July 2017 Field Visit – Cocoparra National Park

This month in big rocky lumps jutting out of very flat landscapes, I visited Cocoparra National Park near Griffith.

The Cocoparra Range with Griffith farmland in the foreground

Since I started this blog 2.5 years ago I have been wanting to do a field trip to Cocoparra, and given a nice sunny weekend in July I figured it was high time I finally did so.


Cocoparra National Park adjoins Cocoparra Nature Reserve and both largely consist of wooded rocky outcrops (‘upper Devonian siltstone, sandstone, pebbly sandstone and conglomerate’ according to the internet), and are home to a number of threatened species, and not-so-threatened species that are nevertheless otherwise rare in  the highly modified agricultural landscape of the Griffith LGA.

This means I saw some pretty cool things that I don’t see often, and a whole lot of very decorative rocks. It was much easier to photograph the rocks.

For instance, as soon as I pulled up and got out of my car I saw a handful of tree-creepers running up a tree nearby, but they buggered off before I could get my camera out. So, no tree-creeper pics for you, sorry.

I headed up the Falcon Falls trail for no better reason than because that was the first trail I saw leading from the first carpark I found. It is clearly a popular spot, because I passed quite a few other people on both my way in and my way out.

Alas, I didn’t see any falcons, but I did see a whole group of White-browed Babblers (Pomatostomus superciliosus <– no really, look at that name, they earned that name). They kept darting past me, and a few even landed briefly in front of me, but they were nearly as camera-shy as the tree-creepers, so uh, here, have a terrible picture of a bird that I swear is a White-browed Babbler.

In case you missed it – s/he’s by the tree.

And a picture I pinched from Birdlife Australia demonstrating how they earned the above-mentioned name.

Pomatostomus superciliosus (picture from Birdlife Australia)
One supercilious Pomatostomus superciliosus (picture from Birdlife Australia)


While I was looking at birds I noticed something in a tree that was moving in a non-birdlike manner, so out came the binoculars to try and get a closer look. I got a good enough view to determine that it was a very active mammal, with brown fur, round ears, and a long skinny tail, but not enough to tell if it was a native species or an introduced rat, so I basically just pointed my camera at the tree and hit the button every time something moved. I only got one picture of the critter, and it’s not great, but I think it looks like it might be a Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes), which I have found listed as a resident species in Cocoparra NP.

For comparison, here is a photo of a Yellow-footed Antechinus that I pinched from Wikimedia Commons (taken by a Patrick_K59).

Yellow-footed Antechinus (photo by Patrick_K59, Wikimedia Commons)
Yellow-footed Antechinus (photo by Patrick_K59, Wikimedia Commons)


I will now stop pinching other people’s photos, and move on to pictures of things I actually managed to get decent photos of myself. Which are mostly rocks.

Approaching the Falcon Falls
Approaching the Falcon Falls


What happens when fungal fruiting bodies get old? Most I’ve seen sort of collapse in on themselves, but these seem to be drying out. Unless I have misunderstood what I was looking at, which is always possible. I didn’t poke them to see if they were softer than they looked, because I am generally pro- not poking things that a) might get damaged or b) might result in me breathing in something I’ll regret.

At first I thought this was a clay structure built onto the side of this log by insects or birds, but it turned out to be part of the log itself.

There be wombats in these here hills.

Stripey, stripey rocks.


A couple of messy stick nests, I’m not sure who they belong to. I wonder if I can get a bird nests field guide.

Spring is just around the corner…

Oh look, rocks.

I dunno, something about this rock formation just looks like Darth Vader to me


Having reached the ‘falls’ I decided to climb up to the top and get some more photos.

I guess maybe more rain is needed before the falls become falls.

The view from the top.

Looking down the way I’d come.

And looking the other way.

There be feral goats in these hills as well.


Hard to ID, possibly Hoary Guinea-flower (Hibbertia obtusifolia)?


Wonga vine (Pandorea sp)

This little puddle was very popular with this group of White-plumed Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus penicillatus).

And this Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis). I saw several of these at the lower level as well.

More pretty landscape shots.

At about this time another couple of groups of people climbed up to the top of the rocks, and I judged it the best time for me to head back down – aka while there were witnesses nearby who could go for help if I fell and broke myself. Fortunately I got down without mishap, and headed on home.


2 thoughts on “July 2017 Field Visit – Cocoparra National Park

  1. A.M. Valenza July 30, 2017 / 11:14 am

    I freakin’ love the landscape shots in this! Reminds me of the mountains in New Mexico *__* Definitely using this landscape as inspiration for the Fairy Wren story. The rock formations are so pleasing and fascinating to look at!

    Liked by 1 person

    • riverinawildlife July 30, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      It’s been years since I last visited Cocoparra, but it’s so pretty that I really should go there more often. Plus I’ve never seen a Peregrine Falcon in person (or not that I’ve recognised), so I could set that as a personal goal/challenge, to see if I can see one there sometime. Also the wombats. I have a spectacular track record of never seeing wild wombats when they’re around, so hanging out someplace where I know they’re active would probably be a good plan to try.

      Liked by 1 person

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