59th NSW Gould League Camp at Dairy Flat

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Subject: 59th NSW Gould League Camp at Dairy Flat
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 21:11:20 +1000
The 59th Gould League Bird Study camp was held at Dairy Flat 28 23 01 S, 152 42 52 E, a working dairy farm property located in the shadow of Mt Lindsey, 47 km NW of Kyogle and 8 kms east of Woodenbong in north-eastern NSW. The Camp was based around the large homestead now used as a farm stay, and 3 adjoining but seperate cottages. 58 campers were present, the organiser being John Seale, the housekeeper was Liz Crawford & the cooks Claire Lindsey and Jos Baumgart.
The 3rd Gould League Camp in 1939 was held at nearby Lindsey View on Sawpit Creek, 16 kms to the east of Dairy Flat where 36 campers saw 91 species of birds. It was a bit daunting on this occasion in that during the  1939 camp  World War II was declared, while during this camp, the Americans commenced bombing Afganistan! The son of one of the local people who helped run the 1939 camp  and on whose property the camp was held, Claude Hogan now 89 (and whose photograph appears in the report of that camp) came and joined our camp for dinner one evening and was able to clearly remember the personalities and activities of that event.
During our stay visits were made to the eastern & western sections of Border Ranges National Park, Toonumbar, Tooloom & Mt Clunie National Parks, Moore Park Nature Reserve, and Iron Knob, Unumbar, Toonumbar & Mt Lindsey State Forests, many local wetlands and the villages of Woodenbong, Urbenville, Grevillea, Kooreelah, Wiangaree and Afterlee. Most of the places mentioned were either rainforests reserves or had patches of rainforest within their bounds and many were part of the NSW World Heritage Rainforest Reserves. A spotlighting foray into the Sawpit Creek area revealed only Barn Owl, Owlet Nightjar and Mountain Possums.
While the bird of the Camp was the Black-breasted Button-quail we were aware that none had been seen in NSW since at least 1970s so we were not disappointed that we could not locate any on this occasion. Other very rare species in the Region are the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (no NSW records since 1995), the Eastern Bristlebird, Rufous Scrub-bird and Albert's Lyrebird. About 3 people had views of an Eastern Bristlebird in Upper Main Arm Creek although many more heard the bird calling; Albert Lyrebirds were heard at three sites, mostly in either Mt Lindsey SF and the Border Ranges NP but no one actually managed to get their binoculars onto one; while several people heard the Rufous Scrub-bird at The Pinnacles, Border Ranges NP but only one person was lucky enough to see it! We all dipped on the Fig-Parrot. However we did mange to see 187 species all up, and everyone had good views of, Emerald Doves, Wompoo Fruit-Doves, Pale-headed Rosellas, Pale-yellow Robins, Little Shrike-thrush, Spectacled Monarchs, Spine-tailed Log-runners, Varied Trillers, Paradise Rifle-birds, Green Catbirds, Regent Bowerbirds. A Black-necked Stork was found at The Glen Swamp, Woodenbong, a Pink-eared Duck at the Dairy Swamp, Woodenbong, 200+ Plumed Whistling Ducks were found at Woodenbong Golfcourse & STW, Buff-banded Rails were at two places and a Baillon's Crake was found in Unumgar SF.
Other highlights included seeing Glossy Black Cockatoos & Pacific Bazas at 4 locations, both Little Corellas & Cockatiels were seen in small flocks and there was a lone Long-billed Corella with the Little Corellas. Jacanas were found at many of the wetlands and  Painted Button-quails at 3 locations. Both White-browed & Masked Woodswallows passed over the Antarctic Beech Lookout in Border Ranges NP on the hot windy day of 5 October; while Fuscous & Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters were located at Wallaby Creek, within Tooloom NP.  Birds seen at the 1939 camp but not seen on this occasion included Stubble Quail, Black Bittern, Striped Honeyeater & Little Friarbird (although there was a possible report of the latter). In addition to the birds were saw 6 species of kangaroo, 7 species of snakes, 8 species of Frog, and numerous other reptiles, tortoises. & mammals.
Five campers were atlassing for the Birds Australia Bird Atlas, and together with the many stops to and from the camp, over 100 atlas sheets will be submitted. Many breeding records were obtained, with 34 species found to be nesting. Seasonal conditions were very dry throughout and for the first time that I can remember (and my first camp was 1975), it did not rain during the 10 days of camp! A detailed list of birds seen during the camp is available on request.
Alan Morris
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