Some NSW Field Ornithologists Club colleagues took a 3 day trip through
Wollomi National Park last weekend, entering from the Rylestone end,
staying at Dunn Swamp the first night and a camp site somewhere in the
midst of the park the second night.
Birds were numerous in rain forest areas and less so on the drier heights,
as would be expected. Good sightings were of Pilot Bird in Curicudgy State
Forest (swathed in low cloud and dripping and green when we visited), with
others heard in rain forest areas higher up, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos,
(a pair with an immature),lots of Gang Gangs,Satin Bowerbirds, many Rufous
Fantails (often seen in dry forest areas with good undergrowth), and many
Black-faced Monarchs, including a pair feeding a fledgling. Lyrebirds and
Bell Miners were heard calling - usually from far away in the depths of a
deep ravine. We dipped on Spotted Quail-thrush! A Crescent Honeyeater was
heard towards the Putty end in a rain forest gulley with very tall Mountain
A family party of Gang Gangs (9+),including an immature, were feeding on
unripe Angophora (Rough-bark Apple) seeds in the Putty Valley.
A large flock of Spine-tailed Swifts were seen circling high into the
clouds about 2 thirds the way across from Rylstone on the Hunter Main Track
- estimated by Ted Nixon at 100+.
One very large fat red-bellied black snake was surprised on the track.
Dunn Swamp had the usual woodland birds - we heard Boobook and Owlet
Nightjar,and saw an immature bronzewing (Horsfields/Golden? most likely
Horsfields) cuckoo catching caterpillars by itself, and Rufous Whistlers
feeding a fledgling. If one could camp there when very few people were
present, it should be good for crakes and raptors.
The track over is fairly rough in places but excellent experience for
beginner 4WD-ers. It's necessary to check with NPWS Mudgee (Tel: 0263 727
199) that the gates are open before making your way up there - they are
locked whenever fires or violent storms are expected, and it's a difficult
turn round at the Rylestone end if you find the gate locked. Camping areas
are set very close to the track which mainly follows ridges as most of the
area is precipitous and heavily wooded. The only gripe I had was the noise
from one group each day of 4WDs plus trail bikes that crashed through
midmorning. Otherwise we heard only the occasional plane overhead and a few
The views as you traverse the Hunter Main Track are spectacular - it's
worth it just for that. And Curicudgy, being wetter, is a very interesting
area and well worth further bird trips. There are no facilities at all once
you leave Dunn Swamp at the Western end, or Putty at the Eastern end, only
the few small cleared camping areas besides the main track.
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