Jolly Goodfellows – Birding
Jolly Goodfellows – Birding have more than 40 itineraries featuring bird species of the Riverland and Mallee area, including the Bookmark Biosphere. These safaris range from two days to six days duration, and are all inclusive, meaning that all travel, accommodation, meals, drinks and ornithological expertise are included in the prices. Several Birding/Wildlife adventures, ranging from six to nine days duration and other outback adventures to any destination are also available on request.
Two Day Birding – Oak Bore – Option 2E
Day One – We first visit the Berri evaporation ponds, an artificial area of wetland, but it has a very rich and diverse range of birdlife. Many species of ducks and waterfowl can be observed here, some at very close range. It is also a delight to see the Spotted Crake wandering through the reeds and the water grasses, and occasionally the Buff-banded Rail. The surrounding area is also home to some other very interesting species, and some time will be spent here looking for them. We will expect to see Superb and Variegated Fairy Wrens, Singing Honeyeaters, Striped Honeyeater, Little Friarbirds, Chestnut-crowned Babblers and much more.
. From here we head north, on into Calperum Station Mallee area concentrating on finding some of the more elusive Mallee species, including the Black-eared Miner, Red-lored Whistler, Striated Grasswren, Southern Scrub-robin and of course the Mallee Fowl. We will stop at some convenient location to enjoy our lunch, then, late in the afternoon we will reach Oak Bore outstation, a disused shearers’ complex, complete with kitchen, toilets, showers and bedrooms, facilities that we can use. We will have our evening meal in the kitchen/dining area and select our beds for the night.
. Day Two – After breakfast next morning, we will head for an area where there is a Mallee Fowl nest that may well be active, and if we look around carefully we may even spot the birds. We will next head a little way further north to some Black Oak forests, favourite habitat of the White-browed Treecreeper and, in our opinion, Australia’s prettiest Treecreeper. This is also a good place at times to see Chestnut-crowned Babblers.
. We will then travel back south, birding all the way, until we reach Oak Bore again, where we will have our lunch. Then we will pack up our gear and travel south to Lakes Merreti and Woolpolool where we visit some pristine wetlands (a designated Ramsar wetland of international importance) to view the waterbirds plus the riverine species in the surrounding Lignums and River Red Gums. Nearby we also walk around the floodplain habitat with its Saltbush and Samphire flats, viewing some of the species frequenting this particular area, including the White-winged Fairy Wrens Redthroats. Then it is back to Berri to pick up your vehicle or to connect with the coach for the return trip to Adelaide.
. By arrangement, dates and times on application.
Five Day Birding in the Bookmark Biosphere – Option 5H
Day One – We travel to Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre where we will be booked for a walk along the birdwatching boardwalk. This walk takes us around Banrock’s wetland where we can sit for a while in the four bird-hides and view the wonderful array of water birds and waders. After this seven kilometre (three hour) walk we head back to the Wine and Wetland Centre where we have our lunch.
. We head back to Monash to pick up the rest of our supplies and pay a visit to the Berri evaporation ponds. This is an artificial area of wetland but it has a very rich and diverse range of birdlife. Many species of ducks and waterfowl can be observed here, some at very close range. It is also a delight to sometimes see the Australasian Crake, and occasionally the Buff-banded Rail, wandering through the reeds and water grasses. Around the perimeter and adjoining areas, we have opportunities to also see some of the bush birds of the region, including Variegated and Superb Fairy Wrens, Chestnut-crowned Babbler and Little Friarbird.
. We will then head towards Renmark and onto the road to Wentworth (in western New South Wales) where we will stop at what is known colloquially as ‘Stonehenge’. Here you will find out all that you ever wanted to know about the Bookmark Biosphere. This is a good spot at times to see White-winged Fairy Wrens, Red-capped Robins, Redthroats and also Crimson Chats and Orange Chats in early summer. From here we travel into the Calperum headquarters where we drop off our gear and set ourselves up for an overnight stay in the quarters. We have some time before it gets dark to see some of the birdlife around the complex and along Ral Ral Creek which flows past nearby. We will have our evening meal and retire for the night.
