Following drought conditions and the prediction of a fire ban fourteen enthusiastic NPAQ Bird Group members arrived in Armidale to find the district green from unexpected spring rains. Forty millimetres of rain fell Sunday night for us to start our bird watching week in perfect weather. Day one we drove north to Guyra’s “Mother of Ducks Lagoon”. Quite a number of birds were sighted but the highlight was sighting the feral European Goldfinch”. Our next visit was to “Malpas Dam”, Armidale ‘s water supply. Access to the dam shoreline was prohibited but we could gain views from a lookout. Many water birds were sighted, a Nankeen Kestrel and an Australian Hobby created some excitement. Last visit for the day was to Captain Thunderbolt’s Cave. The cave was quite large with moss and lichens covering the rocky entrance. Tuesday, we were taken for a Heritage Bus tour of Armidale with a commentary by an 82-year-old volunteer who had us constantly in fits of laughter. We saw the early historical listed homes, churches and buildings of Armidale, visiting the Aboriginal Arts complex, the Armidale Art Museum and the University of New England. At the University we were privileged to be guided through an old private restored home bequeathed to the NSW Government for the development of a University. In the afternoon we drove a short distance to the Armidale State Forest. Many birds were sighted, including Yellow-tailed Black- Cockatoos and a Little Eagle. Wednesday, we visited Wollomombi Gorge where we viewed waterfalls, of two rivers, which crashed 200 meters into the deep gorge. Two Wedge Tailed Eagles soared high on the Gorge’s updraughts. Later we looked down on a Wedge Tail Eagle soaring in Metz Gorge. Thursday, we awoke to rain so for morning tea we ate freshly cooked pikelets, jam and Yoghurt. In the afternoon with clearing skies we drove west to Mt Yarrowyck N/P. We walked a graded track to view some Aboriginal rock paintings. Again, many birds were sighted. For dinner we were cooked sausages and onions and had a combined dinner follow by the last of three head scratching crossword puzzles relating to Girraween N/P. Friday in perfect weather we drove south to Uralla and out to Dangars Lagoon. This very large expanse of water was the home for many water birds which kept us fascinated for hours. We moved further along the lagoon to a bird hide viewing close by birds. Next, we drove to the far side of the Lagoon for further viewing. Our last venue was Racecourse Lagoon and while eating lunch we viewed the many bush and water birds. Our final event on Friday night was an enjoyable dinner at the Armidale Bowls Club following a very successful and rewarding week. Listings of the 82 sighted bird species can be found on Ebird or from the Leader.
ABN 60206792095 NPAQ acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Queensland National Park Estate and strongly supports co-stewardship with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Patron: Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC, PSM Governor of Queensland