Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 14, 2009

Birding Road trip to the Central West 13

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 6:02 am

South Coast – Mogareka Inlet and Lake Mummaga

Monday, January 5th, 2009
Its Monday, so of course I woke up at 6am and got up to look for birds. I shot one rabbit! Humph, so I moved onto Dead Horse Gap just above Thredbo in the Kosciusko National Park. It seems that the moths and honeyeaters migrate through Dead Horse Gap at certain times of the year – forget which. There are some good tracks here. I then drove to Thredbo and Jindabyne and had breakfast at Serge’s – best coffee! The coffee in country towns is abysmal. I headed off to Bega via Cooma, hence to Tathra and the Mogareka Inlet, which is a nesting site for Little Terns. They had the area roped off and it was excellently done – with heaps of signs saying NO DOGS! Top job, Congratulations to all concerned.

Around 2pm I saw some Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos at the Mogareka Inlet picnic area and here are some lovely shots.

yellow-tailed black cockatoo
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

yellow-tailed black cockatoo
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

That afternoon I drove to Bodalla State Forest and am going to walk to Lake Mummaga this evening.
Well I went for a walk and it was pretty crap. Nothing of any significance but it was a great walk. Next day, I headed home via the Freeway. Journey ended.

January 13, 2009

Birding Road trip to the Central West 12

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 11:13 pm

Cocoparra National Park – Spring Hill

Sunday, January 4th, 2009
I drove to Spring Hill from Jacks Creek and at about 6:15am I went for a walk up to Falcon Falls. There were heaps of birds around – lots of new ones for me. I met this family of White-browed Woodswallows and they were very hospitable to me.

White-browed Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow

There was bunch of Eastern Yellow Robins who were hanging around the pine trees on the way up the hill.

Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin

Up the top of Spring Hill there was a spring! Lots of birds were drinking from water coming out of the rocks. Here are a couple of them.

White-eared Honeyeater
White-eared Honeyeater and White-plumed Honeyeater

There was lots of goat droppings around the spring – big problem. It is definitely NOT a good thing having feral animals in National Parks.
I saw a willy wagtail attacking a crow – he kept pestering him and the crow flew off the willy wagtail attacking him as he was flying away. It was truly awesome – David and Goliath.

wagtail and crow
A Willy Wagtail attacking a Crow

I don’t know where to go next -either Cowra or Kosciusko National Park. I cannot decide and I might just flip a coin.

brown treecreeper
Brown Treecreeper

At noon I drove to Wagga, Tumut, Khancoban. There is incredible die-back around the Tumut Pond – its like the Snowy mountains. I was going to stay at Ogilvie Creek Rest Area but I got eaten alive by horse flies so I drove to Scammels Lookout and had dinner and was going to stay there but the mozzies almost carried me away so I packed up and kept driving to Tom Groggins – a beautiful spot by a river.

Cocoparra Spring Hill Bird Species List

  • White-browed Woodswallow
  • Eastern Yellow Robin
  • White-plumed Honeyeater
  • Brown-headed Honeyeater
  • White-eared Honeyeater
  • Australian Raven
  • Willy Wagtail

Birding Road trip to the Central West 11

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 9:05 am

Cocoparra National Park – Woolshed Flat and Jacks Creek

January 3rd, 2009
At Griffith I slept in, watched TV, had a cup of tea and then I am going to pack up. Clock off time is 10am at the Tourist Caravan Park. So I headed off to the Cocoparra national Park and at 1pm stopped off at Jacks Creek but it was too hot. There is a good walk up and over the gorge, maybe I will do it tomorrow morning. I went up to Bingar Mountain where there were lots of telecom aerials and air navigation stuff up there. I caught a glimpse of a smallish brown raptor.

White-browed Babbler
White-browed Babbler

At 3pm I arrived at Woolshed Flat camp. I saw some noisy miners, a lot of very green parrots, willy wagtails and a very big black wasp that was about two inches long. There are lots of bees and wasps around and it is very very dry and hot. The wasps all wanted to get into my car, so I had to close all the windows.

grey butcherbird
Grey Butcherbird

At 6pm I went for a walk up to Eagle Falls hoping to see some eagles – ha ha. I saw two goats and a few grey fantails. Back down on the flat there was a fox and later as I was driving out I saw two herds of wild goats – about a dozen all up. Not good having feral goats in a national park. ugh. On the way out a colony of apostlebirds posed for me by the side of the car, they were very obliging.


Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

At 7pm I arrived at Jacks Creek and walked up the Canyon Gorge for a while and then came back. On the way back there was a common bronzewing up in a tree. That night I camped at Jacks Creek and planned to go to Spring Hill camp in the morning.

common bronzewing
Common Bronzewing

Cocoparra National Park Bird Species List

  • Grey Fantail
  • White-browed Babbler
  • Grey Butcherbird
  • Apostlebird
  • Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
  • Common Bronzewing

January 12, 2009

Birding Road trip to the Central West 10

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 9:04 pm

Griffith – Campbells Swamp and Nericon Swamp

January 2nd, 2009
At 7pm I went to Campbells Swamp and saw two raptors. I have yet to identify them. The raptors looked very different to each other. One was very dark and the other was much lighter. It was very dry and there was no water at all.



There were a bunch of red-rumped parrots in a tree in the distance. It is a shot from behind so you cant see much except that you can distinctly see the red rump of a couple of them

red-rumped parrot
Red-rumped Parrot

major mitchells cockatoo
Major Mitchells Cockatoo

At 7.45pm I went over to the Nericon Swamp and saw 2 raptors in the far distance. The Nericon Swamp site was extremely dry and looked like no-one went there any more.


Campbells Swamp and Nericon Swamp Bird Species List

  • Red-rumped Parrot
  • Major Mitchells Cockatoo

Birding Road trip to the Central West 9

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 7:20 am

Fivebough Swamp 3, Leeton

January 2nd, 2009
I went again to the Fivebough Swamp at dawn and saw a bunch of Red-kneed Dotterels. There was also a fox near the main entrance hide and a flock of Glossy Ibis flew over.

Great Egret
Great Egret

In the afternoon I drove to Griffith and am now staying at the Tourist Caravan Park. I am stying in a cabin for $40 a night. I have been charging batteries and dumping off the pics to the computer and external hard drive.

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt

Australian spotted crake
Australian Spotted Crake

red-kneed dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterel

welcome swallow
Welcome Swallow

Fivebough Bird Species List

  • Great Egret
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Black Swan
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Australian White Ibis
  • Australian Spotted Crake
  • Red-kneed Dotterel
  • Welcome Swallow

January 11, 2009

Birding Road trip to the Central West 8

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 11:20 pm

Fivebough Swamp 2, Leeton

January 1st, 2009
Happy New Year! I went around Fivebough again at dawn and saw some dotterels, sandpipers, a black-shouldered Kite, and lots of ducks. Plus lots of other stuff.

Golden-headed Cisticola
Golden-headed Cisticola

Australian Spotted Crake
Australian Spotted Crake

Sharp-tailed sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

pacific black duck
Pacific Black Ducks

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite

At 10am I drove to the Gogeldrie Weir and sat under an oak tree reading a book, which was very nice and relaxing. In the late afternoon/evening, I went back to the Fivebough Swamp and saw the Swamp Harrier again and then camped overnight nearby.

Swamp Harrier
Swamp Harrier, 1st Year

Red-kneed Dotterel
Red-kneed Dotterels and a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Fivebough Bird Species List

  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
  • Red-kneed Dotterel
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Red-necked Avocet
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Common Greenshank
  • Black-shouldered Kite
  • Swamp Harrier
  • Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  • Great Egret
  • Australian White Ibis
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Pelican
  • Mallard
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Pink-eared Duck
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Australian Spotted Crake
  • Golden-headed Cisticola
  • Zebra Finch

Birding Road trip to the Riverina 7

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 6:38 am

Fivebough Swamp 1, Leeton

December 31st 2008
From Yanco and the Euroley Bridge, I went to Leeton and visited the Fivebough Swamp at 7pm. I stopped mainly at the bird hide that is just down from the entrance way. It looks over the supposed Permanent Wetland area on the map, but it was pretty dry when I was there. The Ephemeral wetland areas were full of water. The first thing I spotted was a pair of Swamp Harriers. I could not believe my eyes.