. Day Two – This morning we will probably have a visit from some Major Mitchell Cockatoos that usually roost nearby, and then we head into the Lake Merreti complex, the jewel in the crown of the Calperum Wetlands. Lake Merreti has recently undergone a significant rehabilitation program. It was drained and left dry for about 18 months in an attempt to eliminate all traces of European Carp and to enable the regrowth of all the waterweeds and grasses. Since its completion, fish barriers preclude the large European Carp and the lake has returned to almost pristine condition. Some bird species have been recorded here for the first time in memory. The lake often boasts the presence of Freckled Ducks, a wonderful sight to see.
. Next it is back onto the Wentworth Road, heading east until we reach the entrance to Calperum Station. Calperum is a 250,000 hectare pastoral lease, and is part of the Bookmark Biosphere Reserve. We travel up the boundary track to the old outstation of Tilmy. We have a look at the ruins and head westward until we reach the site of a Mallee Fowl nest. We hope that the nest is active, and we try hard to get a glimpse of the bird. Here we will be doing some intensive birding in the mallee area, looking for birds that frequent this unique habitat, including species such as Chestnut Quailthrush, Gilbert’s Whistler, White-browed Babbler and Crested Bellbird.
. As we make our way north we stop at various good birding locations, searching for as many indigenous species as we can find and, with the day getting shorter, we head even further north to our overnight accommodation at the Oak Bore shearer’s quarters. There are plenty of birds here and you can also explore some of the country’s history, with an examination of the old sheep yards and shearing shed. Enjoy a beer or glass of wine before we settle down to a most delectable evening meal. We will discuss the day’s birding and head for our beds in the bunkhouse for our second nights campout.
. Day Three – This morning we rise very early, enjoy a hearty breakfast and head for Gluepot Station, owned by Birds Australia. We will inspect the infrastructure here, mainly put together by volunteer Birds Australia members, and then concentrate on finding some of the more elusive mallee species, including the Black-eared Miner, Red-lored Whistler, White-browed Treecreeper, Shy Heath Wren plus Crimson and Orange Chats that are usually summer visitors. Gluepot is a bird watchers paradise, where Black-eared Miners, Red-lored Whistlers and Mallee Fowl are among the 11 nationally and 15 regionally threatened species that can be seen there regularly. Over 180 species of birds have been recorded on Gluepot since 1996.
. The diversity of vegetation communities also supports a wide variety of other wildlife. So far 50 species of reptile and 12 species of bats have been recorded; some of which are nationally threatened. Initial surveys have revealed 264 plant species, with 12 per cent of them having a conservation rating in the Murray Mallee. Many of the trees are hundreds of years old, with numerous hollows – good nesting holes for parrots. There are few areas of the world that support such a concentration of threatened species.
. We proceed to the information centre to complete registration details for all members of our party and purchase maps and other relevant literature available at the centre. We have our lunch at a suitable location, probably at Babbler campsite and later in the afternoon head back to Oak Bore for our third night’s camp out in the bush.
. Day Four – We need a fairly early start this morning, with plenty of good birding still to be had. After breakfast we head back south for a little way, to a spot where we will probably catch up with Southern Scrub Robins, Splendid Fairy Wrens and perhaps a Shy Heath Wren. A little further west and we will have another look for Red-lored Whistlers and Gilbert’s Whistlers and keep our eyes peeled for Striated Grass Wrens and the very rare and endangered Black-eared Miner.
