Perhaps not the most direct route, but it had to be done. ~2500 km, probably 100ml of rain, and 152 birds (full list in the comments).
Day 1-4 was Sydney -> Chiltern with some uni work thrown in. It was cold, wet and windy. Not a lot of birding to be done. See earlier posts for the highlights.
Day 5 involved driving to Lake Cargelligo, which was to be my HQ for the following 3ish days. I firstly tried to re-create my last trip to Leeton and crossed fingers hoping for another Grey Falcon, but it wasn’t to be. I did manage to get photos of a Hobby eating a White-breasted Woodswallow though, so that’s pretty cool. The lake was super full! Last time we were there it was probably 60% full, and earlier in the year, there was footage on ABC news of the lake totally empty, so it was good to see it with some water in there.
Between Chiltern and Lake Cargelligo, the first inland birds started to make an appearance – Blue Bonnet being my marker bird – when I start seeing them, I know I’m inland. There were more Blue Bonnets on this trip than any previous.
Day 6 was a trip to Round Hill and Nombinnie NR’s, and a visit to Lake Cargelligo STW. First up was “Chat Alley”, which was devoid of Chats, but did produce White-winged Fairy-wren and Rufous Songlark. Whoey Tank at Round Hill was fantastic. The usual suspects were there (Spotted Bowerbird, Hooded Robin etc). Unfortunately the rain meant that I couldn’t get in to Nombinnie, although as the day was looking sunny and windy, so I had hopes that it would dry out a bit over the afternoon. The STW was, as always, fantastic. I ended up with about 30 species in 30 minutes, including Yellow-billed Spoonbill and Red-necked Avocet, both birds I’ve struggled with this year. They’re now safely on the year list. I also managed to see a pair of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos and got a dodgy record shot of them.
Day 7 – had a planned trip again to Round Hill and Nombinnie, as well as going out to Mt. Hope. Unfortunately there was no power into Lake Cargelligo until 1 pm, so I had my half tank of petrol and around a 200km round trip… I decided to risk it, but as soon as the fuel meter got below 1/4 full, I would turn around. Fortunately the trip passed without event, and I was able to get into Nombinnie and the fabled “Old Wheat Paddock”. There was, however, a lake in the middle of the road, so I couldn’t get very far along the track, so no Red-lored Whistler for me, but I did manage Southern Scrub-robin, Shy Heathwren, Grey-fronted, White-fronted, Brown-headed and Black-chinned Honeyeaters, and a pair of Splendid Fairy-wren! Not a bad morning. At Whoey Tank I seemed to spend more time taking photos of plants than birds, although the highlight would have to be an obliging Mulga Parrot.
Day 8 – Up early for sunrise, and an uneventful trip home via Grenfell. I was going to camp at Weddin Mountains on the way home, but I’d ran out of food and was making good time, so home it was.
All of the images are being a bit cropped on the right – I’ll try to sort that out tonight on the late shift at work.