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Capertee’s Little Sister
– Wolgan Valley Trip Report
The Capertee Valley is well-known and popular as a birding area. Its “little sister” the Wolgan Valley is less visited by birders but in many ways just as interesting and scenic. We combined these two outstanding areas in one weekend.

Heading up through the Blue Mountains we stopped off for the obligatory morning tea break at Evans Lookout, where the hoped-for Rockwarbler appeared right on cue and proceeded to bathe in a puddle on the clifftop lookout. A great start to the weekend!

Regent Honeyeater by Nevil Lazarus
As we headed out towards Wolgan Gap a Kestrel was sighted and at Angus Place a group of Flame Robins, including three brilliant males and a similar number of females, gave us superb views as they perched on the fencelines and fed on the ground in a grassy paddock. At the same spot a pair of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes put on a wonderful display of hovering.

Once down in the Wolgan Valley, the good sightings kept on coming. At our next roadside stop were literally dozens of Diamond Firetails to take our breath away as well as Dusky Woodswallows, Red-rumped Parrots, Restless Flycatcher, Jacky Winter and a Little Eagle. A short distance further on, two Common Brozewings were seen at close quarters from the bus as well as Pipits, White-faced Herons, a Brown Goshawk and a flock of about 100 Red-browed Finches.

Newnes is a place of significant historical interest which, like Glen Davis, is now virtually a ghost town swallowed up by the passage of time and nature re-affirming itself. A large tranquil camping area lies within the towering walls of the narrowing valley and this was our lunch site. White-winged Choughs were our companions here and a pre-lunch amble turned up a mixed species flock including Rose Robin, Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, Eastern Yellow Robin, Golden Whistler and a Silvereye singing his heart out with a range of mimicked calls.

Happy Colman Clients
Although the Wolgan and Capertee Valleys are separated only by a narrow ridge, travelling from one to the other involves a rather longer drive around the rim. After a short stop at Capertee where we saw Yellow-rumped Thornbills feeding two brand-new fledgelings, we headed down into the Capertee Valley with its woodland habitats and generally more inland birds. Afternoon birding at Coco Creek produced Fuscous and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, Double-barred Finches, Little Eagle, a Black-shouldered Kite (which one of the group hopefully but unsuccessfully tried to turn into a Letter-wing), Little Lorikeets and beautiful Rainbow Bee-eaters freshly arrived from the north.

The next day dawned bright and lovely at Kandos where our pre-breakfast walk provided the chance to see Weebills, Rufous Whistlers, King-Parrots and Eastern Rosellas.

The rest of the day was spent exploring the magnificent Capertee Valley, with the many highlights included fabulous views of a party of boisterous Grey-crowned Babblers and of course the Regent Honeyeaters. This year has been the best for Regents in the valley since 2000 with good flowering of White Box and Mistletoe. Our sightings of this elusive bird included two bathing in a dam near Port Macquarie Road and several birds at Glenowlan Bridge, including one juvenile.

Newnes Camping Grounds Spectaluar Mesa
I was pleased to again invite the group onto my land where the more energetic folk walked up to the back dam and finally managed to hunt down the Painted Honeyeater. Others found the hollow where Brown Treecreepers were nesting, saw Black-chinned Honeyeaters drinking and saw Olive-backed Oriole, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike and Wedge-tailed Eagle. The rare mint-bush, Prostanthera cryptandroides, provided botanical interest as did the ever brilliant backdrop of flowering wattles.

A flock of about ten Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos seen on the way home rounded off a varied and extremely enjoyable weekend.

Follow That Bird   Phone: 61 2 9973 1865
Fax: 61 2 9973 1875
3/59 Central Road
Avalon NSW 2107
Sydney Australia
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Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer