Good Birding at Bingara NSW

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Subject: Good Birding at Bingara NSW
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 22:56:19 +1100
Nineteen members and friends of the Central Coast Group of Birding NSW held a camp-out at Bingara (29 51S, 150 34 E), located on the North-west Slopes of NSW about 180 km NNW of Tamworth at the beginning of November. Members stayed in tents and camper vans, in cabins and on-site vans and at the nearby motel. The camp was based around the Bingara Caravan Park which is conveniently located between the tree-lined Bingara Creek and Gwydir River which join nearby and as these two rivers also adjoined timbered ridges and a State Forest, bird life was pretty good on-site. In addition a number of caravan park residents feed the birds so that Apostlebirds, Eastern & Pale-headed Rosellas, Lorikeets, King & Red-winged Parrots, Red-browed & Double-banded Finches appeared daily to be fed, and Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Noisy & Little Friarbirds and House Sparrows were nesting in or adjacent to the ground. Altogther the caravan park was a top birding spot on its own!
From the Caravan Park we spent 3 days travelling the "Birding Routes" of Bingara using a pamphlet prepared by the local council, paying particular attention to the Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) to the east of Bingara along the Gwydir River Rd, Bobby Whitmont Rd and Myall Creek Massacre Site, and to the west of Bingara around the town common, the ironbark/box woodlands on the hills to the west of the town, and onto Caroda, Pallal, Rocky Creek and Upper Horton. On Tuesday 4/11/03 we travelled to Ashfords via Graman, returning via Inverell and Inverell Lake. At Ashford we spent time with Roger and Ann Handy, former residents of Howes Valley, where our Club regularly held outings on their property, a known Regent Honeyeater site. The Handy's now have retired to a small block on the outskirts of Ashford where they happily showed us all their birds. During the months prior to our visits there have been some good rains in the District, the wheat harvest was underway, the streams were running, some White Box and Yellow Box was flowering, and the dense stands of Callistemon linearis were flowing along the Gwydir and other Rivers, attracting large numbers of honeyeaters and lorikeets.
The seasonal conditions must suit the local migrant birds because the place was alive with White-winged Trillers, White-browed & Masked Woodswallows, Sacred Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Rufous Whistlers & Rufous Songlarks, while the local birds were also very active like Noisy & Little Friarbirdss, Brown Honeyeaters & Brown Treecreepers. Rainbow & little Lorikeets were abundant, and small numbers of Musk and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets were found feeding in the Callistemon and Box blossums. Highlights of the area included 2 male and 2 female Black Honeyeaters along the Gwydir River east of Bingara; Plum-headed Finches, Diamond Firetails and Hooded Robins at Myall Creek; Spotted Bowerbirds on the Gwydir River TSR and at Upper Horton; an Azure Kingfisher on Bingara Ck at Bingara; 2 Diamond Doves near Caroda; and a Scarlet Honeyeater, 6 Crested Grebes & a Hobby at Inverell Lake; Good numbers of Wedge-tailed & Little Eagles; Turquoise Parrots at 4 sites; and plenty of good woodland birds like Crested Shrike-tit, Speckled Warbler, Black-chinned & Fuscous Honeyeaters and White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes.  Alas no Regent Honeyeaters were seen and when we were at Upper Horton having morning tea, a local drove up to us and said "Are you birdwatchers", "yes" we replied, "well" he said, " I've got some of those honeyeater birds you bird watchers want to see coming to my paulonia trees, your welcome to go and have a look". He described the location of his house, warned us about how to treat the dog, and then drove off! We looked, on two occasions but with no luck!
Altogether 131 species were seen over the three days and 124 species were seen in Bingara Shire, about 40 atlas sheets will be submitted. Bingara proved to be a great place to do some birding. The "Bird Routes" are well sign posted on the eastern side of the Shire but not so out around Caroda and Pallal where visitors did not appear to be too welcome! Anyhow we had a great time and we recommend the District to other birders.
Alan Morris
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