Bowra Station, 15-21 September 2012

The route taken

Between 15 and 21 September, I went on the first big birding road trip of the year, to a place I’ve wanted to visit for years – Bowra Station, an Australian Wildlife Conservancy owned property near Cunnamulla, SW Queensland. I took a fairly scenic route there and back, going through Moree, Cunnamulla, Bourke, Round Hill Nature Reserve, and Grenfell – all up I did just under 3000 km in a week.

My main aim, apart from visiting a brand new area and picking up lifers, was to finally get good, clear shots of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

I saw 180 species of bird, 1 frog, 5 reptiles, and at least 10 mammals, and photographed 3 butterflies (another one, and another one), and 2 dragon-flies (only 1 posted) over the week I was away, picking up 9 new species of bird.

The lifers were Bourke’s Parrot (a pair flushed and flew across the front of the car on my last proper day of birding); Hall’s Babbler (2 groups); Little Buttonquail (regular in the grassy areas south of the camp-area); Little Woodswallow (a pair posed for me on a stick out near Sawpits); Red-browed Pardalote (1 bird resident in area south of camp-area); Black-breasted Buzzard (fairly common in area); Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush (very ordinary, but tickable views near Stony Ridge); and both Black Honeyeater and Pied Honeyeater near the Main Creek crossing.

I managed to visit all of the main sites at Bowra over the 4 nights I was there (this is a scan of the map that comes in the guide you get on arrival – ~2 mb file), and managed to get in a serious amount of relaxation while birding at the lagoon in the afternoons, complete with esky and tripod mounted camera. The usual pattern was – awake at 6, spend 1-2 hours walking the area from the campsite to fenceline to the south, cut back across the scrub to the bore drain, then up to the top lagoon near the homestead, back to the tent for some breakfast via the lagoon in front of my tent, then head out to do some proper birding at a couple of spots, in to town for a bag of ice, some food for lunch and some lager, then spend the afternoon watching the antics of the resident wildlife – stay tuned for some video of hot bird-on-bird action – Black-fronted Dotterel are far more randy than I ever imagined them to be.

The highlights of Bowra are really too many to go into – it’s an amazing place, and you should get there if you can.

I was going to stay at Gundabooka NP on the way back, but after going through Bourke, and being a bit depressed by just how run down that place is, and after seeing the pretty mashed state of the road in (I don’t have a 4wd, although I do like to push it beyond it’s limits – so far, so good), I decided that I’d rather punch back to Sydney to watch the mighty Swans take on Collingwood on the Friday Night (I’d originally planned to get back home on the Sunday). So Gundabooka became Cobar – but I still had about 3 hours of light by the time I was there, so Cobar became Mt Hope – hey – I’m almost at Round Hill – so Mt Hope became Round Hill.

I visited Round Hill Nature Reserve on the way back, to try and see Red-lored Whistler. Amazingly, I dipped again. This is my 9th attempt at Round Hill, following on from another 2 attempts at Gluepot. It’s my new Ground Parrot – a bird that I can’t force into being seen, and I need to just accept that one will let me see it when I have walked sufficient miles. I did run into Martin and Penny Potter from the Illawarra there, who were gearing up to go spotlighting with a few other birders – amazing how you can not talk to anyone apart from a surly bottle-shop attendant, and then run into a group of like-minded individuals miles from anywhere, in the middle of a Nature Reserve.

Southern Scrub Robin

You’re not allowed to camp in Round Hill NR itself anymore, so I was going to camp at Whoey Tank, which I think you can still camp in. However – the building electrical storm made me rethink sitting in a tent that is held up by 3 metal poles when that, and my car, would be the only conductive element between Mt Hope and Euabolong. So – off to Lake Cargelligo to try and get a room in a motel – I’d driven miles – I deserved it.

On the road through the reserve, and right near the railway line, I came across something I’d never seen before – a flock of bronzewings! a group of about 20 birds… my first thought was Flock Bronzewing! I pointed the car at them, and in between fat drops of rain I managed to get the bins on them – not Flock Bronzewings, but just a flock of Common Bronzewings. I’ve never seen more than 2 hang out together before, so that was unusual and interesting. Apart from a Barn Owl near Chat Alley, the drive in to LC was uneventful, and I had to put my tent up anyway as both motels were full.