. Next, we head further west, with good birding all along the way, to another track where we will travel up to a water tank at the edge of the Hideaway paddock. Then we head back to Oak Bore to have our lunch, before packing up all our gear. We then head off north for another chance to see Black-eared Miners and Red-lored Whistlers, and into areas that can provide us with good views of Striated Grass Wrens, before heading further north towards Murphy’s Dam. There are more good opportunities here to see the Chestnut-crowned Babbler, plus the Crested Bellbird and the Rufous Songlark (at certain times of the year). We will turn easterly then and on towards Nanya Dam, to a patch of Black oak that contains a good colony of White-browed Treecreepers. These are very striking birds and are, in our opinion, the prettiest of all the Treecreepers. With the day coming to an end, we make our way on to Danggali Conservation Park, and the shearers’ quarters, for our fourth nights evening meal and accommodation.
. Day Five – Very early this morning we will have a quick cup of tea or coffee then head out to a tank at Olympic Dam where we can sit and watch the beautiful parrots coming in to drink. Back to Canopus for breakfast, before packing up our gear and heading off south towards Chowilla Station.
We travel back south through Chowilla Station until we gain reach the Wentworth Road, and soon we come upon a gateway that will lead us into the Lake Merreti Complex to enjoy our lunch. Then, after a wonderful five days birding we head back to Jolly Goodfellows at Monash to prepare for your return trip home.
. By arrangement, dates and times on application.
Biosphere Three Day Birding Oak Bore plus Gluepot – Option 3M
Day One – We load up our gear and then take a trip to the Berri evaporation ponds, where we will look for the great range of water birds that abound here. We will also walk around the surrounding area, spotting the birds that live in the associated habitat. Next we head for the Renmark to Wentworth Road and stop at the Lake Merreti complex, a designated Ramsar sight of international importance, where we visit some pristine wetlands to view the waterbirds plus the riverine species in the surrounding Lignums and River Red Gums. Nearby we will also walk around the terrace habitat with its Saltbush and Samphire flats, viewing some of the species frequenting this particular area. When we have finished at the lakes system, it is then on to Calperum Station Mallee area, looking for birds that frequent this unique habitat, as we make our way north to Oak Bore shearers’ quarters. Here we set up our camp in the bunkhouse rooms, prepare our evening meal in the camp kitchen and enjoy a drink or two around the kitchen table or the campfire, before retiring for the night.
. Day Two – This morning we rise very early, enjoy a hearty breakfast and then head for Gluepot Reserve, owned by Birds Australia. Gluepot is a birdwatcher’s paradise, where Black-eared Miners, Red-lored Whistlers and Mallee Fowl are among the 11 nationally and 15 regionally threatened species that can be seen there regularly. Over 180 species of birds have been recorded on Gluepot since 1996.
. The diversity of vegetation communities also supports a wide variety of other wildlife. So far 50 species of reptile and 12 species of bats have been recorded, some of which are nationally threatened. Initial surveys have revealed 264 plant species, with 12 per cent of them having a conservation rating in the Murray Mallee. Many of the trees are hundreds of years old, with numerous hollows – good nesting holes for parrots. These are few areas of the world that support such a concentration of threatened species. After spending the day at Gluepot we will head back to our Oak Bore campsite for our evening meal and a good nights sleep.
. Day Three – This morning we will concentrate on finding some of the more elusive Mallee species on Calperum Station, including the Black-eared Miner, Red-lored Whistler, Striated Grasswren, Shy Heath Wren and of course the Mallee Fowl. We will also visit some Black Oak habitat and look for the White-browed Treecreeper, Australia’s most attractive Treecreeper and also look for that magnificent spectacle, the Splendid Fairy Wren.
. We head back to Oak Bore when we have seen all that we can. We will have a quick lunch, pack up all our belongings and it is back to Monash to pick up your vehicle or to connect with the coach for the return trip to Adelaide.
. By arrangement, dates and times on application.
Nine Day Birding/Wildlife Adventure
Day One – Pick up from Adelaide accommodation or airport at approximately 1500 and drive through the Adelaide Hills, via the Barossa Valley to Yookamurra Sanctuary, owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. We proceed a little way past the entrance to a nearby area to look for Hairy-nosed Wombats. We then return to Yookamurra where we stay overnight. After our evening meal, once it is dark, we enjoy an evening walk, seeing the native animals in their natural environment.
