Road Trip: Ouyen to Narrandera
Sydney Trip May 2010
On our recent road trip to Sydney to visit family we were very pressed for time on the journey over. Murray Bridge to Sydney is nearly 1400 km and can be achieved in two days of constant driving. My wife and I like to take journeys like this at a leisurely pace, enjoying the towns, national parks and interesting road side vegetation areas. This time we were on a tight schedule so there wasn’t much time for birding, nor photography.
So I had to be content to make lists of birds seen “on the run” as we drove along.
After stopping at Ouyen for lunch on our first day we continued east through Manangatang, Piangil and crossed the River Murray at Tooleybuc. From there we went on towards Balranald where we stopped briefly to refuel. About an hour later we stopped for a toilet break at the Ravensworth Rest Area, then on through Hay to Narrandera where we stayed in a motel for the night.
It was a rushed day but I still managed some interesting bird observations, listed below.
Black-shouldered Kites: these appeared to be in abundance along this stretch of road. I’d heard that some areas were experiencing a mouse plague, along with many locusts. Though we saw few of either of these pests, it could account for so many kites.
Nankeen Kestrels: these were also in abundance along this road.
Black Kites: only a few seen, though I can’t recall seeing them in this area on previous trips.
Wedge-tailed Eagles: only two seen during the whole day, though I’d expect to see more.
Australian Magpies: very common all along this route. It this area it is the Black-backed Magpie subspecies you see.
Australian Ravens: very common everywhere.
Pied Butcherbird: a saw several of these during the afternoon, either sitting in a tree on the side of the road, or flying over the road. (The photo above was taken on a different trip in this area.)
Parrots: small flocks of Galahs and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were seen where there was suitable habitat. Major highlight was a small flock of Blue Bonnets. A major disappointment was not seeing any Major Mitchell Cockatoos.
Other species: most of these were seen in large numbers and are quite common where suitable habitat exists:
- various honeyeaters, with plenty of Noisy Miners
- Yellow-rumped Thornbills
- White-winged Choughs – very common
- Crested Pigeons – very common