[A stop on the West Queensland Trip Jul-Aug 2021 trip]
Bollon is a small town just over 100km west of St George in Queensland that you might find yourself passing through, as we did. There’s a spot there called “Wallam Free Camp”, which is endorsed by the town, where you can camp under trees along the creekline. There are toilet facilities and when we were there, quite a few people taking advantage of the free camping.
We didn’t expect a whole lot in terms of birding from a campground, but we were pleasantly surprised: a Grey Shrikethrush was hopping about a tree when we pulled up and we could hear a flycatcher squawking nearby too, so we delayed getting our campsite sorted and pulled out the cameras instead!
The Restless Flycatcher was a particularly memorable encounter as it didn’t seem fazed by nearby humans, and its feathers were shining nicely in the late afternoon sun. It seems a flycatcher encounter is always a pleasure. Probably the birds at the campground are fairly habituated to humans.
Having a long creek means there were water birds around, including Pacific Black and Australian Wood Ducks, plus some domestic (feral) hybrids. The ferals were also hanging around on the paved path that follows the creek south to the township which is just a short stroll away (where we ended up getting a pizza and a couple of beers from the local pub after the sun went down).
There is a small cemetery towards the north end of the campground, which abuts a fenceline and some paddocks. Along here, and further along where the camping area peters out into general bushland, was some great birding, with Zebra Finches, Diamond Doves, and Little Woodswallows all active at the end of the day’s light.
We even spotted a couple of Common Bronzewing, and across the fenceline, some Red-Rumped Parrots. Gaining good photos of most of these birds was frustrating due to the fence blocking us from creeping nearer.
In the morning we had a surprise visitor almost directly above our camp site – a Collared Sparrowhawk, who hung around for quite a while.
We were impressed by Wallam Creek Camp, picking up a couple of lifer birds (Little Woodswallows and Diamond Doves) on our longer journey further west. It’s not a spot you should expect too much from, but if you’re camping there or looking for somewhere to overnight and do some birding, it fits the bill well.
Pluses and minuses:
+ Decent birds
+ Easy place to stay overnight and camp
– Fenced areas can make close encounters difficult
– Small narrow area – need to explore adjacent bushland to see the most birds