Richmond Gap

Border Ranges Campout (May 2010)

Marie and I spent the Labor-day weekend at the BirdsQueensland Border Rivers campout in northern NSW. The Sheepstation Creek campsite is fairly close to the Richmond Gap crossing between the two states.

Richmond Gap
Richmond Gap

At Sheepstation Creek we were fortunate to claim one of the last remaining vacant camping-spots, and caught up with old friends from the BQ group. Interesting birds observed in and around the site included Glossy Black Cockatoo, Albert’s Lyrebird, Noisy Pitta, Sooty Owl and Logrunners calling from trees at dawn. Later in the afternoon Marie and I drove along the Tweed Range scenic loop and I noticed a male Paradise Riflebird cross the road near to the information sign about a kilometre up from the campsite ‘bifurcation’ (….sorry Bernie!) Marie was elated when the bird started to display to a female high up in a large tree. Others species present were Wompoo Fruit-dove, Satin and Regent Bowerbirds. Later in the evening we tried ‘spotlighting’ but although no birds were seen we had excellent views of a ‘glow-worm grotto’ anf found a small Mixophyes frog (possibly a Fleay’s?)

Mixophyes species
Mixophyes species

Morning Gum
Morning Gum

The following morning we headed off with the group to the Antarctic Beech Lookout where we commenced a bird-walk down Brindle Creek. Though the birdlife was rather sparse we managed to record Crimson Rosella, Green Catbird, Pale-yellow Robin, Golden Whistler and three scrubwrens amongst others, whilst the rainforest was some of the most pristine this part of the world has to offer.  On a couple of occasions I feel fairly sure that I heard Rufous Scrub-bird calling from near the Helmholtzia lillies and at the Brindle Creek Picnic Area saw several of the brightly-coloured Lamington Crayfish Euastacus sulcatus.

Lamington Crayfish (Euastacus sulcatus)
Lamington Crayfish (Euastacus sulcatus)

In the afternoon we continued back along the scenic drives and visited the amazing Pinnacle Lookout with views of Mt Warning and approaching rain!

The Pinnacle
The Pinnacle
Mt Warning
Mt Warning

All too soon the long weekend was drawing to an end and on Monday morning we were heading off back to Brisbane, though we had a nice walk along the Border Loop trail just before Richmond Gap. Here we had my first White-eared Monarch outside Queensland and a Zoothera thrush which I tentatively ID’d as a Russet-tailed and I think my rather poor blurry photo shows!

Russet-tailed Thrush
Russet-tailed Thrush?

Being very familiar with parts of the Lamington NP in Queensland I was surprised at the excellent size and condition of the Border Ranges NP and would recommend a visit, we will definitely be returning in the near-future.

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Tom Tarrant is a wildlife enthusiast with a passion for photography, video and (open-source) computing.

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