That’s exactly what I did on Wednesday. With no pressing deadlines and a beautiful clear day, I packed my things and set off.
Pulletop Nature Reserve is a 145 hectare reserve about 40 kilometres north of Griffith NSW. It is a remnant mallee bush block that in the 1980’s still had Mallee Fowl nesting. Time has passed, the land around the reesrve has been heavily cropped and the habitat reduced.
What is left is worth a visit. The long years of drought and a vermin eridaction plan have eliminated many of the usual pests and allowed the understorey of plants to regrow. There are kangaroos and echindas in the reserve, Gould’s goanna and other reptiles. And there are masses of birds, if you go at the right time. That, of course, is the key.
The reserve has no watercourse and is basically flat. If it rains, some water will be retained, but mostly it just drains straight through the red loamy soils. And immediately after rain, the roads into the reserve are impassable, even to four wheel drives.
But wait a few weeks for the effect of the rain to show and you will be rewarded with the wonders of the Australian bush regenerating. The grasses return, the forbs and herbs reshoot, the trees take on that wonderful, relaxed shiny green colour. The insects return, as do the birds who feed off them.
You wont find the rare to see and endangered species for which this region is known, but you will see a wide range of woodland birds.
It is worth taking a picnic and spending the time to immerse yourself in the mallee.
There are no facilites at the reserve.
The Narrandera Wetlands are a constructed project to allow the simulation of natural filters for town storm water before it reaches the Murrumbidgee River.
Situated on the western side of the Newell Highway between the river and the Main Canal, the Wetlands are a great place to stop and enjoy a break in your journey. The water birds certainly like it.
The Narrandera community have been responsible for planting the native vegetation, the walking paths and for the interpretive signs. There are more plans and more work to be done, but have a look at it now and see what can be achieved when a community cares.
We had a fabulous little walk at Ironbark Creek last Sunday. By ‘we’ I mean the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists, of course.
I have to admit that over the years I’ve not been a fan of Cocoparra National Park. I’ve always found it to be weed infested, neglected and generally abused by users. But the years of drought, while bad for everyone in the surrounding districts, has been good to ‘the hills’. Introduced weeds have struggled to survive, and the local endemic species have been able to regain a foothold. Tenuously, of course, but at least there are the signs of a fightback.
The creek at Ironbark Creek is dry. We’ve had little rain since January. But the creek bed makes a passable substitute for a walking trail, and the gully narrows in places with some interesting rock formations and colours. A walk all the way up the creek will take you up to the top of the ridge and over, if you wish, into Jack’s Creek. We didn’t go that far. Some of us were less nimble than we’d like, so we found our way back to the picnic area.
The area is significant for its huge old Dwyer’s Mallee, as well as Stringy Bark, Bimble Box and, of course, Ironbarks. These magnificent old trees provide protection for the two storeys of vegetation below. There were Mallee Tanglevine, grey Hill Teatree, Black and White Cypress, Urnheath and Geebung. The dragonflies were out in full force as well.
If you cross the gully to the west and then climb, there is also a clear trail on the edge of the rock face that will take you to good views of the Woolshed Flat valley and then drop you off close to the road for an easier walk back. Easier, but not quicker, because it is along this road that we saw many of our bird species for the day.
Our list of birds:
Red-rumped Parrot Blue Bonnet
White-browed Babblers building a nest
Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike
White winged Chough
A great little day out. I’ll have to go again one day, soon - perhaps after some rain?