Thursday, 22 March 2018

2017 Out Back Qld Trip - Birds Part 1 - Charleville, Cunnamulla, Eula, Thargomindah, Birdsville, Boulia

We had always wanted to visit Birdsville & into the Channel Country in far western Qld.
Our opportunity came along when hubby wanted to attend the Big Red Bash music festival at the foot of Big Red Sand Dune 30kms west of Birdsville.
There was a long list of birds that I'd wanted to see & check off on my "life list".....seen for the 1st time.
It was mid June when we left home & we called into my families property near Charleville for a few days to catch up with them.
I also wanted to find a particular bird that my family had mentioned they had on the property
un be knowns to me....until a few months earlier, though I knew the habitat was right to have them there.

1st off, I went for a walk amongst the Mulga woodlands not far from the house.

I found a pair of Hooded Robins, this is the boy bird.

Varied Sittella...walk  up & down tree branches looking for grubs under the bark.

Laughing Kookaburra hanging doubt checking what I was up to. It was interesting that the tail is resting on the branch.

Male Red-winged Parrot are always stunning birds.

Back at the machinery / car shed were a pair of Striated Pardolote.

The next morning I was up as the sun was rising to take the 4 wheel motor bike up into the ridge country to track down my target bird.

I traipsed around over quite a few kms & found many other bush birds including......

Chestnut-rumped Thornbill

Yellow Thornbill

 White-browed Treecreeper were a new addition to the property list...a surprise find.

White-browed Treecreeper

After traipsing around for 6 hrs, covering many kms & moving to different areas on the stony ridge I finally found my target bird.....they are a ground bird & are usually only occasionally vocal at daybreak.
I had seen these birds a few times at Bowra, an AWC birding property near Cunnamulla, but it was so special to find some on my families private property.

It's just as well I took my lunch with me as I'd been out since daybreak & it was well after 3pm before I found these birds.

I found a pair of the Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush. They are quite skittish & it takes a a fair bit of patience to get a fairly decent photo. They like to take cover amongst the fallen timber to escape being noticed.
This is the male bird.

A heavily cropped photo of the female.

Also amongst the Ironbark trees on the ridge were Striped Honeyeaters.

A male Variegated Fairywren in non breeding plumage.

Around the paddock near the house were Squatter Pigeons. They are also ground dwelling birds.

Enjoying the weed in the house yard grasses were Australian Ringneck Parrots

Yellow-throated Miner on the left & Noisy Miner on the right enjoy a drink.

Yellow-throated Miner.

We moved to Bowra, near Cunnamulla to spend a couple of nights there to enjoy the birding. This is an AWC property mostly for birdwatchers.

A male Mulga Parrot.

Crested Bellbird can be heard from hundreds of metres away & I tracked down this male bird.

Horsfields Bronze-cuckoo.

At the camping area near the shearing quarters & shearing shed is this bore fed lagoon.
All of the bores around the property have been capped & if the dams & creeks dry up, many birds flock to here. The water is quite shallow & the little wetland is very popular for birds & kangaroos.

Female Red-capped robin.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo having an early morning drink in 1 of the few dams with water in it.

Whilst sitting in the car waiting for the birds to come down to the waters edge to drink, this flock of very woolly sheep came in for a drink too. They are stray sheep from a neighbouring property & have at least 3 years of fleece growth on them. It must be incredibly heavy.

Zebra Finch.

White-necked Heron.

Male Red-capped Robin later in the day.

Several Bourke's Parrot were quietly feeding on the ground looking for seed when they were flushed into a nearby tree.

Female Splendid Fairywren.

Up to 30 Black-tailed Native-hen were hanging around the House dam most days.

 I was suitably grateful that this Australian Spotted Crake stayed around the lagoon until I could also see it. It had been reported there for a week or 2 prior to my arrival & I kept my fingers crossed that it would stay there.

I found a lovely Hoary-headed Grebe on the Waste Water Treatment ponds in Cunnamulla.

