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Birding Central West NSW: Orange and Beyond

Discussion in 'Australia' started by akasha, 3 Jan 2023.

  1. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    This thread is inspired by WhistlingKite’s What’s on my Doorstep thread. He has graciously given his blessing for me to develop this similar thread for my own local area. Thank you!

    As I have basically ‘birded out’ my local area, having seen everything there is to see, I am hoping that this thread will help reignite my passion for local birding and encourage me to visit any nearby locations I have missed in the past. I also hope it will be helpful for anyone visiting the Orange area who is interested in the local avifauna.

    Orange is a regional city with a population of 40,000. It is situated in a cold climate area, with one or two snowfalls a year, and four distinct seasons.

    In terms of birds, the Orange area within about a two-hour radius has quite a bit of diversity, with the town itself being on the western edge of the Central Tablelands, at an elevation of 862 metres. Sitting at the base of Mount Canobolas, an extinct volcano, Orange is surrounded by fertile farming land. It is central to a range of accessible habitats from snow gum forests at the 1390 metre high summit of Mount Canobolas, to wetlands, box forests and semi-arid scrub just over an hour away at Nangar National Park.

    According to Ebird, I have seen 112 species within the relatively small Orange City Council LGA, and hopefully as I work on this thread I can increase that number.

    I’ll begin with locations in and around Orange, and I expect that this thread will eventually expand to cover locations that are accessible as a day trip from Orange.

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    Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. Orange, NSW. August, 2022.
     
  2. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 1: Orange Botanic Gardens- 3rd January 2023

    10:05am - 11:10am
    Sunny, 22-26 degrees

    The Orange Botanic Gardens are a 17 hectare site located on Yellow Box Way, south of the Northern Distributor Road. They are open from 7:30am till dusk. The gardens were opened in 1988 and have a good mix of interesting exotic botanical specimens, and natural bushland to provide habitat for local fauna. Pre-Covid a monthly bird walk was conducted on the first Sunday which was available to everyone. As far as I know, the walks have not resumed yet.

    According to Ebird, 116 species have been observed in the gardens since 2005.

    This morning I visited OBG to kick off this thread as it has been my main birding location in Orange for over a decade. I have spent hundreds of hour-long lunch breaks wandering it’s paths so I’m fairly aware of the birds that occur here. The species mix has changed somewhat in that time, from there being no Rainbow Lorikeets in Orange to them becoming one of the most common birds, and a decline in small woodland birds in the gardens due to the rapidly expanding housing developments of North Orange now cutting the gardens off from ‘the bush’. I used to see four thornbill species in a lunch break (Brown, Striated, Yellow and Yellow-rumped) now I’m lucky if I see a thornbill at all. Grey Fantails used to be pretty much guaranteed, I didn’t see any this morning. Orange City Council has tried to keep some green corridors intact to connect the gardens with bushland to the north, which I will discuss in more detail in a future post.

    I’ve seen a few lifers here, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Golden Whistler, Weebill, Pallid Cuckoo and Brown Goshawk. I even recorded Emu once, an unwanted subadult pet that was dumped. It was captured and relocated to Dubbo.

    Today I began with a walk down the hill to the ponds, finding all the usual species. The common waterbirds at the gardens are Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Dusky Moorhen and Australasian Grebe, all of which I saw today. All four species regularly breed here. In drier times, Hardhead are reasonably common too.

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    Australian Wood Duck

    As I was watching a family of Dusky Moorhen, a flock of Wood Duck suddenly landed on the pond. Assuming they’d been startled by a predator, I looked up and saw a Brown Falcon circling overhead.

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    Dusky Moorhens

    From the ponds I headed up over Regeneration Hill, which is mostly phalaris in the understory. It would be nice to see it replaced with Kangaroo Grass or another native species, but for now it works and could certainly hide a quail or two.

