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									                                  THE RAINBOW BIRD
                                                Issue No. 58 May 2009

                                                  The Newsletter of

                                  Bird Observation & Conservation
                                    Australia - Sunraysia Branch
                                    P. O. Box 1722 Mildura VIC 3502

                                   President:     Pauline Bartels     03 5025 3773
                                  Secretary:      George Kerridge     03 5023 3278
                                      Editor:     Rae Jeffers         03 5025 2636
                                  Assistants:     Len Jeffers & Pauline Follett

Post to :

                                           If undelivered return to:
                                           SUNBOCA. P. O. Box 1722 Mildura 3502

In This Issue

SunBOCA Club Calendar                     Location of Neds Corner Survey Sites
Members Sightings                         Outing - Yanac/Murrayville Postponed
Outing to Lake Ranfurly                   Another Cycling Journey
Outing to Mildura Sewerage Farm
Outing - Waders at Morquong
Farewell Laurie and Hazel Jones
Post Harvest Party
Outing - Kings Billabong
SunBOCA Club Calendar

                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7:45 pm
May    Tues 5th
                     Speaker: Peter & Chris Dunstan - Birding, Darwin to Perth.

       Sat 9th       Outing - Yanac/Murrayville (Postponed)

                     Outing - Koorlong Sewerage Farm survey
       Tues 19th
                     Meet at Farm Gate at 9:00 am
                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm
June   Tues 2nd
                     Speaker: Ian Sluiter
       Sun 7th       Outing - Murray River, Paul Cohrs property
       Long Wk'end

                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45pm
July   Tues 7th

       Sat 11th      Outing - Prungle Mail Route/Tapaulin Road

       Tues 21st     Ned’s Corner Survey

                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm
Aug    Tues 4th

       Sun 9th       Outing - Murray Sunset N.P.

                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm
Sept   Tues 1st

       Sat 5th       Outing – Campout Horsham

                     Outing - Koorlong Sewerage Farm survey
       Tues 15th
                     Meet at Farm Gate at 9:00 am

Oct    Tues 6th      Club Meeting and Annual General Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm

       Sun 11th      Outing - Scotia Sanctuary, Black-eared Miners

       Tues 20th     Ned's Corner Survey

                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm
Nov    Tues 3rd

       Sat 7th       Outing - Waders

                     Outing - Mildura Sewerage Farm survey
       Tues 17th
                     Meet at the gate on site at 8.00am

       Sun 29th      Challenge Bird Count

                     Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm
Dec    Tues 1st

       Sun 6th       Outing – Christmas Get-together – Tony & Margot Douglas' – Garston Station

