Bowra Station Trip Report; 7th-13th of April, 2013
Present: Jack Moorhead, Chris Barnes, Nev Capell, Jann Capell, Kay Humphrey, Nerida Silke, Jane Hall, Brandon Hewitt, Edwin Faint, Pamela De Zilva, Tania Ponniah, Judyann Auld, Deane Lewis, Lee Mason, Trevor Hewitt, Peter Tierney.
Weather: Temperatures throughout the camp ranged from about 10oC at night to just over 30oC during the day. There was no rain throughout our stay, with it being sunny almost the whole trip.
The group generally left camp between 6-6:30am and drove to a certain birding area. We usually returned around 11am, with free time for a few hours. We then went out again at around 3pm and returned on dusk or later. Conditions on the property were very dry, with bird numbers being down on previous years. AWC has recently acquired the property and has drained most artificial water sources, resulting in what some believe a loss of birdlife. There were still large amounts of feral animals on the property with goats, sheep and cattle being seen daily. Spotlighting was generally quiet with low sightings of most species except frogs.
Sunday 7th of April
Most of the group arrived in the late afternoon of the Sunday 7th of April. Birds around the campsite on the bore included; Hoary-headed Grebe, Black-tailed Native-hen, White-headed Stilt, Black-fronted Dotterel and of course the much talked about vagrant Black Swan. The campsite group of Chestnut-crowned Babbler was seen by most along with other more common western species; Spotted Bowerbird (two bowers being built), Splendid Fairy-wren, White-plumed Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Miner, Red-winged Parrot and Brown Treecreeper.
After lunch the group headed along the main road into mulga habitat in search of Bowra specialties. We were not disappointed with sightings of Hall’s Babbler, a species only described in 1964. Parrots were prolific with Bluebonnet, Australian Ringneck, Budgerigar, Cockatiel and Red-rumped Parrots all being seen. Other good birds seen included; Hooded Robin, Red-capped Robin, Little Woodswallow, Southern Whiteface, Yellow Thornbill, Inland Thornbill and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill. On the drive back to camp 4 Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush ran across the track and were seen feeding by the side of the road by all group members. Unfortunately this species was never seen again despite extensive efforts for those who arrived later. A pair of Brolga flew into the camp at dusk. After a long couple of days travelling we decided for just a small spotlight around the bore. Frogs included; Litoria rubella, Limnodynastes fletcheri, Litoria latopalmata and a possible Water Holding Frog (all frog identifications have not been verified yet).
Monday 8th of April
We were there pre-dawn start this morning to get to the Sawpits at a good time. After this we drove around the property until just past midday. In the afternoon we did similar birding travelling around the property. The best birds for the day where; Little Eagle, White-winged Fairy-wren, Grey-headed Honeyeater, Varied Sittella, Australian Hobby, Red-kneed Dotterel, Mulga Parrot and many others. For spotlighting we drove around the property with sightings limited to a couple of geckos (yet to be identified).
Tuesday 9th of April
This morning was a slightly later start driving around the property once again. We returned for lunch and went out again ending up at dusk at Gumholes north in search of Spotted Nightjars. Throughout the day highlights included; Black-breasted Buzzard, Hall’s Babbler, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Bourke’s Parrot, Horsefield’s Bronze Cuckoo, White-browed Treecreeper, Variegated Fairywren and Ground Cuckoo-shrike. During the middle of the day Peter found a single Australian (Spotted) Crake which unfortunately only stayed for a couple of hours. At the waterhole at dusk no nightjars were sighted but other species included; Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Royal Spoonbill, Red-kneed Dotterel and Nankeen Night-heron. After dinner a few of us went to a bore drain where Chris caught an Eastern Snake-necked Turtle and a Bush Stone-curlew was seen.
Wednesday 10th of April
The group completed the usual routine today with few new birds seen. Much of the day was spent searching in vain for the quail-thrush. While doing this a ground roosting Spotted Nightjar was found . Red-backed Kingfisher and Brown-headed Honeyeater were other good birds seen.
Thursday 11th of April
Today we decided on a change of scenery and headed off to Eulo Bore, about 60km west of Bowra. We left at 5:30am and got to Eulo at a good time. Unfortunately the Bore itself was dry with a small drip being the only water. At dawn we were treated to the sight of a wheeling flock of Budgerigar and a few White-browed Woodswallows. After a quick walk we decided to head 2km east in search of an old sight for Grey Honeyeater. Bourke’s Parrots were seen but nothing too exciting. Returning back to Eulo produced White-browed Treecreeper but few other birds were seen. In the afternoon we went in search of quail-thrush again, but after Nev reported a Black-eared Cuckoo we headed there. Unfortunately we could not relocate the bird.
Friday 12th of April
In the morning we went in search of the cuckoo again and were treated by a flyover of Grey Falcon. Other birding was quiet. In the afternoon we got onto a couple of Wedge-tailed Eagles and 72 Crested Pigeons (everyone else was much more excited about this at bird call than the falcon!). Spotlighting produced a Planigale (unidentified of course).
Saturday 13th of April
Most people had headed off back towards at home by this stage. The remaining few us went out again and were treated to good views of the Black-eared Cuckoo. Everyone then headed home.
Thank you all for coming.