Saturday 30 September 2023

Mungeraine to Goyder Lagoon, Birdsville Track, South Australia.

Hunting for Grasswren species 4 and 5.
Australia, Day Twenty Three.
Immature Nankeen Night-Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus).
After an OKish nights sleep we had a walk around the almost dry Mungeranie Bore Wetlands, due to a dispute between some of the land owners the bore water has been turned off for the moment which just leaves a few pools but it was still interesting and we found a few good species including Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea), 5x Greater Bluebonnet (Northiella haematogaster) which we didn't expect, Spotted Harriers (Circus assimilis) which were upsetting the Corella's as they were leaving their roost, House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata), Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata), Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen), Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) and Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) around the car park.
Immature Nankeen Night-Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus).
Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae).
Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae).
We cut through the trees out to the pools and almost straight away we found an immature Nankeen Night-Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) which was an SA lifer, Australian Ibis (Threskiornis molucca), White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica), Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), Australasian Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae), Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae), White-plumed Honeyeater (Ptilotula penicillata), Rufous Songlark (Cincloramphus mathewsi) and Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans).
Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos).
White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica).
Australasian Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus).
We crossed to the far side of the pools and climbed out on to the area of Dunes where we searched for quite a while before we eventually got views of a pair of Eyrean Grasswren (Amytornis goyderi) but they played hard to get and I failed to get the camera on either bird but Deb did get a couple of shots before they again disappeared into thick cover.
Greater Bluebonnet (Northiella haematogaster).
Other species out here were Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica) x5, Black-faced Cuckooshrike (Coracina novaehollandiae), Purple-backed Fairywren (Malurus assimilis) and Orange Chat (Epthianura aurifrons).
Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella).
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus).
We started to make our way further along the Birdsville track heading for Goyder Lagoon where we were hoping to find the uncommon Grey Grasswren (Amytornis barbatus), as species I dipped at the same spot last year.
Gibber Chat (Ashbyia lovensis) x3 hiding from the heat under a rock.

Gibber Chat (Ashbyia lovensis).
During the drive we saw White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna), Gibber Chat (Ashbyia lovensis), Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides), Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Spotted Harrier, Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) and at the Mirra Mitta Bore Overflow we added Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) x7, Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella) x2, Grey Teal (Anas gracilis), Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) x2, Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) x9, Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus) x2, Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus), Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula) and Australian Magpie.
A hot Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella).
Further on we stopped at a small roadside pool and saw 24 more Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Australian Pratincole x4, Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) x1, Hoary-headed Grebe x3, Little Corella and Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca).
Plumed Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni).
Plumed Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni).
Flock Bronzewings (Phaps histrionica).
After a while we reached a turning off the Birdsville and headed out to Goyder Lagoons where we found a camping spot on the edge of a creek pool in amongst large Lignum bushes, once we were sorted we went for a walk along the Creek seeing several Nankeen Night-Herons, White-plumed Honeyeater (Ptilotula penicillata), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), Australian Raven, Purple-backed Fairywren, Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel), Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis) and another Baillon's Crake.
Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes).
Yellow-billed Spoonbills (Platalea flavipes) off to Roost.
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica).
We returned to the camp site where Ian stayed while Deb and I continued on up the side of the channel and around the far end into the Lignum swamp, on the way we saw Australian Pratincole, Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), 4x Yellow-billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes), Black-tailed Nativehen (Tribonyx ventralis), Australasian Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) x5, Black-fronted Dotterel, Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes), Caspian (Hydroprogne caspia) x2 and Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) x2, Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae), Flock Bronzewing 24x, Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), White-winged Triller (Lalage tricolor), Black Kite (Milvus migrans) but most surprising was a flock of 23x Plumed Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni) which flew around and landed back on the pool a bit further up stream.
Sunset near the camp.
On our way out and back again we also had at least 4x Eastern Brown Snakes (Pseudonaja textilis) one of which came up from the grass far too close to my feet.
Loosing the light along the creek.

We sat and had our food and listened to birds flying over after dark which included
Inland Dotterel (Peltohyas australis), Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus), Nankeen Night-Heron, Pink-eared Ducks and the Plumed Whistling Ducks which flew over a couple of times. 

Friday 29 September 2023

Whitchelina to Mungeranie, South Australia.

