Apostlebird- Hattah Kulkyne National Park
Chestnut-crowned Babbler- Mournpall Tk
Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush - Konardin Tk
Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush - Konardin Tk
We headed to Nowingi Tk to try our luck for Striated Grasswren, the sun was fading fast but had at least 20 Mallee Emu-wrens along Nowingi, at least 10 birds seen all together only a few metres off the road.
No Grasswrens were seen or heard, so we headed back to camp. We picked up Australian Owlet-nightjar and Southern Boobook in the campsite, we chased the Boobook along the lakes edge, and silly for me I hadn’t taken a torch and wasn’t paying attention I walked straight into a fallen tree which decided to rip a few holes into my legs!
Silly Silly Me
Striated Grasswren- Nowingi Tk
THe sign says it all! We are HERE
Shearing Sheds - Neds Corner Station
That night at Ned’s we got a bit of rain and made the roads a little slippery and brought out the frogs!
Perons Treefrog - Neds Corner Station
With the forecasted rain and the road quality not conducive to good birding we were heading to Gluepot Reserve, but as Alison and Co already leaving Gluepot because of the risk of getting stuck we decided against that and headed to South Flinders Ranges hoping to try for Short-tailed Grasswren at Stoke’s Hill.
Entry into the Station
After chatting to the station managers we headed to camp with the recent sightings on a map for the following mornings expedition.
Looking back at our cars and thinking about the big dip!
We walked up and down the slopes of the hills, no luck after an hour. Finally Owen checked the last gps co-ordinates and followed them and he found them, at this point the 15 of us had spread over 3 or 4 hillsides and when the call went out we all rushed towards Owen. It was the toughest walk I have done In a long time, at points even thinking I wouldn’t make it in time.
This was my second lifer of the day as we had a few incidental flyovers from Elegant Parrots. 2 lifer morning was a great way to start the day. We slowly and I mean slowly made our way back to the top of the hillside where we walked back to our cars.
Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby- Brachina Gorge Flinders Ranges National Park
Road through Brachina Gorge
We stopped off at a toilet block for those that needed and Tim, Dan and Angus headed off without us. As we pulled up to them about a km away Dan was running back to the car for his camera, Tim had found the Grey-fronted Honeyeaters, everyone was out of the car and getting photos of these actually very stunning birds.
As we continued out of the Gorge, Owen picked up a flock of roosting Elegant Parrots which gave awesome views.
Along the road to Lyndhurst we stopped a few times, one time for Chirruping Wedgebills which only a handful of people saw and the second was a spot about 5kms from Lyndhurst where we picked up Crimson and Orange Chat, Chirruping Wedgebills. Was a great little stop.
Was back to the Lyndhurst Pub for dinner, we spoke to Laurie about My Lyndhurst Station, and all the contact numbers for them are disconnected, I had fears we would not get access, but Laurie pulled through, contacting the landowners and asking them for permission which was given, meaning we could hit up the rusty car site. After a few dollars spend on dinner and drinks and cabins/ camping we would have spent well over $1k. I felt we did a good deed and felt happy leaving there the following morning.
The famous Rusty Car site for Thick-billed Grasswren and Chestnut-breasted Whiteface! DIPPED
The birding was okay here, we picked up Diamond Dove, Chirruping Wedgebills, Rufous Fieldwren but no Thick-billed Grasswren, Cinnamon Quail-thrush or Chestnut-breasted Whiteface.
We knew that these 3 birds would be excruciatingly hard and we weren’t wrong. We were already a day in advance of schedule so meant we could spend a bit of time searching. We had no luck at all and headed back to the mine site about 500m back towards Lyndhurst to try for Quail-thrush again. At least we got lucky with this species and we had a very flighty individual flying around for 20 or so minutes but giving good views.
Thick-billed Grasswren! Skulker!
The time was gaining on us so we decided to head straight for Strezlecki Creek Crossing and bypass the Montecollina Bore. As we passed the bore by about 20kms we had a walkie talkie message from Greg and Janice who had a pair of Eyrean Grasswren fly in front of the car.
