Easter camp – Tumut

Fri 07 April 2023 08:00am

Sandra Henderson

The Easter Camp this year will be at Tumut. We have access to a small number of rooms in shearers’ quarters on a sheep/cattle property (bathroom facilities in the quarters), and access also to the nearby shearing shed, which has toilet facilities for campers. It is usual for most participants to arrive on the Thursday, leave on the Monday, so we will be having outings Friday-Sunday.

The property is close to the town, on Shelleys Creek. Tumut COG member Les will be assisting me with an outings program for the weekend – he undertakes Birdlife Australia surveys in the Tumut area, so knows some interesting birding sites.

Numbers limited to 16 participants.  If you are interested please contact Sandra (shirmax2931@gmail.com). There will be only 16 places available.  Please indicate if you would like a bed in the shearers’ quarters, or whether you will be camping.

Post event report

Tom and Sharon Stacy kindly made their shearers’ quarters, and plenty of space for campers, available to COG over Easter.  The sheep and cattle property has been in the same family since the 1830s and over the weekend we were regaled with fascinating tales while being fed a roast dinner on the first night and freshly baked cakes and afternoon tea on other days.  Who needs Easter eggs?

Perhaps it was the inauspicious forecast that resulted in just six hardy souls joining Sandra on this camp.  No-one regretted the decision.  On our drive to Tumut, Sandra and Prue were lucky enough to see two Eastern-Shrike-tits at Jessop’s Lagoon.

On Friday we wandered around the farm and along Shelley’s Creek where we spotted a large number of Australasian Darters including many juveniles and young being fed as well as a Pink-eared Duck, Little Pied Cormorant and Yellow-billed Spoonbills.  The farm has many beautiful, very old red river gum and yellow box trees with excellent breeding hollows. In Tumut in the afternoon a Whistling Kite and Nankeen Kestrel were among the 34 species observed.

Early Saturday morning we joined Sharon and other members of the Tumut Wetlands Survey team to conduct their quarterly survey with Golden and Rufous Whistlers and an Olive-backed Oriole (a first for the surveys) included in the 36 species. Rainbow Bee-eaters were a surprise – we thought they’d have left by now. Walking along the Tumut River in the afternoon we observed a Whistling Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Rainbow Bee-eater and Double-barred Finch, as well as 32 other species.  A White-faced Heron was seen catching a fish. Late in the afternoon a violent storm descended and resulted in a black-out for a couple of hours, so we enjoyed drinks and cake in the homestead by kerosene lamp!

En route to Talbingo on Sunday, we stopped to explore the Cliffords Creek Trail which led us into a beautiful valley where two Emus walked out of the bush in front of us.  We heard Superb Lyrebirds and saw Wedge-tailed Eagles and Brown Falcons.  We enjoyed freshly baked pies from the café in Talbingo before heading off to the Tumut 3 Power Station and viewing area where we had a brief glimpse of a White-bellied Sea Eagle.  Some were lucky enough to see Scarlet and Flame Robins and Double-barred Finch on the way home.  Julian made a last-minute trip to the creek and spotted a platypus.

The birding, company and food were excellent and we were barely inconvenienced by the weather.

Prue Watters and Sandra Henderson


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