Cue Birding Sites

Key Species : Emu, Inland Dotterel (chance), Little Button-quail, Mulga Parrot, Bourke's Parrot, Black-eared Cuckoo (chance), Red-backed Kingfisher, White-browed Treecreeper (good chance), Western Bowerbird, White-winged Fairy-wren, Rufous Fieldwren, Redthroat, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Slender-billed Thornbill (chance), Southern Whiteface, Banded Whiteface (best chance), White-fronted Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Honeyeater (chance), Crimson Chat, Orange Chat (chance), Grey-crowned Babbler (good chance), White-browed Babbler, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, Chiming Wedgebill, Varied Sittella, Crested Bellbird, Masked Woodswallow (chance). Reptiles : House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus), Bynoe's Gecko (Heteronotia bynoei), Gould's Monitor (Varanus gouldii) (good chance), Broad-banded Sand-swimmer (Eremiascincus richardsonii), Shingleback (Trachydosaurus rugosus), Gwardar (Pseudonaja nuchalis).

Cue (Post Office S27 25 23" E117 53 58") is a gold mining town located about 650km from Perth on the Great Northern Highway.  From Perth, head north to New Norcia, Dalwalinnu, Wubin, Payne's Find, Mount Magnet to Cue.  This area is very well known for the carpets of wildflowers from August to September.  Don't go walking in bare feet or shoes with thin soles as the area is infested with double gees (three corner jacks).

 

1. Nallan Station (S27 18 57" E117 58 20")

If there is room available, then you must stay at Nallan Station (08 9963 1054).  The station is owned by Michael & Sandy Clinch who purchased the station from April Kiffin-Petersen in December 1999.

There is a double/twin room in the homestead, a three bedroom cottage (recommended) or the shearers bunkhouse.  One of my best birding experiences was 4 days spent at Nallan Station in September 1997.  The turnoff to Nallan Station is 11km north of Cue, and it is 3km to the homestead along the Nallan / Cogla Downs Road.  Be certain to follow the normal station rules of access including leaving gates as you found them, and asking for permission for access.  It is for your own safety to let people know where you are and when you expect to return, plus they could be mustering or they may have given permission for goat shooters.  Most tracks are impassable after rain.  If you stay at the station, then ask them for an A3 map of the station wells.

Near Homestead - Look for Western Bowerbird in the palm trees.  Tawny Frogmouth, Willie Wagtail, Yellow-throated Miner and Australian Magpie were breeding close to the homestead and the cottage in September 1997.

Airstrip & Track Opposite (S27 18 53" E117 58 18") - I highly recommend an early morning walk along the track opposite the homestead on the other side of the airstrip.  In September 1997, we saw Chiming Wedgebill and White-fronted Honeyeater, plus Grey Honeyeater has been seen in the mulga along the airstrip near the track.  Look especially for the mulga with the stringy bark and deep reddish trunk and branches.

New Western Bowerbird bower (S27 19 03" E117 58 21") - The new bower is between the cottage and the shearing quarters.  It is sign posted.

Old Western Bowerbird bower (S27 19 09" E117 58 27") - Walk across the mustering paddock behind the bunkhouse to the far fence.  Look for a plastic bottle tied to the fence.  Not far from the fence there is an old bower plus the current bower.  Stand near a tree about 20 metres from the bower with a clear view and watch as the male regularly comes in to tend the bower.  The male is sometimes calling from the top of trees in the paddock.  It is worth walking slowly through the mulga outside the paddock including the eastern side to look for Southern Whiteface, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Red-capped Robin, Emu, etc.

Judas Well (S27 19 44" E117 58 00") - From the homestead, drive south along the track just west of the shearing shed.  Judas Well is 1.3km from the shearing shed.  This is an excellent location to see Bourke's Parrot, Mulga Parrot, Common Bronzewing, a good chance of Redthroat, Emu, etc plus Gould's Monitor.  The surrounding mulga is a good location for thornbills, White-browed Babbler, etc.

Clinches Well (S27 20 58" E117 58 18") - From Judas Well, continue through the gate and drive south along the track for 2.0km (3.3km from the shearing shed) to the next gate.  Continue for another 400 metres (3.7km from the shearing shed) to Clinches Well and another gate.

Clinches Well to Marshalls Well - Continue south along the track from Clinches Well.  The track crosses under a power line after 3.1km (6.8km from the shearing shed) and passes a power terminal after another 500 metres (7.3km from the shearing shed).  It is another 4.6km to Marshalls Well (11.9km from the shearing shed).  The habitat along this section is much more open, plus there is a dry creek line lined with trees and taller grass.

Jacksons Paddock & Easter Well - From the homestead travel east 400 metres to the gate on the main road to Cogla Downs Station.  Turn right 50 metres after the gate and follow the track through the old rubbish area for 4.8km (5.2km from the homestead) to Easter Well (S27 20 46" E118 00 24").  Note that Easter Well has been relocated from Marshalls Paddock to the south east corner of Jacksons Paddock.  In June 1999 this was good for a variety of birds including Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush about 300 metres before the well.