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    I checked the small pond on the Country Walk which had a few Wood Duck, and then crossed back to the top pond, which again had the same four species of waterbirds. There were thousands of little fish visible in the ponds, which is a good food source for the grebes, and the cormorants which sometimes visit. I’m not sure what species they are. I also spotted the only reptile species I've ever seen at the gardens, which is Eastern Snake-necked Turtle.

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    Australasian Grebe
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    Eastern Snake-necked Turtle

    The bottom pond has a small island, and today I noticed that some nest boxes have been installed. I'm not sure what success OBG has had with these, but I'll be interested to keep an eye on them in the future.

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    Last of all I checked the western pond, which had a family of Pacific Black Duck, a mother and seven ducklings, and a moorhen with a juvenile.

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    Pleasingly, introduced species are mostly absent from the gardens, with the resident Common Blackbirds being the exception.

    As for native mammals, I've never seen any in the gardens.

    About an hour is a good amount of time to spend exploring the gardens, though you could certainly spend longer if you wanted to investigate every path. Even though the gardens don’t boast the number of species they once did, they are still very much worth a look and being a big green patch in suburbia, who knows what birds might pop up next.

    Birds:
    Australian Wood Duck
    Pacific Black Duck
    Australasian Grebe
    Dusky Moorhen
    Australian White Ibis
    Brown Falcon
    Galah
    Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Superb Parrot
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    Superb Fairywren
    Noisy Miner
    Red Wattlebird
    Black-faced Cuckooshrike
    Australian Magpie
    Pied Currawong
    Willie Wagtail
    Magpie-lark
    Welcome Swallow
    Common Blackbird

    Reptiles:
    Eastern Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis)
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2023
  3. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member 15+ year member Premium Member

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    I like the look of your new thread. Good luck with it!
     
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  4. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    NSW, Australia
    Thank you! I hope it can highlight an area that people may not consider as a birding destination :)
     
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  5. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 2 : Cook Park, Orange- 3rd January 2023

    Cook Park is a formal garden located in Orange’s CBD taking up a full block on Summer Street between Clinton Street and Sampson Street. The 4.5 hectare parkland was founded in 1873 and comprises of garden beds, lawns, century old exotic trees such as redwood, cedar and elm, a duck pond, aviary and several small structures/buildings. Cook Park also has a conservatory which holds an impressive display of begonias each summer/autumn.

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    I hadn’t visited it as a birder, but I used to visit a lot with my aunty when I was a kid to feed the ducks. In 2010 there was an influx of Grey-headed Flying Fox into the park. They caused heavy damage to many of the mature trees. The noise, smell and mess they made was why I stopped visiting the park. Today there was no sign of them, and the trees mostly appear to be recovering. I did happen to see three flying overhead on New Year’s Eve, a few blocks east of Cook Park so they are still in the area somewhere.

    Visiting today as a birder and zoochatter, I was interested to see what wild birds were there, particularly at the pond (which was redeveloped in 2014), and also to see what had become of the 1930’s aviary.

    The main aviary is divided into three sections. The first is for ‘medium birds’ and has a flock of domestic type Budgerigar and three Cockatiels, two wild type and one lutino. The second and third sections are for ‘large birds’. The second held Galah, Long-billed Corella and Crimson Rosella. I saw one of each. In the third section I saw one Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. These were all six species that were listed on the signs.

    The aviary is rundown now, and I was disappointed by the lack of diversity. Along with these species, it also used to hold lively flocks of a variety of small parrots, native finches, doves and quails.

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    There is also a small aviary attached to the fernery which was renovated in 1988. It used to hold native finches, but has been empty for over a decade now.

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    The main aviary is a point of contention with local council at the moment, and it’s removal was rejected at a meeting in December. This caused one councillor to breakdown in tears over the ‘poor trapped birds’ and they had to be attended by paramedics. Possibly an over-reaction to a bird cage. So for now council have decided the aviary will stay, and ‘spectacular’ renovations are possible, including a walk-through. Personally, I think it has the potential to be a really cool addition to the park, but I’m doubtful it will happen at least for the foreseeable future.

    As for wild birds, I saw only eight species. They were mostly around the duck pond, which now has signs asking that people don’t feed them, but most of the Rock Doves, Pacific Black Ducks and Australian White Ibis, are habituated and were begging for food from picnickers.

    On the pond I saw Pacific Black Duck, including a mother with 8 small ducklings, Australian Wood Duck and one domestic type Mallard.

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    I also saw Magpie-larks with a juvenile, which means at least two native species breed in the park.

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    Cook Park isn’t really a destination for birders, but it is a lovely heritage-listed park and worth a visit if you’re in Orange. I’m interested to see what becomes of the aviary, and will post any updates I hear of.

    Birds:
    Australian Wood Duck
    Pacific Black Duck
    Mallard (Domestic type)
    Rock Dove
    Australia White Ibis
    Australian Magpie
    Magpie-lark
    Australian Raven
     
  6. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 3: Somerset Park, Orange- 3rd January 2023

    11:55am - 12:35pm
    Sunny, 26 to 29 degrees

    Somerset Park is located between Molong Road and the Northern Distributor Road in Orange, with multiple access points. The park includes Somerset Wetland, which is part of a system of four stormwater wetlands in the Ploughmans Creek catchment. Orange is unusual among large regional towns in that it isn’t situated on a river, making all available water a valuable resource. As well as collecting stormwater, these wetlands have been designed as wildlife habitat, with ponds of various sizes and depths to support a variety of flora and fauna.

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    I visited today because my cousin told me she had seen a ‘weird white magpie’ there last week. I was aware that a family of leucistic magpies was resident in Orange, but had never been able to track down exactly where. Personally, I love colour variant animals, and a leucistic magpie is about as close to a lifer as I will get in Orange these days, so I decided to go for a look. I had never visited the park before and admit I didn’t expect much from what is essentially a stormwater drain, with some remnant bush. However, I was pleasantly surprised and in terms of birding it appears to be a hidden gem. Ebird lists 64 species, but judging by the size and available habitat, I daresay Somerset Park potentially supports even more than that.

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    The park is also for recreation, with a playground and bike track. On my visit I walked along the edge of the watercourse, picking up a few species such as Striated Thornbill and Yellow-faced Honeyeater. I then scanned the ponds, finding Dusky Moorhen, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Swamphen and Australian Reed Warbler, and then returned along the bike track as it was the shortest route to my vehicle and the temperature had risen to 29 degrees. My visit today was mainly to familiarise myself with the location, and I’m keen to revisit again soon at a more ‘birdy’ time of the day, to continue my magpie search and see what other species the park has to offer.

    Birds:
    Pacific Black Duck
    Dusky Moorhen
    Australasian Swamphen
    Australia White Ibis
    Galah
    Crimson Rosella
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    Superb Fairywren
    Yellow-faced Honeyeater
    Red Wattlebird
    Striated Thornbill
    Grey Fantail
    Australian Reed Warbler
    Common Blackbird
    House Sparrow
     
  7. steveroberts

    steveroberts Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    @akasha Beautiful photos and great recounts too
     
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  8. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
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    Thank you :)
     
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  9. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 4: Ploughman's Wetland, Orange- 4th January 2023

    8:05am - 9:00am
    Sunny, 18 to 21 degrees

    After visiting Somerset Wetland yesterday, it made sense to make Ploughman’s Wetland my next location, being the ‘birdiest’ of the four stormwater wetlands in the Ploughman's Creek catchment. I have visited Ploughman’s Wetland many times before, but not since the massive rainfall Orange has experienced in the last six months.

    The Ploughman's Water Reticulation System was one of the first of it’s kind in Australia, harvesting stormwater and pumping it back through residences as grey water. My own house is connected to the system, with one outdoor tap and both toilets connected to grey water, reducing the unnecessary use of Orange’s valuable potable water.

