Birding from Hay to Narrandera
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.Ã‚Â A wonderful sight as we drove along.