Birding near Orange, NSW

Subject: Birding near Orange, NSW
From: Harry Nyström <>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 13:14:54 +0300

I'd like to return to the subject as I have finally ended my trip to NSW,
Australia, and returned back to Finland.

First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you birders who are
reading birding-aus for your help and hospitality. I received two dozen
replies to my original post ranging from welcoming me & my colleague to
Australia and giving field guide (books and sounds) tips to actually
offering us field guidance and birding company in the field! I cannot
emphasize the gratitude I felt for you all. So a huge thank you is in place
for all of you, whether you helped me or not. And a very special thanks to
Chris, Allan, Graeme and Peter (they know why) - I couldn't have ticked so
many birds without your help. I hope I can return the favor someday.

Then to the results. All in all, I managed to see 152 species of Australian
birds during my trip, which surpassed my expectations greatly. Not bad,
when altogether we had only 3,5-4 days of birding (in addition to the +60
weekly working hours). There might still be some surprise species from the
pelagic in our photos, but not many (if any). Here are the daily new
species amounts:
11.8. - 57 species; arrival in the morning to Orange - half a day of
birding in and around Orange
12.8. - 52 species; trip from Blayney to Forbes and a little driving around
- birding all day
13.8. - 1 species; 1 hour of birding before dusk near Blayney
19.8. - 20 species; 9 hours of birding on the Wollongong Pelagic
25.8. - 12 species; trip to Echo Point, Blue Mountains, then to Sydney and
half a day of birding in Centennial Park and Royal Botanic Gardens
26.8. - 10 species; trip to Sydney Olympic Park area (Mason Park,
Bicentennial Park, Badu Mangroves etc.) - 2 hours of birding

In addition, we also saw the following mammals (after the species, an
estimate of numbers encountered during the whole trip is given. For some
species, places of occurrence are given in parentheses):
Short-beaked Common Dolphin - a dozen
Australian Fur Seal - 4
Rabbit - dozens
Red Fox - 4
Eastern Grey Kangaroo - dozens
Swamp Wallaby - 6-12
Unidentified Wallaby/Wallaroo - two-three dozen of 1-3(?) species
Short-beaked Echidna - 2 (near Blayney Wind Park)
Grey-headed Flying Fox - hundreds (in Centennial Park)

By the way, I would appreciate some assistance in identifying those
wallabies/wallaroos - I can send a few photos to those who would be willing
to help me. Anybody?

Lizards etc:
Bearded(?) Dragon - 1 (photo available on request)
An unidentified Tortoise - 2 (in Centennial Park) (photo available on

Insects and Arachnids:
Monarch - 2
Pierinae butterflies (*P. rapae*?) - 5
Araneidae Spider - 1 (Royal Botanic Garden) (photo available on request)

Here are the daily new species lists, which are NOT in order of appearance.
Again, after the species, an estimate of numbers encountered during the
whole trip is given. For some species, places of occurrence are given in

*11.8. Orange; Giles Road, Gosling Creek Reserve, Lake Canobolas, Orange
Botanic Gardens etc.*
Australian Wood Duck - dozens-hundreds
Grey Teal - dozens-hundreds
Pacific Black Duck - dozens-hundreds
Hardhead - dozens
Australasian Grebe - dozens
Rock Dove - dozens
Common Bronzewing - 1 (Orange Botanic Garden)
Crested Dove - dozens-hundreds
Australasian Darter - 6-10
Little Pied Cormorant - dozens
Great Cormorant - 6-12
Little Black Cormorant - dozens
Australian Pelican - 6-8
Australian White Ibis - dozens
Straw-necked Ibis - hundreds
Black-shouldered Kite - 20-30
Collared Sparrowhawk - 6
Nankeen Kestrel - 20-30
Brown Falcon - 6-10
Purple Swamphen - 20-30
Dusky Moorhen - hundreds
Eurasian Coot - hundreds
Masked Lapwing - 20-40
Silver Gull - dozens
Galah - hundreds
Crimson Rosella - dozens
Eastern Rosella - 20-30
Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo - 4 (Gosling Creek Reserve)
Laughing Kookaburra - 30-40
Superb Fairy-wren - hundreds
White-browed Scrubwren - dozens
Yellow-rumped Thornbill - 20-40
Striated Pardalote - 1 (Giles Rd)
Eastern Spinebill - 4
Yellow-faced Honeyeater - 1 (Orange Botanic Garden)
White-plumed Honeyeater - dozens
Noisy Miner - dozens
Red Wattlebird - 30-50
Blue-faced Honeyeater - 4 (Orange Botanic Garden, near Back Yamma State
Forest, Gum Swamp etc.)
Pied Butcherbird - 12-24
Australian Magpie - hundreds
Pied Currawong - 20-50
Grey Fantail - 1 (Orange Botanic Garden)
Willie Wagtail - dozens
Australian Raven - dozens
Little Raven - 5 flocks
Magpie-lark - dozens-hundreds
Eurasian Skylark - 10-20
Silvereye - 6
Welcome Swallow - dozens
Common Blackbird - a few dozen
Common Starling - hundreds
Common Myna - 10-20
Red-browed Finch - a few dozen
House Sparrow - dozens
European Goldfinch - 30-50