Marshalls Paddock - From Easter Well continue into Marshalls Paddock for 2.3km (7.5km from the homestead) to the old Easter Well (S27 21 36" E118 01 24").  Continue for a further 6.4km (13.9km from the homestead) to McCarthys Well (S27 24 12" E118 03 50").  Marshalls Paddock has been highly recommended to me by Simon Nevill (of Falcon Tours) as a location to look for Banded Whiteface and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush.  However, I could not find any stony areas that looked suitable.  I think that Simon means south of Marshalls Paddock towards the breakaway that is visible.  If these species are high on your want list, then I would recommend a trip with Simon as he knows this area (and Nallan Station in particular) very well.

White-browed Treecreeper (S27 19 40" E118 03 25") - This site was reliable in September 1997.  From the homestead travel east 3.7km to Jackson's Well on the main road to Cogla Downs Station.  200 metres past Jacksons Well (3.9km from the homestead) turn right towards Alston Well.  After 2.3km (6.2km from the homestead) turn right towards Peters Well.  Stop after 2.6km (8.8km from the homestead). I put a pile of dead wood on the right side of the track, but this probably won't last long.  The White-browed Treecreeper was ahead on the right side within 20 to 80 metres of the track.  Surprisingly, the White-browed Treecreeper never called.  Other birds seen were Bourke's Parrot, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Varied Sittella, lots of Hooded Robins, Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo and a nesting pale phase Brown Falcon.  In June 1999 I found a pair of Bush Stone-curlews but there was no sign of the treecreeper.

Peters Well (S27 21 11" E118 05 29") - From the previous site continue for 2.0km (10.8km from the homestead) to the gate to Connellys Paddock, and then 2.5km (13.3km from the homestead) to Peters Well.  You need to cross the watercourse.  This can be a good site to view birds coming to drink in a rock pool when the well is in use.

Alston Well (S27 18 58" E118 04 22") - From Jacksons Well, continue for 200 metres and veer right.  At the turnoff to Peters Well after 2.3km continue for 3.7km to Alston Well.  There was a good variety of birds and this is one of the few places where I have seen both White-browed Babbler and Grey-crowned Babbler in the same area.  We continued on past Alston for nearly 3km and saw a flock of Masked Woodswallows.

Jacksons Well (S27 18 50" E118 00 38") - The well is a very good place to look for Bourke's Parrot plus Mulga Parrot coming in to drink.

Jacksons Well to Homestead (S27 18 54" E117 59 16") - A White-browed Treecreeper flew across the Cogla Downs road in September 1997.  I have also found Slaty-backed Thornbill, Redthroat, Red-capped Robin, Emu, etc along the road.  Keep an eye out for a species of mulga with stringy bark and a very deep red trunk and branches.  This is the same mulga that the Grey Honeyeater preferred south of Payne's Find.  At 1.6km from the homestead there are pink ribbons marking where I saw Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush cross the road.

Homestead to Highway - Roughly halfway between the homestead and the highway, we found a White-browed Treecreeper in September 1997.  It was on the southern side of the road along a fence line.

Webbs Well - From the Nallan Station turnoff, continue north for 5.1km along the Great Northern Highway (about 700 metres past the MK 100 sign).  Turn left along the track, go through the gate and continue for 2.0km to Webbs Well.

Milly Soak - Continue west from Webbs Well for 2.0km (4.0km from the highway) to a creek lined with eucalypts.  This is different habitat from elsewhere on Nallan Station and is worth a look.  Continue west past a track on the left for 1.8km to Milly Soak (5.8km from the highway).  Again, there is different habitat along this track that is worth while stopping for a look.

Pats Well - Head north from Milly Soak for 5.2km to Pats Well (11km from the highway).  The track starts to deteriorate before Pats Well.  We didn't continue, but you can continue north to Wandagee Well, then turn east to Thargaminda Well and then south east back to Nallan Lake and the highway.

 

2. North of Cue (to Meekatharra)

Nallan Lake (S27 15 25" E117 59 01") - From the turnoff to Webbs Well and Milly Soak, continue north along the Great Northern Highway.  You will see Nallan Lake on the right (eastern) side of the road.  Just before you get to the lake there is a track that leads around the edge of the lake.  Follow this to the end to reach the best area.

Lake Annean - Drive north towards Meekatharra along the Great Northern Highway.  Continue past the turnoff to Annean Station.  You will drive past samphire and some sand dunes.  At the northern end, park near a culvert.  Walk about 200 metres to a sand dune, over the dune to the samphire around the edge of the lake.  We easily found several Slender-billed Thornbills and a pair of breeding Orange Chats in September 1997.  I don't have the exact distances, but from memory it was about 10km to 20km south of Meekatharra.

Naneen Alluvials Gold Mine - About 50 Orange Chats and 10 Crimson Chats were reported close to here in January 2000.  This site is about 15km south of Meekatharra.

