Birding near Orange, NSW

Subject: Birding near Orange, NSW
From: Harry Nyström <>
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2012 07:51:43 +0300
Hello everyone,

My name is Harry Nyström and I am from Finland. This is the first time I
write to this e-mail list and I actually haven't even been a member but
only for a couple of days.

The reason I am approaching you is that I will be coming to Australia on a
business trip during next weekend. We will be staying in the Orange region,
and our "headquarters" is in Blayney. And when I say we, I mean me and my
colleague, who is also a birder - although nowadays mostly focusing on bird
photography. Unfortunately, due to the nature of our work, we only have a
couple of days free, although we will stay there for 2 weeks. At the day of
our arrival (Sat), we will visit some places in/near Orange (probably some
or all of the latter: the Botanic Gardens, Lake Conobolas, Spring Creek
Reserve and Gosling Creek Reserve). The day after it (Sun) we will head out
to Gum Swamp, Forbes and maybe some other places, which we don't have a
clue yet. The Sunday next week is still open for ideas, but my initial
thoughts were to make a trip to Capertee Valley. And that's it; our free
time during daylight. Naturally, we have a car in our use, but birding
equipment is restricted to binoculars and a camera, so no telescope this
time. It is also highly likely that this won't be my last trip to the area,
so everything I learn will be probably put to good use afterwards.

This is my first ever trip outside of Europe and naturally the first to
Australia. This means I will be seeing all kinds of new things, mainly
birds but hopefully also mammals, lizards(?) and insects. I am an
enthusiastic birder here in Finland (for about 20 years now), but coming to
Australia is like starting all over again, as I don't know the birds - and
foremost their sounds. I have been reading Simpson&Day for some time now,
and I just got my hands on a Pizzey&Knight. I also managed to loan The
Complete Guide to Finding Birds in Australia without forgetting a copy of
The Big Twitch. They probably won't help me a lot regarding the Orange
area, but they will still be fun to read. Unfortunately I don't have any
CDs or MP3s of Australian bird sounds, which is a shame. At least here in
Finland, most birds are found by their calls and songs.

Having said that, I have a few questions regarding my trip and the
aforementioned places:

1. Could you give any hints on birding hotspots near Orange, Blayney and
Forbes? Maybe special places for some specific species?
2. Any hints on maximizing the amount of birds to see in just a couple of
days at that area?
3. Are there any restrictions regarding movement in the Orange-Forbes area
(at least for the places I wrote down) that I should be aware of?
4. Is this a good time of the year to visit Capertee Valley? Has someone
been there recently? What could we expect species-wise? Any Regents?
Plum-headed Finches?
5. I have come to an understanding that Capertee Valley is just a road with
as many stops as you like. Any tips on hotspots? Are there any blooming
trees/plants that attract birds within the next 3 weeks?
6. Are there any Emus or Kangaroos to be expected in the aforementioned
areas at this time of year? Any Black Cockatoos?
7. Any chance for nocturnal species at this time of year? Singing owls,
frogmouths, nightjars etc? We do have some limited free time before/after
work, but it is in the dark.
8. At the end of my trip, upon my departure from Sydney, I will probably
have a couple of hours to go birding in Sydney. Any ideas where to go to
for new species of birds? Royal Botanic Gardens? Centennial Park? Penrhyn?
9. Are bird sightings collected in a database in Australia in any way? Here
in Finland we have a national database for sightings, which is a very handy
way to check what is available and to make sure all data is saved and
backed up.
10. And finally, a question from my wife (she is unfortunately not
attending this trip): As it is still Winter(ish) down there, do we have to
be careful for poisonous snakes/spiders?

I know it's a lot of questions and our plane leaves in a week, but I will
try to absorb as much information as I can get. I will appreciate any help
you can give me. And let me know if I can return the favor regarding
birding tips in Finland. I will naturally also write a small trip report of
my journey for you to read once I return to Finland.

Best Regards,

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