Swamp Harrier
Swamp Harrier

Swamp Harrier
Swamp Harrier

A whole bunch of swamp hen looking birds came out of the rushes and started running towards the hide and the water hole that was left right near to the hide. I have looked them up and they are Black-tailed Native-hens. This one looks a bit angry. grrr!

black-tailed native-hen
Black-tailed Native-hen

And of course, a wetlands is incomplete without a cute black-winged stilt. aaawww.

black-winged stilt
Black-winged Stilt

common greenshanks
Common Greenshanks

straw-necked ibis
Straw-necked Ibis

Fivebough Bird Species List

  • Common Greenshank
  • Straw-necked Ibis
  • Swamp Harrier
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Black-tailed Native-Hen
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Yellow Spoonbill
  • White-faced Heron

Birding Road trip to the Central West 6

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 3:57 am

Euroley Bridge, Yanco

December 31st 2008
I headed off towards Yanco and Leeton and crossed the Euroley Bridge and took some photos along the banks of the Murrumbidgee around ten o’clock in the morning. I saw another kingfisher,a few parrots and an owl that was being harrassed by a colony of white-winged choughs.
Here is a pair of what I think are Crimson Rosella or commonly called Yellow Rosellas, race flaveolus. The Yellow Rosella is a sub-species of the Crimson Rosella and is usually found along inland waterways in New South Wales. I believe the Scientific name for the Yellow Rosella is Platycerus flaveolus.

Yellow Rosella
Yellow Rosella, race flaveolus, a sub-species of the crimson rosella

sacred kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher

I flushed this owl from a low tree about 11am in the morning and it flew up into a river gum and started getting harrassed and attacked by a colony of White-winged Choughs. I think it is an immature owl and am awaiting on a positive identification from those more expert in these matters. From the distribution I am guessing either a Southern Boobook or a Barking Owl, but it looks more like an immature Powerful Owl, but I doubt the distribution for this.

Immature Owl being harrassed by White-winged Choughs

Birds Species List for Euroley Bridge

  • Pelican
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Yellow Rosella, race flaveolus, sub-species of the Crimson Rosella
  • Sacred Kingfisher
  • White-winged Chough

January 10, 2009

Birding Road trip to the Central West 5

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 7:18 am

Narrandera Common

December 30th 2008
I headed over the canal at Narrandera to the Narrandera Common and went for a walk along the Murrumbidgee from First Beach to Second Beach – very creative names, hey? There were a bunch of dollarbirds in the trees but approaching Second Beach I spotted what seemed like a young koala to me. So here he is – awww, cute.


There were a few grass birds along the river bank but I could not identify them. Maybe you can.


Then at Second Beach I came across what I thought was a mommy Willy Wagtail and a very angry looking baby.

Willy Wagtail
Willy Wagtail

This parrot and ones like it perplex me. I am thinking it is a crimson rosella mainly because of the blue under-cheeks and the red forehead and blue on the wings. I am guessing but I think there might be a lot of variance or morphs and hybridisation amongst parrot and rosella species. I need to do a bit of reading about that.

crimson rosella
Crimson Rosella, maybe?

Birding Road trip to the Central West 4

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 6:48 am

Narrandera Wetlands

December 29th 2008
I stopped at the County Lodge Motel in West Wyalong for the night. It wasn’t too bad for $55 with Air Conditioning and Cable TV. I charged the batteries but the charger is not working properly so I must get them checked if it plays up again. The batteries lasted about three to four days.

Tuesday December 30th 2008
The trip started again from West Wyalong after a night of TV indulgence, then got to Narrandera and went to the Tourist shop and got the bird routes. The lady was very helpful. I got the Bird routes for Narrandera, Leeton, and Griffith. I then headed off to the Narrandera Wetlands to see what was around. There were some egrets, Australasian Grebe, purple swamphens, king parrots. Here are some assorted shots from that visit.

australasian grebe
Australasian Grebe

Note the red eye on this White-winged Chough. They do not get a red eye until they are four years of age. When flying you can see the large white patch on the wings. They feed mostly on the ground and stay in medium social groupings or colonies.

White-winged Chough
White-winged Choughs

December 31st 2008
Went to the Narrandera Wetlands again after looking at Five Mile Reserve which unfortunately was clogged up with skiers and fishermen because of holidays. But I did see a flock of Royal Spoonbills wheeling in there. So, I went for another walk around the Narrandera Wetlands and saw a kingfisher and the usual wetlands stuff.

sacred kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher

I bought an inverter for charging my camera batteries for $99 and it works good so far. Headed off for the MIA(Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area)State Forests. So I am pretty nearly in the riverina or maybe I already was.


clamorous reed-warbler
Clamorous Reed-warbler

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