    The Orange community is doing it’s best to create a sustainable and eco-friendly city, which also capitalises on these areas as recreational spaces. The wetlands are all connected via a 5.5 km bike track.

    Ploughman’s Wetland is located on the corner of Cargo Road and Ploughman’s Lane. It is currently undergoing an upgrade to make the walking track completely wheelchair accessible. The entire walking track is about 1.6 km.

    The wetlands consist of a large pond, two smaller ponds and a sizeable grassland which is enchanting in the springtime when the male cisticolas are displaying. It is my go-to location for this species in the Orange area.

    Parking is along Ploughman’s Lane, and the birding begins immediately. Between the road and the pond a good mix of casuarinas, eucalypts, callistemons, banksias, acacias and other native shrubs and grasses have been planted and are well-established now. Within a minute I had seen Superb Fairywren, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Grey Fantail and Brown Thornbill. Australian Reed-Warblers called constantly, which always make me feel like I’m in the right spot to potentially see some interesting birds.

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    The walking track loops around the wetland, and I followed it counterclockwise as usual. There weren’t many waterfowl present, but that is to be expected in such a wet year when birds have the chance to disperse. Still, I always enjoy visiting this wetland because even if it seems quiet at first, it always ends up producing a decent list of species.

    On the water, I only saw a few Australian Wood Duck and Pacific Black Duck. In dry times it’s much more diverse. Australasian Bittern has been recorded here, and I have seen Buff-banded Rail, engaged in a skirmish with a Magpie-lark.

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    Along the loop I observed a pair of Silvereye, and my first Crested Pigeon for the year. Anecdotally, numbers have decreased for both species, they seemed a lot more common in the central west when I was a kid.

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    Crested Pigeon

    A pair of Superb Parrots flew overhead. Their distinctive call means I always hear them before I see them, and around Orange I would almost go as far as to say they are a common bird. I see them on a daily basis, and believe they breed in North Orange. I will endeavor to investigate that further in the next few days.

    Beyond the pond the space opens up into a generous grassland, bisected by a boardwalk. Here I kept an ear out for the distinctive buzzing call of Golden-headed Cisticola. It took a minute, but sure enough a male appeared performing a song flight, and then perched in clear view to continue calling. Even though I’ve seen them many times before, they never fail to capture my attention.

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    Golden-headed Cisticola

    Returning along the boardwalk and finishing the loop, I heard a familiar call and looked up into the branches of a eucalypt, to see a Striated Pardalote. Surprisingly, this was a new addition to my Orange list which was pleasing.

    I spent nearly an hour at the wetlands, and managed to spot 27 species. I’m always hopeful of a seeing a bittern there one day, maybe next time :)

    Birds:
    Australian Wood Duck
    Pacific Black Duck
    Rock Dove
    Crested Pigeon
    Pacific Koel
    Dusky Moorhen
    Laughing Kookaburra
    Galah
    Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Superb Parrot
    Crimson Rosella
    Eastern Rosella
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    Yellow-faced Honeyeater
    Noisy Miner
    Striated Pardalote
    Brown Thornbill
    Yellow Thornbill
    Australian Magpie
    Pied Currawong
    Grey Fantail
    Magpie-lark
    Golden-headed Cisticola
    Australian Reed-Warbler
    Silvereye
    Common Starling
    Common Blackbird
     
    Last edited: 4 Jan 2023
  10. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 5: Lake Canobolas, 4th January 2023

    9:15am - 10:50am
    Sunny, 21-24 degrees

    As Lake Canobolas is only a seven minute drive from Ploughman’s Wetland, I made it my next location. The habitat is similar, just more water and less grass, so I expected to see a lot of the same species.

    Lake Canobolas is a man-made reservoir that is reserved for recreational purposes these days. It is open from 7am till 7pm during daylight savings. There is a cafe, playgrounds and a couple of small beaches. Day visitors use it for swimming, kayaking and fishing.

