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BBB - BOWRA AND SURROUNDS
Major Mitchell Cockatoo
AUSTRALIAN BIRDING SAFARIS – BRISBANE BIRDING BREAKS
NAME – BOWRA AND SURROUNDS
AND DURATION – 6
DAYS – Brisbane – Dalby – Cunnamulla – Bowra - Brisbane
/S OF DEPARTURE –
AND INCLUSIONS –
#1 – Depart Brisbane Transit Centre at 8-30am bound for St
George. There will be some time for birding enroute.
#2 – After some early morning birding along the river at St
George we will drive the three hours remaining west to the town of Cunnamulla. In
the afternoon we will visit a few sites around the township, including the
Eudlo Bore where we will see our first western sunset.
#3 & 4 – Birding Bowra
We have planned two days birding at Bowra Wildlife
Sanctuary, just west of Cunnamulla. Bowra is a former pastoral property that is
owned and managed by Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).
Bowra has a long reputation as a reliable birding site
with a bird list of over two hundred species, although some of those are very
infrequent visitors. Bourke’s Parrot and Hall’s Babbler are resident species.
During August Bowra can be alive with wild flowers.
From the AWC website;
Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary lies just northwest of
Cunnamulla, in central southern Queensland. The
Black tailed Nativehen
property extends from the
floodplain of the Warrego River in the east to tablelands of Mulga woodland in
The hills and plains of central western Queensland and
New South Wales were, in living memory, covered by a huge blanket of woodland,
frequented by Bridled Nailtail Wallabies, Bilbies, Western Quolls and
Burrowing Bettongs – all now extinct in the region. Bowra, with its intact
vegetation structure and permanent waterholes, provides a refuge for declining
wildlife and an ecological foundation from which to help rebuild the region’s
once dazzling wildlife community.
The eastern part of Bowra occupies the flood plain of
the Warrego River, with one branch of the river running through the sanctuary.
Chestnut breasted Quail thrush
Warrego River only flows during large and intermittent floods (about once
in 2 years), but over time has carved a wide and shallow valley through a
plateau of cretaceous sediments. The deeper alluvial sands and clays in this
part of the property are watered by floodwaters as well as local rainfall,
and support a mosaic of grasslands and open forest communities. In drier
times, the clay-rich soils crack and provide important habitat for small
mammals and reptiles.
Bowra occupies part of both the plateau and the river
plain country. The plateau is 10 metres higher than the river flat and relies
entirely on the intermittent and scarce local rainfall of about 350 mm per
year. The soil here is stony
and heavily leached, but supports a
hardy Mulga community which is beautifully adapted to these trying conditions.
Bowra supports 15 distinct ecosystems (as defined by
the Queensland Government), some of which are otherwise not formally reserved.
There are over 250 plant species from 58 families, including Gidgee, Poplar
Box, Cypress, Coolabah, River Red Gum, Acacia and Mulga. There are also several
distinct grassland ecosystems on the lower parts of the sanctuary. The
patchwork of woodlands, shrublands, grasslands and riparian vegetation provides
both breeding habitat and drought refuge for an impressive diversity of
semi-arid wildlife, with a particularly rich community of birds.
Wildlife at Bowra
Bowra supports over 300 species of native vertebrate
animals including a number of species near their eastern or western
range limits, such as the Striated Grasswren, Blue-Winged Parrot, Desert
Spadefoot Toad, Striped Skink, Pebble Dragon and Little Red Flying-Fox. The
diversity of species is a consequence of the sanctuary’s location, straddling a
suite of habitats on both the Warrego River plains and the plateau further
Recent surveys have identified 29 native mammal
species on the property. Populations of small mammals like the Gile’s
Planigale, Stripe-faced Dunnart and Central Short Tailed Mouse fluctuate in
response to the irregular rainfall, but numbers of larger wallabies and
kangaroos are more consistent.
The bird fauna at Bowra is prolific (>200 species)
and includes nine threatened species. All three species of Australian babblers
are present and the rare Grey Falcon breeds on the sanctuary. Reptiles are also
well represented with over 60 species, from the large Gould’s Goanna to the
scarce and secretive Yakka Skink and a range of tree dwelling geckos.Burrowing and water-holding frogs
inhabit the sandy soils, while other frogs frequent the waterholes.
#5 – Driving east to
Today we leave Cunnamulla for a long drive back towards
the coast. Mindful of species we have thus far missed we will make some stops
Hopefully towards the end of the day we may have some
time to explore Lake Broadwater, just east of Dalby.
#6 – Lockyer Valley and Gatton enroute to Brisbane
On Day 6 we will drive towards Brisbane with some birding
in the species rich Lockyer Valley.
KEY BIRD SPECIES –
SELECTED OTHER FAUNA – Eastern and Western Grey Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos, Red Kangaroo, Swamp [Black] Wallaby,