Seeing six Rufous Scrub-birds at six separate spots in the Border Ranges National Park in northern NSW this week was the highlight of a 4-day campout there at Sheepstation Creek. Other goodies included excellent views of Albert's Lyrebird, Regent Bowerbird, Bassian Thrush, Noisy Pitta, Logrunner and Paradise Riflebird. In the post following this one I discuss the superb views I had of Eastern Bristlebird in another section of the national park. This park must surely surpass Lamington National Park across the border in Queensland as THE place to visit for the Rufous Scrub-bird - arguably one of Australia's most difficult birds to see - and all the Lamington specialties are easy to find here.
I found all six scrub-birds in a single morning. This image depicts typical habitat - dense sedges and other growth in wet gullies in dense rainforest at high altitude. Given that it is not unusual to spend a couple of days chasing this bird without a glimpse, multiple sightings in such a short period of time was something I did not expect.
Although I saw the birds on numerous occasions, they were constantly on the move, usually scuttling about on the ground in dense vegetation, occasionally perching briefly on logs or rocks, and these poor images were the best I could manage pictorially.
I saw both male and female scrub-birds but only the males appeared to be vocalising, giving the whole range of calls for which they are famed. I'm reluctant to be specific about where the birds were. Many years ago I shared information about scrub-bird sites I found around Gloucester Tops in NSW; since then, by all accounts, those birds have suffered badly as a consequence of too much call playback.
Antarctic Beech, Nothofagus moorei (above). was often present around gullies frequented by scrub-birds. Interestingly, Rufous Scrub-birds in the Gloucester Tops area, a different subspecies, are believed to live primarily in eucalypt forest, albeit close to stands of Nothofagus. In the Border Ranges, however, they are very much denizens of the rainforest.
Around the Sheepstation Creek campsite, both Regent and Satin Bowerbirds were common, along with Paradise Riflebird, while Bassian Thrush was found further up the mountain.
|Satin Bowerbird bower|
|Eastern Yellow Robin|
|Red-bellied Black Snake|
A fine vista from a view point in Border Ranges National Park.