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    I often visit the lake, sometimes birding and sometimes just to walk the loop track to get some exercise and fresh air. By the time I arrived today, people were already using the lake for fishing and kayaking.

    I parked at the southern end of the carpark on the western side and began the loop walk there as usual. The track is about 2.5km and basically flat. It usually takes me an hour and a half to complete when birding along the way.

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    The first part of the walk is through a stringybark forest, and there are usually some woodland birds to be found. Today I spotted Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher and White-throated Treecreeper.

    This end of the lake usually has the most waterbirds as there are plenty of reeds for cover and less people. Last year conditions were ideal for Blue-billed Duck and they bred here. In February 2022 I saw a male, and two females both with ducklings.

    At the southern end of the lake where Molong Creek flows in, there is a grassy sidetrack that usually has a good number of birds and gives close views. There were some White-browed Scrubwren, so close that one almost landed on my camera, and it was here that I was reminded I have zero patience for bird photography. I love birding, but the frustration of photographing them does take a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me, so I usually don’t carry a camera. I’m trying my best to get some decent shots for this thread, but it is a challenge.

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    White-browed Scrubwren

    On the main track, a small bridge crosses Molong Creek. The water was crystal clear, and I had the opportunity to watch some fish and yabbies. I love this spot and could spend hours watching the aquatic creatures go about their business, and waiting to see what pops up next. Today I saw three yabbies, some Eastern Mosquitofish, and what I’m pretty sure was a small Rainbow Trout.

    [​IMG]
    Yabby (Cherax destructor)

    Continuing the loop, I spotted my third grebe for this location, with Hoary-headed Grebe. In April 2021 I saw Great-crested Grebe here for the first time, and Australasian Grebe are relatively common.

    On the eastern side of lake the bushland ends and there is a carpark and playground. There is a small beach which usually has some Silver Gull, but I didn’t see any today, probably because of the high number of day visitors there.

    I crossed the wall, and as I was doing so I saw a large black and white bird land further up the lake. It was too big for Little Pied Cormorant, so my first thought was Pied Cormorant (an unusual bird for the area) but it was too far away to positively ID. I continued the loop, planning to check the cormorant when I got closer.

    On the western side of the lake there was a Pacific Black Duck with 16 ducklings, and some domestic type Mallard. There are usually a few domestic mallard or muscovies here, which presumably have been dumped.

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    Pacific Black Duck

    When a bold Australian Reed-Warbler presented beautifully for photographing, I was glad I had my camera on me. To carry the camera with me or not, is an eternal struggle of mine.

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    Australian Reed-Warbler

    At this point, the probable Pied Cormorant had moved to the other side of the lake, so I decided to drive over to the eastern carpark and see if I could confirm my suspicion. By the time I got there, the cormorant had moved further south and was blocked by reeds too tall for me to see over. I had two choices. Give up and wonder about it for the rest of my life, or find a higher vantage point. (Of course the third option was to wait until it might reach a more accessible spot, but patience really isn’t a strength of mine.) I decided to climb a tree and managed to get high enough to see the bird. Clinging on for dear life, I wrangled my camera and managed to snap a confirmation shot of my Pied Cormorant. As it turned out, Pied Cormorant was a new bird for me for this area, and it had been almost six years since one was recorded at Lake Canobolas.

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    Pied Cormorant

    Lake Canobolas is a neat little package with a variety of habitats and a pleasant walk with nice views. I always enjoy my visits here, and the birding is varied enough on each visit to keep it interesting.
    Birds:
    Australian Wood Duck
    Pacific Black Duck
    Mallard (Domestic Type)
    Grey Teal
    Hoary-headed Grebe
    Pacific Koel
    Dusky Moorhen
    Eurasian Coot
    Pied Cormorant
    Laughing Kookaburra
    Sacred Kingfisher
    Galah
    Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Crimson Rosella
    Eastern Rosella
    Rainbow Lorikeet
    White-throated Treecreeper
    Superb Fairywren
    Yellow-faced Honeyeater
    Noisy Miner
    Red Wattlebird
    White-browed Scrubwren
    Black-faced Cuckooshrike
    Australian Magpie
    Grey Fantail
    Magpie-lark
    Australian Reed-Warbler
    Welcome Swallow

    Fish:

    Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)
    Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

    Invertebrates:

    Yabby (Cherax destructor)
     
  11. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 6: Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, Orange- 5th January 2023

    9:30am - 1:55pm
    Partly cloudy, moderate wind. 17 to 26 degrees.

    Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve, or 'Borenore Caves' to locals, is located 17km west of Orange on The Escort Way. It is open all year round, with gates closing at 7pm. It is popular with locals as a picnic spot and because it has free, readily accessible caves to explore. There are two walking tracks, the Arch Cave Loop walk and the Verandah Cave walk.

    As well as three caves, the reserve protects grassy box woodland, an endangered ecosystem of which about 0.5% remains compared to pre-settlement. Decades ago, the reserve was grazed by livestock, and as a result there are a lot of invasive weeds. However, managing them is a priority so the reserve is slowly returning to its natural state.

    I have visited the reserve many times, for birding, recreation and also in search of Maratus aurantius (Orange Peacock Spider) which was discovered here in 2016 and BKCR remains the only known location for this species. Unfortunately I’ve never seen one, but have had luck with Maratus purcellae.

    I began my visit today with the Verandah Cave walk. The 7km return track is mostly flat, meandering along Boree Creek, with one hill that goes over Tunnel Cave.

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    Boree Creek and Verandah Cave walking track

    Birdsong was constant along the track, with plenty of Superb Fairywren and Yellow-faced Honeyeater to be seen.

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    Superb Fairywren

    I got my first finches of the year with Red-browed Finch and saw a Sacred Kingfisher attending its nest.

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    Red-browed Finch

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    Sacred Kingfisher

    At the usual spot I heard one Eastern Banjo Frog, it's deep, resonating call making the Pobblebonk easy to identify.

    High in the branches of a eucalypt, a Laughing Kookaburra perched with it's prey, a Black Prince Cicada.

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    Laughing Kookaburra

    There is a rock formation which I always check for Sooty Owl, as I saw one roosting there in December 2017, but haven’t seen one since. BKCR is usually good for raptors, I’ve recorded Wedge-tailed Eagle, Collared Sparrowhawk, and Peregrine Falcons, but I didn’t see any today.

    I checked a dead tree which is usually home to a colony of Tree Skink, but didn’t see them. They were absent on my last visit as well. Maybe the kookaburras ate them all :(

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    Sooty Owl roost

    In November 2022 Central West NSW experienced severe flooding. Evidence of this is apparent in the reserve with flood debris on old fences and around the base of trees, showing how high the water rose. The plus side was that the rushing water has cleared the creek of sediment and debris, leaving the water perfectly clear. Nature has her reasons for everything she does.

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    Debris from 2022 flood event

    A small bridge crosses Boree Creek, and from here the track veers right to Tunnel Cave, which in winter is home to a colony of Eastern Bentwing Bats. The cave is closed from May to October to protect the hibernating bats. In October the bats migrate south to maternal caves at Wee Jasper. Tunnel Cave can be accessed in the summer, and I planned to explore but opted to wait until the return walk as there were other people already there.

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    Tunnel Cave

    From Tunnel Cave the track climbs over a hill. There are good patches of Kangaroo Grass which is encouraging that one day the battle with the weeds might be won.

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    Kangaroo Grass

    At the top of the hill is a karst window. I would love to sit here on an October evening and wait for the bats to emerge. I imagine it would look like they are just flying straight out of the ground.

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    Karst window

    At the bottom of the hill, the track meets Boree Creek again, and it is only a short distance to Verandah Cave. It is a meander cave, formed by Boree Creek cutting into the limestone bluff. Verandah Cave isn’t the most spectacular cave in the world, but it is a good place to sit in the shade, eat a snack and write a Zoochat post while listening to the babbling creek and watching Welcome Swallow.

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    Verandah Cave

    On the return walk, I explored Tunnel Cave. I went as far as I could without climbing gear, which wasn't far. A torch is essential as there are large holes in the floor that one could easily disappear down.

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    Tunnel Cave

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    Tunnel Cave


    Beyond Tunnel Cave a buzzing bird call caught my attention. High in the casuarinas there was a Leaden Flycatcher, which was a new bird for me for this area. I stopped at the bridge, scanning the clear water. Platypus occur further downstream in Boree Creek. I've never heard of one at the reserve but it's always worth a look. I had the opportunity to watch a big Rainbow Trout patrolling its hole, following the same pattern as it crossed from one side of the creek to the other several times. I also spotted an Eastern Water Skink, a species I hadn’t seen at this location before and my first wild reptile for the year.

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    Boree Creek

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    Rainbow Trout

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    Eastern Water Skink

    The last interesting wildlife sighting of the walk was a nesting Noisy Friarbird which had managed to conceal its nest quite effectively in a seemingly sparse branch.

    With taking my time to wildlife watch along the way, the Verandah Cave walk took me almost four hours to complete.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2023
  12. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    8 Jun 2018
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    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    Location 6 continued...

    I then drove to the main carpark, where a few people were enjoying their lunch at the picnic ground. I saw another nesting Noisy Friarbird here.

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    Noisy Friarbird

    From here is access to Arch Cave. Peregrine Falcons nest on the cliffs and can usually be heard, but I didn’t see or hear any sign of them today or on my last visit.

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    Arch Cave cliffs

    The Arch Cave Loop walk is an easy 700m track. You can begin or end with the cave, whichever excites you more. I started with the cave, spotting some nesting Welcome Swallow, and a Fairy Martin attending it’s bottle-shaped nest attached the cave ceiling. There is just enough light to navigate Arch Cave without a torch, but watch your head! A phone torch is sufficient to make it an easy walk. There are plenty of short tunnels and small caverns to make exploring fun.

    [​IMG]
    Arch Cave

    [​IMG]
    Arch Cave


    Exiting Arch Cave on the eastern side, the rest of the loop is through grassy box woodland. I saw some flashy Crimson Rosella and Australian Magpie.

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    Arch Cave Loop walking track

    Borenore Karst Conservation Reserve presents the opportunity for free and easy exploration of a karst environment. The walks are pleasant both recreationally and for wildlife watching. In terms of numbers, the bird list isn't high, but there is always the possibility of rarities and usually some other interesting wildlife to spot too.

    Birds:
    Laughing Kookaburra
    Sacred Kingfisher
    Galah
    Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Superb Parrot
    Crimson Rosella
    Eastern Rosella
    White-throated Treecreeper
    Superb Fairywren
    Yellow-faced Honeyeater
    Noisy Miner
    Red Wattlebird
    Noisy Friarbird
    Striated Pardalote
    White-browed Scrubwren
    Brown Thornbill
    White-throated Gerygone
    Black-faced Cuckooshrike
    Australian Magpie
    Pied Currawong
    Willie Wagtail
    Grey Fantail
    Leaden Flycatcher
    Welcome Swallow
    Fairy Martin
    Red-browed Finch

    Reptiles:
    Eastern Water Skink (Eulamprus quoyii)

    Amphibians:
    Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilii)

    Fish:
    Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

    Invertebrates:
    Black Prince Cicada (Psaltoda plaga)
    Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum)
    Common Brown Butterfly (Heteronympha merope)
    Yellow-banded Dart (Ocybadisties walkeri)
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2023