Trip Report - Warrumbungles NP & Baradine-Twitchathon Escapade

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Subject: Trip Report - Warrumbungles NP & Baradine-Twitchathon Escapade
From: "Allan Morris" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 13:06:42 +1100
This year the Champions consisted of Robin Benson, Allan Benson, Craig Arms & Alan Morris. Allan & Robin replaced long time member Stephen Edwards, who is travelling in Canada & the USA. We had decided to start in the Pilliga Scrub around Baradine, where we had been washed out from in 1999 but in the weeks leading up to the Twitchathon, the area around Baradine had become very dry and it looked as if a Warrumbungles start might be more appropriate! Then in the last week before the start, 4-5 inches of rain fell around Baradine & so changed the picture. We therefore decided to go a day earlier, to do a trial run from Camp Pincham in WNP from 4 pm to dark, and then do a 3 hour run in the morning in the Baradine District to see what gave us the best results. We found 83 species in the 3 hours on Friday afternoon 26 October, highlights at Camp Pincham being 5+ Turquoise Parrots, Spiney-cheeked & Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes & Dusky Woodswallow. At the Woolshed there were Inland Thornbills, Speckled Warblers, Brown Honeyeaters & Horsfield Bronze-cuckoo. We left the park at 5pm and heading west saw Hooded Robins & Choughs at Stricklands, Rufous & Brown Songlarks, Yellow-throated Miners at Gumin; White-winged Trillers, Chestnut-rumped Thornbills, Blue Bonnets & Little Ravens near Bramble HSD. Finally as light was closing in at Goorianwaa Gap, we saw Ringneck and Red-winged Parrot, Spotted Bowerbird & Singing Honeyeater. 
Next morning our 3 hour run around Baradine & the Pilliga forests netted us 86 species including Emus, Painted Honeyeaters, Southern Whiteface, Western Gerygone, Red-winged Parrot, Cockatiel & Turquoise Parrots  so we opted for a Bardine start as there were more western birds than on the Warrumbungle List.
Our start at Sandy Creek Rd, Pilliga West SF at 4 pm was in fine & mild perfect bird finding weather. At 15 minutes to 4pm we lined up the Whitefaces and followed them around. At 2 minutes to 4 we lost them! and so started without them but found them after about 5 minutes but dipped on the Emus and saw none for the count! After 20 minutes we left for Trapyard Dam in Merriwindi SF with 28 birds up including Double-barded Finches, Western Gerygone & Inland Thornbills. Again disappointment, the Painted Honeyeaters & Turquoise Parrots so obvious in the morning could not be located but we did get Grey-crowned Babblers & Speckled Warblers. We collected White-throated Gerygones, Little Eagle & Leaden Flycatchers at Baradine Creek, Blackbirds, Noisy & Little Friarbirds, Blue-faced & Brown Honeyeaters & a Spotted Bowerbird in Baradine Town area and then off to Terridgerie Lagoon (Plum-headed Finches, Night Heron, nesting Whistling Kites, White-breasted Woodswallows & Black-shouldered Kite). A short trip up Carmel Lane yeilded Hobby, Blue Bonnet & Cockatiel. We headed for Merriwa and the last bird for the night, No. 85 was a Boobook calling at Beni Crossing Mendooran! No other night birds seen or heard at the other two spotlighting locations enroute to Merriwa.
We were away from Merriwa at 5.30 am with our first stop at Redmanvale for breakfast, where finally a Red-capped Robin & Pallid Cuckoo were found. At nearby Jerry's Plains we saw the 2 Spoonbills, 2 Ibis and the remainder of the common waterbirds.At Aberdare SF we located Yellow-tufted & Black-chinned Honeyeaters, Whipbirds & Bellminers. Our route then took us up through the Wattagan Mountains where we found rainforest species like Black-faced Monarchs, Crimson Rosellas, Brown Gerygones & Yellow-throated Scrub-wrens. The biggest surprise of the trip was a male Olive Whistler at Boarding House Dam, new bird for Allan & Craig, my first sighting in at least 15 years. Brown Thornbills, Satin Bowerbird, Gangs Gangs & King Parrots were added. We almost collided here with the Whacked-out Woodswallows!
We returned to the Central Coast, collected Musk Ducks on Tuggerah STW (but missed the Shovellers!), Bar-tailed Godwits and the 2 obliging Banded Stilts at North Chittaway; Greenshanks, Caspian Ttern & Pied Oystercatcher at Chittaway Point; all the Cormorants, Topknot Pigeons & Red-capped Plovers at Tuggerah Bay. A quick walk into Lees Reserve found the Striated Heron but no Black Bittern! Lunched on the run around Chittaway & found Mallards & Musk Lorikeets! At Toowoon Bay Reefs the tide was full in so only Crested & Common Terns, Turnstones & Red-necked Stintswere seen on the rocks. We missed the Terek Sandpiper at The Entrance (seen by the Grey Toilet Thrushes) but saw the Red Knots. Soldiers Point was more productive with Whimbrel, Sooty Oystercatcher, Grey-tailed Tattler, Golden Plover,  3 species of shearwater, Gannet & Little Terns and a Black-browed Albatross ( but not Edwin Vella's Buller's Shearwater!).
It was now 2pm so we headed for Newcastle, we dipped on the Powerful Owl at Warnervale but collected Scarlet Honeyeater. We dipped on the hoped for White-fronted Chats & Tawny Grassbird at Ash Island but found the Pipits & Marsh Sandpipers! With 15 minutes to spare we left for Shortland WC & collected the Magpie Goose 187, White-cheeked Honeyeatwer 188 & our last & unexpected bird 189 the Red-kneed Dotterel! We missed the Wandering Whistle Ducks on the back pond, and the Little Corella and Latham's Snipe flew over after 4pm had struck!!
189 is the highest total achieved by the Central Coast Champions, our previous best was 187! Never -the-less, we managed to come overall 4th in NSW, to be beaten by Keith Brandwood's team the Grey Toilet Thrushes at 203, Ann Lindsey's Hunter Thickheads at 192, and David Geerings Whacked Out Woodswallows at 191 There were 26 teams overall and 9 teams in the main race. The best result for NSW yet. The CCC raised about $400 for the Birds Australia "Newhaven" purchase & management project!
Alan Morris, leader
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