Members Sightings
05/12/2008   Rufous Fieldwren (3)              Nowingi Track, Mallee Sunset.                                           A Taylor
10/12/2008   Australian Hobby (1)              Yelta. Alerted by Willie Wagtail                                 L & R Jeffers
11/12/2008   Tawny Frogmouth (1)               Yelta. In back yard                                              L & R Jeffers
21/12/2008   Inland Dotterel (6)               Woodland Stn. Wentworth.                                                A Taylor
30/12/2008   Laughing Kookaburra (1)           Deakin Ave. Sitting in tree                                          J Petschel
10/01/2009   Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (6)     Olive Grove.                                                    B & E Williams
15/01/2009   Blue-faced Honeyeater (5)         Dean's verandah Gol Gol. Jumping about                          B & E Williams
19/01/2009   Zebra Finch (2)                   San Mateo Ave. In bushes                                             J Petschel
21/01/2009   Blue-faced Honeyeater (7)         Sanders Rd. Merbein. Near dried fruit racks                     B & E Williams
21/01/2009   Nankeen Kestrel (1)               Fifteenth Street. Swooped down driveway                                 S Fisher
21/01/2009   Tree Martin (100+)                Theoga Lagoon. Flying                                           C & D Stewart
24/01/2009   Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (6)     Koorlong Ave.                                                       C Dunstan
24/01/2009   Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (8)     Gol Gol. Flying East from River to Mallee                           B McMillan
25/01/2009   Rainbow Bee-eater (15)            Home Merbein. Gathered and flew off in group                    B & E Williams
26/01/2009   Common Greenshank (1)             Sixteenth Street wetlands 8pm. Feeding                          B & E Williams
26/01/2009   Red-necked Avocet (14)            Bob Courbould wetlands. Feeding                                 B & E Williams
26/01/2009   Yellow-rumped Thornbill (12)      Blaby Park Merbein. Eating ants                                 B & E Williams
27/01/2009   Hardhead (30+)                    Thegoa Lagoon. Near bird hide - north end                       C & D Stewart
27/01/2009   Rainbow Bee-eater (20+)           Thegoa Lagoon.                                                  C & D Stewart
27/01/2009   Swamp Harrier (2)                 Wentworth Sewage Farm. Flying around Bullrushes                 C & D Stewart
28/01/2009   Australian Hobby (1)              Irymple. Working together with Butcherbirds                      A & S Hawtin
28/01/2009   Australian Hobby (1)              Lake Hawthorn. Feeding on outflow drainage                             P Bartels
28/01/2009   Pied Butcherbird (5)              Irymple. Working together with Hobby                             A & S Hawtin
28/01/2009   Rainbow Bee-eater (7)             7 Denbeigh Crt.. Flying overhead                                     J Petschel
28/01/2009   Red-necked Stint (Many)           Lake Hawthorn. Feeding on outflow drainage                             P Bartels
28/01/2009   Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Many)     Lake Hawthorn. Feeding on outflow drainage                             P Bartels
28/01/2009   White-fronted Chat (1)            Lake Hawthorn. Feeding on outflow drainage                             P Bartels
29/01/2009   Fork-tailed Swift (6)             Pomona. Flying overhead                                   D Foley & C Stewart
29/01/2009   Red-kneed Dotterel (1)            Billabong Yelta.                                                 L & R Jeffers
29/01/2009   Sacred Kingfisher (1)             Billabong Yelta.                                                 L & R Jeffers
29/01/2009   White-throated Needletail (25)    Nicholls Point. Swooping and feeding in group                    D & B Woods
30/01/2009   Peaceful Dove (2)                 Irymple.                                                         A & S Hawtin
30/01/2009   Rainbow Bee-eater (2)             Home Merbein. Calling from tree                                 B & E Williams
31/01/2009   Stubble Quail (1)                 Etiwanda Wetlands.                                                      A Taylor
31/01/2009   Tawny Frogmouth (4)               Thegoa Lagoon.                                                          A Taylor
02/02/2009   Black-faced Woodswallow (4)       Billabong Yelta.                                                 L & R Jeffers
02/02/2009   Rainbow Bee-eater (8)             Billabong Yelta.                                                 L & R Jeffers
03/02/2009   Rainbow Bee-eater (30)            Home Merbein. Flying and calling                                B & E Williams
03/02/2009   Restless Flycatcher (2)           Yelta Billabong.                                                 L & R Jeffers
03/02/2009   Variegated Fairy-wren (5)         2M/3F at birdbath at home, Merbein. First sighting here         B & E Williams
07/02/2009   Australian Magpie (80)            Ron Gol Station. Cooling off under sprinkler                         A & M Rix
10/02/2009   Tawny Frogmouth (4)               Thegoa Lagoon. Sunbaking in branches                                       K Rix
13/02/2009   Peregrine Falcon (1)              Home. On TV antenna, eating a bird                                   J Petschel
14/02/2009   Little Button-quail (1)           Home. Here for half hour                                               J Greatz
15/02/2009   European Goldfinch (4)            San Mateo Ave.                                                       J Petschel
15/02/2009   White-browed Woodswallow (100)    Pine Rd. Gol Gol. In area for a week                                   C Sonter
15/02/2009   Zebra Finch (6)                   Iraak. Nesting                                                       J Petschel
18/02/2009   Australian Hobby (1)              Merbein Cemetery.                                                L & R Jeffers
24/02/2009   Striated Pardalote (1)            Irymple.                                                               A Hawtin
26/02/2009   Peregrine Falcon (1)              Thegoa Lagoon. Got a duck or grebe in flight                               K Rix
26/02/2009   White-bellied Sea-Eagle (1)       Walpolla. Juvenile                                                     R Jeffers
27/02/2009   Tree Martin (30+)                 Merbein Common.                                                  L & R Jeffers
27/02/2009   Variegated Fairy-wren (8)         Home.                                                            L & R Jeffers
01/03/2009   Australian Wood Duck (80)         Cullulleraine. After rain                                      H & N Schilling
01/03/2009   Grey Teal (50+)                   Cullulleraine. After rain                                      H & N Schilling
02/03/2009   Peregrine Falcon (2)              Nowingi Track.                             A & S Hawtin/D & B Woods/T Ireton
02/03/2009   Regent Parrot (6)                 Red Cliffs. Present for 4 weeks                                  A & S Hawtin
02/03/2009   White-backed Swallow (5)          Hattah. Feeding                            A & S Hawtin/D & B Woods/T Ireton
03/03/2009   White-breasted Woodswallow (10)   Gol Gol. Over river                                          P Follett/C Sonter
03/03/2009   White-winged Chough (flock)       Home.                                                                   D Foley
08/03/2009   Australian Reed-Warbler (2)       Home.                                      L & R Jeffers/A & S Hawtin/N Levey
22/03/2009   Collared Sparrowhawk (1)          Home. Chased a Pied Butcherbird                                  L & R Jeffers
22/03/2009   Flame Robin (1)                   Mount Buffalo. Near Chalet                                      G & L Kerridge
23/03/2009   Australian King-Parrot (2)        Bright.                                                         G & L Kerridge
24/03/2009   Beautiful Firetail (1)            Briars Conservation Park, Mornington.                           G & L Kerridge
25/03/2009   Grey Butcherbird (1)              Hay.                                                                    S Fisher
26/03/2009   Musk Lorikeet (50)                View Street, Bendigo.                                       J Greatz/H Blanch
27/03/2009   Australasian Pipit (20)           Near Lake Tyrell.                                           J Greatz/H Blanch
30/03/2009   Wedge-tailed Eagle (5)            Old Renmark Road. Sitting in trees                              C & D Stewart
30/03/2009   White-bellied Sea-Eagle (1)       Frenchman's Creek. Flying Overhead                              C & D Stewart
04/04/2009   Regent Parrot (7)                 Gol Gol. Flying North to South.                                        C Sonter
07/04/2009   Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (4)     Gol Gol.                                                               C Sonter
07/04/2009   Striped Honeyeater (1)            Gol Gol.                                                               C Sonter

