A special sighting: Chestnut Quail-thrush
Sydney Trip June 2011
On the last day of our holiday earlier this year we left Mildura and headed south towards Ouyen. We had planned to visit one of our favourite places for lunch: Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. This park has two distinct habitat types: mallee and spinifex in large parts of the reserve, and the extensive array of small to medium lakes lined with River Red Gums. These lakes fill regularly when the nearby River Murray is in flood. Our family has had a number of enjoyable holidays in the camping ground at Lake Hattah.
On this occasion we stopped at a suitable point along the old Calder Highway, a dirt road leading through the northern section of the mallee and spinifex habitat. While the birding was a little on the slow side I was delighted to catch several glimpses of two Chestnut Quail-thrushes crossing the road nearby. The male obligingly posed long enough for a reasonable photo (see above). This can be a secretive species and not easy to capture on a photo.
Chestnut Quail-thrushes are widespread in suitable habitat in central and western New South Wales, northern South Australia and Western Australia. The photo below is indicative of its preferred habitat.