Coolah Tops

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Coolah Tops
From: "Brian Everingham" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2006 08:39:47 +1000
My wife and I have just returned from a four day camping trip in
Coolah Tops National

For those who are not aware of this park it is situated on the Liverpool
Range and is an elevated basalt plateau rising steeply from the surrounding
countryside. Most is 1000m above sea level and the northern edge is quite
steep: a series of columnar basalt cliff lines and escarpments.

The plateau is covered with tall open forests and there are quite extensive
stands of snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora), Mountain white gum (E
dalrympleana), Mountain ribbon gum (E nobilis) and black sally (E
stellulata). The understorey is often grass but there are scattered shrubs
of silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) and lots of Leptospermum gregarium.

We stayed at the Barracks campsite. This is the old quarters for timber
getters and there were old pines in a grove, an old, flowering rhododendron
bush, a tank and shelter shed and a pit toilet. Across the road and a little
further down the creek the remains of the old Cox's Creek Sawmill can be

The Barracks camping area was rich in wildlife. We had regular visits from
Red Necked Wallabies, Brush Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Greater
Gilders. King Parrots, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Musk Lorikeets, Spotted
and Striated Pardalotes and Red Browed, Brown and White Throated
Treecreepers abounded. Indeed, there were many Musk Lorikeets and many were
inspecting and occupying the many hollows that abound in the forested park.

In addition to the delights of the campsite itself, there were small,
delightful walks. My favourite, done three times while we were there, was
one called the Grass Tree Walk. The old xanthorrhea must have been hundreds
of years in the making. Some were bent over, three crowns and spikes
straining to greet the light. Another fun walk took us along the creek, down
by the old sawmill, past the second campsite and on, along the rim
overlooking the spectacular gorge that becomes Cox's creek when it leaves
the escarpment. However there were many old logging tracks to explore and
many wonderful views overlooking the Namoi valley.

On our last morning we walked through Norfolk Falls to Bald Hill Creek Falls.
Both waterfalls were barely a trickle but they held much promise for when
rains eventually return. The plateau does get good rains but this was surely
drought. We also visited the Bracken Hut, a wonderful place built at the end
of the Norfolk Swamp. This was the property of James Traill and his
employee, William Bracken, occupied it. It can now be leased for holiday
accommodation from the NPWS. The swamp was nearly dry but we found a flock
of 13 Glossy Ibis and a variety of duck along its watercourse. We also found

Actually, the pigs were probably the biggest, obvious management problem we
noted. The swamps and under the canopy of the forest were all heavily
affected by pigs and there must be an immense population to create the havoc
we noted.

The bird list on the NPWS webpage sufficed for our visit. We found 56
species and the only one that was not on the official list was the Glossy
Ibis. We did not find or hear any Barking Owl or Powerful Owl but the large
and visible population of Greater Glider must surely state that they were
there; perhaps in abundance.

Drop in some time. Drop in to Coolah too. It's a glorious little country

Brian Everingham
PO Box 269
NSW 2233

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