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PHOTOS from Koreelah NP

We camped for three nights at Koreelah NP in northern NSW, in May 2015.


Although Joe and I had once made a flying visit to Koreelah, Laura and Pete had never been there and we were very pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of birds around the campsite. We might have been lucky as other campers said they had never seen so many birds there before. The eucalypts were flowering and the trees were full of yellow-faced and white-naped honeyeaters, and rainbow lorikeets and an eastern spinebill, along with a mistletoe bird or two.


But the real story of the camping trip was about the little fairy-wrens that seemed to spend much of their time foraging around our campsite. There was no adult male in breeding plumage in the group so it was difficult to identify the species, but they seemed to be aware of the feeding potential of hanging around our picnic table with the odd accidentally dropped breadcrumb. They were quite unafraid and allowed close-up shots.


An unknown species of rat (surely a native?) also was timidly interested in the possibility of crumbs and we caught glimpses of it on one cloudy afternoon. It didn't trouble us at night though, and we have learnt from past experience to keep all food securely packed away! (But it was very galling that even though I was the person who first spotted it, Laura took the best photos! Somehow I was not in a position where I could see both its ears and its face at the same time, as it hid amongst the low growth at the edge of the campsite.)


Laura was also able to photograph a greater glider in a tree above our tents, which Pete had surprised on his way to the toilets one night. Unfortunately, I slept through it all! We had been hearing its unusual (for us) calls at night, without knowing the source of the sounds. The only other mammal we saw was a red-necked wallaby over near the waterfall picnic area on the first day.


Other birds around the camping ground included a restless flycatcher, white-throated tree-creepers, brown thornbills, kookaburras and red-browed firetails. The grey shrike-thrush, yellow robin and silver-eyes were photographed over near the waterfall, adjacent to the picnic area for day-visitors.


One of the big surprises of the trip was seeing budgerigars. Since we haven't travelled out west we hadn't seen them in the wild before. Other campers who had been coming to Koreelah for twenty years said they had never seen them there. So we spent some time trying to approach their highly excitable little flocks closely enough to capture a decent photo.


Another highlight was seeing the brown quail. We could hear their sighing calls in the long grass and had been told that they had been seen a couple of weeks previously, by other campers. Then we were lucky enough to spot a group of them as they cautiously tried to make the bold decision to cross the road. It was a great joy to see them as they normally remain hidden from view.


The noisy miners were photographed while they were having some sort of confrontation over a bit of bark on the side of a tree in a spot of woodland near the campsite. They were quite distant so the photos were not very clear. It is to be hoped that they don't decide to move in closer to the camp-site as these (native) birds are vicious dominators and will drive other species away.


We spent a couple of hours at Queen Mary Falls where we spotted a yellow thornbill. The king parrot and banded rail were photographed on the lawn outside the shop where they were obviously accustomed to being fed.


During a brief visit to Tooloom NP we didn't see any birds and had to make do with taking photos of fungi.


Altogether, we had a great experience at Koreelah, but we were lucky. During a brief return visit on the way back from Spicer's Gap, the eucalypts were no longer in bloom, and there were far fewer birds in evidence.


It is all about timing!

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