The drive to Narrabri on Wednesday morning was easy and we found a pleasantly quiet campsite backing onto the (now dry) Namoi River. After lunch we visited Sawn Rocks in the northern section of Kaputar National Park, a short drive away. It was a mild afternoon and the path to the best viewing spot was an easy stroll, perfect except for masses of little bush flies. I’ve never known them so thick, without regular swatting they would investigate any available orifice!

40 metre high organ pipes!

The amazing geological formation known as Sawn rocks are the sheared off remains of a basalt lava flow from the now extinct Nandewar volcano. It was worth the inconvenience of a few flies to view this extraordinary spectacle. We also succeeded in gaining some lovely views of Yellow-tufted Honeyeater as well as Purple-backed Fairy-wrens.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater showing his tufts very nicely.

Yesterday we drove into the Pilliga Forest to be greeted by numerous Rufous Whistlers calling and flitting around the trees. After our initial excitement at lots of bird calls we were a little disappointed to find only a Grey Fantail and a Thornbill or two in addition to the many Rufous Whistlers. So we drove on …….. and on into Timmallallie National Park and finally, after covering more distance than we had originally intended we found a dam with water. Salt Caves’ dam was a very rewarding birding venue with many birds visiting the water for a drink – arm-chair bird watching is such a treat! As the morning warmed up so did the flies but we were enjoying ourselves too much to let them spoil our fun.

White-eared Honeyeater clearly showing why it is named thus.
These gorgeous Mallee Ringnecks flew into a tree near the dam and watched us for a while before deciding that they had to risk exposure because they really needed a drink.
Common Bronzewing – male. Such beautiful colours in his wing and not at all ‘common’ to us.
White-plumed Honeyeater

A walk down the track to the official picnic area at Salt Caves as well as a climb up the nearby Pilliga Forest Lookout tower gave me some exercise prior to lunch. Unfortunately a huge area of Pilliga Forest was burnt in 2018 so it looks a bit sad.

Where’s Allen? Photo taken from top of tower which shows burnt forest starting to recover. It also shows Allen looking for Babblers and hoping they were White-browed. They were Grey-crowned

On our return to the dam we found Striped Honeyeaters in the same area we had observed them at the beginning of the track. They were very vocal and some further investigation showed us two dear little fledglings still being fed by parents. The parents also appeared to be encouraging the youngsters to fly by flapping madly next to them.

Fledgling and parent Striped Honeyeater
Striped Honeyeater fledglings

After a quick lunch consumed in the car in order to avoid actually swallowing flies we headed back to Narrabri. The forecast storm was started to build up with a few sprinklings of rain on the windscreen and some distant lightning.

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