Birding from Hay to Narrandera

Murrumbidgee River, Hay, NSW

Murrumbidgee River, Hay, NSW

December 2008 New South Wales Trip Report #3

On the second morning of our trip to Sydney we delayed leaving the western New South Wales town of Hay for a short while. We spent about ten minutes near the bank of the Murrumbidgee River (see photo above) so we could take a few photos.

As we left the town I observed a Black Kite gliding over the road and a White-faced Heron flying towards an irrigation channel. The Hay area is a part of the Riverina area of the state. Huge amounts of water are drawn from the Murrumbidgee River for irrigating various crops and pastures, as well as some vegetables and other crops.

While these are essential crops for keeping the food supply flowing in Australia, I seriously question the broad acre irrigation of crops such as wheat; no wonder we have so little water in our river system in South Australia. Adding to this insult were the numerous sprinklers seen watering footpaths in Hay. Here in South Australia we haven’t been able to use sprinklers for some time. Why do we need to suffer severe restrictions when others upstream pour huge amounts on to lawns so their gardens can look pretty?

On the road to Narrandera the birding was far superior to the previous day. The cooler change had passed through during the night and the day was much more pleasant. Along the way we had good views of several Emus while small families of White-winged Choughs were often seen on the side of the road, walking along in a stately fashion as if they owned the road side verge. Also present were numerous ravens, probably Australian Ravens. At last I was able to add Crested Pigeons to the trip list, along with Nankeen Kestrels soaring over the road or hovering in one spot. One was seen diving to the ground to catch something in the grass.

Closer to Narrandera we saw two magnificent Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring low over the road.  A wonderful sight as we drove along.


2 Responses to “Birding from Hay to Narrandera”

  1. Denis Wilson says:

    Hi Trevor
    I am writing to support your comments on wasted water further up the Murray/Darling system – in this case the Murrumbidgee.
    I agree entirely.
    Denis Wilson
    founding member
    Australian Water Network,
    (a non-for-profit voluntary organisation – campaigning for water – for the environment and for people).

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your comments in support Denis. Sometimes we feel like there is nothing but talk, talk, talk with no action. We seem to be making a little progress in SA but only baby steps. The situation needs true statesmen and women at the Federal level and all levels down to the people in the street to make a solid commitment – I sadly can’t see that happening yet.

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