Trip Report: Sundown NP + Girraween NP, QLD/NSW border, 24 - 26 Nov 2006

To: "birding australia" <>
Subject: Trip Report: Sundown NP + Girraween NP, QLD/NSW border, 24 - 26 Nov 2006
From: "Graham Etherington" <>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 14:38:24 +1000
Hi all,
Thanks to everyone who helped me out with info for my trip.
Here's the trip report.

Trip Report: Sundown NP + Girraween NP, QLD/NSW border,  24 - 26 Nov 2006

I spent a weekend with a few target birds in mind at these 2 national
parks, with a quick visit to Boonoo Boonoo NP on my way back to

My itinerary was:
Fri 24 Nov - drive to Sundown NP, camp overnight
Sat 25 Nov - morning at Sundown NP, visit to Lake Glenlyon, evening at
Girraween NP, camp overnight.
Sun 26 Nov - early morning at Giraween NP, late morning at Boonoo
Boonoo NP. Afternoon drive back to Brisbane.

Detailed itinerary and birds:
Friday 24 Nov.
Drove to Sundown National Park, via Stanthorpe. The roads between
these two areas were full of feeding White-browed Woodswallows. A
couple of impromptu stops along the way found Brown Quail, 2
Red-winged Parrots, and 2 Little Lorikeets. The entry road into
Sundown NP was lined with White-winged Choughs and a few
I set up camp just before it got dark. I had plenty of choices of
where to camp as I was the only person on the whole campsite! After
eating, I headed out to see if I could spotlight any of the 5
Australian Owlet-Nightjars that were calling on the slopes next to the
campsite, but to no avail. There was also a Southern Boobook calling
through the night.

Saturday 25 Nov
Dawn: I birded my way from the campsite, to the open area by the park
visitors centre/rangers house, then around the trees and fields behind
here, along the entrance/exit road. The ranger, Peter, is an excellent
birder, so it's worth calling in to see what he's been seeing and
hearing lately. The park was alive with bird activity after the recent
rains they'd had.
The best birds (for me anyway) seen that morning were White-browed
Woodswallow (c500), Masked Woodswallow (2), Dusky Woodswallow (c20),
White-throated Treecreeper (c5), Rufous Songlark (c10), Speckled
Warbler (4), Painted Button-quail (2), Brush Cuckoo (3), Black-eared
Cuckoo (1, sat on the fence of the 'no access' area over the entrance
road from the rangers house), White-winged Triller (c20), White-browed
Babbler (3 small groups), Turquoise Parrot (c10), Red-winged Parrot
(1), Crested Shrike-Tit (1), White-eared Honeyeater (5), and
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (4).
Other birds included, Restless Flycatcher, White-naped Honeyeater,
Cicadabird, Azure Kingfisher, White-plumed Honeyeater, Fan-tailed
Cuckoo, Little Lorikeet, Jacky Winter, White-winged Chough,
Appostlebird, Common Bronzewing, Brown Creeper, Weebill, Olive-backed
Oriole, Common Koel, Eastern Rosella, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, and
Red-browed Firetail.

After a walk to the permanent borehole, 1km past the campsite, and a
lovely refreshing swim, I departed about mid-day, heading for Lake
Glenlyon dam, which wasn't very good, but I made a few stops along the
way where I saw some good stuff.
First up was Sundown entrance/exit road. There is a sheep shearing
shed on the left on the way out and around here I saw a rufous female
Pallid Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo, and Spiny-cheeked
Honeyeater. Along the road to Lake Glenlyon various stops also brought
me Ground Cuckoo-Shrike (4), Striped Honeyeater (2), and a family of
Tawny Frogmouths.

I arrived at Girraween NP with a few hours of sunlight left, so I
headed straight out to Junction trail in search of Chestnut-rumped
Heathwren. Unfortunately, there was none to be found so I headed back
to Bald Rock Camping Area and set up camp. Of note along the footpath
on the way back there was Satin Bowerbird, Crimson Rosella,
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, a female Leaden Flycatcher, Red-browed
Firetails, and Eastern Spinebill.

Saturday 26 November
Up at dawn and back on to Junction Track to look for Chestnut-rumped
Heathwren, where this time my luck was in. Leonie Dufton had sent me
some photos of where she'd seen them the weekend before, and it was
close to this area that I saw them. I had 2 birds, 1 on either side of
the track, feeding in the low bushy areas within a couple of metres of
the track. I'd taken a tape with me, but didn't need it. They respond
really well to pishing and the first bird flew up to an exposed perch
in a low bush and sat there for a couple of minutes whilst I pished.
It remained there after I stopped and preened for a while. Great
Directions: from Bald Rock Camping Area, take the trail to Junction
Track. Turn left onto the track. After a short while, the trees thin
out and the habitat opens up on the right-hand side of the track.
Continue on through this. The track then makes a general right hand
turn, through a series of zig-zags. After this you can see the long
granite slopes to your right and this is the area I found the 2 birds.
I didn't go on much further as I wanted to check out Boonoo Boonoo NP
and look for Superb Lyrebirds before it got too hot.
Other birds along the track were Dusky Woodswallow, Satin Bowerbird,
and White-throated Gerygone.

Boonoo Boonoo National Park
I arrived in the park at about 9 am after a short stop along Mount
Lindesay Road (which you take from Tenterfield) for some Yellow-tailed
Black Cockatoos. Unfortunately, there was no sign of any Lyrebirds,
apart from what might have been the tail of one bird disappearing off
the road as I came round a corner (I of course, like any good birder
would, was looking at the side of the road, and didn't expect to see a
lyrebird in the middle of the road!). The Boonoo Boonoo Falls is worth
a visit whilst you are there, if not for the fantastic view, then to
see Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby. I drove around a couple of 4WD tracks
which can be accessed from 'Link Road' about 3 km's short of the
falls, but didn't see much.
I then spent the rest of the hot day heading back to Brisbane.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Carl Billingham, Leonie Dufton, Margaret
Cameron, and Glenn McRae for there help in planning my trip.

Dr. Graham Etherington,
Brisbane, Australia

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