Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin in Lane Cove National Park

In my last post, I wrote about a short visit I had to the Lane Cove National Park in Sydney. This was during a visit to family in Artarmon. During that visit, I saw a good variety of birds, including the Eastern Yellow Robin shown in today’s photos.

This beautiful little robin lights up the woodlands when it shows itself out in the open, especially when it comes out of the shady parts and into the sunlight. This individual was very obliging and posed nicely for me. Sometimes photography can be like this and the bird cooperates.

Interestingly, the photos in this post were taken in the same spot as I managed my first ever sighting of a Rose Robin. These photos were taken immediately after the Rose Robin appeared, almost on the same branches of a tree near a small grassed glade in one of the picnic areas in the national park.

The Eastern Yellow Robin does not inhabit areas near my home in Murray Bridge in South Australia. In fact, I would have to drive for about two hours south to get into its normal range in the south-east of my state. The normal range of this species includes most of southern Victoria, the eastern half of New South Wales and up north through eastern Queensland. Another similar species, the Western Yellow Robin, is found in southern Western Australia through to the western part of South Australia (Eyre Peninsula).

Further reading:

At last – an Eastern Yellow Robin

A new bird for my life list

Eastern Yellow Robin in Lane Cove National Park
Eastern Yellow Robin in Lane Cove National Park

A short visit to Lane Cove National Park

Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburras

Earlier this year I stayed with family in Artarmon for a while. This is a suburb in northern Sydney. During that time I took the opportunity to spend a few hours birding in the Lane Cove National Park, just a ten-minute drive from where I was staying. This has become one of my favourite birding spots and it is also a great place to get photos of some of the flora and fauna found right in the heart of a busy city.

Laughing Kookaburra

One of the common birds in this national park would have to be the Laughing Kookaburra, shown in today’s photos. They are seen and heard all over the park, especially in and near to the many picnic areas. As we found out last year, the resident kookaburras are not slow at attempting to snatch food off picnic tables. one one occasion my wife had a sandwich on a plate on the side table of her folding chair and a cheeky kookaburra flew down and snatched it right off her plate. On another occasion, we were having a barbecue and a bold kookaburra swooped down and grabbed a sausage right off the hot plate where it was still cooking. It was promptly chased by several other kookaburras as it flew off into the forest in the midst of much squawking and carry-on.

Laughing Kookaburra

At the northern part of the park, there is a short track leading to Tunks Hill Picnic Area. From here one can get good views over the national park in the direction of the Chatswood CBD. The picnic area has a shelter shed for picnics in wet weather, as well as well-kept toilets, barbecues and picnic tables.

Tunks Hill Picnic area
Chatswood CBD from Tunks Hill Picnic area
Tunks Hill Picnic Area in Lane Cove National Park
Tunks Hill Picnic Area in Lane Cove National Park

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange, NSW

On my way to Sydney early in May of this year, I travelled between Lake Cargelligo and the city of Orange in New South Wales. As I approached Orange, I saw a tourist sign pointing to the Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve. I had been looking for a place to pull off the road, have lunch and do a spot of birding while I ate. This reserve seemed to fit the criteria well, so I pulled off onto a rocky dirt track leading down into the valley below. While it was a little bumpy, a non-4WD car can negotiate this track with care. There were no such concerns with my Ford Ranger 4WD.

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange, NSW

The picnic ground (photo above) was pleasant with scattered trees and several picnic tables for visitors to use. While I ate my lunch I made a list of the birds seen or heard.

Bird List:

  • Australian Magpie (photo below)
  • Australian Raven
  • Noisy Miner
  • Laughing Kookaburra
  • Red Wattlebird
  • Galah
  • White-plumed Honeyeater
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Crimson Rosella
  • Rufous Whistler
  • Striated Pardalote
  • Welcome Swallow

It is not a big list, but the wind was chilly and it was just after midday which is generally not a good time for birding. My opinion is that this would be a great place to go birding on a sunny, spring day, preferably early in the morning or just before sunset.

Australian Magpie, Borenore Karst CP

The main attraction of this reserve is the cave next to the picnic ground. In the photos below (and above) you can see some of the rocky landscape which surrounds the picnic grounds. There is a walk visitors can take through one of the caves which I would like to have explored, but my torch was in a hard to get to box in the back of the ute. I really needed to get on the road again, anyway, so I gave the cave exploration a miss. I will be better prepared next time I pass this way.

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange, NSW

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange, NSW

Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange, NSW (click to enlarge)



Immature Pied Butcherbird

Pied Butcherbird (immature)

In my last post, I wrote about the quiet day of birding I had at Round Hill Nature Reserve north-west of Lake Cargelligo. I was on my way to Sydney to visit family and made a little detour on the way. The birding was not up to my expectations but I enjoyed the visit anyway. It is certainly a better place to visit in the Spring and early Summer when more of the vegetation is in flower.

