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!
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.
Regent Honeyeater by Nevil Lazarus
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.
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.
Happy Colman Clients
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
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.
Newnes Camping Grounds Spectaluar Mesa
A flock of about ten Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos seen on the way
home rounded off a varied and extremely enjoyable weekend.