Wilko's birding through NSW. Part A

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Subject: Wilko's birding through NSW. Part A
From: "Peter Wilkins" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 12:47:32 +1100
Wilko?s birding through NSW. Part A

It seems that in the transfer of my text onto the birdsaus archive some of
the punctuation marks change to question marks, sorry.

Hello I?m back, actually I got slack over the Xmas period so didn?t do much
writing. I?ve now returned home in WA but will attempt to finish my story.

Leaving Lamington NP we decided to take a rather convoluted route south
through northern NSW initially heading inland through Stanthorpe and
Tenterfield then toward the coast to Casino then down the hinterland to
Grafton onto Coffs Harbour and back inland to Dorrigo where we stayed for a
couple of nights.

Dorrigo Nat. Pk. was recommended as a place not to miss, and we weren?t
disappointed. The information centre is really well done and the canopy walk
provides a birds perpective of rainforest. Oh if only I had wings, although
the ground is a long way down so I don?t reckon I?d take the leap.

27/11/04 Dorrigo was my last chance to find the Noisy Pitta. We drove out to
the Never Never picnic area where I did a quick ten minute bird watch and
got good views of a spectacular male Superb Lyrebird. Next morning we did
the walk to Champagne Falls. I recorded 30 bird species including Logrunner,
Black-faced Monarch and Wompoo Fruit-Dove but unfortunately no Pitta.

We continued traveling inland onto Tamworth where Jo and the kids wanted to
check out the music scene, for me it was an opportunity to get to Barraba.

29/11/04 Jo and the kids had their day organised, so I headed off early
wanting to get to Tarpoly Reserve before the day heated up too much. I
arrived at the reserve just before 7:00am and parked next to a small dam
just off the highway. I had only just started noting a few birds (Rufous
Songlark, Galah, Red-rumped Parrot, Black Duck and Fairy Martin) when I
heard an unfamiliar and incessant call, following it I flushed 3 Turquoise
Parrots from the ground they perched in a nearby tree. I had reasonable
views of two of the parrots, which were a juvenile and a female. The
juvenile was making the incessant call and the female was feeding it. Just
about then a large finch (possibly Plum-headed?) flew overhead, Awwww
predicament, predicament, wanting to observe the parrots for longer and
hoping the third bird was a male I was reluctant to leave them to chase the
finch. I lost sight of the finch as it continued to fly through the canopy,
and it didn?t look as though it was going to perch anywhere so I decided to
stay with the parrots, unfortunately they had slipped away and were now
silent, bugger!

I headed back toward the dam when I saw my first Striped Honeyeater, jeepers
happy hour is here. Having read in the Barraba bird route notes that
Plum-headed Finch had been seen near the creek, I wondered north to the
bridge and creek. I followed the creek down stream to start with noting down
Western Gerygone, Peaceful Dove, Red-browed Finch, Pallid Cuckoo and Suberb
Fwren. I returned to the bridge and followed the creek upstream where I came
across very dense and tall grass. Not wanting to walk through the dense
grass or accidentally damage the revegetation efforts of local groups I
decided to follow the edge of the dense grass which was only a few metres
further away from the creekline, I took about two steps and flushed a male
Plum-headed Finch from the grass, it perched in a small shrub only metres
away watched it preening itself for ten or so minutes. I wondered through
the reserve for a little longer adding Dollarbird, Jacky Winter, Stubble
Quail, Brown Tree-creeper and Hooded Robin.

After Tarpoly I went to Borah Reserve, I walked north along the creekline
observing White-winged Chough, Eastern Rosella, Cicadabird and Fuscous H/e.
I heard some small parrots in the trees next to the creek but couldn?t for
the life of me locate them. I approached the trees still unable to find any
birds when three small lorikeets took off like a squadron of FA18 Hornets.
Internally swearing and cussing because I just missed an opportunity to see
another new species I walked toward where they flew from and another bird
took flight DOUBLE BUGGER!!

Continuing to cuss along the creek for a while I decided to walk back to the
car through the hills. I froze in my tracks when I heard more calls from
small parrots, scanning the trees I spotted a Little Lorikeet, I took a few
steps closer and a male Turquoise Parrot flushed from the ground displaying
its brilliant blue wings and yellow edged tail feathers as it perched.
Predicament, predicament, what do I do here? The lorikeet disappeared down a
tree hollow, this gave me the opportunity to observe the Turquoise Parrot
briefly where I got views of its blue face and red shoulder before I felt I
had to switch back to the Little Lorikeet which had now come out of the
hollow, giving me the opportunity to see its distinctive red forehead and

 Phew! And to think I still can?t convince my wife that bird watching can be
extremely stressful.

Next was to venture up to the Regent Honeyeater breeding area NE of Barraba.
Being a conservation land manager I wanted to check out the honeyeaters
habitat, gain some insight into the issues that the recovery group are
dealing with, and of course try to see them.

On the way out I stopped regularly along the road, some of the interesting
birds were Musk Lorikeet I also saw White-backed Swallows nesting in a creek
bank. I arrived at the nesting habitat and had a walk around, despite an
abundance of flowering eucalypts in the area I didn?t see any Regents but
there were reasonably high numbers of Noisy Friarbird, there were also
plenty of Little Lorikeet. My observations of potential threatening agents
were inline with those already recognized being associated with nesting and
feeding habitat and landscape connectivity. An impressive revegetation and
bush protection effort is evident throughout the area, well done.

I returned to Tamworth very happy with the days birding and keen to have
another crack at convincing Jo that bird watching is very stressful at
times. Failed again unfortunately.

The next few days were forecast to be hot and windy so we headed for the
coast, ending up in Sydney a few days later, where I was looking forward to
do some birding in the Blue Mountains.

Regards, Wilko.

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