Fw: Trip report - Old Gen Innes Road

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Fw: Trip report - Old Gen Innes Road
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2013 16:24:15 +1100

Yesterday Warren Thompson and I travelled up the Old Glen Innes Road from 
Grafton and returned along the Gwydir Highway via Gibraltar Range National 
Park.  I hadn’t travelled the road for a few years and wanted to check it out 
as I needed some fresh air after being chained to the computer so much 
recently.  The Old Glen Innes Road, or the Old Grafton Road if you are 
travelling from Glen Innes, was the main route between Grafton and Glen Innes 
before the section the Gwydir Highway running up the Gibraltar Range was opened 
on 9 December 1960.  The old road opened in 1873 and is a very scenic route 
which follows the Boyd and Mann Rivers for many kilometres.  The vegetation is 
mostly dry open forest but there are numerous stands of Dry Rainforest in the 
gullies.  The forests frequently have emerging Hoop Pines Araucaria 
cunninghamii.  Araucarias are relicts from the Gondwanaland past, dating back 
to the early Mesozoic Age.  We drove through the ‘convict tunnel’ at Dalmorton 
(actually I walked accompanied by three Welcome Swallows) which apparently was 
not built by convicts but by contractors in 1866-1867.  The day was very hot 
and muggy.  For most of the trip very few birds were seen or heard, partly due 
to the incessant buzzing of Cicadas, and partly due to the hot conditions.  We 
stopped to check out a bird in a rainforest tree which did a disappearing act 
but while at the site I heard the distinctive call of the Glossy 
Black-Cockatoo.  I then observed three of them feeding in a Forest Oak up a 
steep embankment.  I managed a couple of record shots after climbing the 
embankment and wrestling with some Blackberry stems and thorns.  Another stop 
at a shady grove of rainforest trees produced a juvenile Spectacled Monarch and 
a female Scarlet Honeyeater collecting spider webs in a fig tree.  An immature 
White-bellied Sea-Eagle soaring over the campground at the Mann River Nature 
Reserve was a bonus and the call of the Brush Cuckoo from a riverside tree was 
also welcome.  We were lucky to hear anything above the din of the Cicadas.  
Raspberry Lookout, in Gibraltar Range National Park, produced Superb Lyrebird, 
on call, and good views of the Varied Sittella (a threatened species), Golden 
Whistler, White-naped Honeyeater and Satin Bowerbird.  A road-killed 
Black-shouldered Kite near Jackadgery was unfortunate but we did see two live 
ones later.  We finished with a total of 85 bird species and also saw the 
Eastern Water Dragon, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Lace Monitor, Garden Sun-skink, 
Eastern Grey Kangaroos (at a number of locations) and one Swamp Wallaby.  There 
were also two road-killed snakes, a Common Tree Snake and a Red-bellied Black 
Snake.  We were happy with the tally considering the extreme humidity and the 
fact that we didn’t visit any large wetlands or coastal sites.

The full list is as follows:

Australian Wood Duck   Pacific Black Duck   Spotted Dove   Brown Cuckoo-Dove   
Crested Pigeon   Wonga Pigeon   Australasian Darter   Little Pied Cormorant   
White-necked Heron   Eastern Great Egret   Cattle Egret   White-faced Heron   
Australian White Ibis   Straw-necked Ibis   Black-shouldered Kite   
White-bellied Sea-Eagle   Wedge-tailed Eagle   Purple Swamphen   Dusky Moorhen  
 Masked lapwing   Glossy Black-Cockatoo   Galah   Little Corella   Rainbow 
Lorikeet   Scaly-breasted Lorikeet  Musk Lorikeet   Australian King-Parrot   
Crimson Rosella   Eastern Rosella   Eastern Koel   Fan-tailed Cuckoo   Brush 
Cuckoo  Azure Kingfisher   Laughing Kookaburra   Sacred Kingfisher   Rainbow 
Bee-eater   Dollarbird   Superb Lyrebird   White-throated Treecreeper   Satin 
Bowerbird   Superb Fairy-wren   Red-backed Fairy-wren   White-browed Scrubwren  
 Large-billed Scrubwren   Brown Gerygone   Striated Thornbill   Brown Thornbill 
  Eastern Spinebill   Lewin’s Honeyeater   Yellow-faced Honeyeater   Bell Miner 
  Noisy Miner   Scarlet Honeyeater   Brown Honeyeater  New Holland Honeyeater   
White-naped Honeyeater   Blue-faced Honeyeater   Noisy Friarbird   Little 
Friarbird   Eastern Whipbird   Varied Sittella   Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike   
Golden Whistler   Rufous Whistler   Grey Shrike-thrush   Australasian Figbird   
Olive-backed Oriole   White-breasted Woodswallow   Pied Butcherbird   
Australian Magpie   Pied Currawong   Grey Fantail   Willie Wagtail   Torresian 
Crow   Leaden Flycatcher   Black-faced Monarch   Spectacled Monarch   
Magpie-lark   Eastern Yellow Robin   Silvereye   Welcome Swallow   Fairy Martin 
  Tree Martin   Red-browed Finch   House Sparrow   

Mammals – Eastern Grey Kangaroo   Swamp Wallaby

Reptiles – Lace Monitor   Eastern Water Dragon   Eastern Bearded Dragon  Garden 
Sun-skink   Common Tree Snake   Red-bellied Black Snake       

Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
0266493153 0429601960

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