Summer Camp- Tamworth 17-19 February – An Overview

A summer heat wave with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees each day saw a change to the itinerary and birding restricted to the cooler mornings. We also started birding at 7:30 AM each morning.

Day 1: First stop was a site at a campground along the Cockburn River, a real bush setting with some water flowing.  There was an abundance of White-plumed Honeyeater and two separate clear sightings of Turquoise Parrot and the thrill of a Brown Goshawk landing right in front of the group in clear view.

Other highlights here were the Diamond Firetail and Fuscous Honeyeater. 38 species identified.

We stopped briefly at Ballantyne’s Bridge and 3 Wedge-tailed Eagles and two Nankeen kestrels were seen. 7 species identified.

Lunch was taken at Kootingal Memorial Park but it was really too hot by now to bird out of the shade of the many trees here but there were still a lot of birds out in the heat, the most notable being Red-rumped Parrots, an Olive-backed Oriole and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater. 22 species identified. Daily Total 52 species.

Day 2: Moonbi Common is listed as a local bird route. Here were spent well over 30 minutes watching small birds come down to drink at a creek crossing. The highlight here was the sighting of beautifully coloured Double-barred Finch. 39 species identified.

We moved on to Endeavour Park and birded in the grounds of the Marsupial Park which was a great spot as lots of birds were free to come and go in this nature reserve which is criss-crossed with multiples of natural walking tracks. Several members were thrilled to see a White-eared honeyeater right at the entrance and a pair of Leaden Flycatcher taking a bath in a small pool right next to the picnic tables at morning tea. Even the caged birds were of interest offering a close up experience with birds such as the normally very shy Wonga Pigeon. 35 species identified.

Day 3: We spent the whole morning at Baids McIntyre’s property, a 128 acre private property devoted to the preservation of habitat for birds, flora, reptiles and animals. There are absolutely no domestic or farm animals kept on the property and feral pests such as dogs, cats and foxes are actively controlled. As soon as we entered the property we spotted Several Plum-Headed Finch which appeared to be nest building. This was a great morning and a privilege to be invited onto such a beautiful property. Over 45 species identified here despite the heat.

City Lights Caravan Park: The park is south of Tamworth and it was very hot which really curtailed opportunity to look for birds. There were great numbers of Galahs which were a joy to see every evening and even a flyover by a Peregrine Falcon looking for an evening meal. 30 species identified.

Considering the conditions it had been a great camp with a total of 89 species identified including 11 out of area species.

Brian McCauley