Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bowra Sanctuary Queensland 2014

From Culgoa National Park (see previous post) we drove north west to Cunnamulla in Queensland to pick up fuel, food and water before heading out to Bowra Sanctuary located a short distance north west of the town on the west side of the Warrego River. This was our fifth visit to Bowra. For more information about Bowra Sanctuary see the post from our 2013 visit at http://www.avithera.blogspot.com.au/2013_09_01_archive.html  and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy web site http://www.australianwildlife.org/Home.aspx

After experiencing drought conditions and a dearth of birds for several weeks, especially birds to photograph, Avithera was craving a good bird fix and from previous visits to Bowra we were fairly sure it would deliver. 

And deliver it did. On our first full day at Bowra we recorded 54 species and on the following three days 56, 48 and 58. Over the four days we recorded 85 species. At Bowra, bird call is held each evening at 6pm when all the birders at Bowra gather and the caretakers record the total species seen each day and the largest number of birds seen at any one location. During our stay the daily totals varied from 85 to 88 and the total number of species seen for 30 days in June was 135.

By comparison over the previous few weeks we recorded for our stays in three national parks the following bird species totals: Cocoparra 36, Gundabooka 29 and Culgoa 43 (our visits to these parks are recorded in three recent posts – to find these posts see blog archive).

On our first day at Bowra 13 bird species were photographed, breaking the bird photo drought. This is a selection from our June 2014 stay at Bowra.
This male Cotton Pygmy-Goose turned up at Bowra - way outside of its normal range and wet tropics habitats, a rare vagrant.
There were good numbers of Budgerigars at Bowra, many breeding. This pair selected a hollow in need of some enlargement near our camp site. The hole is less than a metre above the ground. The male has a blue cere and the female a pale cere that becomes brown in the breeding season.
The female does all the nest work and the male stands watch. Here she is entering the hollow.
The female emerging with some rotten wood she is removing from the nest hollow.
The female interrupted her work for a kiss at regular intervals - maintaining the pair bond I guess. This exchange often involves the male feeding the female.
Bowra is a good place to look for Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush which are found in mulga scrub on hard stony ground. However they are not that easy to find and harder to photograph. I was lucky to find a group of three on our first morning at Bowra.
They are ground dwelling birds that favour cover and often run across open ground so many of my shots were taken of the birds on the move when they were in the open. Their colours allow them to blend in well with the rusty red earth.
This bird flew up on the a fallen dead tree where it perched briefly as it checked me out. They have small wings and are weak fliers.
A pair of Little Woodswallows, a group of about a dozen birds found at the Saw Pits area.
A Little Woodswallow. I find all six woodswallow species very attractive birds. They are great aerialists as their name suggests and they take all of their food on the wing.
The Black-faced Woodswallow. There were also good numbers of White-browed Woodswallows at Bowra - see 2013 Bowra post for photos of this species.
The Red-backed Kingfisher, a real arid outback country bird which is quite happy living well away from water. There were also Sacred Kingfishers at Bowra which seemed to 
outnumber the Red-backed.
A pair of Restless Flycatchers were living around the Shearer's Quarters - I managed to catch this one on the roof early one morning.
The stately Australian Bustard - there was at least one pair at Bowra. We found them way out on a grassy plain and attempted to get close for photos, however they were very wary.
Both birds took off, giving an opportunity for a few flight shots, this one with the large wings up.
........... and a shot with wings down.
Another stately bird, or perhaps elegant is a better description - the Brolga.
Brolgas are hard to approach and the pair above soon took off. This flight shot
captured a moment as the bird shed a flight feather.
We found a cat at the Saw Pits waterhole and thought the White-plumed Honeyeaters were making a racket with their alarm calls due to its presence. However we then found this Collared Sparrowhawk in the same spot - this raptor is skilled hunter which preys on small birds is much more likely to be the cause of the honeyeater's alarm.
We were looking for Hall's Babblers in a mulga woodland - without success as it turned out - I was happy to come across a small party of Splendid Fairy-wrens during our search for the Halls and get a snap of this male - they really are splendid.
Hooded Robins are fairly common at Bowra. This one came out from its preferred
woodland habitat to forage in the open late one afternoon.
There are three sub species of Galah in Australia. This is a male and female pair, sub species albiceps, the same sub species we have in Victoria however the birds up in Queensland are a deeper richer pink. The male on the left has a dark eye and the female a red eye.

It was a little hard leaving Bowra to head south to Bourke and resume our planned itinerary after our unplanned diversion north into Queensland. After Bourke, for the next leg of the trip, we planned to spend a few days following the Darling River down to Wilcannia.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like Bowra is living up to its reputation well with some pleasing birds and images to show.