Lake Burrendong near Wellington

Mon 29 June 2020 04:00pm

Ryu Callaway
The Lake Burrendong Trip will now go ahead on Mon 29 Jun – Fri 3 Jul (4 nights), a week later than originally scheduled. We have been monitoring the situation and regulations in NSW and, after careful consideration, have decided it is now practicable to proceed with this trip. 
Please ensure you take your own health into consideration in making the decision to participate, and participants must not attend if they become unwell. 
Monday and Friday will be left free for participants to pursue their own activities or travel to/from Canberra (5 hours / 370km drive). Travel arrangements will be left to individual participants. On Tue-Thu, the program will include birding around the lake and the adjoining arboretum / botanic gardens both of which offer great birding, and some exploration of Wellington’s surrounds based on their bird trails brochure. 
Accommodation will be at Reflections Holiday Park on the lake foreshores. Ten 2-3 bedroom cabins are available, along with powered/unpowered sites, which can be booked over the phone or online once you have confirmed your place on the trip:
There will be measures in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19: 
  • Social distancing should be maintained at all times
  • There is to be no sharing of rooms (apart from people from the same household), but you may choose to share multi-bedroomed cabins with others if you wish. I can try to pair you up with someone to share with. The cost per cabin is the same for 1 or 2 people. People sharing a cabin are free to negotiate meal arrangements.
Registration is essential at ryu_is_gr8(at) . 
ebird Lake Burrendong State Park (around our accommodation):
ebird LB Arboretum/Bot Gardens (opposite entrance to our accommodation):

Post event report

A group of 10, very ably led by Ryu Callaway, enjoyed COG’s first long field trip since the coronavirus disaster hit us. Five of us met up near the Hall TSR on the first day to begin our trip up to the Wellington area and the beautiful Lake Burrendong.  The first sign we were away from Canberra were Apostlebirds sighted on the roadside north of Boorowa.  A wander at Breakfast Creek produced a couple of Brown Treecreepers, and the Cowra Sewage Treatment Plant gave us our first Zebra Finches of the trip.

On arrival at the caravan park at Lake Burrendong, we were greeted by a VERY friendly Pied Butcherbird at the cabin. Over the next few days that bird, a few Blue-faced Honeyeaters, and busy groups of Grey-crowned Babblers and Apostlebirds were almost always within metres of the cabins.

On Tuesday the group spent the morning at the Burrendong Botanic Gardens and Arboretum, just up the road from the caravan park. A total of 55 species was seen during the morning, as we drove and walked around the very extensive grounds. A walk along a boundary fence gave us views of a Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, and morning tea was interrupted by sightings of both an immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle and a Wedge-tailed Eagle. White-browed Babblers, Brown Quail (heard), a White-winged Triller, a Mistletoebird and Red-browed and Double-barred Finches were other highlights.  A pleasant afternoon walk in the Burrendong State Park gave spectacular views of a pair of adult White-bellied Sea-Eagles flying together.

On Wednesday morning we headed for the Geurie Cemetery, an eBird hotspot with an impressive reputation, which did not disappoint. Among the more than 30 species were Red-winged Parrots, Plum-headed Finches, Peaceful Doves, Jacky Winters, Diamond Firetails and Brown Treecreepers. The next stop was the Rotary Wetlands at Narromine. This is obviously a popular local walking spot, but our interest was drawn to a very obliging Rufous Songlark perched close to the boundary fence. We had just left those wetlands when an ephemeral wetland beside the road drew our attention.  Expert bird counter Sue gave us a total of 420 Magpie Geese on this wetland, most standing along the far bank. A White-necked Heron, a Yellow-billed Spoonbill, several Rufous Songlarks, a flock of Zebra Finches and two Cockatiels added to the group list of good birds. On an already good day, we headed for a woodland patch further out of town for lunch. A quick walk through the woodland yielded Western Gerygone, Chestnut-rumped Thornbills and more Cockatiels, and we added Singing Honeyeater as we sat next to a dam for lunch. A late afternoon visit to Goonoo State Conservation Area gave as wonderful views of a White-necked Heron at a dam. The bird sat in a tree watching us for a while before relaxing and coming back down to wander along the edge.

Our final day at Lake Burrendong started with an early morning walk to the shore, where we puzzled for some time over the identity of a raptor on a spit some distance away – with the help of a scope we identified the bathing beauty as an immature White-bellied Sea-Eagle. The target bird for that early morning stroll, a Great Crested Grebe, glided close enough to be identified before disappearing again. We moved on to Bald Rock Reserve, where every tree seemed to have some Yellow Thornbills. In Dubbo we visited the Devils Hole Reserve on the river, where Plum-headed Finches and a Brown Falcon were bathing in the river, and a White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike showed nicely. After dark we took the opportunity to look for night birds. Our only success was on the road not far from the caravan park, where Ryu located the Australian Owlet-Nightjar we’d heard call.

On our final foggy morning we visited the pair of Tawny Frogmouths Richard and Tricia had located the previous day within the caravan park.

Many thanks to Ryu for planning and leading such an interesting trip in an area that most of us have simply driven through in the past.

Sandra Henderson

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