Mid north Coast

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Mid north Coast
From: "Brian Everingham" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 18:51:49 +1000

Mid North Coast Birding

My wife (Faye) and I have just spent the last three days in the Manning and Hastings Valley, visiting certain Parks, Nature Reserves and State Forests and doing some incidental birding.

Day 1, Tuesday 17th July.

We visited Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve. We crossed the ferry at Settlement Point, Port Macquarie and walked in to the NR on the western side approximately 4 km north along the western edge. This area is in prolific flowering for banksias and we were inundated with Noisy Friarbirds, New Holland Honeyeaters, White Cheeked Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills. However the highlight must surely be a stunning view of an Osprey already in the middle of carrying large twigs to wherever its nesting platform happened to be.

After lunch we returned to our home via Lake Innes Nature Reserve and again did a walk in coastal heath. This had a similar bird list but there were excellent views of Whistling Kites and White breasted Sea Eagles here as well as a glorious male Southern Emu-Wren. We explored the Plots Fire Trail this trip. It is quite disconcerting just how much traffic noise is audible along what is the alternate coastal road. Can we not escape anywhere?

Last stop was Dooragan National Park, North Brother Mountain, where we did a short rainforest walk at the look out at the top. There is an excellent walk from Laurieton but this time we did not have the time to do it. The very top loop is a small walk but we were very pleased to see three Australian Ground Thrush clearly visible around the cars. For those who have not been to the top this has been developed as a wonderful picnic area by the NPWS and the views over Queens Lake and North Haven are simply superb. From the Don Johnstone Viewing Platform the views over Crowdy Bay National Park are equally wonderful. (Don died in 1997, having retired to Harrington after an active life as Director of the NPWS)

Day 2, Wednesday 18th July.

We took a drive through Lansdowne State Forest to Yarrat State Forest and the newly created Goonook Nature Reserve. Yarrat State Forest is overcut but its northern third has been created into a Nature Reserve. Unfortunately the volcanic plug, Mount Goonook, is just to the north on private land. It would be a strategic purchase.

Lunch was had down at Saltwater picnic area next to Khappinghat Nature Reserve. This area is so much better than in previous years and the Taree City Council and Dunecare are to be commended. The littoral rainforest is protected, the picnic areas are better defined and the whole area is pleasant. Brown Quail wandered along the side of the road, Green Catbird flitted quietly in the bushes and a Shining Bronze Cuckoo sat prominently on the top of a casuarina.

Day 3, Thursday 19th July

An exploration of Lorne State Forest, Coorabakh National Park, Lansdowne State Forest and the Harrington end of Crowdy Bay National Park filled in the day more than adequately. It was a quiet, cool morning and we were rather disappointed by the birding in Coorabakh National Park but this is a spectacular area for scenic views and that more than made up for it. Even the Beech Trail provided wonderful cliffline views over Waitui.

However the birding highlight for the whole three days was to follow in that small littoral rainforest by the caravan park at Harrington. Within 100m we found Rose Robin, Scarlet Myzomela, Noisy Pitta and Forest Kingfisher. Meanwhile, down on a lamp post at Crowdy Head, we enjoyed the sights of an Osprey dining out on whatever was left of its catch.

All up over the three days we found 110 species of bird. The countryside around was almost as productive as the national parks and nature reserves and there are several birding points of note:

  1. The stunning Pergrine Falcon in the Stewarts Valley!
  2. A huge number of Hardheads on the dams a round the Stewarts Valley
  3. An equally large number of Straw Necked Ibis and Cattle Egret, now well dispersed over the landscape
  4. The return of Jacky Winters after a lengthy absence in this part of the world.
  5. The increase in Pied Butcherbirds, alongside of Grey Butcherbirds that were once the dominant type here.

Brian Everingham

Brian Everingham
PO Box 269
NSW 2233
+61 2 95209341
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