 

3. West of Cue

Chiming Wedgebill Site (S27 24 18" E117 51 59") - There is a floodway 3.8km from Cue.  There are usually several Chiming Wedgebills calling in this area and once I recorded Banded Whiteface in this general area.

Cue to Austin Downs - From Cue, head west towards the Big Bell gold mine.  After 12.2km turn left towards Austin Downs (S27 22 56" E117 44 42") and Walga Rock.  At the start of the second section there is some gibber plain where Simon Nevill has seen Inland Dotterel.

Banded Whiteface Site (S27 23 16" E117 47 15") - After you have passed the gold mine and turned left towards Austin Downs and Walga Rock, continue 2.6km (14.8km from Cue) until you get to the grid at the boundary of Austin Downs.  Return to the previous bend.  Banded Whiteface has been seen here on a number of occasions.

Walga Rock - From Cue, head west towards the Big Bell gold mine.  After 10.4km turn left towards Austin Downs (S27 22 56" E117 44 42") and Walga Rock.  Refer to page 76 of the book Where to Find Birds in Western Australia by Noela Marr for more details.  Check near the windmill just as you reach the area, and then drive around the track that circles the rock.  You can find Little Woodswallow, nesting Fairy Martins, Western Bowerbird, Little Button-quail, Red-backed Kingfisher, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Redthroat, etc.

Open Woodland (S27 23 59" E117 34 28") - In October 1999 we stopped in an area of open woodland approximately 17km past Austin Downs.  It was a great stop with Bourke's Parrot, Crimson Chat, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush, White-fronted Honeyeater and Masked Woodswallow and nesting Black-faced Woodswallow and Willie Wagtail.  You can easily spend an hour here if the conditions are good.

 

4. South of Cue (to Mount Magnet)

Lake Austin (S27 36 48" E117 53 35") - Lake Austin is 22km south of Cue. Between the floodway sign on the eastern side and the floodway itself there is a track to the east across the causeway.  Follow this track for 900 metres (keeping left at the two forks).  Park at the corner. In the samphire on the left there is a very good chance of finding Orange Chat, Rufous Fieldwren and White-winged Fairy-wrenSlender-billed Thornbill and Inland Dotterel could also be a chance.  There is a hill to the south of Lake Austin just off the highway.  We found a few Little Woodswallows here.  There is a smaller lake surrounded by a low sand dune north of Lake Austin on the western side of the highway (S27 34 53" E117 54 03").  We found a few waders and a Red-backed Kingfisher here in September 1997.  The samphire and dunes are areas worth spending a little bit of time.

The Granites (S28 00 24" E117 51 20") - The Granites is an excellent camping area about 9km north of Mount Magnet.  There are no facilities, so bring your own water.  Wander around the granite rocks, breakaways, gullies and blue bush flats looking for Inland Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, White-winged Fairy-wren, Crested Bellbird, Hooded Robin, and possible Western Bowerbird, Chiming Wedgebill, Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush and Bourke's Parrot.  Refer to page 74 of the book Where to Find Birds in Western Australia by Noela Marr for more details.

Mount Magnet Golf Course (S28 03 27" E117 51 04") - I only stopped here briefly in June 1999.  It has been recommended as a good birding spot early in the morning.  The best bird that I have seen is Chiming Wedgebill.  The book by Thomas & Thomas recommend the golf course for Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush and Western Bowerbird.

Mount Magnet Town (Post Office S28 03 45" E117 50 59") - Western Bowerbird has been reported in the town.

 

5. East of Cue (Sandstone Road)

Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush (grid S27 25 31" E117 57 53") - This has proved to be a reliable site that I first found in February 1996.  From Cue, take the Sandstone Road and continue past the rubbish tip and airport turnoffs.  At 5.1km there is a bend with a track on the left (north) side.  Follow this track, going straight ahead at the Y junction after 0.7km, taking the right track (which is a bit rough in a couple of places) after a further 1.7km, and then a further 1.8km (9.2km from Cue) to a grid.  Park just past the grid.  On the left side of the track for 100 to 200 metres ahead there are some bushes about 5 metres off the road.  There is a pair of Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush in or very near these bushes.  Listen for their high pitched whistle, or walk very slowly along the bushes and look for them under the bushes or running between them or sometimes they flush.  Chiming Wedgebill is often around these bushes also.  You should also look for Crimson Chat and Little Button-quail in the open stony ground behind the bushes or on the other side of the track.  Budgerigar is also a good chance.

I have also seen a Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush cross the track between the grid and the Sandstone road about 800 metres from the grid.  The track between the Sandstone Road and the grid can be good for Bourke's Parrot, Mulga Parrot, Red-capped Robin, Hooded Robin, Crimson Chat, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and Slaty-backed Thornbill.

Cue Bird List (Microsoft Word 95) (29KB)

Nallan Station, Cue 6640 (08 9963 1054 nallanstn@bigpond.com)

Cue Caravan Park, Cue 6640 (08 9963 1107)

  

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2011 Visits Last Modified 2nd August 2011