Then we had a good walk around and separated, I got wonderful views of a pair of Little Eagles ( light and dark morph) and some stunning Eastern Blue-bonnets.
Light Morph Little Eagle
A quick read of Rohan Clarke and Tim Dolby book said we could find Banded Whiteface 9kms or so north from the creek crossing, so off we headed and low and behold we had a huge flock of Pied Honeyeaters, Chirruping Wedgebills and Orange Chats all around, we had split into two groups and as we chased the Honeyeaters around.
The others had found the Banded Whiteface, finally we were lucky that Jack Parrington was nice enough to track us down and everyone got views on a pair of Banded Whiteface, but TIm, Owen Greg and Janice found another 6-10 birds on the next rise.
What a show this was!
Male Eclipse Blue-breasted Fairywren
Western Yellow Robin
We were still waiting on a few so we headed just before sunset to a spot for Copperback Quail-thrush which we missed but did however pick up Rufous Treecreeper.
3 targets under our belts we were still 2 days above schedule so we decided that some of us would head to Chuckles (Laughing Gull) at Venus Bay while the remaining few were going to search for Copperback at Ironstone Hill Conservation Park. We got to Chcuckles just after lunch time and found him rather quickly, the Grey nomads are feeding him everyday with fresh fish they have caught, and this bird now hawks pieces of fish like a black kite!
We watched him for 20 minutes flying around and at the same time picked up the Pacific Gull subspecies which was cool.
We followed these for a good 20 minutes trying to get photos. Such a lovely bird.
Hell Yes! Western Whipbird
Tim and I also had a pair of Rock Parrots fly low over our heads here but no one else had seen them. We decided after a good 2 hours here we would head to the rock parrot spots and after speaking to the ranger he said our best spot was the West Cape Area. As we arrived we all split up and headed our own way, Jack Parrington found a pair of Rock Parrots, but as everyone was so far away by the time most got there they had missed them as they flushed and flew down the cliff face and out of sight. We continued to search for the next 40 minutes without luck, we were on the way back to the car when a White-bellied Sea Eagle flew along the coastline, spooking all birds below, Sooty Oystercatcher, White-faced Heron, Chestnut Teal, Pacific and Silver Gulls took flight. We watched in awe as this majestic eagle soared the coast, and then suddenly a dark egret took flight, the calls went out “ Eastern Reef Egret”. A few coo-ees went around thinking it was a lifer for a few.
Eastern Reef Egret Dark Morph
Everyone arrived except for Pete and Alison. As I went to search for them at a fast walk I was contemplating where they would be when a pair of Rock Parrots flew over my head and landed on a rock slide area about 300m away. I was now torn what to do, I called and found Pete and Alison who weren’t interested in the Egret, so I decided to chase the Parrots. As I started to walk towards them Dan came along and we both searched the rocks for the Parrots, and finally we found a pair sitting on top of some vegetation. We were able to call everyone over so that we all had cracking views of this tough species. We could not believe our luck!
The Black-eared Miner however was a nightmare, they were flighty, timid and pretty much had to chase them by running through the bush, while doing this we did get a pair of Pink Cockatoos. Finally on Road 2 in Gluepot we came across a bigger group of Miners. Dan was like a mad man chasing back and forth, then finally he got a beauty. We chased this one for a good 5 minutes, finally get enough id features to be confident on Black-eared Miner.
This was my 17th lifer for the trip and by far exceeded my expectations. We had 1 last chance for Matt to get Striated Grasswren back at Hattah, so we drove from Gluepot just after 1pm and arrived at camp at Hattah just on dusk. While sitting around camp Dan noticed a spider running along the ground, it was a Trapdoor Spider which was extremely cool.
It was an unbelievable trip, many laughs, many lifers, many kms walked searching for birds, but in the end only dipped on a few possible birds but nothing that was expected. The itinerary worked a treat and with everyone’s input along the way made for a smooth and uneventful trip……
Also huge thanks to David Adam, Alison Nisbett, Brad White, Jack Parrington and Jack Winterbottom for the use of their photos for this blog.
The overall trip tally was over 210 species which was greater than i had thought and shows what birding in a larger group can produce!