Birds Reptiles Walk

Kindra Spirits.

Kindra Sate Forest, just outside of the small NSW town of Coolamon, is 52 hectares of remnant bushland set aside for leisurely walking and mountain biking trails. It is also home to many bird and other wildlife species. When Bramanda visited we had a close encounter with a handsome goanna.

A Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae):

An Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis)

A Red-rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus):

Apostlebirds (Struthidea cinerea) roamed the trails:

Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla)

Also this guy, sunning on a sculpture:

Kindra is also home to a family of White-winged Choughs (Corcorax melanoramphos ).

White Plumed Honeyeaters (Ptilotula pencillata)

Many Grey-crowned Babblers (Pomatostomus temporalis) were also in evidence.

But on this day, the star of the show was a stunningly beautiful Goanna who nonchalantly crossed the trail in front of us:

Birds Places

The Kites of Carrathool.

Saying goodbye to Paika Station, we headed to our next stop at Coolamon, crossing the ultra-flat Hay Plains. Along the way we encountered a mob of emus.

Nearing the village of Carrathool (population 300), we were on the lookout for something that we had been tipped off about: a Worm Farm and Composting facility that was a mecca for Black Kites (Milvus migrans). We had been prepared to expect many birds in the sky, but seeing 100 (at a minimum) circling together was not something that we were ready for. Photos struggle to do justice to just how full of Kites the skies here were:

Had we read up on these birds, we might not have been so surprised. Bird guides agree that Black Kites are gregarious and commonly form loose flocks numbering hundreds of individuals. These flocks most frequently form around cattle feedlots, abattoirs and rubbish dumps. A composting facility fits the pattern, then.
Continuing our bad luck with raptor encounters, the light on this occasion was not great.

Black Kites are so named because they can appear black from a distance, but they are actually dark to mid-brown, rufous in their underparts, and with a pale brown head and neck.

When flapping, their flight is slow, almost lazy, and appears effortless. In contrast to the slightly larger Whistling Kite, Black Kites are more manoeuvrable, and they tend to bank and wheel a lot more. Bird guides seem to indicate that the Black Kite’s tail is “constantly” twisted and fanned.

At road level, the Galahs went about their grass-seed feeding undaunted by the clouds of Kites.

Back on the road, it was not much further on that we came upon the historic Carrathool Bridge (1924) – a hybrid timber truss bridge and a bascule span.


Fight! Fight! Fight!

Inter-species altercations at the local park.

These Galahs were quietly grazing., under the watchful gaze of their alpha-male:

A youthful Magpie wanted to search for food in the same patch:

Tensions escalated:

The face-off got serious as the combatants rounded on each other, sizing each other up…

Then it was ON!

The Magpie’s mates watched on, but didn’t weigh in…

The pair then took it in turns to adopt a “running-away” strategy…

Later, in the carpark….


Show Time.

Taronga’s Free-flight Bird Show is justly famous. For more than 20 years it has been delighting crowds and demonstrating bird behaviours against the stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour.

The Black-breasted Buzzard (Hamirostra melanosternon):

The Black-breasted Buzzard’s party-trick is using a rock to crack the tough shells of emu eggs. In the Bird-show, ersatz eggs (with a treat inside) are used.


A Barking Owl (Ninox connivens):

The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is the largest flying bird in the world (using a combined weight and wingspan formula), which explains why he looks a bit ungainly on the ground:

The Eastern Barn Owl (Tyto delicatula). Despite its name, it can be found all over Australia, except for western Tasmania.

Among the Bird Show’s team of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita), is a lone Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) who has been well-trained in always keeping his crest up!

A presenter has a moment with a Galah (Eeolophus roseicapilla).