look at something when a big bird flew low over us. My first reaction was to wonder what a brown goose was doing way out there, but soon realised what it was. Unfortunately it landed a long way away and the photo I took only shows the bird as a faint blur.

That was made up for by two Major Mitchell Cockatoos sitting on a fence eating melons. They were so intent on their food that they let us stop the car right beside them to take photos. 

Our trip ended with an enjoyable visit to Lightening Ridge. We were lucky because Warwick and Margaret Schofield were there and invited us to camp amongst the mullock heaps on their place just out of town. A number of our members stayed there with them back in 1999 and again in 2001 and records of their visit can still be seen, including the pink “Birds” sign that identified the entrance for them. They planted a tree whilst there which happily survived the drought. We saw Australian Ringnecks, Blue Bonnets and a Spotted Bowerbird there and learnt a lot about local birding spots, astronomy and opal mining from Warwick. Staying there was a great end to the trip.