Lake Cargellico and Round Hill - Nombinnie

Subject: Lake Cargellico and Round Hill - Nombinnie
From: Graeme Chapman <>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 10:32:53 +1000
Dear Chris,

I read on Birding-Aus that you have offered to redraft the bird list for the 
Lake Cargellico area, and I read also some of the supplementary posts. Many of 
the birds listed in those posts are quite rare and unlikely to be seen by a 
casual birdwatcher to the area , so I think it would be wise to list them as 
such. If the existing list, which I haven't seen, is something the local Shire 
have produced in the hope that it will attract more tourists to the town, is 
simply an unannotated list, it would be wise to expand it to give people an 
idea just where each species is likely to occur. My only experiences with 
birding around the town itself are the two poorly positioned and inadequate 
hides that have been built, obviously on a shoestring budget. I assume you are 
helping the council to devise a brochure of local bird routes such as exist for 
several other shires in NSW, so I hope you can convince them to do a proper job 
of it.

More importantly, I want to address the issue of Round Hill and Nombinnie 
Nature Reserves which will undoubtedly figure in any birding routes you 
eventually draft and let's face it, are the main reason birdwatchers go to the 
Lake Cargellico area. However, birdwatchers are not welcome to these reserves  
any more, except for entry on foot along the main roads.

Some time ago, management of these two reserves by NPWLS passed from their 
Griffith office to Cobar with a consequent change in personnel. The manager of 
Cobar region has decided to strictly enforce the long existing rule that entry 
by the general public is by permit only, and that vehicles (other than their 
own) are strictly prohibited. So camping, EVEN ENTRY, is definitely not on - 
they say "go and stay at Lake Cargellico" - they might as well say go home. 
Only last  long weekend when I was out there, a ranger came around to our camp, 
which is positioned just outside the reserve, and took down the number plates 
of those present.

This change is one that is of great disappointment to me. I have been visiting 
Round Hill since 1959, when Nombinnie didn't even exist and have made many bird 
lists over the years. I helped organise the 1968 campout of the RAOU to Round 
HIll, where everybody camped, and incidentally resulted in the discovery of 
Red-lored Whistlers for the first time in that area. I'm not a twitcher, so 
most of my lists don't contain anything unusual, but if you send me a copy of 
your final, I'll be glad to comment. 

To be fair and on the side of National Parks they have done a great job in 
administering these reserves. The regular aerial fox baiting has resulted in 
the return of the Mallee Fowl. They were the original reason that Round Hill 
Reserve was dedicated back in the 1950s and when wheat paddocks were 
established nearby in the early 1960s, the Mallee Fowl all but disappeared, but 
now there are quite a few active mounds in the reserve. Aerial baiting using a 
helicopter is not cheap, so full marks to Cobar for getting the funds to do 
that. The area around the famous "wheat paddock" where rather too many people 
have gone to look for Red-lored Whistlers (even tour groups camped there) is 
now looking better with no sign of camping. Unfortunately, the track into the 
Round Hill itself is in a dreadful state (really 4WD only) no doubt mainly a 
result of all the recent wet weather although I doubt whether it has been 
graded in many years, probably a result of shortage of funds. Still, they
  get their priorities right - Nombinnie has just been expanded yet again, 
making it the biggest Nature Reserve in NSW.
Their real problem in future will be having sufficient staff to oversee the 

On that score, NPWLS have been lumbered with a "Strategic repositioning" by the 
new O'Farrell government in NSW  =  voluntary redundancies and no doubt a 
corresponding reduction in funds. Let's hope it doesn't affect the aerial 
baiting programme  -  shooters certainly won't have any impact on foxes. 

Happy Birding

Graeme Chapman

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