Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Mallee Birding with Ethan_04

Our last day was essentially driving back to Melbourne via some good birding spots. First we checked out the railway line again [still 1/3] then off to Lake Tyrell and its Asian tourists. Rufous Fieldwren was seen from the car, a flock of a dozen Orange Chats flew past and we saw 5 Blue-winged Parrots on a fence line. Breakfast in Sea Lake then further east to Goschen where Pied Honeyeaters had been seen reliably over the previous few days. Goschen is a great place. Black Honeyeaters, a mixed flock of over >100 White-browed and Masked Woodswallows hawking overhead then landing in a flowering etc to gorge on nectar, Hooded robins ... but no Pied HE. It was still pretty windy; we moved on, visited Lake Tutchewop [1,400 Grey Teal and a few Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers], had a look in at the Ibis Rookery at Middle Lake [1,400 Straw-necked Ibis and some Grey-crowned Babblers] and our final destination in the Inglewood Nature Conservation Reserve. A Shy Heathwren wasn't, a Little Eagle was seen, yet another Pallid Cuckoo and a smattering of thornbill species.

The total number of species for the trip exceeded 160. Ethan saw 17 of the potential 23 parrot species, Andrew saw almost everything he wanted to except a Crested Bellbird and I had a great time.

I can't speak too highly about our guide Simon Starr. He knows his birds and localities and geography just oh so well. We had a great time.

Pallid Cuckoo Cocomantis pallidus

Rufous Fieldwren Calamanthus campestris

Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus

White-backed Swallow Cheramoeca leucosterna

White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus

Mallee Birding with Ethan_03

The third day was north of Ouyen at Hattah and eastwards towards Annuello. A Black Falcon on the Old Calder Highway south of HAttah was a great start and then a Malleefowl was spotted on the road. It gave excellent views as it ambled off. A walk on open plain got us Orange Chat and Ethan managed to inveigle an Australian Owlet-nightjar out of a tree hollow but it scampered back in another on a different tree before we could see it properly. Next was a terrific view of a Mallee Emu-wren. I didn't take my camera with me on that particular walk so as to entice him out. And it worked. But there is a downside relating to the discussion we had in the car whilst travelling regarding birding, twitching, rabid twitching and Chuckles. More later.

On to Lake Mournpall by which time the wind had become ferocious so we moved back to Ouyen for lunch then a drive south along the railway line looking for White-backed Swallows, Rainbow Bee-eaters and Red-backed Kingfishers [only WbS to be seen] then on to Wemmen with its Regent Parrots, Little Friarbird, Red-rumped Parrots, Blue-faced Honeyeater and other delectables before ending the day at the Annuello FFR where we were able to see a female Gilbert's Whistler, Grey-crowned Babbler, great views of Mulga Parrots and Red-capped Robins, no Pied Honeyeaters and just "audio" of a Crested Bellbird. We finished the day at a tank west of Ouyen to successfully spotlight Spotted Nightjars.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis

Yellow Rosella Platycercus elegans flaveolus The yellow race of the Crimson Rosella.

 Gilbert's Whistler Pachycephala inornata  female of the species.

Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis

Mulga Parrot  Psephotus varius

Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii male

Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus male

White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus

White-winged Triller Lalage tricolour