Ben Ricketts

Tue 07 June 2016 12:00am

Sue Lashko

Note the change of date for this outing due to the accommodation being unavailable during the June long weekend.

During this mid-week outing, accommodation will be at Ben Ricketts cabins which are about 1 km from Barren Grounds Nature Reserve.  Activities will include:

  • birding on the Ben Ricketts property
  • an early morning (before breakfast) visit/s to Barren Grounds NR to look for Ground Parrot and Eastern Bristlebird
  •  longer walk at Barren Grounds
  • spotlighting at Ben Ricketts and on the road near Barren Grounds
  • possibly a visit to Minnamurra Rainforest and a visit to the coast

The cost of accommodation will depend on the number of participants but should not exceed $100 for 3 nights.  Note that this is NOT motel-style accommodation – see for layout of cottages.  To register, contact Sue Lashko at

Post event report

After a weekend of wild weather which brought 600mm of rain to Robertson, we were rather relieved to arrive in the Southern Highlands on Tuesday to fine, if rather cold and windy, weather.  Eight members of the 12 member party met at Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve just out of Moss Vale for the first excursion of the trip.  Gumboots were the order of the day and Bong Bong Weir was well and truly overflowing.  The strong wind kept waterbirds confined to a few sheltered spots on the broad section of the Wingecarribee River created by the weir and woodland birds were hard to hear.  The highlight of the visit was a platypus!

A brief visit to a very soggy and wind-battered Robertson yielded few birds but along an adjacent lane we found at least 32 Satin Bowerbirds, almost all green birds, feeding on the dozens of fruiting privet.  By then, we were ready for some respite from the wind and cold, so picnic lunches were forgotten and we adjourned to the Robertson Pie Shop for lunch, before driving on to Ben Ricketts Environmental Preserve, where we stayed for the next three nights.


On Wednesday, we made a pre-breakfast visit to Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, hoping to find Eastern Bristlebird and Southern Emu-wren, and perhaps hear Eastern Ground Parrot.  Some members of the party managed brief views of the former and emu-wren were heard at three sites but the strong winds continued to blow and birds were very reluctant to emerge from the heath.  A longer walk after breakfast to Cook’s Nose produced a reasonable birdlist, dominated by New Holland Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebill, and Little and Red Wattlebirds feeding on flowering banksias.  The spectacular views from the edge of the escarpment made the walk worthwhile.

The afternoon was spent at Jerrara Dam between Jamberoo and Kiama.  Among the 32 species recorded there were large numbers of Lewin’s Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird and Rainbow Lorikeet feeding in the flowers of coral trees.  Brown Cuckoo-Doves, a pair of Olive-backed Orioles making a catbird-like call and a Red-vented Bulbul were welcome additions to our growing trip list.  We returned to Ben Ricketts via Saddleback Mountain where we again had spectacular scenic views to the coast and surrounding farmland.

Continuing strong winds on Thursday morning meant a leisurely start to the morning rather than another early morning return to Barren Grounds.  Later, we birded along Misty Lane, a quiet and sheltered road below the escarpment.  Large numbers of Tasmanian Silvereyes (more than 200) were on the move and more than 40 Satin Bowerbirds were also recorded.  A Grey Goshawk showed well as it soared overhead and Brown Cuckoo-Doves coming down to drink at a pond were almost invisible in the shadows until they moved.

After lunch, we drove to Wingecarribee Reservoir where the strong wind was whipping up white caps but it did mean that we were able to get close-up views of a Great Crested Grebe close to the shore in a lee.  We then visited ‘Andrewville’, a private property dominated by Southern Highland Shale Woodland, where the highlight was a Rose Robin.

On our final morning, we visited Minnamurra Rainforest Centre in Budderoo National Park, where we recorded at least 13 Superb Lyrebird including a male displaying, another Grey Goshawk and many Brown Gerygone.

Our last stop was a final visit to Barren Grounds, as some members of the party had never seen Eastern Bristlebird or Southern Emu-wren, but the forecast gentler winds were not to be and the birds remained hidden.

We recorded 82 species for the trip, just one less than during our 2013 trip, so, given the strong winds, everyone returned home happy.

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