Field Trip, Royal National Park

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Field Trip, Royal National Park
From: "Brian Everingham" <>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 15:53:53 +1000
On Saturday, 21st October I took a field trip to Royal National Park for the National Parks Association of NSW (Website: We met at Wattle Forest, across the wooden bridge at Audley and along the western banks of the Hacking River. At 6.00am, under a cloudy sky, we began a birdwatching session. As usual this area of picnic ground and associated riverine rainforest, rehabilitated by excellent bush regeneration, provided an exciting list of birds:
Little Pied Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Darter, Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Goshawk,Dusky Moorhen, Wonga Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-dove, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, Eastern Rosella, Fantail Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Welcome Swallow, Eastern Yellow Robin, Crested Shrike-Tit, Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike Thrush, Black-faced Monarch, Leaden Flycatcher, Grey Fantail, Willy Wagtail, Eastern Whipbird, Superb Fairy Wren, White-Browed Scrubwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Striated Thornbill, White-throated Treecreeper, Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Silvereye, Spotted Pardalote, Magpie-Lark, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Green Catbird, Satin Bowerbird, Superb Lyrebird, Australian Raven.(45 species for that one small area)
We birded until 9.00am and then had a bbq breakfast, a pleasant interlude and made more pleasant because we were joined by NPWS staff Peter Hay and Greg Tedder. Their knowledge of the park and management issues was vital for us and much appreciated.
After the lunch the formal birding for the day was over. Nevertheless, there were more sightings for those who dared, and Royal continues to inspire for the variety of bird life. It truly is a jewel.
The second session of the day began at the Garrawarra Car park and included a general discussion of park management, fee collection, visitor usage, expectations and pressures to get the mix between providing facilities and protecting the environment. The loop walk we did then showed some of those issues at first hand. It included inspection of a recent fire believed to have been the result of an arson attack, track erosion and track design, weed infestation, shack management, the problem of feral deer (we saw two herds of over 50 in each herd), use of fires and camping in Royal National Park (we visited North Era and saw the new composting toilets) and dumping, littering and other matters related to the heavy use of a park so close to Sydney.
All in all the party  was privileged to have had the expertise of Peter and Greg and to have had several members of the Park Management Committee of the NPA along.
The day was certainly a mixed one and just shows the value of a body like the NPA, not only for the opportunity of joining in its field trips, but because of the knowledge of its members and its access to staff of the Service.
Brian Everingham
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