Sunday, 14 May 2017

Broome Roadtrip 12

Next stop was a night in Esperance. A trip to the Golf Club (resident and breeding Cape Barren Geese) and a walk alongside Windabout Lakes and Woody Lake where some fuel reduction burning had been done very recently. There were not too many birds about but it was a nice walk.

Cape Barren Goose Cereopsis novaehollandiae
White-faced Heron Egret novaehollandiae
Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus
After Esperance is the Nullabor, all tarmac now and very little roadkill as the roos have plenty to eat everywhere. A night at the Nullabor Roadhouse with an successful early morning search for Nullabor Quail-thrush at the Thomas and Thomas site and then an interesting time at the Ceduna Quarantine Station.

No fruit and veg is allowed into South Australia east of Ceduna so I ate my last banana before arriving and, when stopped, volunteered the banana skin for their bin. I hopped out of the car. The officers saw the binoculars and camera and asked if I had been birdwatching. "Yes" was my answer and then I was asked if Ceduna was a good spot for Cattle Egrets! I replied that, in my experience, it was probably not ideal and that Cattle Egrets were to be seen often with cattle and horses in well-watered environments e.g. irrigation paddocks in Victoria. Ceduna could not claim to be a well-watered environment. Then they described a small white bird hanging around their quarantine station that they had identified as a cattle egret. "Where is it?", I enquired. "Oh, just here on the roof. It gets quite close to us". Well, we searched around but it was not to be found. Ah well. On I went into town and visited the Tourist Information Centre. The lady there found out I was a birder and we chatted about the various local place to bird. As I was leaving I said that I had a piece of info to tell her that other visiting birders may appreciate and described the presence of the cattle egret at the quarantine station. "Ah", she said. "That is where my cattle egret had gone. He has been missing for a few day snow".  The egret had appeared at her place several months before after a big storm and had become quite tolerant of her and her husband to the point of coming to within a metre of them. So, it was a Cattle Egret after all. In an unusual place though. On eBird there are no reports of Cattle Egret west of Adelaide. Ever!

Port Augusta next and a stop at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens for an iced coffee and a bird at the cliff top and the bird hide where I saw the following beauties. It was a bit warm so heat haze got in the way of the White-winged Fairy-wren and the Rufous Fieldwren.

White-winged Fairy-wren Malarus leucopterus leuconotus
Male in full colour

After that, it was only a few hundred clicks to two nights at Gluepot!

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