. Day Two – An early rise and a morning walk, this time to see diurnal animals that we could not see on our nocturnal walk, plus a pair of Mallee Fowl. Back for breakfast then load up and head north through the Clare Valley to Orroroo where we have a look at an enormous Red Gum Tree. We may have lunch before setting off south-easterly to the old ghost town of Dawson. We cross the Broken Hill Road, the Barrier Highway to Pitcairn Station, nestled in the shadow of the southern Flinders Ranges. This is still a working sheep station, and this evening the owners will provide us with a traditional station meal. Enjoy a glass of wine and overnight in some of the homestead’s many bedrooms.
. Day Three – An early morning walk around the homestead area can reward us with a good list of bird species. After breakfast we head off in a south-easterly direction and pass through Braemar Station. Then it is across the Olary Plain, past Lilydale, Quandong, Oakbank, Oakvale and Loch Lily stations, until we reach Scotia Sanctuary in western New South Wales, also owned and operated by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. Our overnight accommodation is at Terara Station. After our evening meal, once it is dark we head for Scotia Headquarters for a nocturnal walk.
. Day Four – Have an early cuppa and head for the complex for the morning walk and all the diurnal animals, before returning to Terara for breakfast. We then set out in a westerly direction for South Australia and the Danggali Conservation Park. There are many things to see on the way, both natural and historical and we travel on to park headquarters at Canopus Homestead. Overnight accommodation in the shearers’ quarters with comfortable beds, toilets and hot showers. There is cooking with gas and all the modern comforts of home.
. Day Five – After an early visit to watch parrots drinking at Olympic Dam (hopefully some Scarlet-chested parrots) we travel south-west into Calperum Station, a sheep station that has had no stock running on it for more than 10 years and is returning to its former glory, as far as the environment is concerned. This is our favourite area for birdwatching. Tonight is spent at the Oak Bore outstation shearers’ quarters, another disused site but with all the home comforts.
. Day Six – Early this morning we take a quick jaunt west to Birds Australia’s own mallee property at Gluepot Station where we may see Scarlet-chested parrots. We check out the good birding spots at Gluepot and enjoy our lunch at Babbler campsite before returning to Oak Bore for another great night’s sleep.
. Day Seven – We travel slowly through Calperum Station, birding all the way, and take a small deviation to the east where we will have a look at Mallee Fowl mound that may be active. We then head for Calperum headquarters and set up in the accommodation there. We check out the birds at the Ramsar designated wetland, the Lake Merreti complex, a great place for waterbirds, including many migratory waders. We then head back to the quarters for our evening meal and bed.
. Day Eight – We head west towards Berri and view the birds on the Berri evaporation ponds for a close look at waterfowl through a powerful spotting telescope. We then head back towards the Adelaide Hills to Warrawong, one of Earth Sanctuaries Limited’s wildlife sancturies. Here we see Bettongs and Bilbies, Kangaroos and Wallabies and even nature’s paradox the Duck-billed Platypus. After the nocturnal walk we enjoy a delicious meal at the Warrawong restaurant, before retiring for the night in the luxury cabin style tents.
. Day Nine – An early walk will show us the diurnal marsupials and birds before breakfast at the restaurant. We pack up our belongings and head back to Adelaide or the airport.
. By arrangement, dates and times on application.
Activites and Experiences at Jolly Goodfellows – Birding
- Aussie Host AUSSIE HOST
- Passenger Transport Board of South Australia PASSENGER TRANSPORT BOARD OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
- Off Road Driving
- Birdwatching BIRDWATCHING
- Animal Viewing ANIMAL VIEWING
- Waiting Area
- Eco Tourism ECO TOURISM
- Flora and Fauna FLORA AND FAUNA
- Nature based NATURE BASED
- Off road
- Wildlife WILDLIFE
- Cheques By Arrangement
- Cheques Bank
- Credit Cards Not Accepted
- Resource Material
- Seat belts
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