Outing to Lake Ranfurly, 10th January, 2009.

Seven members arrived early at Lake Ranfurly and             Waterbird diversity was far greater in the wetland
met at the storm water outflow drain on the East             ponds and 22 species were found without any
side. The water level in the lake was low and                effort.
shallow with muddy edges back from the spiny rush            Eurasian Coot 12, Australasian Grebe 2, Little
area.                                                        Black Cormorant 7, Little Pied Cormorant 3, Pelican
The waterbird diversity was low with only 8 species          1, Masked Lapwing 5, Australian White Ibis 12,
recorded. These were: Pelican 42, Australian                 Yellow Spoonbill 1, Great Egret 2, White-faced
White Ibis 5, Black Swan 205, Australian Shelduck            Heron 1, Australian Wood Duck 58, Black Swan 2,
7, Grey Teal 720, Black-winged Stilt 38, Red-                Australian Shelduck 5, Pacific Black Duck 7, Grey
necked Avocet 173, Silver Gull 115. Some other               Teal 38, Hardhead 11, Black-fronted Dotterel 11,
birds we saw were Black Kite, Whistling Kite and             Australian Reed-Warbler 2, Red-kneed Dotterel 5,
White-winged Wren.                                           Purple Swamphen 1, Latham’s Snipe 1, Whistling
After we had walked the embankment to the next               Kite 1.
drain from Fourteenth Street our tally had only              The January outing is always planned as a morning
gained another 12 species of mostly black and                outing, due to the likelihood of heatwave conditions,
white birds and feral birds.                                 so we finished before lunch having found 25
At 9.15am we decided to drive to the Etiwanda                species of waterbirds between both sites.
Wetlands to search for the Latham’s Snipe that had
been found on the 8th November 2008. It had been                                             Pauline Bartels
seen by many members in November and

Outing to Mildura Sewerage Farm, 8th February 2009.

