Lake Cargelligo Trip Report 19-23 Sep 2016

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Lake Cargelligo Trip Report 19-23 Sep 2016
From: Jenny Stiles <>
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2016 07:36:59 +0000
Lake Cargelligo & region 19-23 September 2016

We had wanted to visit this region of NSW for several years and in planning 
when to go I was more concerned with heat and flies versus going to early 
before the birds we wanted were present. I was NOT thinking of floods, rain 
and mosquitoes....

About a month before out trip was to take place it rained hard in that 
region. Nice I thought, it will green up and the birds will be singing and 
breeding. Then it rained the following week, and the one after & then right 
up to our departure. Still the rivers were “supposed” to peak on the first 
night and we would just have to take the long way round to Round Hill NR 

As we approached Forbes it became apparent that there was a fair bit of 
water about as we gingerly took our 2WD through some barely navigable 
stretches of water over the road and thought we had seen the worst of it :). 
At the Apex Caravan Park we certainly did have a riverfront cabin & the wide 
stretch of water was rushing past at a height of nearly 6.7m & set to peak. 
Gum Swamp was pretty full of water and fairly empty of ducks [lots of Rock 
Doves though] but we did find at least 6 Blue-billed Ducks and several pairs 
of Pink-eared Ducks with ducklings. White-bellied Sea-eagles could be seen 
in their huge nest and singing in a tree next to the hide was a Little 
Friarbird and the first lifer of the trip.

In the morning it became apparent that the river had in fact not peaked & 
started to drop, but it was only a little higher. Naively we back-tracked 
through the noticeably deeper water over the road & headed off to Back Yamma 
with great anticipation. Unfortunately as the sign says “Dry Weather Road 
Only” and a rushing torrent of water swept along the road only about 20 
metres in. No birding through there for us & no driving through either to 
rejoin the road on the other side either.

Still the penny hadn’t dropped & we drove off towards Condobolin only to 
come around a corner to water as far as the eye could see, over 40cm high 
and fast moving. Realising now we might have trouble getting to Lake 
Cargelligo at all we headed back to Forbes to find the road in from Sydney 
was now closed but that we could continue on via Parkes. This we did but 
nearly couldn’t get past Condobolin was the whole section with the 
showground was deep under water. There was another way across the Lachlan 
[at Willow Bends] & just one more deepish stretch of water with a council 
worker taking measurements [and apparently closed soon after] we finally got 
properly on our way to Lake C. Water was still over the road at intervals 
but nothing to major.

That night though it rained a great deal...

Still, once we were there the effect of the floods were fairly minor; the 
WTP was very full & the paths very muddy & slippery [Magpie Goose,Australian 
Shelduck, Plumed-whistling Duck, Musk Duck, Variegated & White-winged 
Fairy-wrens and other birds seen] the shorter route out to Round Hill etc. 
was impassable & the road out to Chat Alley had 5 sections with water over 
the road & Chat Alley itself was a big lake [which I assume it isn’t 
normally!]. No Orange Chats to be seen at CA [much less the Crimson Chats I 
had hoped to fluke] but we did see White-fronted Chats, Brown Songlark & 
White-winged Fairy-wren as well as Pink-eared Ducks!!

Round Hill NR, Nombinnie NR, The Old Wheat Paddock & Whoey Tank was all a 
bit confusing to navigate and we have no experience with the birds of that 
area either but on the other hand we were fairly easily pleased too! The 
whole area is full of flowers, especially Whoey Tanks, but is also seething 
with mosquitoes. They could even bite straight through jeans!!

Birding highlights include a very unexpected female Turquoise Parrot at 
Round Hill, White-Fronted & Grey-fronted Honeyeaters, Splendid Fairy-wrens, 
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill & a Gilberts Whistler at Nombinnie and Black-eared 
Cuckoo, Southern Whiteface, Spiny-cheeked HE, Grey-crowned Babbler, Emu, 
Mulga Parrots, Australian Ringnecks & Red-capped Robin at Whoey Tanks. On 
the road out we saw a flock of 4 Cockatiel & plenty of Major Mitchell’s 
Cockatoo in the Frog Hollow region of Lake Cargelligo.

On late Thursday afternoon we started to enquire as to what roads out of 
town & back to Sydney were still open. For a while the answer seemed to be 
none & it was dawning on us that the rivers were still rising and we might 
be stuck. It took till ten o’clock the next morning after a great deal of 
“you could go X way but the road is closed at Y” before it became clear that 
the only way out was “via” Cobar!! So 400 km or more was added to the route 

Certainly a trip to remember.

Jenny Stiles

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