Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gundabooka National Park - Part 3 - Wildlife in the Mulga

The faithful reader will remember already seeing some of the landscape highlights from our long weekend bushwalk to the Mount Gundabooka range, in addition to the photogenic vistas the selection of wildlife made the walk turn into something really special.

Walking for 8 hours passing through something like 4 different types of habitats will necessarily have to give you a good selection of wildlife and some decent photo opportunities ...

and it did, but looking through my pictures from the trip it seems that the wildlife of Gundabooka is slightly more suspicious and less tolerant to the approach of the camera equipped bushwalker. I have a much higher ratio of pictures that can only be used for ID purpose, but are nowhere near the quality needed for the blog :-)

From a birding point of view, the more open mulga forest as well as the grassy slopes below the mountain were absolutely fantastic areas to visit and we managed to see 6 species of birds that I have not encountered previously: Red-backed Kingfisher, Varied Sittella, Striped Honeyeater, Crimson Chat, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush and Crested Bellbird.

We saw very little life in the denser mulga ... it could obviously rely on the fact that we had our eyes fixed well and truly on the compasses :-D Climbing the mountain, we had excellent views of a variety of reptiles, more goats than I have seen in any national park before and the usual swallows and martins plus great display of a few Little Woodswallows.

The outback somehow always feels dry, but driving towards Gundabooka it had looked like there had been rain in the area not to long ago, that might be the reason for our luck with the wildlife(?)

As usual I have had terrible trouble with the ID of the various reptiles spotted. I had actually hoped Jarrod, who is fairly skilled in the business of turning over stuff lying on the ground and naming what crawls underneath, would have helped me out by sorting out the naming on his blog ... instead it seems he also focused on the much easier task of just taking the pictures :-)

The kingfisher above had us puzzled for a while, it never showed its back, but sporting a slightly racier haircut than the usual type, we knew we were onto something exciting. Also the treecreeper in the second picture is puzzling, it has to be the Brown type (only Brown and White-browed in Gundabooka) but it looks different from the Brown variety that I have seen before - any thoughts are welcome.

Great guns! Super walk, would love to go again if someone will sponsor a extra day off ;-)


Iain said...

It's a White-browed treecreeper so there's another tick for you. Not that you're keeping count! ;) I'll need to negotiate some more holiday so I can join you on the next trip.

AGL said...

Ah .. guess the lack of a white-brow had us fooled ;-) It was a great trip, your contract will soon be up for renewal I guess? So a bit of negotiation and you will be able to go semi-pro birder(?)

Jarrod said...

Good stuff that will be a new one for me as well. The lack of white brow was rather off putting and I had just put it down to a brown one as well.

Jarrod said...

Some of the lizards are probably the Tree Skink (Egernia striolata) although I would not bet my life or even $10 on it.