Next day was the long trip home, going through Grenfell (where I saw my first Grey Fantail for the trip), and then the GPS took me on a mystical journey of country backroads going through places with names I’ve never heard of, like Bendick Murrell and Murringo. Then onto the highway, and home in time to watch the footy.

What a week!

To see more photos – click here. To see the complete list of birds seen, click “Continue Reading”.

Magpie Goose
Black Swan
Australian Shelduck
Pink-eared Duck
Australian Wood Duck
Pacific Black Duck
Grey Teal
Australasian Grebe
Hoary-headed Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Australian White Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis
White-necked Heron
Eastern Great Egret
Intermediate Egret
White-faced Heron
Australian Pelican
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
Australian Pied Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Australasian Darter
Square-tailed Kite
Black-breasted Buzzard
Black-shouldered Kite
Black Kite
Whistling Kite
Spotted Harrier
Brown Goshawk
Collared Sparrowhawk
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Little Eagle
Nankeen Kestrel
Australian Hobby
Brown Falcon
Black Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Baillon’s Crake
Australian Crake
Spotless Crake
Purple Swamphen
Dusky Moorhen
Black-tailed Nativehen
Eurasian Coot
Little Buttonquail
Black-winged Stilt
Masked Lapwing
Red-kneed Dotterel
Black-fronted Dotterel
Latham’s Snipe
Wood Sandpiper
Silver Gull
Rock Dove
Common Bronzewing
Crested Pigeon
Diamond Dove
Peaceful Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
Little Corella
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Rainbow Lorikeet
Australian Ringneck
Mallee Ringneck
Crimson Rosella
Pale-headed Rosella
Eastern Rosella
Red-rumped Parrot
Bourke’s Parrot
Australian King Parrot
Red-winged Parrot
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Black-eared Cuckoo
Eastern Barn Owl
Southern Boobook
Australian Owlet-Nightjar
Laughing Kookaburra
Sacred Kingfisher
Red-backed Kingfisher
Rainbow Bee-Eater
Spotted Bowerbird
White-browed Treecreeper
Brown Treecreeper
Variegated Fairywren
Superb Fairywren
Splendid Fairywren
White-winged Fairywren
Singing Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater
White-plumed Honeyeater
White-fronted Honeyeater
Noisy Miner
Yellow-throated Miner
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater
Little Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird
Striped Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Red Wattlebird
Brown Honeyeater
Pied Honeyeater
Black Honeyeater
Crimson Chat
Spotted Pardalote
Red-browed Pardalote
Shy Heathwren
White-browed Scrubwren
Western Gerygone
Brown Thornbill
Inland Thornbill
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Buff-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill
Southern Whiteface
Hall’s Babbler
White-browed Babbler
Chestnut-crowned Babbler
Grey Butcherbird
Pied Butcherbird
Australian Magpie
Pied Currawong
White-breasted Woodswallow
Masked Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow
Black-faced Woodswallow
Dusky Woodswallow
Little Woodswallow
Black-faced Cuckooshrike
White-bellied Cuckooshrike
White-winged Triller
Gilbert’s Whistler
Rufous Whistler
Grey Shrikethrush
Crested Bellbird
Olive-backed Oriole
Willie Wagtail
Grey Fantail
Restless Flycatcher
Torresian Crow
Little Crow
Little Raven
Australian Raven
White-winged Chough
Hooded Robin
Jacky Winter
Red-capped Robin
Southern Scrub Robin
Horsfield’s Bush Lark
White-backed Swallow
Welcome Swallow
Fairy Martin
Tree Martin
Australian Reed Warbler
Rufous Songlark
Brown Songlark
Little Grassbird
Golden-headed Cisticola
Common Myna
Common Starling
House Sparrow
Red-browed Finch
Plum-headed Finch
Zebra Finch
Double-barred Finch
Australian Pipit