I spent a few hours wandering around the bush at Paddabilla Bore (aka Eulo Bore) just east of Eulo.
Varied Sittella were moving up & down the trunks looking for grubs in the bark

Driving westwards towards Thargomindah, we stopped at Lake Bindegolly. In good wet seasons this freshwater & salt water lake is usually full of bird life with up to 195 species seen there.
Sadly the wetland was completely dry.
Wandering around I found this male Mulga Parrot.

I also saw this Brown Falcon looking for a meal.

Just south of Thargomindah amongst the lignum I found several Crimson Chats.

An Australian Hobby found it's next meal.

On my way back to town I found this young Wedge- tailed Eagle.

Next morning I saw a couple of White-fronted Honeyeater.

The next interesting bird was this pair of Eyrean Grasswren on Little Red sand dune 30 kms west of Birdsville. These little birds live in amongst the cane grass on top of the dunes. This was quite possibly the easiest Grasswren for me to find.

Also hanging around were Black-faced Woodswallows.

A Nankeen Kestrel was hovering above waiting for food to appear from the grasses.

Walking around the lagoons in Birdsville I found this pair of Red-rumped Parrots.

A Spinifex Pigeon was a great surprise.

Red-browed Pardolote.

These Greater Bluebonnets were also a nice surprise.

1 even landed on a rock for extended views & time to take plenty of photos.

Hanging around the lagoon was this Red-rumped Kingfisher.

Black-fronted Dotterel forage along muddy edges of dams & lakes.

A pair of Grey Falcon were also a wonderful surprise. They flew into 1 of the communications tower late 1 afternoon not far from the lagoon.

A very early morning photo of a pair of Galahs.

Moving north of Birdsville along the Eyre Development Road, we stopped at Carcory Ruins.
There's a bore & a creek there that attracts lots of birdlife including this Black-eared Cuckoo.

A White-faced Heron standing on 1 leg.

A Brown Falcon found an opportunity to chase down another meal.

That's the bore up the road at Carcory Ruins

Further north, we stayed a couple of nights at Cuttaburra Crossing free camp. Eyre Creek crosses the road under a concrete causeway. There's more permanent water holes closer to the camp ground, but around the causeway was drying out.
I was a bit surprised to find Gull-billed Terns there.

Also there were Caspian Terns.

A White-necked Heron looking very resplendent.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill.

I'm not sure why, but there was just a single Red-necked Avocet....unless more were in other waterholes further around the corner.

If you look closely this Whistling Kite has a meal of a freshly caught fish.

Spotted Bowerbird.

A young Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.

Diamond Dove looking for seeds on the ground.

This Restless Flycatcher wasn't happy with me being so close.

A new bird for me were Orange Chats...this is a male bird with the black chin.

Female Orange Chat.

I had been told that several Yellow Chats were in the area about 2 wks earlier. I finally located this young bird early on our last morning there. This bird is a different sup specie to the birds found south of Rockhampton Qld.

An early morning take off from the water hole were these Flock Bronzewings.

Whilst hubby had a game of golf in Bedourie, I went looking for birds at the Waste Water Treatment Ponds. I found several Red-necked Avocets in the shallow water.

Overhead was a White-rumped Swallow....I saw this bird for the 1st time in Birdsville, but it was impossible to get a photo.

White-winged Fairywrens were in the bushes.

Back on the water in another pond (there were 2 ponds) was this Hoary-headed Grebe.

Driving towards Boulia we saw Wedge-tailed Eagles feeding on road kill. We were able to stop in time for a quick photo or 2.

In the town of Boulia early 1 morning were at least 1,000 Galahs in the back streets. They were everywhere.

Walking around the streets of Boulia were a couple of Brolgas.

This Grey-crowned Babbler looks a little's a cross between 2 sub species of this bird.

I found a flock of Spinifex Pigeons on the towns Waste Water treatment dams.

Lots of Pink-eared Ducks were there too.

Driving out of town to find other bush birds I found this Black-breasted Buzzard flying low overhead.

Another road kill & another Wedge-tailed Eagle & a dozen corvids  taking it in turns for a feed.

Hubby had another game of golf at Boulia & I accompanied him on the 1st hole until I found several birds down along the back fence amongst the trees including this male Black-tailed Treecreeper. Boulia area is the southern most range for this bird.

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