Sunday, 6 October 2013

Mungalla Station (Part 2)

Last night at Mungalla Station we spotted the rear ends of several Australian Pratincole disppearing into the distance as the bus past by on its way to the wetlands so we were keen to get back there tonight for a more serious attempt at finding them. Jake, the manager at Mungalla, suggested another location where the pratincoles were more common so we were dropped there for another pre-dinner birding session.

As we arrived, we spotted an Australian Bustard and there were frantic gropings for cameras and opening of windows to get a shot or two as the bird walked past us about 100 metres away but seemingly not particularly concerned about the bus.

Australian Bustard, Mungalla Station Qld

As soon as we arrived at the new location, it was evident that Jake knew his property well as we could see at least 20 pratincoles distributed across the paddocks feeding among the grass. Four of them remained close enough to the bus to tempt us into photographing them but no matter how slowly or stealthily an approach was made, they refused to let us any closer than 40 metres so we all had lots of shots like this heavily cropped example

Australian Pratincole, Mungalla Station Qld

 and all too frequently this was the view we got of them

Australian Pratincole, Mungalla Station Qld

but 5 minutes and two new species photographed was a good start to the evening.

Once again there were lots of waders to be seen at the wetlands but they were too far away for good photographs. One intriguing bird was seen by several of us but remains unidentified. No-one got good shots of it and this is the best I have:

Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper + ?, Mungalla Station Qld

I am assuming the bird on the far left is a Red-necked Stint and the three larger birds on the right are Sharp-tailed Sandpipers but the smaller bird on the left remains a mystery. It looked like a Red-necked Stint but was distinctly smaller. Any suggestions are welcome.

Another interesting (but not quite as intriguing) sight was the synchronised feeding of three spoonbills, which is not particularly unusual but there are two Yellow-billed Spoonbill and a Royal Spoonbill here.

Yellow-billed Spoonbill + Royal Spoonbill, Mungalla Station Qld

As we walked back to the bus pick-up location, I couldn't help another landscape shot of this beautiful property.

Mungalla Station, Qld

and again, as last night, the Nankeen Night-Herons were flying around their rosting trees, presumably readying themselves for a night out.

Nankeen Night-Heron, Mungalla Station Qld

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