Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Cooper Creek

From Noccundra we headed a short distance north to the Bulloo Development Road (Adventure Way), which links Thargomindah, in SW Queensland, to Innamincka, to the west in South Australia. We then drove about 90 kms due west to the Cooper Creek, another Grey Grasswren (Amytornis barbatus) location.
Looking west on a section of the Bulloo Development Road on the way to Cooper Creek.
Road-kill, often Red Kangaroo, is common on many outback roads, especially where heavy trucks travel at night. The fresh meet supply supports a large number of raptors and Corvid species. We often found Wedge-tailed Eagles feeding on the carcasses along with Corvid species and sometimes Whistling and Black Kites. When road kill is on bends or near crests we stop and move the carcass well off the road to avoid the feeding birds becoming road kill themselves. This often occurs judging by the number of dead Wedge-tailed Eagles we saw.
This Wedge-tailed Eagle was on a Red Kangaroo we moved off the road. Note the fresh blood on the talons.
The Eagle soon moved further away however I am sure as soon as we moved on, it would have returned to its morning feed.
The Cooper Creek flood plain at the Bulloo Development Road crossing is 13kms wide and has 69 minor culverts at small channels and one substantial culvert bridge at the far western end of the flood plain where the main channel runs.
Main Copper Creek channel and bridge looking up stream. There was a very small flow coming down.
Main Cooper Creek channel looking downstream from just below the bridge.
We camped on the Cooper for one night and searched for Grey Grasswrens in the abundant lignum (Muehlenbeckia floruenta) in the afternoon and evening and the following morning. All to no avail I am afraid with not a hint of the GGW anywhere.
Typical Cooper Creek channel with dense fringing lignum.
Ms Avithera searching in the cool early morning for Grey Grasswrens. Her good hearing was used to listen for the very faint and high-pitched calls of the Grasswrens, which are way beyond my hearing range.
Other bird species were fairly scarce though the ever present and abundant White-plumed Honeyeaters (Ptilotula penicillata) were everywhere and active along the more substantial watercourses among the Coollibah (Eucalyptus coolabah). Note the common spelling of Coolibah and the scientific species name spelling are different.
The ubiquitous White-plumed Honeyeater down for a drink in Cooper Creek.
Juvenile Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)
Yellow-throated Miner in a stand off with an Australian Raven, which it was trying to move on without success.
Closer view of the same Australian Raven showing the throat hackles that can be of assistance for ID of this species.
Australian Raven checking out a disused raptor’s nest for a food opportunity.
Finding no Grey Grasswrens, and not knowing if any were present based on current sightings, we decided to move on and try again on Eyre Creek, which is south of Bedourie (and north of Birdsville) on the Eyre Development Road, and is another location where they may be found.

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