Mt Budawang - Sun 18 Sept

Subject: Mt Budawang - Sun 18 Sept
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 10:59:46 +1000

On Sunday I walked what I believe to be the best half-day walk within an hours (approx.) drive from Canberra - the hike up Mount Budawang in Budawang National Park. The summit is at around 1180m and the 2 hour walk is an unrelenting ascent from the car park through many habitats along a 3 km track.

On the drive in I stopped briefly where the Northangera Road crosses the Mongarlowe River in Monga State Forest. Here there were many honeyeaters including Eastern Spinebills, Yellow-faced and White-eared Honeyeaters and Silvereyes. Many feeding on the profuse flowering Grevillea species. Along the Mt Budawang Road I saw Satin Bowerbirds.

From the car park in national park the track starts amid moist sclerophyll forest with an understorey of stunted Banksia ericifolia where I flushed a Wonga Pigeon. The track then dips into temperate rainforest with tree ferns lining Feagans Creek as it meanders through the stoney creekbed. Here I watched a female Rose Robin flit around and listened to the Eastern Whipbirds and Fan-tailed Cuckoos. Further along the track rises steeply and wont straighten out until it reaches the saddle just below the summit. In the wet sclerophyll forest near the creek were Eastern Yellow Robins and a pair of Large-billed Scrubwrens.

As you get higher the forest gets drier and soon I was in dry sclerophyll forest with among all the greenery the red tubular flowers of the Common Heath, yellow flowers of Peas, white tubular flowers of another heath, blues of flax lily(?) and several pink and purple flowers as well. Here Flame Robins including a male foraged along the track. Tree ferns were common along the track all the way to the saddle. I also noticed a small flock of migrating Yellow-faced Honeyeaters heading in a southerly direction along the ridge.

As I got higher still the forest canopy of beautiful old Silvertop Ash thinned and the heathy understorey (which is dense and varied throughout the walk) dominated. Another species of Banksia started to predominate - Bankisa serrata. Upon reaching the saddle there was a wet heath with sedges and small ferns interspersed with tea-tree thickets where I counted 3 separate Olive Whistlers calling, although despite waiting for ages wouldnt show themselves. nearby a Pilotbird called (one of some 4 separate birds I heard on the walk in all habitats and at all altitudes). Here there were also New Holland Honeyeaters, although mostly quiet, and many vocal Crescent Honeyeaters. I heard some Gang-gang Cockatoos nearby.

After a short walk through more sclerophyll forest with an understorey of wet heath up to 2m tall the canopy disappeared and I reached the open heath covered summit with its fire tower. Here in the predominately Dwarf Allocasuarina, Leptospermum and Banksia at above 1100m were more Crescent and New Holland Honeyeaters, Pilotbirds and a Flame Robin as well as White-browed Scrubwrens.

From the summit I had 360 degree views to the ocean and the Clyde River valley, to Durras Mountain and as far as Jervis Bay, north in a grand arc were Currockbilly Mountain, The Castle and Pigeon House Mtn, to the west Braidwood, Mt Gillamatong and the Tallaganda Range, and to the south Deua and Monga National Parks.

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