Malleefowl Rest Area near Mildura

Sign at the Malleefowl Rest Area near Mildura

Sydney Trip June 2011

As we were travelling towards Mildura for the night on the second day of our journey home, we saw the sign for a rest area ahead. It was called the Malleefowl Rest Area. We just had to stop there for a break and a cuppa.

The large sign (see photo above – click to enlarge) had plenty of information about the Malleefowl for non-birding members of the public. I felt it was a great way to educate the general public on the wonders of this amazing bird.

The rest area is set just off the main highway and in the midst of typical mallee country – see the photos below for several views from the picnic table where we had our cuppa.

Sadly, we didn’t see a Malleefowl, here or along the road on the way to Mildura. It would have made a wonderful addition to my Trip List of birds.

Mallee vegetation near Mildura

Mallee vegetation near Mildura

Mallee vegetation near Mildura

Birdcage Rest Area, central NSW

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

ON the second day of our journey home from a holiday in Sydney we stopped at the Birdcage Rest Area between Narrandera and Hay in the Riverina region. The sun was valiantly trying to disperse the clouds but the bitterly cold wind continued. We had a mid morning cuppa and snack and tried to enjoy stretching our legs briefly, despite the cold conditions.

The birding in this spot has been quite good other times we have stopped here, but I think that the birds were also discouraged by the cold conditions. The following list of species heard or seen is not long:

Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie Lark
Australian Wood Duck
Willie Wagtail
Yellow Rosella
Grey Shrike-thrush
Australian Raven
Laughing Kookaburra
Pied Butcherbird

We were entertained by several little creatures hopping around the picnic table and near the car park. There had been a recent plague of House Mice in many parts of Australia and that is probably what they were. Interestingly, they were brave – or stupid – enough to come out into plain view in the car park, and while we watched, several were taken and eaten by the local Australian Ravens.

Yellow Rosella

Tubbo Station, central New South Wales

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

On the second day of our return trip from Sydney we drove through Tubbo Station country near Darlington Point which is between Narrandera and Hay in the Riverina region of New South Wales. This large merino sheep station extends over nearly 19,000 hectares in size and runs over 10,000 sheep plus cattle. It also has extensive irrigation areas.

As we were driving along I jotted down a list of birds seen as we travelled the highway through the station. This is not the ideal birding experience and I would love to have stopped a few times but we had plenty of ground to cover on the day. While my wife was driving I made the following list of birds seen:

Australian Raven
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie Lark
Yellow Rosella
Spotted Harrier
White-necked Heron
White-faced Heron
Australian Wood Duck
Laughing Kookaburra

It’s not a big list but it has some interesting species in it. We saw very few Apostlebirds on our trip so it was good to see them feeding on the roadside. Yellow Rosellas, a sub-species of the Crimson Rosella, is always a delight to observe. Spotted Harriers are wonderfully majestic birds as the soar over the paddocks and the herons were obviously taking advantage of the fact that there were many irrigation channels in the area.

Probably the highlight for me was seeing three White-necked Herons flying together. This species has been something of a bogey bird for me. Although widespread and common in my home territory, I have observed this species on only a handful of occasions over the last two decades.

The photo below was taken only a few days ago at Mannum in South Australia.

White-necked Heron being harassed by a Silver Gull

That’s not a bird

Who is that hiding up there in the gutter?

Sydney Trip Report June 2011

We had a very comfortable cabin at the Lake Talbot Tourist Park, Narrandera, on our journey home. Next morning I found out that we’d had a free-loader – someone sleeping in the gutter of the roof outside (see photo above).  I gave him a gentle prod with a broom and found out that we’d had a Brush-tailed Possum sleeping just outside our cabin.

Brush-tailed Possum

A little bit of birding in Narrandera

View from the balcony of our cabin in Narrandera

Sydney Trip report June 2011

On the first day of our journey home we stayed in a cabin in the Lake Talbot Tourist Park, the same park as on our way over. This time we were upgraded to a cabin with a spa. Nice added extra at no extra cost. We had a very nice spa before retiring for the night. Next morning when we opened the blinds we were pleased with the view from our cabin balcony. This overlooked Lake Talbot and I was able to make a very nice list of birds while we had breakfast and packed the car (see the list below). Before leaving we drove down to the boat launching ramp just below our cabin and I was able to add a few more species to a growing list.

Just after breakfast I noticed a few birds in the bushes near the balcony, including several Chestnut-rumped Thornbills. It flew off before I could get a good shot, so I apologise for the blurred image (below). You can see better photos here.

Blurred photo of a Chestnut-rumped Thornbill in flight

Birds seen in or near Lake Talbot Tourist Park, Narrandera:

  • Black swan
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Galah
  • Yellow Rosella
  • Black cormorant
  • White-necked Heron
  • Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  • Hoary Headed Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Grey Fantail
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  • Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
  • Weebill
  • Magpie Lark
  • Common Blackbird
  • Rock Dove
  • Crested Pigeon
  • Australian Magpie