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THE RAINBOW BIRD
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 Speaker: 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 Speaker: Sun 9th Outing - Murray Sunset N.P. Club Meeting at MADEC at 7.45 pm Sept Tues 1st Speaker: 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 Speaker: 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 Speaker: Sun 6th Outing – Christmas Get-together – Tony & Margot Douglas' – Garston Station 2 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 3 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 December. 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. Sightings 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 4 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 birds. Sightings 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 5 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 Sightings 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 6 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. 7 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. 8 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 home.vicnet.net.au/~cycleoz/ 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 9 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: email@example.com conservation projects in the region centred on Web Site: www.birdobservers.org.au 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. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org BOCA runs birdwatching activities, outings, Website: home.vicnet.net.au/~sunboc/ 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: email@example.com membership of your local BOCA branch 10
"THE RAINBOW BIRD"