Archive for September, 2007

A Splendid result

2007 New South Wales trip report #13

A little further on in the Round Hill Nature Reserve we came to another narrow track, this one leading back towards the area we had stopped for lunch. We drove through the thick scrub, disturbing a Common Bronzewing Pigeon as we went along. We heard a few parrots and another Grey Butcherbird calling.

After about a kilometre or so of driving a little more than walking pace, I asked my wife if she had seen enough of this part of the park. We agreed that there seemed to be nothing new or interesting here, so I found a spot to turn around. It turned out that I saw our tyres tracks from where we had turned around about an hour earlier. We had come full circle! Now we know that track goes all the way through that part of the park.

Just before reaching the main road again we found a likely place to stop for afternoon tea. I retrieved the folding picnic chairs from the back of the car and we sat there enjoying the bushland and birds around us. We had almost finished when we both heard a familiar sound. Wrens!

I grabbed the camera and headed off in the direction of the call. I spent the next half hour dancing around a small patch of bushes trying to get a good view of the wrens. One of the problems was to get between the birds and the afternoon sun. I wanted the sun at my back for the best chance of a good photo. Within a few minutes, I knew I had a male and several female Splendid Wrens in the bushes near me.

Splendid Wren (male)

Splendid Wren (male)

Eventually, the colourful male showed himself in the sunlight long enough for me to get off a few shots. They aren’t brilliant, but at least I have finally captured this elusive but stunningly beautiful bird.

Splendid Wren (male)

Splendid Wren (male)

It was a fitting end to a wonderful day of birding. I had added 28 species to my trip list, which now stands at 82.

On the journey back to our cabin we saw our first kangaroos for the trip. Previously we had seen many dead roos on the side of the road; these were alive.

Update: this article was updated on May 30th 2019.

Birding in Nombinnie Nature Reserve

2007 New South Wales Trip report #12

As we were starting to head back towards Lake Cargelligo we saw a narrow track leading off through the Nombinnie Nature Reserve. This reserve is very similar to Round Hill, being on the opposite (western) side of the main road traversing Round Hill Nature Reserve. We drove down this track very slowly for about ten minutes. I thought that it was a waste of time because all I heard was a few Weebills calling near the track. Just as I was about to find a spot to turn around my attention was drawn to a single bird in the bushes near the track.

I stopped, trained the binoculars on the bird thinking it was a Grey Shrike-thrush. Wrong. It turned out to be a Black-eared Cuckoo, the third cuckoo I’d see in about ten minutes. Even better was the fact that I had only seen this species on a handful of occasions, the last time nearly ten years ago.

The bird flew before I could get the camera ready.

My first visit to Round Hill Nature Reserve

2007 New South Wales Trip Report #11

Round Hill Nature Reserve

On returning to the Tourist Information Centre well after the scheduled opening time, we found it still closed. So we headed down the street to the Shire Council Office. The workers there were most helpful and provided maps and information about birding in the district.


We headed off north to the small, sleepy township of Euabalong and then west towards its twin hamlet of Euabalong West. Just before reaching it we stopped down by a creek for morning tea and to investigate what birds and plants were present. I saw nothing out of the ordinary but did manage to add Yellow Thornbill to the rapidly growing list for the trip.

Round Hill Nature Reserve, central NSW

Round Hill Nature Reserve, central NSW

A short drive on further west brought us to the Round Hill Nature Reserve. I had wanted to visit here for a long time, ever since reading about it from other birders on Birding-Aus. Along the way we stopped to take some photos of flowering plants on the side of the road. I managed to get several great shots of a very cooperative male Red-capped Robin.

Red-capped Robin (male)

Red-capped Robin (male)

We drove to the lookout near the top of Round Hill. Actually, there is no official lookout. The road goes over the ridge near the top of the hill and the view is great. We then backtracked a few hundred metres to a dirt track leading off the main road. We drove along this track for a few hundred metres before finding a suitable spot for our picnic lunch.

During lunch, I observed several more Red-capped Robins, Southern Whiteface, Willie Wagtail and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters. Striped Honeyeaters were calling everywhere but I only managed to see one of them. Crested Pigeons fed on the ground nearby and Striated Pardalotes in the trees above. A male Mistletoebird also posed long enough for me to focus my binoculars on him, but not my camera.

As we drove off a Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo was calling nearby. Immediately a Pallid Cuckoo joined in. We drove about a hundred metres until my wife pointed out a bird sitting on a branch of a dead, fallen tree. I was delighted to get a good photo of the Pallid Cuckoo.