The weather was clear, sunny and cool, so cool               When we felt we’d seen, and counted, all we could
after the record-breaking heat wave of 12 days over          at that spot, we returned to our vehicles for a
400C and the 46.70C of the previous day. Twelve              refreshing cup of tea. We then moved to the other
people met at the gate of the sewerage pond at 8.            end of the sewerage pond where some additional
30am and after signing in, travelled a short distance        birds were added to our list, such as a juvenile
along the dusty track.                                       Swamp Harrier, Collared Sparrowhawk and Straw-
A vantage point was selected for a good view of the          necked Ibis as well as birds in the bush along the
Southeast end and the scopes were set up. Very               shore.
soon one of the scopes had to be moved as it was             At this spot we also saw six large tortoises and one
beside a bull ants’ nest and they weren’t taking too         long-necked tortoise sunning themselves on a log
kindly to the disturbance!                                   protruding from the water. An enjoyable morning’s
There were hundreds of birds on and around the               bird watching.
pond. Geoff, on his first outing, was on a very                                                               ED
steep learning curve trying to see and grasp the
differences between the various ducks, grebes,
kites, cormorants, ibis, etc.


Freckled Duck               Pied Cormorant                  Marsh Sandpiper             Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Black Swan                  Australian Pelican              Sharp-tailed Sandpiper      Red Wattlebird
Australian Shelduck         Eastern Great Egret             Caspian Tern                White-fronted Chat
Australian Wood Duck        White-faced Heron               Silver Gull                 Little Friarbird
Pink-eared Duck             Australian White Ibis           Galah                       White-browed Babbler
Australasian Shoveler       Straw-necked Ibis               Crimson Rosella             Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Grey Teal                   Yellow-billed Spoonbill         Red-rumped Parrot           Grey Shrike-thrush
Pacific Black Duck          Whistling Kite                  Laughing Kookaburra         Grey Butcherbird
Hardhead                    Black Kite                      Rainbow Bee-eater           Willie Wagtail
Australasian Grebe          Collared Sparrowhawk            Brown Treecreeper           Australian Raven
Hoary-headed Grebe          Swamp Harrier                   Superb Fairy-wren           Little Raven
Rock Dove                   Eurasian Coot                   Variegated Fairy-wren       Magpie-lark
Peaceful Dove               Black-winged Stilt              Weebill                     White-winged Chough
Australasian Darter         Red-necked Avocet               Striated Pardalote          Tree Martin
Little Pied Cormorant       Black-fronted Dotterel          Singing Honeyeater
Great Cormorant             Red-kneed Dotterel              White-plumed Honeyeater                       65 species
Little Black Cormorant      Masked Lapwing                  Noisy Miner

Outing - Waders at Morquong, 7th March 2009

We all met at MADEC in Deakin Avenue at 8.
30am and set off in convoy over the Buronga bridge
into NSW. The weather was a coolish 120C.
Eleven members attended: President Pauline,
George, Sharon and Alec, Len and Rae, Betty,
Pauline Chris, Barry and myself.
We turned off the highway onto a dirt track where
George opened a gate for the convoy to pass
through. There are several ponds that are used to
collect salt.
On the first pond we saw quite a few waders and
ducks. We watched them for some time having a
little difficulty identifying some as we were looking
directly towards the sun. So we went back to the
vehicles to proceed further around to try and get the       We walked further around the pond to have a better
sun behind us.                                              view of the hundreds of waders. A wedge-tail
On the next pond we saw more ducks, Australian              Eagle and Whistling Kites circled overhead.
Shelduck and Grey Teal. There were also 950+                Alec spotted a Royal Striped Skink at our feet and
waders at the far end, mostly Red-necked Stints,            photographed it.
along with Red-capped Plover, and Black-winged              We saw 31 species in all. It was a most enjoyable
Stilts.                                                     trip.
It was a glorious day with blue sky, a few wispy                                                Susan Fisher
clouds and not too warm. It was also quiet so we
could hear the birds calling. I spotted a few birds
so I’m improving.                                           Ed: We enjoyed Barry’s comment at the end of the
We stopped for a “cuppa” about 10.00am while                outing. “We’ve had stilts, stints and skinks!”
Pauline used her new camera to photograph some
Australian Shelduck          Galah                          Yellow-throated Miner       Willie Wagtail
Grey Teal                    Australian Ringneck            Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater    Little Raven
Crested Pigeon               Blue Bonnet                    Red Wattlebird              Restless Flycatcher
Whistling Kite               Brown Treecreeper              White-fronted Chat          White-winged Chough
Wedge-tailed Eagle           White-winged Fairy-wren        Rufous Whistler             Apostlebird
Black-winged Stilt           Southern Whiteface             Grey Shrike-thrush          White-backed Swallow
Red-capped Plover            Striated Pardalote             Pied Butcherbird            Welcome Swallow
Red-necked Stint             Singing Honeyeater             Australian Magpie                             31 species

