Dharug National Park

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Dharug National Park
From: "Allan Benson" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 11:56:20 +1100
Please find below Ian artcile  have written for my local club newsletter about Dharug and a trip to same on 28th Dec.
Dharug National Park

Dharug National Park is of particular interest to birders as it an excellent site for Glossy Black Cockatoo and Lewins Rail. Other interesting birds to be seen in this park include Lyrebird, Brush Cuckoo, Satin Flycatcher, Wonga Pigeon and night birds such as Owlet Nightjar, White Throated Night jar and Boobook.

Dharug forms the southwest corner of the Gosford Local Government Area. It encompasses about 15,000 ha bounded by the Hawesbury River on the south and the historic Old Northern Road as its western boundary. Essentially, the park is wilderness but access to the park is available on the southern boundary at a picnic area at Hazell Dell and a very pleasant camping and picnic area at Mill Creek. The camping area has composting toilets and gas barbecues. The Eleven-Kilometre Circuit Walk from the picnic area allows access for further exploration of the park. The Grasstree Circuit is only 1.6 Km and follows Mill Creek through rainforest vegetation, which includes Lilly Pilly, White Cherry and Coachwood. The return leg on the more elevated Hawesbury sandstone areas provides a change in vegetation to Grey Gum, Sydney Peppermint, Narrow Leafed Apple and Bloodwood.

Dharug National Park is about an hour’s drive from Gosford via Mangrove Mountain and Central Mangrove and about 2 hours drive from Sydney via Wisemans Ferry.

On the 28th December 2002, John Reidy, Robin Benson and myself met at Mill Creek.. We arrived about 4pm, which allowed enough time to explore the Grasstree Circuit walk. Dharug was severely burnt out in the 1994 bush fires and burnt again in late 1999. The understory of acacia hasn’t recovered. Recent bush fires had destroyed the bush land to the south, west and north so there was a profusion of honeyeaters feeding in the flowering angophoras. Species included White-naped (with juveniles), Yellow-faced, Lewins, Scarlet, White-eared, Silvereye, Noisy Friarbird, Little Wattlebird, Bell Miner and Eastern Spinebill. We heard Gang Gang calling high up on the escarpment to the north. Cicardabird was calling nearby but too far away to track down.

Around the camping area we saw Rufous and Golden Whistler as well as Leaden Flycatcher. We were thrilled when two glossy Black Cockatoo flew 5 metres over our heads. We were able to see the Glossy Black is much smaller than the Yellow tail, with a very different flight pattern, a different call and the red could be seen clearly in the tail.

We had tea at the picnic area and were joined by a male and female Lyrebird, Common Bronzewing and Wonga Pigeon. The first call we heard on dark was a Brush Cuckoo and then a Fantail Cuckoo joined in. We soon tracked down a Boobook calling in the top of a tree in the picnic area.

As we waited for more action, we saw no less than 5 satellites moving in the star studded sky as well as three meteors providing a show of fireworks. We heard an Owlet Nightjar calling and played a tape. The bird came straight at the tape and nearly took Rob’s head off. We were able to see the bird twisting and turning in the spotlight. Despite the bird (or birds) calling frequently we were unable to get another view. One consolation was seeing a Common Wombat feeding beside the road.

At 10.30 p.m. we decide to pull up stumps as nothing responded to the White-Throated Nightjar nor the Masked Owl tape. On the drive home we saw both Ringtail and Brush-tail Possum which was a nice conclusion to an evening’s birding.

Allan Benson
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