On the 28th of September I went and picked up Richard Hall to start our 8 day trip to Kilcowera and back. We left Rich’s house at 1pm Saturday and headed to Yunta for the first over night stop. Whilst there we were able to have a bit of a look around for some birds in the area. We got this Variegated Fairy-wren and this Australian Magpie ( black backed).
It was a nice nights stay, up early to head back into to Yunta for some Brekky and head on off to Tibooburra. Took till around 4pm to get to Dead horse Gully at Tibooburra in Sturt NP. Some great scenery and a few wild critters, not too many birds at all at this stage.
We had a bight to eat, Egg and Bacon toasted sandwich. Took off toward the border of NSW and QLD at Warri Warri gate. Took a few photos there of the gate etc. Some nice red soil in the area, miles of treeless plains along the next quite a few K’s of road.
Now this stretch from Tibooburra onward we have to do by 4 pm to Kilcowera, it was a long drive with quite a few stops along the way, due to birds etc. We had stopped a few times before getting to Warri warri gate due to bird life seen, but about 1/2 an hour the other side of the gate in QLD was a sight we were not expecting. We saw 10 Wedge-tailed eagles on 1 road kill Kangaroo. The one thing I do regret is that I did not even think of getting my wide angle lens out to capture the amount of eagles. So I only got shots of single birds.
As you can see this young bird allowed closer shots than most of the others. Was a great 10 minutes or so checking these out.
We were nearly at Noccundra when Rich saw these unusual birds flying, we knew exactly what they were Australian Pratincole’s, we stopped to get some images but they were not really playing the game, staying out of good photo range.
The temp at the time of taking this shot, was around the 38 deg. quite warm and it was harder to get good shots due to the heat haze. Turned out not too bad, but some images do drop in quality due to it.
We had finally got into Thargomindah for fuel, even though we carried 40 litres of fuel with us, we did not use it then. Mind you I had gone through quite a lot of fuel between Tibooburra and Thargomindah due to road condition weight and aircon. The other thing was that by the time we had reached Noccundra I had found that the anderson plug and trailer plug were missing, so bought a new lot at Thargomindah servo and repaired the units at Kilcowera.
We had gotten into Kilcowera around the 3:30 pm SA time. This gave us time to meet with the owners of the property and setup camp. Once that was done we could do some discovering close to camp, as it was slowly getting darker. We drove to the end of the Lagoon spent a bit of time looking around there, quite a few Brown Treecreepers in the area. We then went to what was called the Red hole, along here we saw quite a few Kangaroos, Red’s. I got a few images.
As it was getting a bit dark for photography for animals we went back to the camp. As the sun set, I was cooking our meal for the night and for the next day. So after our meal, I decided to get a few images of the sun setting from our camp site.
As this day drew to an end, we were hoping for some excellent weather for the next few days, the Temp was 38 degs, we hoped that the temp would drop quite a bit to allow the bird life to be out a bit more, than hiding in the trees. As they say Mad dogs and ______ well when you are birding like this, we are just as mad :-).
The next morning I get up at 5:30 am SA time. I make a cuppa and then as the light got better, grabbed my camera and headed around the the old Shearing shed and cattle yards. Just to see what was about, there were quite a few birds around, so I tried to get some nice shots, but the light was pretty bad, heavy cloud cover and windy.
I spent about 1/2 an hour wondering around by myself, this is a few of what I got for that time. A Spotted Bowerbird, Spotted Dove and a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater.
Richard had caught up with me by this time, we spent a short while looking around a bit more and then back to camp. Got what we needed for the look around the property. Toni Sherwin caught up to us before we left and told us to stay close as it was going to rain, so we only went about 6 K’s max distance from the camp area.
Just as well as it did start to rain, but only near on lunch time, but before that we were getting some nice images of some of the bird and wildlife. We had to go back to camp for a few hours as the rain was getting heavier, but at least it was not a down pour.
Once the rain had cleared we headed back out for some more chances at what was about.