Pallid Cuckoo, Round Hill Nature Reserve

Pallid Cuckoo, Round Hill Nature Reserve

We drove on for a few minutes before turning around and heading out to the main road again. I suspected that the track we had been following might go all the way through to another main road, but the map I had did not show the track so I could not be sure.

Update: this article was updated on May 30th, 2019.

Birding at Lake Cargelligo

2007 New South Wales trip report #10

We had a leisurely breakfast in the morning sun just outside our cabin. The birding started before a single mouthful. Crested Pigeons, Magpie Larks and Australian Magpies inhabited the lawn in front of our accommodation. Galahs flew overhead as did a small flock of Straw-necked Ibis. Later several White Ibis also flew overhead.

Lake Cargelligo Caravan Park, NSW

Lake Cargelligo Caravan Park, NSW

While eating breakfast I added Noisy Miners, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Welcome Swallows and House Sparrows to the list. A Striped Honeyeater called nearby, two Major Mitchell Cockatoos flew overhead and two Red-rumped Parrots landed in the tree behind our cabin.

After our meal we packed provisions for a picnic lunch and headed down the main street to visit the tourist information centre. It was closed for another half hour! Plan B immediately kicked in and we drove down to the lakeside to do a half hour of birding.

Pied Butcherbird, Lake Cargelligo, NSW

Pied Butcherbird, Lake Cargelligo, NSW

Here the birding really took off. I was seeing birds so quickly I had to ask my wife to record them in my notebook! Here is a list of the species seen:

  • Black Swan
  • Pied Butcherbird
  • Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  • Royal Spoonbill
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Grey Teal
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Red-capped Plover
  • Red-kneed Dotterel
  • Masked Lapwing
  • Australian Pelican
  • Whistling Kite
  • Little Egret
  • Little Pied Cormorant
  • Little Black Cormorant
  • Darter
  • Silver Gull

In a very short time I had added twenty species to my trip list. Some of the species I had never seen in the state of NSW before. (This is not all that surprising when one considers how little birding I’ve done there over the years, something I must correct.)

It was a good start to the day.

First visit to Cocoparra National Park and a Lifer

Cocoparra National Park, central New South Wales

Cocoparra National Park, central New South Wales

2007 New South Wales trip report #9

Cocoparra National Park

After lunch on day 2 of our trip we headed north to the large provincial city of Griffiths. I was not aware that this was such a large place with a population of over 24,000 serving a vast inland area of agricultural production. Here we stopped briefly for fuel; it interested me enough to desire to return here some day.

The short drive north to the Cocoparra Range was uneventful – except for a five minute delay waiting at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere. Road works have a habit of slowing traffic to a standstill like that.

On arrival at the Cocoparra National Park for the very first time we stopped to survey the map at the entrance and then we chose Jack’s Creek picnic ground. Unfortunately we only had time to visit one spot in the park. In the future it might be worth being based at Griffith some 25km SW while visiting various spots in the park. This would allow a more thorough investigation of what the park has to offer, and to do some bush-walking as well.

As we drove into the picnic area we were immediately greeted by a family of White-winged Choughs, a group of noisy Apostlebirds and a Peaceful Dove calling somewhere nearby. The Choughs were feeding young in a nest in the car park. The Apostlebirds objected to our visit and the Striated Pardalotes just kept on their incessant calling in the tree above.



We went for about an hour’s walk up the creek, delighted to see the rough, jagged sandstone rock-faces glowing in the afternoon sun. This gave us many photographic opportunities. I was delighted to see several Australian Ringneck Parrots, a solitary Silvereye and a Grey Fantail. Four Rufous Whistlers seemed to be chasing each other wildly around, possibly preparing for mating. Occasionally the males would stop for a brief rest and launch into their rich, melodious call which seemed to fill the whole gorge.

Another entry on my trip list was unexpected. A single Eastern Yellow Robin made a quiet and shy appearance and stayed still enough for me to take a photo. It was a little too far away, so I still haven’t a good photo of this species. Patience.

The next sighting was a LIFER. A quiet secretive bird skulked amongst the rocks. I immediately realised that I’d never seen this species before, so I didn’t worry about a photo. I just kept studying it so that I could ID it later in the field guide back in the car. It turned out to be a SPECKLED WARBLER. It was the first time ever I had seen this species, my first “lifer” of the trip.

A good day had just turned into a great day.

After a cuppa and afternoon tea we headed further north to Lake Cargelligo, our planned destination for the night in a cabin in the caravan park.

Cocoparra National Park, central New South Wales

Cocoparra National Park, central New South Wales