With the outback reportedly in magnificent condition at the moment after all the rain that has fallen, I decided to arrange a trip with good mate Michael Warnes and head up along the lower half of the Strezlecki Track. We chose to go on the last weekend in September as it was AFL grand final weekend and Collingwood were looking ominous, and we wanted to be as far away as we could be, incase they won!! ( turned out to be a draw, so our plan failed and we had to deal with it the next weekend! )
We left at 6.30am and arrived in the Southern Flinders Ranges around 3 hours later. We had travelled around 30km's north of Hawker when we saw a small flock of six Chirruping Wedgebills in a roadside bush, so we pulled over for a look. While standing on the side of the road, not 4m away a Rufous Fieldwren popped up onto the top of a low bush and proceeded to sing it's little heart out, a second bird was hopping around in the same area also. In this spot we also flushed a small Quail, I think it was a Little button-Quail, although it seemed quite pale on it's back compared to other LBQ I often come across further south just north of Adelaide. Has me wondering if it was a Red-chested Button-Quail? Hard to be sure?
|Three playful Thick-billed Grasswrens!|
|Prepare for takeoff!!|
|Great little birds!|
After breakfast it was back to the Chestnut-breasted Whiteface site to resume the search. This time after an epiphany during the night where I remembered Dave Kowalick had seen them around 500m north of the rusty car, Mike and I set off with a renewed determination. We took off in different directions with a plan to meet on a distant rigdetop. An hour later we met and other than a few more Cinnamon Quail-thrush each and plenty of Zebra Finches we still hadn't found what we were looking for! Mike lead us back towards the 4wd
down a small gully where he had heard an interesting call earlier, nothing in the gully but as we neared the vehicle a small bird popped up onto the top of a low bush, Chestnut-breasted Whiteface!! Turned out to be a party of 4-6 birds (hard to tell numbers as they hopped about between bushes!) we also stopped in here on the way home and found a flock of 4 birds, which is where these photos came from. It had taken around five hours searching all up! but it was worth it to find the first of the two endemic species only found in SA that we hoped to find on this trip, the other being the Short-tailed Grasswren. Both would be lifer's for me and the CBW would be for Mike!
|Chestnut Breasted Whiteface at Mt Lyndhurst Station|
The most abundant Raptor for the trip was hands down the Black Kite!
|Gibberbird with insect for it's young|