Farewell Laurie and Hazel Jones.
Long time members Laurie and Hazel have moved to Atherton, Queensland. Laurie and Hazel were tireless
organisers for our club. They were members for 14 years and Laurie was the editor of our newsletter for 55
issues. Who will ever forget the strict instructions we received before each annual Challenge Count.
Laurie and Hazel have invited our club to visit them in Atherton. Individual visits by club members would also
be welcome. If you intend visiting Atherton the editor has their contact details. Their contribution to our club
is greatly appreciated by all members.
We wish them good health and good birding in the next phase of their life up North.

Post Harvest Party
Now that the guns of Garston Station have fallen silent on the Western front of the Darling River ( the artillery
here being gas scare guns), some 46 Pink Cockatoos have been having quite a party. Perhaps its their
"Mardi Gras" to celebrate the end of almond harvest or perhaps they're discussing what they are going to eat
for the next 8 to 9 months.
For some days now (and to the delight of some Zimbabwean visitors) they have been cavorting, careening
and cartwheeling as they fly and chatter between the Murray Pines, Aleppo Pines and Casuarinas in our
garden. I have not witnessed such a colourful, noisy carry-on to this extent before.
Maybe some of these antics were a form of "cocky rain dancing" – let's hope it works.
                                                                                            Tony Douglas

Outing - Kings Billabong, 5th April 2009

Eight visitors from the Riverland Field Naturalists         During smoko the Striped Honeyeater could be
Club, Chris & Don Lill, Lizzy Lewis, Ern & Lois             heard over the group. Doug and Betty used a large
Campbell, Bruce & Dawn Schultz and June Plush,              map of the area to explain the layout of the
congregated with 11 of our own members at                   Billabong and where we had been. Smaller maps
MADEC, in readiness for our Kings Billabong April           were provided. Shortly afterwards our resident
Excursion.      Mild and pleasant weather was               Hooded Robins put in an appearance. They
provided for our social ramble. Betty and Doug              perched in that characteristic way amongst dead
Woods, our very capable guides for the day, met us          tree limbs, in perch and pounce mode. We thought
at the causeway, and we walked for a short                  that a Willy Wagtail saw the male robin off.
distance along the track to the hide. The red front         Little Bitterns have been seen in the past at Baggs
of the male Mistletoe Bird was spotted in the foliage       Bridge, but did not appear on this outing. Purple
nearby, on one of the few flowering Mistletoes. No          Swamp Hens were present here, and could also be
drupes were obvious, so he was probably feeding             seen from the lookout, where we had lunch. One
on insects. Although he has a fine bill and split           Swamp Hen, seen through the telescope, seemed
tongue adapted to nectar feeding, his staple diet is        to be shredding reeds, perhaps for a nest. While
insects and Mistletoe drupes. Unlike the Painted            we enjoyed the panoramic view we heard about the
Honeyeater, which only feeds on two varieties, he           tree planting and watering program in this area,
feeds on the 60+ species growing in Australia.              which the Woods have been involved with over a
Access to the water in the overflow section beyond          long period. They also explained the pumping
the causeway was reached via the left hand track.           organization from the Billabong to the adjacent
Martins were busy over the water here, and many             farmland. The Pysche Pumps were our next
calls could be heard including Brown Treecreeper,           destination of interest. It was here that our outing
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Fairywrens, and White-            finished. After Bruce, one of our visitors had moved
winged Chough. Of interest to the group were the            a vote of thanks to the Woods, we all went our
turtle egg shells. These eggs are attractive to             respective ways after an enjoyable day.
foxes, who dig them up.
                                                                                           Evelyn Williams

Grey Teal                    Eastern Great Egret            Noisy Miner                 Willie Wagtail
Pacific Black Duck           Purple Swamphen                Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater    Magpie-lark
Australasian Grebe           Eurasian Coot                  Striped Honeyeater          White-winged Chough
Crested Pigeon               Little Corella                 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike   Hooded Robin
Peaceful Dove                Crimson Rosella                Grey Shrike-thrush          Australian Reed-Warbler
Australasian Darter          Red-rumped Parrot              Dusky Woodswallow           Tree Martin
Little Pied Cormorant        Brown Treecreeper              Pied Butcherbird            Mistletoebird
Little Black Cormorant       White-plumed Honeyeater        Australian Magpie                            31 species

Location of Neds Corner Survey Sites

Outing - Yanac/Murrayville Postponed
The 9th May camp-out to Yanac has had to be postponed till Spring, according to Alec who has been in
contact with the property owner, Bernie Fox.
An alternative outing will be organised at the Tuesday 5th May meeting. If you're unable to attend the
meeting and wish to join in the outing contact Secretary George for details or the editor.

