Over Easter 2012 a number of Birdlife Melbourne members headed to Wyperfeld for a long weekend of birding. To break the long drive, members stopped in a number of places on the way up like Little Desert, Lake Tyrrell and Gama seeing a range of great species like Malleefowl, Elegant Parrot, Rufous Fieldwren and Black-faced Woodswallow. On arrival at the Wonga campground the wind sprung up to gale force and it was quite amusing to watch other people’s tents cartwheeling through the campsite. As the weather was hardly conducive to bush birding the group went for a drive and some members were rewarded with a Malleefowl crossing the Dattuck track and small groups of Regent Parrots particularly near the Lignum Track. The camp kitchen was quite useful considering the crazy wind - despite the old coot who called "bullshit" on every bird we had seen that day... he had however seen blue wrens so who were we to doubt his prowess?
The next day dawned beautiful and still, a perfect day for birding in the mallee. The group hit the Discovery Walk and found a suite of good birds – Redthroat, Southern Scrub-Robin and an elusive Chestnut Quail-thrush but probably the highlight was the gorgeous blue skies and the fact I was back birding in the mallee again! A midday visit to the Desert Track kept the honeyeater count climbing with Striped and Tawny-crowned as well as the first shy Gilbert’s Whistler. An evening walk along the Dattuck Track had heaps of White-fronted Honeyeaters and the first visible Shy Heathwrens as well as scads of White-browed Woodswallows overhead. That night after a couple?? (LOL!) of quiet drinks we were serenaded by the dulcet tones of Boobooks and the screams of Barn Owls.
Sunday was a visit to Northern Wyperfeld – first target was White-browed Treecreeper which was found quiet easily in some of the lovely Callitris forest along the Meridian Track - this was a tick for me after dipping at a number of sure fire spots in the past. Leaving some of the more keen photographic people, the rest of the group bounced around the north of the park where a number of group of Major-Mitchell’s Cockatoo’s were a highlight. I tested my iron guts at the bain-marie in Hopetoun with a so called "meat pastie" that was not yet 3 weeks old and 2 rubbery potato cakes and came through with flying colours - quite amazing the ability of a cold beer to kill any bacterial goodness. A drop in at Lake Albacutya on the way back revealed it is still a lake in name only – none of the recent rains has reached the dusty lake bed - a species list of four revealed its current standing as one of the meccas of Australian Birding.
Early morning birding on the Monday before the long drive back to Melbourne - I had Shy Heathwrens almost bouncing on my toes - they are certainly suckers for the evils of playback. A number of members had an exploratory drive through Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve on the way back, but the deep sand made it an exciting trip with little birding of note. All in all a very successful trip with most target species found. Keep an eye out for further campouts planned for later this year - you really should come birding on my outings - you will see birds ;-)