Just returned from almost two weeks at the University of New South Wales arid zone research station at Fowlers Gap (110km north of Broken Hill, far western NSW). The research station also caters for tourists who can stay in self-contained cottages and wander around the many trails through the property looking for birds. If interested visit the website at http://bioscience.babs.unsw.edu.au/fgap/fgap.htm.
No new birds but I got to catch up with many that I haven’t seen for about six years when I was last in the outback. These included Chirruping Wedgebills, Cinnamon Quail-Thrush, White-Winged Fairy-Wren and Rufous Fieldwren. I had fantastic views of the fieldwrens, watching several birds repeatedly singing from conspicuous perches above saltbushes/bluebushes, foraging on the ground and best of all when three birds were engaged in a curious interaction involving fast chases betwen and around bushes, and a wing-lowering hunched over display – they were very similar to Shy Hylacola in overall jizz (including hiding behind a bush peering through it at me)!. Another highlight was a male White-Winged Fairy-Wren carrying a white petal(?) around in his bill – you wouldn’t think it would make much of a difference but it did (well, at least to me, I thought he was more attractive!).
Other good birds included a lone Elegant Parrot, many pairs of Mulga Parrots, Chestnut-Crowned Babblers, Singing Honeyeater, Spiny-Cheeked Honeyeater and Inland Dotterel (although I missed that one! next time).
Mammals included the four species of large macropod that are present on the station: Red, Eastern & Western Grey Kangaroos and Euro, Short-Beaked Echidna, Stripe-Faced Dunnart and the ferals (Red Fox, European Rabbit, Goat).
Full list follows: