Bushwalking Round the Back of Ballow [SEQ]

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Bushwalking Round the Back of Ballow [SEQ]
From: knightl <>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 18:58:01 +1000
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 the distance.

All up, a pleasant Oz Day weekend.

Regards, Laurie.

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