Heading North along the Birdsville Track.
Australia, Day Twenty Two.
Even the dust is savage and out to get you in Australia 😀😀😀😀
We were up nice and early after a good night in a really good, empty camp site and started the drive up to the Mungeranie Pub where we were treating ourselves to a room and a shower, around the camp site we started the day list with the all important Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) which is the only species I have seen in Australia every day I have been there.
Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa).
Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus).
Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus).
Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp raglessi).
Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp raglessi).
Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp raglessi).
Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus).
Other species in that area and at the pool on the way out included Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides), Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides), Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus), Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera), Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes), Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus), Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea), Grey Shrikethrush (Colluricincla harmonica), White-plumed (Ptilotula penicillata) and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis), Red-backed Kingfisher (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius), Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata), Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata), Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae), Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) and Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans).
Baillon's Crake (Zapornia pusilla).
Baillon's Crake (Zapornia pusilla).
Baillon's Crake's (Zapornia pusilla).
Great White Egret (Ardea alba).
We then started to make our way back towards Farina making several stops on the way looking for and finding several Thick-billed Grasswren's (Amytornis modestus ssp raglessi) in amongst the low scrub along with White-winged Fairywren (Malurus leucopterus), White-winged Triller (Lalage tricolor), Cinnamon Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma cinnamomeum), Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus),  Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) and Red Kangaroo (Osphranter rufus)
Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata).
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) male and kids.
Orange Chat (Epthianura aurifrons).
Just before we reached the main Outback Highway we checked Farina Dam and we were very pleased when Ian found the first of two Baillon's Crake's (Zapornia pusilla) which was a new species for my SA list along with Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos), Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata), Grey Teal (Anas gracilis), Pacific Black Duck and Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae).
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus).
Australian Crake (Porzana fluminea).
Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides).
Red-backed Kingfisher (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius).
Just a short way up the highway we made another stop at a couple more small Dams, the first was dry but the second had some water in it ad had Great White Egret (Ardea alba), Australian Wood Duck, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Singing Honeyeater (Gavicalis virescens), House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Diamond Dove, Chirruping Wedgebill, Australian Raven, Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena), Purple-backed Fairywren (Malurus assimilis) and Black Kite (Milvus migrans).
Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor).
We passed through Marree and started our journey up the Birdsville track, a drive I had enjoyed during the last Visit and as we headed NE we picked up Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), Crimson Chat (Epthianura tricolor), Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae), Red Kangaroo and Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps).
Baillon's Crake (Zapornia pusilla).
Baillon's Crake (Zapornia pusilla).
Baillon's Crake (Zapornia pusilla).
Australian Crake (Porzana fluminea).
Australian Crake (Porzana fluminea).
We stopped off at Claton Wetlands / Camp Site and had a walk, at first we thought it was dry but furthe along the creek we did find a small flow of water and 
Fairy Martin (Petrochelidon ariel), White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus), Australian Raven one of which perched well in the camp ground, Australian Crake (Porzana fluminea) x2, White-faced (Egretta novaehollandiae) and White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica), White-plumed (Ptilotula penicillata) and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Rufous Songlark (Cincloramphus mathewsi), Black-tailed Nativehen (Tribonyx ventralis), Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus), Yellow-throated Miner (Manorina flavigula), Willie-wagtail, Peaceful Dove (Geopelia placida), Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) and Red-backed Kingfisher (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius). 
Dulkaninna Station wetlands.

Dulkaninna Station wetlands.
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus).
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus).
At a cattle watering point Deb spotted a Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor), as there were no cattle in the area we walked over to have a closer look and it turned out to be a group of 5 birds which showed nicely but were difficult to get good views of due to the strong heat haze.
Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus).
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus).
Pink-eared Ducks (Malacorhynchus membranaceus).
We continued on and found another area of water and reeds a few hundred meters from another watering hole, as there were no live stock in the area again we checked it out and found an amazing number of Crakes including 5 more Baillon's, several Australian and a couple of
Spotless (Zapornia tabuensis), along with Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Black-tailed Nativehen, Brolga (Antigone rubicunda) x2, Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles), Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella), White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis), Little Grassbird (Poodytes gramineus) and Australian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus australis).
Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella).

Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella).

Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp cowarie).

Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp cowarie).

Further along the track we spent some time checking the wetland at Dulkaninna Station which held a few nice species like Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus), Hardhead (Aythya australis), Grey Teal, Australasian (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) and Hoary-headed Grebe (Poliocephalus poliocephalus), Australian Crake, Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus), Masked Lapwing, Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus), Little Pied Cormorant, Little Grassbird, Australian Reed Warbler, Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) and Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea).
The Tower.
Grey Falcons (Falco hypoleucos) x2.
Grey Falcon (Falco hypoleucos).
A big moon as we drove back from seeing the Falcons.
A Raven on his way to the roost.
We continued on towards Mungeranie, on the way we added Orange Chat (Epthianura aurifrons), Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Black Kite, Brown Songlark (Cincloramphus cruralis), a flock of 100+ Australian Pratincole and as we were getting closer to Mungeranie Ian and I both called a Grasswren as it flew across the track in front of us, so we checked it out and were pleased to see a pair of the very local ssp of Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus ssp cowarie).
They do state the obvious sometimes.
The Sun sets on a cracker of a days birding.

Once we were at Mungeranie we checked in, had a drink and the headed out on the Cowarie Station track to look for Grey Falcon (Falco hypoleucos) at a very well known site on a very tall transmission tower, we arrived and just before dusk the two birds flew in and landed on the tower.
This was good food, just needed a lump of crusty bread to mop up the gravy.
It was good to see the birds but compared to the last trip where we discovered our own birds it felt a bit plastic but still, we returned to the Pub and had a few beers and a very very nice plate of Beef Cheeks, mash spuds and gravy, YUM.