Trip Report: mainly NSW Mid North Coast, including Kosciuszko, Crowdy
Bay, Boorganna, Barrington Tops. (Longish)
Over the Christmas and New Year holiday break (27/12/2003 to 14/01/2004)
I travelled with my family to a number of interesting national parks in
NSW. The main places we visited included Kosciuszko National Park,
Crowdy Bay National Park and Boorganna Nature Reserve (both in the NSW
Mid North Coast Hastings region), Barrington Tops National Park, and
then back to Melbourne via Dubbo.
Kosciuszko National Park was alive with bird life, re-invigorating after
the fires that burnt out much of the bush in the park. We camped at
Geehi on the Alpine Way. Geehi is an excellent camping ground at the
southern foot of Kosciuszko, and offers spectacular views of the nearby
mountain range. Both Leaden and Satin Flycatcher were common here, as
were Pilotbird and Golden Whistler. Other birds in the area included
Superb Lyrebird, Eastern Whipbird, Satin Bowerbird, King Parrot,
White-throated Gerygone, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Flame Robin, Olive-backed
Oriole, Gang-Gang, Sulphur-crested and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo,
Pied Currawong, Wedge-tailed Eagle, and a wide range of Honeyeater
including Crescent, White-naped, White-eared, Yellow-faced and Lewin's
HE. On New Years Eve we caught the Thredbo chair lift up the mountain.
>From the chair Pilotbird could be heard calling from any large patch of
scrub on the ski fields below. On the summit there were several
football-sized snowdrift, so naturally we had a snow fight: a white
>From Kosciuszko we stayed overnight in a ghost town called Canberra, and
then travelled through Sydney, Newcastle to Crowdy Bay National Park
which is approximately 400 kilometres north of Sydney.
At Crowdy Bay National Park we camped at Kylies Beach camping ground;
nestled in littoral rainforest and 2 minutes walk from the beach.
Fortunately, in terms of the number of people, it was surprisingly
quiet, especially when you considering the time of year. It was also
very hot and humid, with most of NSW going through a heat wave (i.e. 45
degrees in nearby Tamworth!), so we did a lot of swimming. On the first
day I stupidly wore my wet suit in the surf, which attracted the
attention of the other beach goers. I could hear their amusement and
mirth: "Bloody Victorians". I didn't wear it again.
Despite the heat I still managed to catch up with some good birds,
including Regent Bowerbird, Pheasant Coucal, Spangled Drongo, Common
Koel, plenty of White-cheeked and Scarlet Honeyeater, large open flocks
of White-throated Needletail intermixed with occasional Fork-tailed
Swift, Red-backed Fairy Wren, White-throated Gerygone, Noisy Friarbird,
Eastern Whipbird, Leaden Flycatcher, Cicadabird, Figbird, Black-faced
Monarch, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, and both Pied and Grey Butcherbird.
Other birds here included Common, Little, Gull-billed, Caspian,
Whiskered and Crested Tern, Intermediate Egret, Eastern Curlew, the
ubiquitous White-bellied Sea-eagle and Peregrine Falcon. I missed out on
a few of the specialty birds for this area, including King Quail, Tawny
Grassbird and Pacific Baza. Grass Owl has also been recorded at Crowdy
>From Crowdy Bay we headed inland to Boorganna Nature Reserve, a
wonderful area of remnant rainforest. I had particularly targeted
Boorganna because of its manageable and compact size (390 ha). Birds
seen here included Logrunner, Spectacled Monarch (in the fig trees next
to the car park), Green Catbird, Regent Bowerbird, Russet-tailed Thrush,
White-headed and Topknot Pigeon, Brown-headed Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo
Fruit-Dove, Bar-Shouldered Dove (large flocks on the roadside in from
Comboyne), Yellow-throated and Large-billed Scrubwren were both common,
Brown Gerygone, Crested Shrike-tit, Rufous Fantail, Eastern Whipbird and
Lewin's Honeyeater. I missed out on seeing (although I did hear) Noisy
Pitta and I dipped on Pale-yellow Robin.
At Barrington Tops we stayed at the camping ground on the Gloucester
River. Barrington Tops, particularly the Antarctic Beach forest area on
Gloucester Tops is a well-known site for elusive Rufous Scrub-bird.
Indeed Gloucester Tops is considered an easier site to see this bird
than Lamington National Park. I did not see any Rufous Scrub-bird! It
was not surprising actually. While on the Tops I had my 5-year old son
in toe. So rather that search along the Antarctic Beach Forest Walk
looking and listening for Rufous Scrub-bird we walked to the Gloucester
Falls. I had planned to stay in the area for a few more days, but it
didn?t happen. Like the Noisy Pitta this bird will have to wait for
another trip. At our campsite on the river I did add Glossy
Black-Cockatoo and Azure Kingfisher to the trip list, and in the morning
we had a male Superb Lyrebird superbly calling and displaying superbly
within 20 feet of our tent.
Rather than drive back to Victoria through Sydney we chose to head back
via Dubbo. We stayed overnight in an extremely comfortable motel in
Dubbo and ordered take-away from a "Chinese-Australian" restaurant. From
Dubbo we briefly stopped at Cocopara National Park (worth another look),
did some widow shopping in Griffith, and camped overnight at Darlington
Point on the Murrumbidgee River. I added some inland birds, such as
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Apostlebird, and Yellow (Crimson) Rosella -
which a local enthusiast described as the 'Murrumbidgee Rosella'.
I?m looking forward to heading up to the Mid North Coast of NSW again.
This part of NSW contains many of the birds you would have to travel
much further North to see, such as Regent Bowerbird, Logrunner,
Spectacled Monarch, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, the pigeons,
Russet-tailed Thrush, Noisy Pitta, Rufous Scrub-bird and Pale-yellow
Robin. And most of these can be found at either Boorganna or Barrington
Tops. Thanks to the media savvy Edwin Vella for some birding tips around
Crowdy Bay and for his excellent trip reports on birding-aus.
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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