Saturday morning, Richard Joll and I set out for a three day
exploratory of some of the back blocks of the Mt Barney NP. We left
our car by the Rabbit Fence beside Lindesay Ck [NSW, access via
Woodenbong] and followed the fence for a couple of kays till we could
cross over to the ridge we wanted - we flushed one of the largest [and
most three-dimensional] red-bellied blacksnakes I've ever seen.
Our ridge had some old logging tracks which we followed in the heat up
to the McPhearson Range [not too many birds moving about] and the
coolth of the old growth forests. The Qld side of the border was
totally unlogged and in mint condition - many grand old box and
stringybark trees and some pleasant bushwalking conditions. As we
approached our rainforest campsite at T Junction [upper reaches of
Barney Ck], Ritchie flushed a pair night herons, which found rather
strange as I have never seen night herons round Mt Barney, and the
water level in the creeks was very low [barely a trickle at T Junction].
As we settled down to enjoy a ten year old cab sav from the Great
Southern, we could hear a turkey wandering around in the bush on the
other side of the creek. We also enjoyed the silence of the cicadas -
when we camped there at new years last year, we were deafened by the
din of 100,000 pulsating cicadas [I believe that was the equivalent of
a cicada leap year]. The dusk and dawn choruses were quite pleasant,
but relatively subdued compared to some other places. We had an
Albert's lyrebird calling from a nearby location during the dawn chorus
- it seemed to warm up its vocal chords by imitating a few other
species before launching into [what I believe is] the classic
territorial calling pattern [I'm not sure if the other "gronking" call
is territorial as well].
I also heard a gobble call in the night, which may have been a marbled
frogmouth, but couldn't hear the click at the end [perhaps that doesn't
carry as well as the rest of the call]. What other night callers have
a gobble call like the marbled frogmouth?
Sunday morning, we went up one of the tributaries of Barney Ck - very
pleasant rainforest walking, with the odd christmas orchid and cunjevoi
in flower. I managed to brush a stinging tree, but I've been stung so
many times in the past that the sting has little impact [no worse than
a stinging nettle].
In any case, the sting was totally forgotten when I turned a corner and
found a platypus swimming about in a 4x7 metre pool. This was the
first wild sighting of a platypus for both of us, and we were amazed to
see one swimming about so late in the morning, and so far up the creek
[~ 700 metres altitude]. We'd never heard of platypus in Barney Ck and
wondered about how platypus migrate to places like Barney Ck [obviously
the ancestoral platypus walked a fair way].
Anyhow, we found a very pleasant wet schlerophyll ridge to follow up to
the border and a similarly brilliant ridge to follow down to Lindesay
Ck, where we found a nice campsite within hearing distance of tinkling
creek. Ritchie flushed an owl in a side creek in his explorations,
which he thought might have been large enough to be a powerful owl, but
we couldn't find the bird to confirm it. In the mean time, I had nice
views of a lyrebird wandering about on a broad section of creekbank.
We settled down to an eight year old cab sav merlot from the Barossa,
but the dusk chorus was pretty thin - just the odd catbird, brown
cuckoo dove and black faced monarch calling - possibly also a ground
thrush, but it didn't call long enough to be sure.
We woke to another pleasantly cool morning [ ~13 C] and I had the
pleasure of watching a creche of turkeys wandering about - they had
full sized tails, but no wattles, so I presumed they were youngish
birds. There were five in the group, and four crossed the creek about
10 metres from me.
From our campsite, we headed up to a different section of the border,
which we followed to the start of the tick fence [for some reason,
there are now parallel tick fences] which we followed back to the road.
We saw a rifle bird and flushed a wedgetail off the track [couldn't
see why it was on the ground]. Walking beside the rabbit fence back to
the car in the heat [~35C], we also saw a sea eagle being harassed in
All up, a pleasant Oz Day weekend.
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