This short report highlights some recent bird records from the ranges west
of Grafton, and Wooli to the east, in the Northern Rivers, NSW.
Wednesday 3rd November started warm & sunny at home at Gibraltar Range, and
a friend from the UK and I headed east until 6th November for a leisurely
showcase of local birds & wildlife. We finished up at Wooli, after recording
over 120 species of birds across mixed forest, wetland, heathland, farmland
and anything in between. The weather was unusually wet, but we didn't have
to go far to find some local gems, with our accommodation being located
adjacent to Yuragir National Park. Ok I admit, there was a stocked fridge,
and it was really lazy birding, but it worked! More common species are not
mentioned in the text, although they deserve just as much acknowledgement
Brush, Fan-tailed, Channel-billed, & Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo all declaring
their intentions loudly around the caravan at Gibraltar Range, with
Brown-cuckoo Dove & Wonga Pigeon also heard. Pheasant Coucal, Lewin's Rail,
Brown & King Quail vocal in the grassland with Tawny Grassbirds and
Lewin's, Yellow-faced & White-naped Honeyeaters, Cicadabird, Grey
Shrike-thrush, White-throated Gerygone and Musk Lorikeet were also seen in
the morning. We had visited the adjacent Washpool & Gibraltar Range NP's the
previous week, recording an extra 30+ species not listed for this trip,
including Rufous-scrub-bird, Superb Lyrebird, Australian Hobby (audibly
"whacking" a Welcome Swallow), Yellow-throated, Large Billed & White-browed
Scrubwren and Noisy Pitta.
Wooli River Lodges made a relaxing, yet exciting base to be birding from,
with Whimbrel, Greenshank, Eastern Curlew, Osprey, Pied Oystercatcher,
Mangrove Honeyeater, Buff-banded Rail, Azure & Sacred Kingfisher, and
Striated & Rufous Night Heron amongst the highlights seen from the cabin or
riverbank. Also recorded were White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brown Goshawk,
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Eastern Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoo.
A short walk away, Latham's Snipe, Brahminy Kite, Mistletoebird, Tawny
frogmouth and White-cheeked Honeyeater where seen around the very wet heath,
with Ground Parrot heard.
The beach and river mouth provided distant views of a probable Humpback
Whale and a pod of Dolphins were loafing in the surf. Beach Stone-curlew was
seen locally, and Crested & Little Terns fed offshore, with a few
Short-tailed Shearwaters. About a dozen beachwashed Shearwaters were found
along a 2km stretch of beach.
Leaving Wooli, a pair of Emus was feeding by the side of the road. The
Eastern coastal Emu population is perhaps as low as 100, maybe less, so this
pair was reported to NPWS for their monitoring program.
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