Wedgetail Eagle near Balranald
Ã‚Â 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 didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
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 didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I have yet to see one. This individual didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fly away quickly enough and paid the ultimate price for trying to survive.
It was a sad finish to an otherwise good dayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s travel with some good bird sightings.