4 lifers, 2500 km, 500,000,000 locusts

20 04 2010

What a trip. Lots of learning, a fair swathe of birding, a shitload of driving, biblical plagues of locusts, and 4 ticks.

How good is that?!

The ticks were:

Gilbert’s Whistler

Gilbert's Whistler

Bird # 475

White-winged Fairy-wren (no photo)

Plains-wanderer

Plains-wanderer

Bird # 477

And most suprisingly of all – Grey Falcon.

Grey Falcon

Bird # 478 - and easily my bird of the year

The falcon was a bird I seriously doubted ever finding. Stoked.

The Gilbert’s Whistler was at the base of Mt. Terrick in the Terrick Terrick NP. Took me about 45 minutes to find the bastard, then he disappeared. I got a sketchy record shot, and kept looking. No cigar. Then, about an hour later, another bird appeared and it escorted me back to the car. Champion action.

From there, I went Simon Starr’s place to go for a quick pre-Plains-Wanderer trip to try and find some Orange or Yellow Chats (my memory is shot) that had been reported nearby recently. No joy on the chats (we found the much more common and readily found White-fronted Chat) but we did find a small party of White-winged Fairy-wrens. These birds are fantastic, and I can’t wait to get back and see more of them.

The main reason fo the trip to central north Victoria was to go out looking for Plains-wanderer. Simon rightfully boasts a great record of finding them. We picked up the other couple who were coming along – Deborah and Patrick, from sunny Melbourne, and headed out. The night did not disappoint – 5 wanderers were found, including 1 deceased individual, which Simon made sure was dead by standing on it (accidentally!).

Primaries of a deceased Plains-wanderer

Primaries of a deceased Plains-wanderer

Other highlights were finding a Curl Snake, and a Fat-tailed Dunnart. Simon commented that it was one of the better trips he’d done for quite a while. Elated we finished up, had a beer and a chat, and I contemplated what I’d do the next day.

I tossed up going to Fivebough Swamp at Leeton or not, having had mixed results over the previous 10 visits, and wasn’t convinced whether I’d go or not as I pulled out o simons place. I even slowed down at the turnoff to Wagga Wagga but chose to continue on to Narranderra and subsequently Leeton. True to my experiences, it was pretty quiet.

I saw a Brown Goshawk and took some sketchy record shots, and noticed a falcon behind and below it. Took a few photos, then got the bins on it – had no idea what I was looking at, and noted “weird peregrine – check photos”. I did that when I got back to Sydney, and got pretty excited. We had no Internet though, as our modem packed it in while I was away, so confirmation had to wait until tuesday. I have had it confirmed by Jonny Schoenjahn, THE Grey Falcon expert in – well, probably the world – so I’m ultra stoked. Bird number 478.

Anyway – happy Troy. Only 22 to get to 500, which is nothing to sneeze at. If we end up heading inland later in the year, I should get pretty close to that.

Locusts. Jesus H. Corbett. They were everywhere. I’ve never seen anything like it. Seriously madness. It was almost like driving through mist with bits of hail. The front if the car looked like a monster had sneezed on it. That sounds terrible, but it was.

Happy birding everyone!

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2 responses

22 04 2010
@steve_happ

Great work, troy.
the locusts are a horror story,hey? my car still has the remnants of a bunch from dubbo.

congrats on all the ticks.

cheers.
steve

22 04 2010
Tweets that mention Troy the Birder's Blog Post - 4 lifers, 5 billion locusts - -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John, Steve Happ. Steve Happ said: Troy the Birder's Blog Post – 4 lifers, 5 billion locusts – http://bit.ly/90tRPX […]

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