Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bowra Station - Midday Birding

Bowra was getting warm, but there were still so much to explore :-) I decided to get in the car and try to get an idea of the accessibility of the different habitats and use a bit of time in the areas where some of my targeted species had previous been know to reside.

First stop, slim chance of: Grey Falcon and Slaty-backed Thornbill - who would not stop! :-) Actually there was no chance of a GF sighting, I had already had a little chat to the caretakers and rain in the desert west of Bowra meant that those areas were still wet enough to sustain a good mouse population, hence the GF would not yet need to move east into Bowra range.
So no Grey Falcon, but I ended up being pretty happy with my stop anyway! While trying to photograph a good mix of LBBs (Little Brown Bird) darting around in the bushes a lovely red-brown shadow suddenly appeared few meters above the scrubby trees, leisurely circling above me was the least worried Square-tailed Kite I have ever encountered.

The hovering Square-tailed Kite gave me some of the best bird-in-flight photos I have ever managed to take. I do not know if it was because of the lack of a morning coffee or that holding onto something solid like the Magna's steering wheel for a day made my hands steadier than usual, but the ca. 50 Square-tailed Kite photos are exceptional sharp - much better than what I managed to do the day after in a similar situation with a Whistling Kite .. Hm, there is a slim chance that my lens alters between having good and bad days, but reality is probably that the bad days originate approximately 15 cm behind the lens mount :-)

Most of the LBBs were probably Chestnut-rumped Thornbill - at least it seems that both of the photos here (above and below) are of the Chestnut-rumped variety. Graeme Chapman's site has some excellent photos and a description of what to look for, and verdict must be that the Magna will have to head west again later in the year to sort out the SbT - not bad at all :-)

Roads around Bowra Stations are fairly good and I could get anywhere in a low 2WD, except for the last part of the road up onto the escarpment where you have to go to see Hall's Babbler. From where the Magna would have to give up it would probably result in a 30 min walk to the babbler territory and an equal 30 min back. Luckily I had sorted a lift later during the day, so I could concentrate on the other areas, next stop was "(cloud) cuckoo land" where I was promised Pallid Cuckoo, had a chance on Black-eared Cuckoo and against the odds, but still possible, was the chance of bagging a Redthroat.

I parked at the main road and decided to shake off some of the driving laziness from the day before by walking up the hill. I had great views of the most fantastically bright red and velvety black male Mistletoebird - unfortunately my lens had decided to start taking shaky pictures ;-) .. or the energy from my breakfast was running out. Up the hill and as promised I got my Pallid Cuckoo. I followed two cuckoos having an argument for nearly 30 min, often they were so concentrated on establishing their territories, that I could move in close and get some decent photos. It would have been lovely if it had actually been between a Black-eared and a Pallid, but both vere of the latter origin and I had to settle with a single tick for the hill. :-)

It was now just after midday and Bowra Station was getting truly hot. The bird action began to take off and I started focusing my intention on some of the other wildlife around. To be continued.


Jarrod said...

Those are some good BIF photos. I'll have to drag my arse out there soon. Maybe in winter.

AGL said...

Thanks, I would like to come along :-) Talking to the caretakers you get the impression that the selection of wildlife is changing along with the change in climate - so it would all make sense to visit a different time of year.

KH Allan