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Alpine Birds Plants & Vistas Trip Report

Pam Alpine08
Group Photo by Pam Saul

Day 1. Our journey down to the Snowy Mountains began on Wednesday morning with 9 eager participants; Sandy, Tom, Judy, John, Glenda, Pam, Penny and Alistair, and with Chris at the wheel, Janene and myself and we were off. Goodbye Sydney, goodbye Common Myna, hello Scarlet Robin, yeah!!

Our first stop was the Mackey rest area: lots of Eastern Rosellas as well as Grey Butcherbird, Rufous Whistler, Red-browed Finch, nesting Currawong, and our first Eastern Grey Kangaroo. Namadgi Visitors Centre followed with nesting activity from Magpie Lark and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, 3 chicks bursting out of the nest, as well as White-plumed, White-naped and Fuscous Honeyeaters, Dusky Woodswallow, Rufous Songlark, Fairy Martin and Red-rumped Parrot.

Day 2. Bimblegumbi. The hills behind our accommodation offered Rufous Whistler, Striated and Brown Thornbill, Striated Pardalote,White-throated Treecreeper, Crimson Rosella and a Collared Sparrowhawk called and was glimpsed. Our flowerwalk through the herbfields at Dead Horse Gap was ably led by Jules Gold who enthused about the area and activated a trigger plant for us. Birds included Olive Whistler and several female Flame Robins and we shared our lunch with very brazen Red Wattlebirds and Little Raven, and a Wedge-tailed Eagle soared the ridge above.

From Bullock¹s Flat we walked along the Thredbo River, with Welcome Swallows nesting under a bridge, then Penny picked up a pair of Gang Gangs, and then, like a beacon, a Flame Robin beamed to us from across the water. Spotlighting that evening revealed roosting White-faced Heron and Sacred Kingfisher, a Ring-tailed Possum and a Sugar Glider.

Our wonderful driver Chris Willis
Day 3. The morning walk was alive with Satin Flycatchers, Striated and Spotted Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-faced, White-eared and White-naped Honeyeater, Pallid and Horsfield¹s Bronze-cuckoo, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, and Grey Shrike-thrush among others. At Leather Barrrel Creek we had good views of a meter long Highland Copperhead, which posed for my camera (a mistake during downloading to PC and I lost all trip photos, oh noo). Schamell¹s Lookout had nesting Yellow-face Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird and wonderful views. On route we passed by several Gang Gangs, curiously on the ground by the side of the road, not sure what they were after, possibly seeds crushed by vehicles, stones?

Black-fronted Dotterels were plentiful at Khancoban Settling Ponds, also seen were Aust. Grebe (with 3 chicks taking turn to piggyback), Aust. Shoveler, Grey and Chestnut Teal, Coot and Whistling Kite. Other birds of prey seen during the day included a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles, a Collared Sparrowhawk, Brown Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel and Brown Goshawk, our best raptor day.

Day 4. Along Charlotte¹s Pass Boardwalk we had a female Flame Robin, Striated and Brown Thornbill, and an antechinus (Agile, I think) scampered around some rocks. Above the treeline we walked, watching ant sized people in the far distance trekking to the summit. Little Raven and White-browed Scrub-wren were common. As we returned Janene¹s sharp ears pinpointed a curious phenomenon: a very rhythmical, tuneful something-or-other, as water from the hanging swamp above filtered down to the track. After further inspection we were still puzzled but sure we had proof that the earth is a living breathing being, just with very small lungs!! The Renex Track passes by a 10,000 year old bog, spongy underfoot with lots of wildflowers and some massive scats, probably fox and we were rewarded with a game of hide and seek with a Flame Robin.

John Gale & Penny McGuire
Day 5. We farewelled Bimblegumbi with finding the new roosting spot for the Tawny Frogmouths and nesting White-necked Heron – good spotting Alastair – and Dusky Woodswallow, a good start to the day. The stationmistress at Michelago warned us of Tiger and Brown snakes but not a peep. However, Yellow-rumped Thronbills twittered, and Rufous Whistler, Blackbird and Grey Fantail showed. A short walk through Canberra¹s Botanic Gardens gave us 10 degree lower temperatures through the rainforest, close encounters with Eastern Water Dragon, good views of a family of White-browed Scrub-wren, and the bookshop!

Unfortunately no Scarlet Robin and it was quite a while on the return trip before a Myna showed, but the whole trip was most enjoyable with a great bunch of keen birders, very well planned weather and wonderful accommodation.

Overall 93 species throughout the trip with more than 20 species actively nesting.

Thanks everyone, John Gale guiding for FTB.

Follow That Bird   Phone: 61 2 9973 1865
Fax: 61 2 9973 1875
3/59 Central Road
Avalon NSW 2107
Sydney Australia
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Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer