Dorrigo Rainforest Tour Report
I met the group on the evening of the first day to find their journey north from Sydney had yielded a good range of birds including 6 raptors, with a Spotted Harrier flying parallel with the bus.
Juvenile Male Regent Bowerbird
by Judy Wand
Day 2. The Skywalk at Dorrigo was clear and crisp, and a we had Topknots, brilliant Regent Bowerbirds (including an immature male - like female but with a yellow eye and orange bill), a flash of a Grey Goshawk and Yellow tailed Black Cockatoos and a Wonga exploded off the path. We found Black faced Monarch and Satin Flycatcher male and female at Dangar Falls and on our Cascade loop several more Monarchs and a Rufous Bettong darted off the road as we followed the old timber-cutter's railway-line.
Back at base-camp there were plenty of Bassian Thrushes, Goldfinches and Red-browed Finches.
Day 3. Up on the mountain silky oaks were approaching flowering but down at Thora those big grevellias were in full bloom attracting Drongos (with yellow moustaches), Regent and Satin Bowerbirds, Figbirds and Olive backed Orioles. At the Bellengin River an Azure Kingfisher showed off its catch.
Catbird by participant Judy Wand
Our Gleniffer stop offered Scarlet Honeyeaters and Rufous Whistler and later Chestnut-breasted Mannikin.
Bongil Bongil had a pair of Crested Shrike-tits busy inspecting bark strips and a Leaden Flycatcher.
At Urunga a Beach Stone Curlew stood in the foreground while a Buff-banded Rail had a thorough wash in the background. Crested Terns, a Gull billed Tern and several Sooty Oystercatchers, Eastern Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit stood against the breeze. The boardwalk had nesting Rainbow Bee-eaters, several singing and showing Mangrove Gerygones (congrats brave Bernice), and Janene witnessed an Eastern Grey Kangaroo swim!
Day 4. We began again at Dorrigo NP with a Red-necked Pademelon and joey in pouch doing synchronised browsing. A group of 20 Logrunners shouted, foraged, scurried, chatted and excavated with that curious sideways flick (reminds me of Elaine's dancing) close to us.
Gold Finch by Judy Wand
Bruxner Park Flora Reserve showed Brown Cuckoo-doves, sounded Spectacled Monarch, and for a lucky few - Wompoo Fruit-dove.
We found a lone Comb-crested Jacana on the lotus flowers at Smith's Lake, several Little Corellas, Dollarbirds and a mob of a dozen prostrate Eastern Grey Kangaroos looking very relaxed in the shade, shooting the breeze.
Overlooking Bonville Creek we witnessed 3 Red-capped Plovers attempting to lure a Pied Oystercatcher away from a nest or it's contents with their broken-wing-display. In one instance a plover tumbled over and over, rolling along with wings askew but the oystercatcher wasn't interested.
A roosting group of over a hundred Little Terns would occasionally arise from behind the beach dune, wheel around and across, before hiding again.
We were blessed with good weather, 148 species (end Day 4) - suffice to say we've probably had enough Cattle Egrets and Glenn Miller. Thanks to all participants.
Day 5. (By Janene) We scooted down to Raleigh to search for the Black-necked Stork; came up with a female Red-backed Fairy-wren, Eastern Koel heard and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins wowed us on the way. Little Eagle shone above while driving ever onward home.
Logrunner by Judy Wand
It was packed at Scott's Head with Scaly-breasted Lorikeets cuddling overhead and an Olive-backed Oriole among others that delighted in the "nipper"-infested beach park.
After refreshment in Old Bar we found Wootton Way and a splendid part of the Myall NP. Here a Catbird presented itself in full view, a Large-billed Scrubwren very close in a vine tangled bush foraged and Scarlet Honeyeaters fed on towering gum blossoms. A magnificent end to a really wonderful tour, made that way in no small part by the participants good humour, love of birds and beauty. Ta very much all.
Total 152 species, hurray!
By John Gale ornithologist for FTB