Mount Hope

After my visit to the reserve, I continued on towards Mount Hope, a small community of a few houses and a hotel. I stopped here for a few minutes to check out what birds were around but only managed to see seven species. I then drove south towards Hillston, stopping briefly at a roadside rest area. At that point, I had good views of Mallee Ringneck parrots and Blue Bonnet parrots as they flew across the road in front of my car.

Lachlan Valley Way

A little further along in the locality known as Wallenthery I turned east and took the Lachlan Valley Way back towards Lake Cargelligo. This road follows the Lachlan River. At one point I had good views of a Little Eagle and four Yellow-billed Spoonbills flying overhead. Nearby were several hundred Galahs (with a handful of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos keeping them company), a family of six White-winged Choughs and a Wedge-tail Eagle flying low. I also saw a solitary Emu, plenty of Apostlebirds and several small flocks of Blue Bonnet parrots.

At this point, the sun was setting quickly and the clouds were moving in making photography tricky. I only wished that I had more time to spend in this area to capture photos of some of the species mentioned and to seek out others that I may have missed.

Pied Butcherbird

When I returned to my cabin in the lovely caravan park, I was able to get a few shots of the resident Pied Butcherbird shown in the photos above and below. If you look closely at these photos, you will see that the bird has a brown throat and chest meaning that this is an immature bird. It hasn’t yet developed the black throat of the adult bird. If you click on this link, you will see a photo of an adult bird taken earlier in my trip.

This young bird was perched on the gutter of the cabin next door before it swooped down to catch a tasty dinner from the ground. The lawn in that part of the park had been disturbed earlier by one of the park gardeners weeding it. It was a fitting end to a good day’s birding despite some minor disappointments.

Good birding,


Pied Butcherbird (immature)

Quiet birding day at Round Hill

Round Hill Nature Reserve near Lake Cargelligo

During my stay in Lake Cargelligo last month, I planned on staying two nights and having a full day of birding around the district. My main aim was to visit the Round Hill Nature Reserve north-west of Lake Cargelligo. I had previously experienced this reserve some 12 years ago. You can read about that visit in the further reading section below.


The whole region around this reserve and for a radius of over 100 kilometres there was evidence of recent heavy rain. Lake Cargelligo had recorded over 50 mm (2 inches) of rain in the days just before I arrived. I was therefore very cautious about getting off the sealed road and onto the dirt tracks leading through the reserve. I did manage to briefly get bogged in the mud at one point, but fortunately, the front wheels were on firm ground and putting my vehicle briefly into 4WD got me out in seconds.

Lunchtime birding

I found a good spot on the firm ground off the track to park and have my packed lunch and a cup of tea. While I ate and drank I kept a record of the birds I saw and heard. It was disappointing, however, that the bush surrounding me was very quiet. I had observed on the way in that not many of the mallee trees were in flower. Consequently, there were very few honeyeaters around. I did get one reasonable photo of a White-eared Honeyeater (see photo below). That was the only glimpse of this bird I had and you can only just see the white patch on its ear.

White-eared Honeyeater, Round Hill Nature Reserve

I the distance I could hear a Crested Bellbird but it seemed too far off to chase up for a photo. Two Ringneck Parrots flew past me at one point. They were probably the Mallee Ringneck sub-species. At one point I saw a single bird that puzzled me. I chased after it and approached reasonably close but the light was coming from behind the bird making identification difficult. It was not doing anything of note, nor did it call. These are clues helping one to identify a bird. I managed a few photos but didn’t hold out much hope of getting a good shot.

Thankfully, by enhancing the photos digitally a little I could easily see that I had seen a Spotted Bowerbird, not a species I have seen often in my travelling (photo below).

Spotted Bowerbird, Round Hill Nature Reserve

After lunch, I moved to a short track on top of the crest in the road, right next to Round Hill itself. This proved far more fruitful and I added the following species to my modest list:

  • Australian Raven: several seen and others calling.
  • Weebill – about 8 seen and others calling.
  • Yellow-rumped Thornbill –  about five seen and one photographed (see below).
  • Chestnut-rumped Thornbill – only one sighted briefly.
  • Varied Sittella – a small group of 4 which moved on before I could focus my camera on them.
  • Australian Magpie – several seen along the road.
  • Rufous Whistler – one calling nearby.
  • Grey Shrike-thrush – one calling nearby.
  • Spiny-cheeked honeyeater – just one seen.

The only other bird I saw was a male Red-capped Robin. I remember taking a photo of a male robin in exactly the same spot on my visit 12 years ago. This time I was not so lucky. I waited patiently for some time for the bird to come into view again but to no avail.

I will post another trip report in a few days’ time.

Good birding,



Further reading:

Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Round Hill