Rob and I had a very successful trip out west last week, spending 2 nights in Dubbo with a day trips to the flooded Macquarie Marshes and Dubbo Zoo. We saw 120+ species for the trip, Rob got 17 ticks.
We left Maitland Sunday afternoon after work and made the leisurely 4hr drive to Dubbo, not seeing anything exciting on the way. White-breasted Woodswallows and Red-rumped Parrot greeted us in town.
Next morning we awoke at 5am and headed off to the Marshes. As Rob slept, I watched the sunrise over the Warrumbungles. Birds started to appear from every direction with many Blue Bonnets on the road. We stopped for a small group of Black-faced Woodswallows and soon had Ground Cuckoo-shrike (eventually seeing 10 birds for the day) and Horsfield's Bushlark. Emu, Mallee Ringnecks, Cockatiel and Red-winged Parrots showed well.We reached the first bit of roadside water and wow! Birds everywhere! Magpie Geese, Plumed Whistling-duck, Pink-eared Duck, Great, Intermediate and Little Egrets, White-necked, White-faced and Nankeen Herons, 3 species of Grebe, Black Swan, Stilts, Red-kneed Dotterel and Royal Spoonbills. Darter and Cormorants were constant in the sky. What an amazing sight. Little Grassbird and Reed Warbler were seen/heard in the reeds and a Sacred Kingfisher watched over all.
As we continued on along the Gibson Way we constantly flushed Egrets, Herons and ducks from roadside ditches and puddles. Native-hens started appearing and we probably saw well over a 100 birds all up, all juveniles.
Bush birds were light on until we hit the more wooded roadsides. Yellow-throated Miner, Singing Honeyeater, Southern Whiteface, Weebill, Mistletoebird, Yellow Robin, Hooded Robin, Jacky Winter, White-browed Woodswallow, and Plum-headed and Double-barred Finches were all ticked.
Overhead there were a few raptors but not in the numbers I expected. We saw Wedgies, Swamp Harrier, Whistling and Black Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Little Eagle, Black and Brown Falcon, Brown Goshawk and Kestrel.
More water birds were spotted including Glossy Ibis and Brolga. A Spotted Crake ventured out into the open and gave great views.
We started to head north to Carinda where we saw Chestnut-crowned and White-browed Babbler, Dusky Woodswallow, Spotted Bowerbird, White-winged and Variegated Fairy-wren and loads more of the common stuff. Around 'The Mole'? homestead we saw Wandering Whistling-duck.
Our final stop for the day was between the Gibson Way and Warren where we saw 3 Painted Button-quail and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill.
The next morning we headed off to the zoo and had a wonderful time riding their bikes around the 4km track, which we did twice! Most of the animals showed really well, especially the Giraffes, Hippos and Siamangs. In the afternoon we practically had the place to ourselves which made for a very relaxing experience. The zoo is set amongst cypress woodland so there were plenty of birds to see between enclosures. Highlights included Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Double-barred Finch, Little Eagle and White-browed Babbler.
We left the zoo very happy and made our way back home ready for work/uni the next morning.