Lake Cargelligo Trip Report 19-23 Sep 2016

To: 'Jenny Stiles' <>, 'birding aus' <>
Subject: Lake Cargelligo Trip Report 19-23 Sep 2016
From: "Carl Weber " <>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 02:33:38 +0000
Hi Jenny,

Great report! You had quite an adventure, and did well to avoid getting 
marooned or bogged - all in a 2WD vehicle. The wildflowers at Whoey are often 
great after some good rain. Hope you asked the Black-eared cuckoo to hang 
around for another 4 weeks till I get out there. Turquoise parrot was a great 
bird to find out there. I've had Crimson Chat at the WTP on a couple of 
occasions, and once in the Wheat

Carl Weber

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of 
Jenny Stiles
Sent: Tuesday, 27 September 2016 5:37 PM
To: birding aus
Subject: Lake Cargelligo Trip Report 19-23 Sep 2016

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 

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 etc....

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 home.

Certainly a trip to remember.

Jenny Stiles

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