Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Around Oz Part 3 - Barkly Tableland to Mataranka

Black-chinned (Golden-backed) Honeyeater
After travelling the best part of 3000km and leaving Mt Isa (see previous post) we crossed the Northern Territory border to traverse the treeless Barkly Tableland. Of interest near the border was a flock of 5 Flock Bronzewings flying over.

NT Border
Little Crow
Another long drive and we camped for the night at 41 Mile Bore, one of a series of free overnight, roadside camping spots. It was surprisingly quiet and pleasant given the large number of grey nomads with caravans and assorted mobile accommodation. A flock of Little Crows was about the area. I had seen my first Australian Raven just east of Dalby; Torresian Crows continued to be seen as well as ravens at least as far as Longreach. Then the odd small flock of Little Crows was encountered.

White-browed Woodswallow
 The desert steppe in the vicinity of our roadside camp was ablaze with wildflowers. Among the birds was a single Black-chinned (Golden-backed) Honeyeater, a male Pied Honeyeater, White-browed Woodswallow and Masked Woodswallow in good numbers, and White-winged Trillers.

Masked Woodswallow
Pied Honeyeater
Wedge-tailed Eagle
 Plenty of Wedge-tailed Eagles as we travel along - we've counted 22 in 10 days of travelling. This particular bird looks a little shaggy because it was very windy.

Roth's Tree-Frog
After another long drive we left the desert and entered the tropical savannah woodlands, arriving at the settlement of Mataranka, where we spent three nights at Mataranka Cabins and Camping, the place in recent years to see Red Goshawk, as a pair nested across the road. The birds have moved on, however; the owners of the property where the nest tree was located were so frustrated by the constant stream of birders that they evidently cut it down.

Mataranka - view from camp
At the camping ground, a Roth's Tree-Frog Litoria rothii was in the shower. We were fortunate to get a nice spot overlooking the Little Roper River at Bitter Springs. A pleasant walking trail takes you through some beautiful riverside maleleuca and pandanus forest along a line of thermal springs.
Bitter Springs - Mataranka
Birds about include plenty of Rainbow (Red-collared) Lorikeets, Great Bowerbird, White-gaped Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater, Northern Fantail, Bar-breasted Honeyeater and a nice Brown Gosahwk.

Great Bowerbird
Great Bowerbird bower

Red-collared Lorikeet
Brown Goshawk
White-gaped Honeyeater

Northern Fantail

Rainbow Bee-eater
Roper River
 We took a drive through Elsey National Park along the Roper River, a little south of where we are camped. Some great river scenery. We called into Mataranka Homestead, where the celebrated pioneer author Jeannie Gunn lived. We visited the replica homestead where the film based on Gunn's book, We of the Never Never, was made.

Mataranka Homestead
Agile Wallaby
  Agile Wallabies are abundant now we are in the savannah.

Another foray into the maleleuca woodlands was productive with nice views of Blue-winged Kookaburra, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Rufous-throated Honeyeater, Arafura Fantail and Yellow-tinted Honeyeater. Plenty of Shining Flycatchers about.

Blue-winged Kookaburra

Rufous-throated Honeyeater

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