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Birds of New South Wales - #12 – Bourke Region (5 September 2018)

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Birds of New South Wales - #12 – Bourke Region Pale-headed Rosella, Bourke, NSW

We had a relatively short journey today – from Lightning Ridge to Bourke – 310 kms / 3.5 hrs driving, via Walgett.

Birds of New South Wales - #2 - Urunga / Forster-Tuncurry Australian King-Parrot, Bicentennial Flora Park, Tuncurry, NSW

We stopped at the little township of Brewarrina for lunch on the banks of the Barwon River where we saw a number of Australian Pelican, Great Egret, Gull-billed Tern, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-necked Heron, Red-rumped Parrot, Whistling Kite and Great Cormorant.

Birds of New South Wales - #12 – Bourke Region Spotted Bowerbird (Female), Darling River, Bourke, NSW

Throughout our drive from Lightning Ridge to Bourke, we encountered - kangaroo, emu, goat, sheep, wild pig and cattle grazing along the roadside. Each animal, and there were lots of them, had found its way onto the roadside reserve in search of food that had long dried up through the extended drought.

Birds of New South Wales - #1 - Tweed Coast Region Australian Pelican

Whilst the numbers and variety of road-kill all along the highway was quite shocking, it did provide a reliable food source for the large numbers of Black Kite and Australian Raven in that region.

Birds of New South Wales - #1 - Tweed Coast Region Little Black Cormorant, Brunswick Heads, NSW

We arrived late-afternoon for our 2 night’s accommodation at the Bourke Riverside Motel. As I was unpacking the car, the raucous chatter of a large flock of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo overhead attracted my attention. I then noticed dozens of Black Kite circling much higher up. So, I was pretty anxious to move into our unit as quickly as possible and then take my camera for a walk along the nearby banks of the Darling River.

Birds of New South Wales - #1 - Tweed Coast Region Little Black Cormorant, Brunswick Heads, NSW

I hadn’t gone far when I came across several Black Kites searching for surface-feeding fish. There were numerous Pied / Great Cormorant hunting the river waters or resting on the exposed sections of submerged tree-branches. Then a Black Kite successfully swooped down to take a small fish.

Birds of New South Wales - #1 - Tweed Coast Region Great-billed Heron, Hastings Point, NSW

I continued upstream along the river-bank until I came across a substantial viewing-platform cantilevered out over the waters’ edge. It’s an excellent vantage point to observe river activity as well as any birdlife in the canopy of the riverside gums.

Birds of New South Wales - #9 – Sawtell Region Satin Bowerbird, Toormina, NSW

From there, I photographed – Spiny-cheeked / Blue-faced / White-plumed Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Miner, Peaceful Dove, Willy Wagtail, Red-rumped Parrot, Common Starling, Feral Pigeon, Pale-headed Rosella and another ‘lifer first’, a female Spotted Bowerbird.

Birds of New South Wales - #12 – Bourke Region White-necked Heron, Barwon River, Brewarrina, NSW

Our dinner, at Port of Bourke Hotel, was above average and well priced.

Addendum – 6 September 2018

Birds of New South Wales - #1 - Tweed Coast Region Osprey (Immature), Hastings Point, NSW

Having had such a good birding session yesterday afternoon, I was keen to take-in more of the birdlife, downstream. So, I set off early this morning to walk the riverside track west of yesterday’s starting point.

Birds of New South Wales - #4(a) - Murray River Region (Howlong) Darter, Howlong Golf Resort, NSW

Sadly, I only came across limited numbers of – Darter, Whistling / Black Kite and Red-rumped Parrot, during my 2 hrs on the track.

Birds of New South Wales - #5 – Coonabarabran Region Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Mendooran, NSW

We then went for a drive to the other side of the Darling River. On our return, we stopped off at riverside free-camping area where we had lunch alongside the Darling and observed –Black Kite, Pied Cormorant, White-necked Heron, Common Blackbird, Peaceful Dove, Darter, Little Friarbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Great Egret, White-plumed Honeyeater, Mallee Ringneck, White-breasted Woodswallow, Common Starling, Pale-headed Rosella and hundreds of Little Corella.

Birds of New South Wales - #6 – Yarrahapinni Azure Kingfisher, Yarralen Retreat, Yarrahapinni, NSW

Our next stop was at Kidman’s Camp where we saw several of the abovementioned species, plus, a fleeting glimpse of a Sacred Kingfisher that was far too quick for me to photograph.

Birds of New South Wales - #12 – Bourke Region Red-rumped Parrot, Bourke, NSW

Next, we called in to the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre but there was precious little birdlife around the centre’s nicely landscaped grounds and lagoon.

Birds of New South Wales - #4(c) - Murray River Region (Echuca / Moama) Weebill, Horseshoe Lagoon, Moama, NSW

Finally, I had a last minute walk along the bank of the Darling River but only came across the species I had previously seen in that area.

Birds of New South Wales - #4(b) - Murray River Region (Yarrawonga / Mulwala / Tocumwal) Little Pied Cormorant, Tocumwal Golf Course, NSW

Nevertheless, it was a good day’s birding, albeit, a little disappointing as I failed to find any more ‘new species’ on my target list.

Birds of New South Wales - #4(c) - Murray River Region (Echuca / Moama) Brown Treecreeper, Broken Creek Reserve, Barmah, NSW

Perhaps I will reduce that list during the next leg of our western odyssey over to Broken Hill.

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