Follow That Bird
- sydney's birding company Email:tours@followthatbird.com.au

Birds Australia Gluepot Mungo and Wyperfield
National Parks Trip Report
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Fivebough Swamp at Leeton
The inaugural FTB Tour to Mungo (NSW), Wyperfeld (Vic) & Gluepot (SA) National Parks Trip turned out to be a great birding experience. We ended up with fine weather for the whole of the trip and while most of the area was in drought, there were still great birds to see in the places visited. A Little Eagle at Goulburn was a good start. Our route took us via the town of Junee on the NSW South West Slopes where Black-tailed Native-Hens, one of our target species had been reported. We were not disappointed with 20+ Native-hens being seen here along with 100+ Plumed Whistling-Ducks, numerous Pinkear, Shoveler & Black-fronted Dotterel.

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Walls of China at Mungo
The second morning found us at Fivebough Swamp, Leeton, taking in an exciting array of waterbirds & raptors, the highlight being 68 Brolgas flying in and calling as they landed in front of us ­ what a great sight! Glossy Ibis, Australian Shelduck, many Pinkears, Cisticola and Little Grassbirds were seen. Overhead Hobby, Swamp & Spotted Harriers, Black-shouldered & Whistling Kites, and Brown Falcon were seen. At the bird hide on the STW ponds there were 38 Freckled Ducks & a lone Bluebill. What a morning! A short stop on the Hay Plains yielded White-fronted & Crimson Chats, White-winged Fairy-wren & Zebra Finches, Wedge-tailed Eagles and Kestrels. After an overnight stay at Balranald, we headed to Mungo NP via Penarie and were delighted to find at the Homebush Hotel, a group of 8 Pink Cockatoos feeding in the trees outside the pub! A few kms further on we managed to locate a single Redthroat, Southern Whiteface & Banded Lapwing but still further along, a party of 4 Redthroats were seen together with 3 Blue-winged Parrots. Over the next few kms we managed to count 42 Blue-wings feeding at the edge of the road, an unexpected bonus for the Trip. Mungo NP was looking very arid as would be expected but Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Blue Bonnet Parrot, Singing Honeyeater & Chestnut-rumped Thornbills enlivened our stay. A stop in the mallee enroute to Balranald found Yellow-plumed Honeyeater & Mulga Parrot.

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Pittosporum Phillyreoides at Mungo NP
From Balranald we crossed into Victoria and headed for Wyperfeld NP. In the Buloke groves and woodlands we located Brown Treecreeper, Emu, Hooded Robin, Southern Whiteface, Sitella, Striped Honeyeater & White-browed Babbler, while in the mallee we found Dusky Woodswallow & Red-capped Robin.. We had an exciting time in this Park and left wishing that our visit had been longer. We journeyed from here to Pinnaroo in SA via the mallee-lined back roads hoping to see Regent Parrots. We were successful in the end in seeing 48 Regent Parrots in three separate flocks as well as Common Bronzewings.

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Group at Gluepot
Our early walk around Pinnaroo yielded a Spotless Crake in the local wetland, along with Peaceful Dove, Singing Honeyeater & Golden Whistler.Our first stop for the morning was at Karte Conservation Park where we found Red-capped Robin, Grey Currawong, Inland Thornbill & White-eared Honeyeater. Across at Billiart CP we manged to locate Southern Scrub-Robin, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Brown-headed & Purple-gaped Honeyeaters. From here we made our way to the Riverland and at Morook , a wetland at the eastern edge of town where we stopped to check out the waterbirds our surprise find was 246 Freckled Duck, along with large numbers of Grey Teal, Pinkear, Coot, and a few Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Great Egret and Darter. The presence of so many Freckled Duck highlights the fact that in the breeding range of the Murray-Darling and Lake Eyre Basin River systems, most of the wetlands have dried up and many rivers no longer run, so the poor Freckled Duck along with other waterbirds is forced to move to elsewhere for food and suitable habitat. Our last stop for the day was Hart Lagoon & STW at Waikerie, where Avocets, Red-kneed Dotterels, more Black-tailed Native-hens, Pinkear and Shoveler could be found.

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Margaret taking a break in Gluepot.
The last full day of the trip was spent at Gluepot Reserve. We had great expectations of the day and we left not disappointed! In the Taylorsville Reserve we saw one Black-eared Miner on the way in and a flock of 8 on the way out!At Babblers camp we had great views of a pair of Golden Whistler, as well as Rufous & Gilbertıs Whistlers. More Chestnut Quail-thrush were seen along with Variegated Fairy-wren, White-browed Treecreeper, Red-capped & Hooded Robins, Mulga & Ringneck Parrots.

Our final morning was spent traveling to Adelaide where the trip finished. Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Falcon, Mallee Ringneck and Australian Pipit enlivened those last kilometres. Altogether 164 species were seen in the seven days and all participants (except the guide) saw new species.

Alan Morris






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Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer