The area around Orange ranges in elevation from 380m at the Macquarie River, Long Point, to 1397m on the summit of Mt Canobolas.
The habitat includes box woodland, open farm country, dams and reservoirs, built-up villages and towns, pine plantations, dry and wet eucalypt forests and sub-alpine vegetation communities.
The area can be hot in summer ranging up to 40 degrees celsius but can be very cold in winter with some daily temperatures only reaching one or two degrees.
Snow can also occur. Over 200 birds have been recorded in this area. This brochure describes bird routes, which are all located within 40kms around Orange.
1 - Orange Botanic Gardens:
Located in the northern area of Orange off Hill Street. A total of 128 birds have been seen here since a monthly list was first compiled in 1989. Many birds are breeding residents. At times drought affected vagrants have been recorded including a Black Honeyeater in October 2002.
2 - Southern outskirts of Orange:
Just south of Orange are two reservoirs.
- Gosling Creek Reservoir. The turn-off is left off Forest Road. Great Crested Grebe, various ducks, Coot, Purple Swamphen and other water birds are regular. Dollarbird, White-winged Triller and Dusky Woodswallow have been recorded here in summer.
- Next to Gosling Creek Reservoir is Bloomfield Park. A bike/walking path runs from the oval to Huntley Road at the far end of the park.
- Spring Creek Reservoir is located on the left off the southern end of Lone Pine Avenue. Arguably the best water birding site in Orange, Council permission is needed to access this reservoir (contact the Orange Visitor Information Centre). Rare ducks have been seen here as well as other water birds .
3 - South of Orange:
Further along Forest Road are several roadside dams that can be interesting for water birds.
This road eventually heads out near Orange Airport and on to Spring Hill. Various birds of open areas should be seen
in the surrounding fields.
4 - West of Orange:
- Borenore Caves Reserve is located 17kms west of Orange along the Escort Way. Remnant white box woodland occurs here with casuarinas along Boree Creek. Sacred Kingfisher, Thornbills, various Honeyeaters and Crested Shrike-tit have been recorded.
- Lake Canobolas and Mount Canobolas turn-off is along the Cargo Road. From the turn-off drive for 1.5kms and turn left into the Lake Canobolas Reserve. Coot and Musk Duck are regulars on the lake. The walking track around the lake is good for a variety of bush birds such as Superb Fairywren, Thornbills and Honeyeaters. Dollarbird and Sacred Kingfisher have been seen in warmer months. The shallower reed areas hold Nankeen-night Heron, Latham’s Snipe and Clamorous Reedwarbler in summer. Crakes and bitterns may also be possible.
- Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area is located 5kms further on from Lake Canobolas. The turn-off is on the right. If snow has fallen then the park should not be accessed. Several walking tracks are available. Flame Robin, Red Browed Treecreeper and Grey Currawong have been seen in several locations including the Federal Falls Track. Australian King-Parrot, Thornbills and some Honeyeaters also frequent the park.
5 - Ophir Road:
Ophir Road is a loop road that runs north-east of Orange. It can be accessed from the east end of Dalton Street. There are several good birding sites here. These sites are explained below as you follow the loop in a clock-wise direction.
- Mullion Range State Conservation Area includes several walking tracks and sites through dry eucalypt forest including the Central Mines Trail, El Dorado and Fourth Crossing. These are all on the left of the road approximately 14 to 18.5kms from Orange.
- Ophir Reserve has two walking tracks, which start at the causeway. Both tracks provide interesting birding opportunities. Another good site is to take the turn-off to the Gunadoo Mine. Stop at the intersection just past the old cemetery and explore the white box woodland around this area and on the hill down to Ophir Creek.
- Girralang Nature Reserve is located on the eastern boundary of Ophir Reserve along the Ophir Creek. It is only 4WD accessible but you can walk (or wade) across the creek and follow the tracks. It includes some box and ironbark trees. Many woodland birds can be seen here.
- Continuing south from Ophir Reserve there are many opportunities for roadside birding. Rainbow Bee -eater, Diamond Firetail, Rufous and Brown Songlark have been seen along here. Roads off to the left to Gowan, Lewis Ponds and Byng can provide interesting birding opportunities.
- Continuing for 6.5kms past the Lewis Ponds turn-off you will come to South Mullion Reserve. There is a parking area on the left. Painted Button Quail, Scarlet Robin, Spotted Quailthrush and Varied Sittella have all been seen in the reserve.
- A further 3.2kms on, turn right into The Billabong, and after a few hundred metres right into Ironbark
6 - Long Point:
From Orange drive along the Burrendong Way until you get to Mullion Creek. Turn right off the Burrendong Way, cross over the railway line and follow the road northwards.
- Mullion Range State Forest runs along both sides of this road. There are tracks off to the left into the pine forest plantation and to the right into eucalypt forest. Thornbills, Honeyeaters, White-winged Chough, Crested Shrike-tit, Spotted Quailthrush, Leaden Flycatcher and Olive Backed Oriole have all been seen in this forest.
- Past the state forest, Songlarks and Woodswallows can be seen along the farm country in spring and summer. Rainbow Bee Eater, Southern Whiteface and White-winged Triller have also been seen here. Follow the road for about 13kms until you get to a parking circle and a sign that states only 4WD vehicles can continue. The walk down to the river is very steep but many woodland birds have been seen including Peaceful Dove, Little Lorikeet, Turquoise Parrot, cuckoos, Brown Treecreeper, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Woodswallows and Diamond Firetail. Regent Honeyeater were recorded here in August 2005. Note that the farm area alongside the road is private property so you can only walk on the road itself.
7 - Mitchell Highway:
- 18kms east of Orange is Pretty Plains Road, a right hand turn off the Mitchell Highway. On the right hand side of Pretty Plains Road are two dams which can be good for ducks and some waders.
- 26kms from Orange on the left is Macquarie Woods. There are several dams at the entrance to Macquarie Woods which are worth looking at. Macquarie Woods itself includes both indigenous vegetation and pine plantations. There are several driving roads and walking tracks through the area.