The Launch of the Birding Routes of Baradine & the Pilliga

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Subject: The Launch of the Birding Routes of Baradine & the Pilliga
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 20:43:09 +1000
Hi Birders
Last weekend 21-23 September my wife and I attended the launch of the "Birding Routes of Baradine & the Pilliga" pamphlet and the "Celebration of the Pilliga" Festival at Baradine, in north-west NSW. The pamphlet was prepared by David Johnston, a local birdwatcher resident in Baradine and who has great expertise and knowledge about the Pilliga forests around Baradine. David had the support of the Coonbarabran Shire Council, Coonabarabran-Warrumbungle Tourist Association and the NSW State Forests, all who sponsored the 8 page coloured brochure  with its drawings, maps, birdlist and notes, that outline the 8 birding routes. The Baradine Progress Association organised the pamphlet launch at a dinner with over 120 guests and noted naturalist and author Eric Rolls, officiated at the launch. Eric Rolls lived on a farm near David Johnson, on the edge of the Pilliga Forests from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s, and it was from here that he wrote the book "A Million Wild Acres". First published in 1982 and still being reprinted, the book is the definitive work on the wildlife and social history of the Pilliga Forests.
Russ & Jennie Watts, of "Birding Routes of Barraba " fame were there to support David. In his speech, Russ pointed out that in the year 2000, over 500 people visited Barraba Shire to experience the bird routes and to see the Regent Honeyeaters. On average each person stayed 4 nights in the Shire, which in a small community like Barraba, meant a major increase in tourist dollars being spent in the town. Baradine, population 400, hopes to benefit from an increased interest by birdwatchers in seeing the Baradine/Pilliga birds. The District's specialities include Spotted Bowerbirds, Turquoise Parrot, Square-tailed Kite, Painted &  Regent Honeyeaters (mostly in the Warrumbungle Range), Bluebonnet, Red-winged, Cockatiel & Superb Parrots, Diamond Firetail & Plum-headed Finch, Malleefowl & Koalas!
The Book Launch was part of the "Celebration of the Pilliga" which included an exhibition of photographs of the Pilliga, and the various organisations interested in the Pilliga had information stalls and presentations. Such groups included State Forests, NPWS, Coonabarabran Shire, Friends of the Pilliga, The Pilliga Aboriginal Management Committee, Birds Australia & NSW Bird Atlassers to name just a few.
Also as part of the Weekend programme, David had organised a wildlflower walk, and for me to take two early morning bird walks. The Saturday morning walk was in the Pilliga NR (on Birding Route No. 8) and included a visit to a flowering Mugga Ironbark patch. We had hoped for a Regent Honeyeater or two, but  no such luck but there were many Noisy & Little Friarbirds, Fuscous & Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, Dusky & White-browed Woodswallows (early spring arrival for the latter) and many Little Lorikeets feeding on the blossoms and the noise made by these birds was fantastic. The Sunday morning walk was in Merriwindi SF (Birding Route No 4) at Trapyard Dam, where a Painted Honeyeater was seen on the Saturday. That bird did not show, but our groups saw over 40 species including plenty of Grey-crowned Babblers, Leaden Flycatchers, Mistletoebirds, Brown Treecreepers, Western Gerygones & Weebills, Striped & Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Choughs, Emus & Apostlebirds.
Information about the Birding Routes and the pamphlet are available from the Coonabrabran Shire Visitor Information Centre, Newell Highway, Coonabrabran NSW  2357. Tel 1800 242 881, Email:
Alan Morris
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