Thursday, 1 June 2017

Invasion of South Australia 01

For 12 days in May, I accompanied the Filthy Flockers on an expedition into South Australia in search of grasswrens, letter-winged kites, gibberbirds and quail-thrush ... to mention a few of the target birds. Fifteen participants in 8 vehicles gathered over a couple of days towards the northwest of Victoria and into South Australia with us all eventually meeting at Willow Springs Station in the southern part of the Flinders Ranges. Filthy, Bradster, Cracks and I travelled in two vehicles as a unit for the trip.

Stuff for three.

It was camping at cars with relocation each day. Two nights were spent at Lyndhurst Hotel. I covered 5,450 kilometres in 12 days. It was a hectic but very rewarding experience. Four members of the party had supersensitive hearing, way more acute than my 61 year-old ones, so they very easily heard all the soft subtle calls of the grasswrens and emu-wrens and they even seemed to have better eyesight than I. Very helpful companions indeed. The ethos of FF is that everyone sees the bird/s if possible. At one point Filthy and Dan "stumbled" upon a pair of Rock Parrots so Dan stayed put while Filthy ran back several hundred metres and gathered the rest of the group [who had been ogling a White-bellied Sea-eagle overflying an Eastern Reef Egret at West Cape in the Innes NP] and we all ran back to view the parrots. It was a great group to be involved with.

The itinerary meant camps at ...
1. Hattah Lakes
2. Ned's Corner
3. Stokes Hill [Flinders Ranges]
4. Lyndhurst Hotel [rooms for some, camping for most]
5. Strzelecki Crossing 250km up the Strzelecki Track
6. Lyndhurst Hotel [rooms for most, camping for some]
7. Lake Gilles
8. somewhere in the Middleback Range on the Eyre Peninsula
9. Innes NP
10. Gluepot
11. Hattah Lakes

Day 01 Hattah Lakes

Black-faced Woodswallow Artamus cinereus melanops at Lake Tyrell

Blue Bonnet Northiella haematogaster haematogaster [Yellow-vented Blue Bonnet] at Lake Tyrell

Chestnut Quail-thrush Cinclosoma castanotum at Nowlingi Track, Hattah. We pulled up as Phil had heard a QT. When we hopped out of the car, he heard an emu-wren as well. Choices! So we chased the QT first as emu-wrens are pretty easy ti find in that spot. Hadn't quite got the photographer's finger working 100% so failed to get a QT in crisp focus. Lifer!

Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus at Lake Hattah

Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae & Poliocephalus poliocephalus in a raft on Lake Hattah

Inland Thornbill Acanthiza apicalis Lake Hattah

Little Egret Egretta garzetta Lake Hattah

Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee These guys were fairly easy to phish in and, even at 7.30am with dim light, gave excellent views for as long as we wanted. I am pretty happy with these images. Lifer.

White-winged Fairy-wren Malarus leucopterus Lake Tyrell.

Day 02/03 Ned's Corner and transit

Galahs Eolophus rosiecapilla albiceps and Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus at Lake Walla Walla on Ned's Corner

Red Kangaroo or Eastern Grey Kangaroo at Ned's Corner
 Pallid Cuckoo Cacomantis pallidus  near Lake Walla Walla

Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii at Lake Walla Walla

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza uropygialis

Day 04 Stokes Hill, Flinders Ranges

This is the site of the Short-tailed Grasswren Amytornis merrotsyi located on Willow Springs Station just north of Wilpena Pound. The owners have caravan and camping facilities and are happy to share the latest in bird intell with you. Owen had a GPS reference from two days prior to our arrival and that is where we found them [2] at the bottom of a gully. The hills are pretty steep there and one of our party, Phil, was three hills away when they were found so he got plenty of exercise for the day.

The grasswrens were "baled up" in a big clump of spinifex whilst we all gathered. Fourteen of the party stayed on one side of the gully whilst I went across to the other to "cut them off". I got good views when they went around to the back of their spinifex clump to see if the way was clear.

On our way out we passed through Brachina Gorge. The road goes down the middle of the dry river. At one point there is a large landslip and 8 or so Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies Petrogale xanthopus were resting there.

Orange Chat, female Epthianura aurifrons 

Australian Ringneck [Port Lincoln Parrot] Barnardius zonarius zonarius

Elegant Parrot Neophema elegans Brachina Gorge

No comments:

Post a Comment