Another Cycling Journey SYDNEY TO TOOWOOMBA
September/October 2008

Luckily, our daughter and her family live in                  Broke has a huge, free campground, Mc.Namara
Northwest Sydney. It was an ideal spot to start our           Park, which runs between the road and the creek.
journey. Roslyn drove us, and all our gear, a few             There are toilets, lots of tables with shelter, and
kilometres to Mt. Colah at the start of the bicycle           fireplaces scattered in the bush. A store and pub
path on the old Pacific Highway. We were soon in              are opposite. We enjoyed a lovely campfire that
the thick, hilly, bushland before we descended to             night courtesy of the wood chop competition the
the picturesque Hawkesbury River. Along the edge              previous weekend. There were many birds along
of the road, amongst the tall trees, were the tall,           the creek, frogs too.
spectacular, red-flowering Gymea Lillies.                     We took a short cut from Broke, through Jerrys
Riding up out of the Hawkesbury River was quite a             Plains, to Muswellbrook, dodging the highways.
challenge. When we stopped for lunch we noticed               Having already been dive-bombed by Magpies the
a different pigeon. On checking our book we found             first day it was a shock to be dive-bombed by Pied
it to be a Brown Cuckoo-Dove – a new bird for us.             Butcherbirds as well.
The wind was becoming quite strong mid-afternoon              For the first time in all our cycling around Australia
as we headed towards Peats Ridge, our destination             we came to a hill we simply couldn’t ride up. At
for the day. A car passed us, turned around and               Arrowfield Winery the road was too steep. We
came back. The chap told us that he’d heard on                even had to have breaks pushing our bikes, with
the radio that severe storms were approaching with            their 25kg loads.
lightning, hail etc. so we should seek shelter. We            There is so much mining around Muswellbrook that
still had well over an hour to Peats Ridge so we              accommodation is hard to find. The caravan park
decided to ask one of the local places, with a shed,          didn’t even have room for a little tent. Luckily we
if we could shelter in their shed for the night. The          arrived early in the afternoon and were able to
couple agreed. They took us in and treated us to              secure a motel room.
afternoon tea, shower, dinner and guests’ bedroom!            We rode through a dairying area as we left
They were just wonderful. At dinner they produced             Muswellbrook and crossed the Hunter River. The
a bottle of Mildura wine. They’d been to Red Cliffs           paddocks were alive with rabbits, thousands of
recently to visit their sister. It’s a small world.           rabbits.     The paddocks moved!          Fennel was
The rain had cleared by morning (no storm) when               growing along the roadside so the pleasant
we set off. Unfortunately we took the wrong road at           liquorice smell stayed with us.
Peats Ridge and ended up at the Newcastle                     Scone was the stopping place for morning tea but
Freeway on the way to Gosford. We had to                      the scones had sold out. Out of Scone we rode
backtrack to Peats Ridge having lost 3 hours.                 over Burning Mountain then followed a valley to
Heavy rain then started. It wasn’t cold but very              Murrurundi at the foot of the Great Dividing Range.
unpleasant. Len erected our tarp between trees on             We saw more raptors than we had previously and
the roadside so we could at least sit and eat our             less other birds in the farming country.
lunch out of the rain.                                        We were aware of the mighty “hill” to climb the next
Shortly after we came across the Kulnura Store. As            morning so we left early in the cool, but we didn’t
there was no accommodation to be had in the area              stay cool for long. For the next hour we pedalled
they suggested we camp behind the football oval               uphill, in lowest gear, at walking pace. We covered
and tennis courts. It was a very attractive spot with         4 kilometres and had 6 rests. We were then at the
tall trees and lush, green grass. Eastern Whipbirds           top of the Great Dividing Range, Nowlands Gap, at
could be heard but we didn’t manage to spot any.              673m, the start of the Murray Darling Catchment of
The rain stopped and the only disturbance to a                the Namoi River. We slowly descended through
really good sleep was the possum above our tent.              lush farmland into gently undulating country,
The fruit and poultry farms gradually gave way to             passing through the historic town of Quirindi, to
tall timber and steep hills as we approached                  stop at the historic railway town of Werris Creek in
Bucketty where we passed an observatory. On a                 the Old Signal Hotel Guesthouse.
long, steep descent one bend was named                        There was a hot North wind blowing as we rode the
“Lemming Corner”. We reckon a few must have                   50km from Werris Creek to Tamworth, the country
gone over the edge in the past.                               music capital. Few birds were visible on the way.
The scenery was magnificent but we were either                We decided it was time for a rest day.
struggling uphill in lowest gear or flying downhill.          Leaving Tamworth we set out North on what is
We had to stop to appreciate the scenery. On one              known as the Fossickers Way, with Manilla being
such stop we saw some Finches. A check told us                our first stop. We saw a Black-shouldered Kite and
we were looking at Beautiful Firetails – another first.       a Black Kite having an aerial battle when we had a
From Wollombi the road followed the Wollombi                  drink break. Manilla is an old-fashioned town with a
Creek all the way to Broke. As we neared Broke                lovely caravan park beside the Manilla River.
vineyards began appearing – Hunter Valley wines.

