Wedgetail Eagle near Balranald

 2007 New South Wales Trip report #4

Tooleybuc to Balranald

We crossed the River Murray at Tooleybuc and into New South Wales. The bridge here is old and narrow with a very restricted load bearing capacity. It is also a single lane bridge so one has to watch for oncoming traffic. Fortunately it was not busy when we crossed and I didn’t have to stop for other vehicles.

The road to the next town of Balranald took us through some of the flood plains of the Murray River and a smaller tributary called the River Wakoo. From memory this river is more of an anabranch of the Murray rather than a tributary.

Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

Birds seen along this stretch of road included more Galahs, Crested Pigeons, Australian Magpies and ravens. I also recorded several Willie Wagtails and Blue Bonnet Parrots, their red flanks showing clearly in the setting sun. At one point I was delighted to see a single Major Mitchell Cockatoo flying near the road, but I didn’t get a very good look at it. Birding at 100kph is a little hazardous.

A short distance on I slowed down to check out a Black-shouldered Kite, hoping that it would turn out to be a Letter-winged Kite. They are very similar except for the underwing patterns. The Letter-wing is far rarer – and I have yet to see one. This individual didn’t change that situation. [sigh]

Closer to the small town of Balranald (population 1200) and our destination for the day, we were disturbed to see a dead kangaroo on one side of the road and a dead Wedge-tail Eagle on the other. Kangaroos are a common road kill and the magnificent Wedge-tail Eagles, our largest bird of prey, commonly come down to the roadside to eat the carcass. This unfortunate bird didn’t fly away quickly enough and paid the ultimate price for trying to survive.

It was a sad finish to an otherwise good day’s travel with some good bird sightings.


6 Responses to “Wedgetail Eagle near Balranald”

  1. Snail says:

    I am enjoying your travels, Trevor. It’s the next best thing to being on the road!

  2. John Tongue says:

    We saw two Tassie Wedge-tails feeding on roadkill today on a dirt road up in the hills behind Upper Scamander, North-east Tassie! Magnificent birds! Both had some of the golden pointings, but one had a real golden “crown”.

  3. Hank says:

    You would have crossed the Wakool River some 12kms north of Tooleybuc. Both the Wakool and Edward rivers are channels of the Murray River.

    Balranald’s population is somewhere between 1300-1400 and is the main town of the 21,000 sq kilometre Shire of Balranald. I hope that you dropped in to the Balranald Visitor Information Centre for information on the Tri Avian Corridor a three Council ‘Bird Trail’ project involving Balranald, Wakool and Murray Shires.

    The staff at the Visitor Centre can also tell you about the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area and Mungo National Park, with the Walls of China, at its centre, located north west of Balranald.


    Hank van Apeldoorn

  4. Trevor says:

    Hey Snail – keep tuned in – I’ve got about another 40 posts almost ready to roll (took my laptop with me) over the coming weeks. Lots of great photos too. And there’s more on my travel blog.

  5. Trevor says:

    They are awesome birds when viewed up close, John. It always gives me a thrill when I see one or several soaring up high – it is an amazing sight. Seeing those two on the ground feeding must have made your day.

  6. Trevor says:

    Hank – thanks for the extra information about the Balranald area.

    We didn’t get the opportunity to call into the information centre but we did get a copy of the bird trail pamphlet from the caravan park office. I was interesting to me because I’ve just completed a similar project for the Friends of Mannum Walking Trails.

    The Mungo National Park is on our list of “must see” places to visit.

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