Red-capped Robin - Australian Native Bird
Red-capped Robin – Australian Native Bird

Day 1-2

I have recently returned from an epic birding journey with fellow birder Heyn De Kock and Geoff Gates to Gluepot in South Australia. Heyn and I ended up driving over 3200 kilometers in 12 days and saw 135 species of birds. I will write the trip report in stages as I am still to process lots of the photos.

Fivebough Swamp

Our first destination was Fivebough Swamp located just outside of Leeton, NSW about 600km west of Sydney. The wetlands were recognised as being a Wetland of International Importance through designation under the Ramsar Convention on 21 October 2002 and have had 188 species of bird recorded there. We arrived pretty late in the afternoon and parked at the Petersham Road carpark. We instantly heard several small birds being Yellow Thornbill, Weebill and I think Superb Fairy Wrens. As we walked towards the swamp we could see they had recieved a lot of rain as all the paths were flooded as was the bird hide. I did see Western Gerygone and the biggest gathering of Willie Wagtails I had ever seen.

Due to the flooding it was going to be difficult to capture water birds so I took a few shots of the Weebills instead.

Weebill, Fivebough Swamp
Weebill – Fivebough Swamp, NSW

We meet a local birder at the location who gave us lots of useful information and while we were chatting a flock of Superb Parrots flew overhead which was a new bird for Heyn and I. We went for a walk and saw a few Swamp Harriers, Reed Warbler and Grebes but due to bad light no photos.

We set out early Sunday morning hoping to photograph the large flock of Pink-eared Ducks located on the Eastern Side of the Swamp. When we arrived we were faced with heavy overcast skies with little light. We still had a go but really struggled for any keepers. I was happy to see my first ever Hoary-headed Grebe and Pink-eared Duck so not all was lost.

Australasian Grebe, Fivebough Swamp, NSW – Terrible Light 🙂

Binya State Forest

We decided to go to Binya State Forest just East of Griffith to have a look for Turquoise Parrot and Red-capped Robin. We took Brobenah Hall Road and Enroute we saw Apostlebirds, Nankeen Night Heron, Double Barred Finches & Varied Sitella(Ewan Smiles Rd), White-necked Heron and Yellow-billed Spoonbill.  We arrived mid morning and after a short drive I spotted my first ever Red-capped Robin sitting on some dead branches.

We stopped and watched the bird as it flew from perch to perch in the search of food. It was relatively easy to see which perches it preferred and we simply cable tied some perches to the dead tree and after awhile the bird landed on our perch allowing for some images I was very happy with.

Other notable birds we saw were Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Red-rumped Parrots and Chestnut-rumped Thornbills.

Nericon and Campbell Swamp

The next destination was Campbells Swamp just North of Griffith. We inadvertently went to Nericon Swamp which is located on the right just north of Campbells Swamp. I am glad we did as we saw a lot of birdlife during our short stay. There were a large number of raptors with White-bellied Sea Eagle, Swamp Harrier, Whistling Kite, Black Kite and Black-Shouldered Kite all soaring in the sky.

I was also stoked to see my first Black-tailed Native-hen, Red-kneed Dotterel and Black-winged Stilt all feeding at the waters edge. I got muddy and crawled towards the Red-kneed Dotterel and took a few shots but due to the flooding the water was thick with dead plant matter making it hard to isolate the birds. Still I got a good ID shot.

Red-kneed Dotterel, Nericon Swamp, Griffith, NSW

I also tried in vain to get a good Black-winged Stilt shot but they proved to be flighty and all I managed was a flight shot as they took to the air.

Black-winged Stilt, Nericon Swamp, Griffith, NSW

As the light was fading we went over to Campbells Swamp to check it out. I was extremely impressed with the boardwalk and bird hide which is a credit to the locals for supporting birdlife. We saw Musk Duck, Brown Falcon, Black Kite and Reed warbler during our quick walk. Unfortunately the site was not that conducive to photography so we  had a quick look around before heading back to Nericon Swamp.

That was the end of our first two days, I was over the moon with the Red-capped Robin shots but a little disspointed in the quality of the other shots. Still the journey was only beginning and the next morning we were setting out for Hattah-Kulkyne National Park were I had high hopes for seeing lots of new birds.
Read Part 2 of my Epic Birding Journey 

Helpful Resources

Birding guide to the Griffith area – Download
Fivebough Swamp webiste –
Leeton Caravan Park – we paid $90 for an ensuite cabin with no linen. Room was clean and tidy.

Photographic Gear Used

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