It was very pleasant relaxing beside the river              Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Diamond Dove, Emu,
watching the Rainbow Bee-eaters in action and               Pallid Cuckoo and White-browed Babbler. Within
seeing King Parrots and Red-winged Parrots in the           sight of Texas we were caught in a downpour. The
trees above.       People with paragliders began            area around Texas is known for beef cattle but it
arriving at the caravan park, readying themselves           once used to be a tobacco growing area. We saw
for the international championships.                        several old drying houses/kilns.
Rufous       Songlarks                                      After overnighting in Texas we continued North to
serenaded us all the                                        Inglewood through forest. There was no traffic and
way to Barraba and                                          birds were plentiful. We saw a Noisy Friarbird
what a ride it was –                                        feeding young in a nest as well as a Yellow-tufted
uphill all the way into                                     Honeyeater        and     Grey-crowned      Babbler.
a very strong wind.                                         Inglewood, once known for tobacco growing, is now
There was hardly                                            a major olive producing area. Coolmunda Dam,
any traffic.       The                                      12km East of Inglewood, is a popular holiday and
bush was attractive                                         fishing spot.
and birds plentiful.                                        From Inglewood it was North again to Millmerran
The next stage, from Barraba to Bingara, passed             through farmland firstly then State Forest. We
over the Nandewar Range which turned out to be              noted 26 species of birds including Scaly-breasted
almost as high as the Great Dividing Range. The             Lorikeet and a Golden-headed Cisticola jumping up
area around Bingara is well known for all the birding       and down on a power line calling constantly. The
routes that are marked and numbered on the                  caravan park in Millmerran had a large lake with an
roadside. They are tracks that head up into the hills       island that many water birds were enjoying.
each side of the Fossickers Way. We couldn’t                East of Millmerran, now on the Gore Highway, we
tackle them on bikes this trip so we will return in a       were in the flat, rich, black soil country of the
vehicle at a later date. While we lunched at a rest         Darling Downs. Wheat and sorghum crops were
area we saw a Sacred Kingfisher, Musk Lorikeet              growing and the remnants of cotton crops could be
nesting, King Parrots, Corellas, Noisy Friarbird and        seen along the sides of the road looking like snow.
Rainbow Lorikeet.                                           The highway was very busy with trucks. In the
After a 40km climb the descent into Bingara began.          space of half a kilometre we saw 13 dead Barn
It was there that we met two cyclists from Bingara,         Owls on the one side of the road. Some had been
a German couple. They kindly invited us for                 freshly killed, others had been there longer. We
afternoon tea and a chat.                                   wondered just why the deaths had occurred at that
We were on the last stretch of the Fossickers Way           spot.
from Bingara to Warialda which is on the Gwydir             It was quite a challenge for us as we approached
Highway. Happily there was no headwind, the                 Pittsworth. There was a steep hill to negotiate, a
curse of cycling. We passed through timbered                strong headwind, magpies were dive-bombing, and
country and State forest. More native pine could be         many trucks passing! We were glad to reach the
seen amongst the eucalypts. We saw 8 species of             town. A helpful local showed us a more scenic and
parrot including the Superb Parrot, Pale-headed             less busy route to Toowoomba which we
Rosella and Cockatiel, also one very large brown            appreciated very much.
snake in a culvert beside the road. As we crossed           It rained all next day and was very cold, 17C
the Myall River we saw dozens of enormous carp, a           maximum. We stayed, and luckily, there was a
reminder of our own Murray River.                           craft fair in the Pittsworth Town Hall. We had a
Setting up our tent in the caravan park in Warialda         very pleasant afternoon looking at the amazing
we had to keep our helmets on as, once again, we            display of crafts.
were attacked by Pied Butcherbirds.                         Toowoomba was just over 40km from Pittsworth.
The hot North wind blew again as we headed North            We passed numerous horse studs and then had the
from Warialda, over the Mastermans Range, to                final climb into Toowoomba. Toowoomba is called
Coolatai. It was our hardest day. We averaged               the “Garden City” and it certainly lives up to its
10kph taking 4 hours to ride 41km. We knew there            name. It appears to be a vibrant and bustling city.
was no accommodation available so we set up our             We stayed three days before returning to Sydney
tent beside the local hall and tennis courts under          by coach. Each morning, despite being mid-
shady trees. There was even a shower in the                 October, the city was blanketed in fog and cold, not
toilets. Tables and seats were added luxury!                the weather we expected in Queensland.
We set off from Coolatai knowing we had to cross            Finally, we saw a total of 81 species on our ride,
the “truckies” notorious “Blackjack” 432m. It WAS a         three being new ones for us.
nasty climb up “Blackjack” but a magnificent 20km
descent into Yetman followed, through pine and              If you are interested in some of our other rides we
oak forest. Yetman is a popular fishing spot on the         have documented them with photos and maps on
McIntyre River.                                             the following website:
Texas, just over the border in Queensland on the  
Dumaresq River, was our next stop, so we headed
East from Yetman through more native pine forest.                                         Rae & Len Jeffers
We saw different birds along here including