Australian Bustard, these are a large bird that fly, they stand about the 1.2m high and have a wing span of 2.3m.
By this time it was getting dark again, it was late in the day and the sun was starting to set on the horizon, so we headed back toward camp.
We had gotten to a creek crossing and saw a few Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos in the trees, so we got out the car and started to try get into a position that the sun was behind us and in front of the birds. The light was really starting to go golden, we had no problems getting around to the front of them for a change.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos
This is where day 2 on Kilcowera pretty well finished for photography, as the light had deminished and time to cook a meal. The weather was still pretty bad, the wind was getting stronger and we had no awning due to the strong winds during the day.
I got up around the 5:30 to 6 am mark, put the kettle on and had some brekky, we had decided to head off to lake Wyara, as this trip through Kilcowera was a 60K round trip it was going to take us quite awhile. We would more than likely have many stops.
As I was getting things sorted, I saw a Major Mitchell’s fly over the camp, got a quick grab shot.
Then we were off on our way to Lake Wyara. Quite a bit of wild life and birds around early on in the trip. We had gotten roughly where we were the day before and saw some Major Mitchell’s in the trees along a dry creek line, We decided to get out and see if we can get close to the MM’s, but a luck would have it we had none and they had taken off. As this happened we heard and saw some parrots, very quiet noises from the parrots, like they were wispering, but no it turned out to be Bourke’s Parrot. What a sight, as we got closer they took off and flew about 200 metres away into some trees on a small rise in the gibber plain. I had gotten a couple of long shots off just incase this was all we would have seen of them.We saw quite a few Zebra finches along the dry creek bed, as a matter a fact there were heaps on the property anyway.
So we tried for a few shots of the finches, then we decided to try see if we can get close to the Parrots. As we walked up the incline we saw a male Triller, he was quite happy to forage close to us trying to get a photo, he was on the ground and the plant matter was hiding him quite a bit.
Then all of a sudden a he disappeared mainly due to the Yellow-throated Miner chasing him away, so back to looking for the Bourke’ Parrot.We found the Bourke’s Parrots not too long after the search regained. They were softly chattering to each other.
The first image after finding them again, a large crop due to distance.
Here is another image slightly closer and only about a 50% crop.
The birds flew off again, they headed for the trees along the creek line again. So off we went to see if we can improve on the shots we had.We got some great shots, but not as good as we wanted due to light and us being on the wrong side of them, but what can you do.
After awhile we headed off again, ( on the way back through we stopped for a few images of the terrain). This is the area that the Bourke’s were found.
Great red dirt through out the station. Onward we went, we had not gotten too far when we saw a few Major Mitchell’s feeding in some bushes off to the right of the track. I stopped for some images.
Jumped back in the car and went another 15 minutes or so up the track, and we heard some Babblers. They sounded a bit different to what we were use to, we tracked them down and saw that they were Hall’s Babblers. Nice to see would have been better with closer views.We tried to get close but it just was not happening. So we were back in the car heading once again towards Lake Wyara.
We had to pull up again no too far up the road, for the whole time travelling so far we had been hearing GST’s, so we got out again to check this one out and the creek line. Whilst out I took a photo of the back end of the car, it sure was a nice shade of Red.
I am not sure how long we travelled up the track this time but we ended up stopping for a bite to eat near a big creek and old mill. Some bird life around but nothing we could lock the cameras on. too far away or too high.
Grabbed a few shots of the Kangaroo’s that were around the area. We travelled a bit further again and not too far off the Lake we saw this Fella.
He was sure looking a bit tough, not wanting to leave the shade, but waiting to see if we got out the car, we did not.
We had finally gotten to Lake Wyara, went through the gate and on to the car park. The water was low, still a lot of water, but it would have been at least a 2 K walk to get to the water. We went near on 1 K when we saw some Brolgas, Cockatiels and other birds. It was quite warm all the birds and animals were not as silly as us and were in the shade.
We jumped back in the car and headed back toward camp, 30ks to go. we took a different route, on the way back, we wanted to see a bit more of the property.