Following the visit with Bernie O'Keefe and Scott Baker to Diamantina National Park and our travels down the Birdsville Track and through the Flinders Ranges, we moved on to the huge expanse of mallee in the Murray-Sunset National Park on the Victoria-South Australia border. We set up camp in a spot the guys knew of at the junction of Pheeneys and Old Bore tracks in remote, old growth mallee deep in the national park. I've always loved the mallee and it was a joy to be back in it.
|Camping in Murray-Sunset National Park|
Red-lored Whistler is one of the more difficult Australian birds to see and photograph so was high on our wishlist. I found a male whistler three kilometres north of the camp in almost exactly the same spot where Scott saw one many years previously. This was just the second time I've seen this species. At the same time, Scott found another bird south of the track junction, while a third whistler was heard early the evening before in the vicinity of the camp. So we had three Red-lored Whistlers within 4kms of each other over.
Striated Grasswren was another much-wanted image and having a pair of these at close quarters was satisfying.
The yellow-rumped form of Spotted Pardalote, a potential split for sure, was plentiful.
|Spotted (Yellow-rumped) Pardalote|
Other mallee birds showed nicely in this area, notably Southern Scrub-Robin, Shy Heathwren and Chestnut Quail-thrush. Yellow-plumed Honeyeater was fairly common and we looked without success for Black-eared Miners, finding just a single Yellow-throated Miner.
We travelled more than 100km along park roads before leaving Murray-Sunset the next day and heading for our next overnight destination – the mallee town of Ouyen in Victoria. Mulga Parrot was plentiful along the way.
We visited Hattah-Kulkyne National Park the next morning but had no luck looking for Mallee Emu-wren, although we had seen the species previously. We did find the mound of a Malleefowl, not far from where I saw a malleefowl in 2014.
We continued eastward to Lake Tyrrell, where Rufous Fieldwren took some searching in the cold and windy conditions, before finally arriving at Bernie's Melbourne home for some much-needed warmth and rest.
|St Kilda Pier|
|Australian Spotted Crake|