*12.8. Belubula Way, Back Yamma State Forest, Forbes Gum Swamp, Wheelong,
Burrawang Road, Gunning Gap State Forest and Lagoon etc.*
Stubble Quail - 1 (along Burrawang Rd)
Brown Quail - 5 (near Hodges Rd)
Pink-eared Duck - dozens
Australasian Shoveler - 8 (Gum Swamp, Blayney)
Hoary-headed Grebe - 3 (Gum Swamp)
White-necked Heron - 10-20
(Eastern) Great Egret - 3
Intermediate Egret - 6-8
White-faced Heron - 20-40
Little Egret - 1 (Gum Swamp)
White-bellied Sea Eagle - 2 (Gum Swamp)
Whistling Kite - 6-10 (Gum Swamp, Wheelong, Orange etc.)
Black Kite - 15 (a single flock in Daroobalgie)
Swamp Harrier - 1 (near Gunning Gap Lagoon)
Wedge-tailed Eagle - 7 (Wheelong, Gum Swamp, Gunning Gap State Forest, Blue
Little Eagle - 6-12 (Gum Swamp, Back Yamma State Forest, Orange etc.)
Australian Hobby - 1 (Wheelong)
Black Falcon - 2 (Gum Swamp, Wheelong)
Peregrine Falcon - 1 (Gum Swamp)
Black-fronted Dotterel - 15-20 (Belubula Way, Gum Swamp, Mason Park, Badu
Little Corella - 4 (Back Yamma State Forest, Gum Swamp)
Suplhur-crested Cockatoo - dozens
Little Lorikeet - 4 (near Back Yamma State Forest)
Blue Bonnet - 30-50 (alongside roads around Forbes)
Red-rumped Parrot - 20-30 (Belubula Way etc.)
Sacred Kingfisher - 1 (Gum Swamp)
White-throated Treecreeper - 2 (Eugowra, Blayney)
Brown Treecreeper - 1 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Yellow Thornbill - 10-20
Spotted Pardalote - 6-8
Singing Honeyeater - 1 (near Back Yamma State Forest)
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater - 6-12 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Brown-headed Honeyeater - 4 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Noisy Friarbird - 6-12 (Eugowra, Back Yamma State Forest)
Little Friarbird - 2 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Striped Honeyeater - 4-6 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Grey-crowned Babbler - 30-50
White-browed Babbler - 6 (Wheelong)
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike - 2 (near Forbes)
Olive-backed Oriole - 1 (near Back Yamma State Forest)
Dusky Woodswallow - 1 (near Back Yamma State Forest)
Grey Butcherbird - 2 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Restless Flycatcher - 1 (Back Yamma State Forest)
White-winged Chough - dozens
Apostlebird - dozens-hundreds
Jacky Winter - 2 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Red-capped Robin - 2 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Eastern Yellow Robin - 4 (Back Yamma State Forest, Echo Point)
Rufous Songlark - 6 (Wheelong, Burrawang Road)
Tree Martin - 10-30 (Gum Swamp)
Mistletoebird - 1 (Back Yamma State Forest)
Diamond Firetail - 10 (a single flock along Nangar Road)

*13.8. near Blayney Windpark*
Golden-headed Cisticola - 1 (Carcoar Dam Road)

*19.8. Wollongong pelagic*
Bar-shouldered Dove - 1 (port)
Wandering Albatross - 6-10
Black-browed Albatross - dozens
Campbell Albatross - 3-6
Shy Albatross - dozens
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 20-40
Southern Giant Petrel - 3-6
Northern Giant Petrel - 1-2
Cape Petrel - 10-15
Fairy Prion - hundreds
Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 12-24
Fluttering Shearwater - dozens
Hutton's Shearwater - 6-8
Providence Petrel - 1
Australasian Gannet - 10-20
Brown Skua - 2
White-fronted Tern - 6-8
Crested Tern - dozens
Kelp Gull - 6
Rainbow Lorikeet - 20-40

*25.8. (Bathurst Edgells Lane, Katoomba Echo Point, Sydney Centennial Park,
Royal Botanic Garden)*
Black Swan - 10-20
Chestnut Teal - 10-20
Spotted Dove - 6
Tawny Frogmouth - 2 (Royal Botanic Garden)
Pied Cormorant - 10-20
Spotted Harrier - 1 (Bathurst Edgells Lane)
Buff-banded Rail - 2 (Royal Botanic Garden)
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo - a single flock of 70-90(!) (Centennial Park)
Powerful Owl - 1 (Royal Botanic Garden)
Peaceful Dove - 1 (near Katoomba)
Australasian Figbird - 4 (Centennial Park, Bicentennial Park)
Australasian Pipit - 1 (Bathurst  Edgells Lane)

*26.8. (Mason Park, Sydney Olympic Park, Badu Mangroves(?), Bicentennial
Park etc.)*
Cattle Egret - 6-10 (Bicentennial Park)
Striated Heron - 1 (Parramatta River, near Haslams Creek)
Royal Spoonbill - 3 (Mason Park)
Black-winged Stilt - 20-30 (Mason Park, Badu Mangroves)
Red-necked Avocet - 5 (Badu Mangroves)
Bar-tailed Godwit - 48 (Badu Mangroves)
New Holland Honeyeater - 2-4 (Mason Park)
Australian Reed Warbler - 1 (between Bennelong Parkway and Badu Mangroves)
Fairy Martin - 6 (Bicentennial Park)
Nutmeg Mannikin - 12 (Mason Park)

In addition to this, my colleague has a photo of a suspected
Kermadec/Herald Petrel, which needs to be identified at some point. I
didn't see or photograph the bird in question, so it's nevertheless off my
tick list.

Thank you once again, and I hope I have a chance to return later on to
Australia to get better views and photographs of even more species.


2012/8/3 Harry Nyström <>

> 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,
> -Harry

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