Friday, August 18, 2006

broken hill

i'm now back from my a short trip to broken hill. it really is the arse end of beyond, 300km from any other settlement. the town itself was a bit of a dump with horrific scars from its mining heritage which created the wealth to build the town, one huge open cast mine splits the place in two. apparently the "line of lode" the metal seam that runs through it is the richest in the world for zinc, silver and another one that i cant remember.
as for the birds, i really had no idea where to look, i just knew that there were loads of rare desert goodies "within 150km of Broken Hill", that would be fun without a car. i decided that the best bet would be to hire a bike and try heading as far out of the town as i could physically manage. On the first day i rode 20km north east on the silver city highway to Stephens Creek, a river that had long dried up. this area was very productive with mulga parrot, redthroat, chestnut crowned babbler and pink cockatoo. cycling slowly back to town produced loads of chirruping wedgebill and several orange chat, really smart birds. also new for me were australasian pipit and brown songlark. riding back was really tough, the wind had picked up while i was birding stephens creek and i was heading straight back into it, along with several small sandstorms.
The next day (today) i couldnt go so far as i had a bus back to mildura (where i'm writing this from) in the early afternoon. i headed out towards the "living desert'" sculpture symposiom, 12km north west of broken hill. roughly halfway there i stopped at a site that i thought looked promising and was rewarded with a superb male crimson chat, rufous songlark, shy hylacola (heathwren) and a spotted nightjar roosting on the ground.
overall not a bad few days considering i had no real gen.
am catching the bus down to hattah kulkyne NP in a few hours to camp for a 3 nights and to try and see some of the rarer mallee specialists. unfortunately the bus doesnt arrive at hattah til 10:45pm and then its 5 km to the campsite, not sure what i'll do but i hope to work something out pretty soon, my first bit of "going bush" required methinks.

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