SunBOCA contact details:                                BOCA National Office:

SunBOCA meets on the first Tuesday of each
month, 7:45pm at MADEC Mildura.
Visitors are welcome.

                                                        Street Address:
                                                                  183-185 Springvale Road
                                                                  Nunawading VIC
                                                        Postal Address:
                                                                  PO Box 185
                                                                  Nunawading VIC 3131

                                                        Phone:      03 9877 5342
                                                        Fax:        03 9894 4048
Members enjoy bird watching and                         Email:
conservation projects in the region centred on          Web Site:
Mildura. Our area includes Riverine habitats            Magazine:   The Bird Observer
along the Murray and Darling rivers and
surrounding drylands. Club activities include
monthly outings, surveys and camps.                     Bird Observation & Conservation Australia
                                                        (BOCA) is a major birding organisation
Postal Address:                                         including 41 Branches and Affiliates with
          P. O. Box 1722                                members all over Australia.
          Mildura VIC 3502
                                                        Bird Observation & Conservation Australia
Secretary: George Kerridge                              was formerly The Bird Observers Club of
Phone:     (03) 5023 3278                               Australia.
                                                        BOCA runs birdwatching activities, outings,
Website:                    camps, interstate and overseas trips,
Contains: club calendar, bird lists, maps,              undertakes bird surveys, has an extensive
          and photos                                    library and retail shop.

Newsletter                                              BOCA provides educational workshops and
Published: Four Issues per year                         teaching resources and has an ongoing
           Feb, May, Aug, Nov.                          commitment to, and active participation in,
Cost:      $5 per calendar year                         conservation of Australian native birds and
The year printed in the top RHS of the address          their habitats. The Club publishes a bi-
label indicates the calendar year for which your        monthly news magazine, The Bird Observer,
subscription has been paid.                             distributed free to all members.
(if a subscription is applicable).
                                                        BOCA functions as an independent, non-
Newsletter Articles:                                    profit environmental charity, which relies on
Submit to: Rae Jeffers - Editor                         subscriptions, donations, hundreds of
Phone:     (03) 5025 2636                               volunteers and a small team of dedicated
Postal Address:                                         staff.
           P. O. Box 380
           Merbein VIC 3505                             BOCA membership also provides free
Email:                        membership of your local BOCA branch


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