Sunday, 12 September 2010

A weekend in the Mallee

With all of the recent rain and Spring having sprung, I decided to head north for the weekend to check out the Mallee Parks with a hope to see as many parrot species as possible.

First stop was Goschen Bushland Reserve, a remnant mallee and grassland oasis surrounded by farmland about 20km west of Lake Boga View Map. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate as a heavy cloud cover stayed around all morning but I did see Eastern Rosella, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-rumped Parrot and Blue Bonnet.

Blue Bonnet, Goschen Bushland Reserve

So, off to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park (View Map) where I set up camp at Lake Hattah campground (Lake Hattah is full with water right up to the edge of the campground!) then drove up Mournpall Track, which passes through a range of habitats, each worth investigating but, with limited time available, I restricted myself to parrot-friendly places - the best are usually those with old trees with hollows. Approx. 6km north of the visitor centre, the road passes through an area of open grassland with a grove of River Red Gums on the edge of the lake. Within 5 minutes at this site, I had seen Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Regent Parrot and Mallee Ringneck.

Regent Parrot, Hattah-Kulkyne NP
Mallee Ringneck, Hattah-Kulkyne NP

Back at the campsite as dusk was arriving and I was preparing dinner it was feeding time for this juvenile Yellow Rosella (which is actually a race of the Crimson Rosella) as well:

Yellow Rosella, Hattah-Kulkyne NP

Next morning, I ate breakfast with Apostlebird and White-winged Chough and one Australian Raven marauding around the picnic table but it was still too dark for any decent photographs (sometimes it's good to just sit and watch).

A quick pack up and off to Wyperfeld National Park View Map. On arriving at the Casuarina Campground in the Northern section of Wyperfeld, there was a small flock of Major Mitchell's Cockatoo chasing each other around the sheoaks. They were only there for about 5 minutes but enough time for a few photos.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Wyperfeld NP

So, a total of 1402 km travelled for 10 parrot species in one and a half days including first time photographs of Regent Parrot - not a bad weekend. Hope to be back soon :-)


PS...just to show it was not a parrot only weekend, one lifer for me: 

Shy Heathwren, Wyperfeld NP

2 birds found in Mallee scrub approx. 50 m off the James Barrett Nature Drive directly opposite start of Dattuck Track (access from Wonga Campground in the Southern section of Wyperfeld NP).

1 comment:

  1. Like your report Ian - and some really nice images.


    Tim Dolby


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