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, 28 July 2014

Around Oz Part 23 – WA Mulga Lands Ablaze with Wildflowers and Birds

Ground Cuckoo-shrike
After leaving the mining town of Newman (see last post) we travelled south and out of the Pilbara. We were moving into the vast mulga of central Western Australia, extending on this trip from south of Newman to beyond Yalgoo.

The first bird of interest was a male (recently split) Western Quail-Thrush by the road 50km north of Kumarina Roadhouse. I watched it briefly before the bird disappeared in gusty wind conditions; I was not to see the species again, despite trying several known sites.

Then, south of the roadhouse, we encountered a nice group of Ground Cuckoo-shrikes by the road.

Ground Cuckoo-shrike
We ended up camping in the bush by Nallan Lake, a beautiful spot 20km north of Cue, where we had our first camp fire of the trip. We also had our first Australian Shelducks of the trip, while Crested Bellbirds and Mulga Parrots were present.

Australian Shelduck

Camping at Lake Nallan
The next morning we checked out the road between Nallan Lake and Mount Magnet, stopping frequently at nice-looking spots. It was apparent there had been good rains recently as wildflowers in various shapes and forms were everywhere, looking fabulous.

Mulga in flower
At Lake Austin, 22km south of Cue, we had our first Peregrine Falcon of the trip. A couple of pairs of Black Honeyeaters were seeing flying into the distance, as was a party of 3 Orange Chats; I have been surprised at how flighty the birds are out here. Other birds in the mulga included Hooded Robin; White-browed and Grey-crowned Babblers;  and a White-fronted Honeyeater, also somewhat distant.

White-browed Babbler
At The Granites, an attractive spot 7km south of Mount Magnet, we had a party of about 10 Pied Honeyeaters.

Pied Honeyeater male

Pied Honeyeater female
In the mulga 10km south-west of Mount Magnet on the Geraldton road, no luck in finding Western Quail-Thrush at a spot supposedly good for them, but Chesnut-rumped Thornbills were nice.

Chesnut-rumped Thornbill
We stopped for the night in the caravan park in the township of Yalgoo. Nearby were more Pied Honeyeaters and a few Crimson Chats.

Crimson Chat
The next morning I checked out the mulga, with flowering shrubs in abundance, a short distance to the west of Yalgoo. White-fronted Honeyeater and Pied Honeyeater were very common. Both species were also found later further along the highway towards Geraldton.

White-fronted Honeyeater

White-fronted Honeyeater

Other birds here included Chiming Wedgebill, Crimson Chat again, Crested Bellbird, Variegated Fairy-wren and Rufous Songlark, also very common. A little further west were Inland Thornbill, Mulga Parrot, Red-capped Robin and Western Gerygone.

Crested Bellbird

Inland Thornbill
Red-capped Robin female


  1. Hi Gregg It has been wonderful following you guys on your trip and to see so many great photos. Brings back many memories, some recent and some now quite a few years old. Keep blogging!!

  2. Thanks Roy. The only lifers on this trip are a handful of DNA splits so it's essentially a travel affair with the luxury of not being stressed out by looking for ticks. Greg

  3. Thanks Greg, really enjoying your blog.