Payne's Find Birding Sites

Key Species : Emu, Australian Bustard, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (chance), Mulga Parrot, Bourke's Parrot (chance), White-browed Treecreeper (chance), Redthroat, Slaty-backed Thornbill (chance), Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, White-fronted Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Honeyeater (good chance), Crimson Chat (very good chance), Orange Chat (good chance), White-browed Babbler, Chiming Wedgebill, Ground Cuckoo-shrike (chance), Gilbert's Whistler (good chance), Crested Bellbird, Masked Woodswallow (chance).

Payne's Find (S29 15 48" E117 41 06") is a roadhouse located about 430km from Perth on the Great Northern Highway.  From Perth, head north east to New Norcia, Dalwalinnu and Wubin to Payne's Find.  Payne's Find is situated at the cross roads with Wubin to the west, Mount Magnet to the north, Sandstone to the east and Beacon to the south.  This area is very well known for the carpets of wildflowers from August to September.

The easiest place to stay is at the Payne's Find Roadhouse (08 9963 6111) but there are also station stays in the general area.  There are a few birds around the roadhouse including Pied Butcherbird, and Banded Lapwings breed on the nearby airstrip.


1. Sandstone Road (East)

The Sandstone Road leads off the Great Northern Highway about 1km north of Payne's Find.  This is an unsealed road which is suitable for 2WD if it is not wet (in which case the road is often closed anyway).

Cattle Grid (S29 14 36" E117 46 24") - This is 7.6km from the Great Northern Highway.  It is the border of the Shire of Sandstone (226km to Sandstone).  Bird in the general area.  I have seen Mulga Parrot, Bourke's Parrot, Budgerigar, Hooded Robin, Red-capped Robin and Crested Bellbird.

Warne River (S29 11 04" E118 11 03") - This is 50km east of the Great Northern Highway.  There is nearly always water in some of the holes along the riverbed.  This is one of the best sites to look for Gilbert's Whistler.  Also look for Chiming Wedgebill, Black-tailed Native-hen and Red-capped Robin.  If the calistemons and eremophilas are flowering then there is a chance to find White-fronted Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater and Black Honeyeater in addition to Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater.  A female Scarlet-chested Parrot was reported at the crossing in August 2005.


2. Beacon Road (South)

This is an unsealed road which is suitable for 2WD if it is not wet (in which case the road is often closed anyway).  Apart from the species mantioned below look for possible Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Masked Woodswallow, Australian Bustard and Ground Cuckoo-shrike.

Salt Lakes - You pass close to a number of salt lakes between 12.5km and 16km south of Payne's Find.  These are usually dry but in good years they are a haven for waterbirds including Hoary-headed Grebe, Hardhead, Musk Duck, Black-tailed Native-hen, Banded Stilt and Red-necked Avocet.

Chats Site (S29 20 01" E117 47 15") - This site is 13km south of Payne's Find.  It is an area of saltbush on the right as you pass the first salt lake on the right, with another across the road on the left.  Look for possible Crimson Chat, Orange Chat and White-fronted Chat.  Other birds include Banded Lapwing, White-winged Triller and Australasian Pipit.

Grey Honeyeater Site (S29 28 57" E117 47 00") - This site is 32km south of Payne's Find.  I was first told about this site by David Stewart from NSW.  The road is signposted to Maranalgo Station and continues through Mouroubra Station to 20km west of Beacon.  The site is approximately 110km north of the Beacon / Burakin Road.  There is a grid with a sign facing north warning 'Caution Horses Next 10km'.  You can park on a side track just north of the grid. David Stewart found a Grey Honeyeater here in September 1997.  A week later I found them three times.  They were about 150 to 200 metres north of the grid.  The first was about 30 metres east of the road.  The second was about 80 metres west of the track.  A few days later the third sighting was about 50 metres west of the road.  All sightings were in a distinctive species of acacia (Acacia minirichi) with a peeling iron coloured bark which is quite common.  The bird looked like the illustration in the new edition of Pizzey rather than the illustration in Simpson & Day.  Red-capped and Hooded Robins were quite common.  In November 1999 a Chestnut Quail-thrush was probably heard, but Grey Honeyeater was not found in fairly windy conditions.


3. Charles Darwin Nature Reserve (formerly White Wells Station)

This is located between Wubin and Payne's Find north of the Great Northern Highway.  This was formerly White Wells Station until it was purchased by Australian Bush Heritage in 200x.  I encourage you to support this organisation.  They have one or two open days for members each year, plus they are always looking for relief managers and people to assist with some of their rehabilitation projects.  The station is excellent for birds including Malleefowl, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, Regent Parrot, Banded Lapwing, Black-breasted Buzzard, Mulga Parrot, Australian Owlet-nightjar, Spotted Nightjar, Southern Scrub-robin, Chestnut Quail-thrush, etc.

Payne's Find Roadhouse, Payne's Find 6612 (08 9963 6111)

Bimbijy Station (08 9667 1022)
Ninghan Station (08 9963 6517)
Charles Darwin Nature Reserve


Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2010 Visits Last Modified 15th May 2010