Day 1 Saturday 20 October 2020
White-plumed Honeyeater by Nevil Lazarus
We left on a very fine mild morning, clear as a bell, but rapidly warming to summer heat which is always enjoyable as a prelude during spring. As we drove towards the Blue Mountains a flock of Australian White Ibis gleamed in the sunlight as they flew above. At Glenbrook we scouted the park and found Eastern Rosella, Welcome Swallow and a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.
Waratahs and rhododendrons wowed us at Blackheath, particularly when we heard a Lyrebird and stopped for great crouched views of a male, tail up, displaying plus a female under the rhodos. Fabulous.
Evans Lookout produced great views of Brown Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill appeared later and an Australian Hobby, seen flying along the watercourse at the base of the canyon, kept us studying up on our raptors – as viewed from above.
Making straight for the Valley we stopped to view a huge mixed flock of woodswallows, 400+, most likely mixed species but only Black-faced and White-browed were ided. The Rufous Songlarks metallic call rang back and forth together with what would be our mainstay over the weekend, the Little Lorikeets (apart from White-plumed Honeyeaters) but we “nailed” them well and truly with great views whilst feeding in the flowering White Box. A Jacky Winter delighted Elaine and the Brown Thornbills kept me straining. There were plenty of birds in the valley, even on the edges. At Coco Creek there were Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters seeming to bloom at eye level in the trees beside the road. The light was just perfect, even if the finches were only Red-browed.
We lunched at Glen Alice entertained by Willie Wagtails feeding in the telephone box, Apostlebirds and a Black-fronted Dotterel danced across the gravel which surprised us, until later down the track when we found the attraction…
A small dam pulled us up short as a Little Pied Cormorant sat sunning its self. There were also some Grey-crowned Babblers that Bernice pursued, a Reed Warbler and Olive-backed Oriole were serenading in the background but the highlight was a White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike that we viewed for a long period to make sure who he was!
As we drove away, on the actual road, a Black-fronted Dotterel was nesting and the locals had put an orange cone and large rocks around the nest to protect them from the cars. She was sitting and he was close by guarding. Goodness what a site for such a fragile little bird. Very big Eastern Grey Kangaroos hopped from our engine noise and there were flowers above in the White Box and below Donkey Orchids and lots of wildflowers were profuse this year.
We reached Capertee NP in the heat of the afternoon, although we walked along beside the callitris and unique wildflowers, cicadas singing, Buff-rumped Thornbills were our only bird-star.
Back to the Glenowlan Bridge where it was almost disappointingly easy to watch the Regent Honeyeaters at play: one posed beautifully as we arrived, then three drank and bathed in a small billabong pool. Finally as we were about to leave one was sighted feeding on the flowering mistletoe in the River She-Oak (Casuarina Cunninghamiana!) for a good 10 minutes amongst the White-plumed Honeyeaters. Goodness, and some have worked so hard for this moment.
At the end of the day we drove to Rylestone where the Reed Warblers were chiming and the cool breeze rippled across the top of the Cudgegong River waiting for the platypus to arrive, and arrive it did ducking and diving at first, then as we drew closer it floated in full view across the top of the water. The light was magical as the sun cast golden orange light onto the towering escarpments, just an idyllic day that totally 80 species seen and heard. Nothing like the Capertee in spring.
Day 2 Sunday 21 October 2020
Apostlebird by Nevil Lazarus
We awoke to a beautiful mild morning in Kandos with the view to the ever-changing mountains as always taking your breath away. There were Yellow-rumped Thornbills feeding fledged chicks under the roses that drew Elaine out of the comfort of her room. A flock of Brown Thornbills, together with a Spinebill, Crimson Rosella, Black Cocktoos in the distance calling, Galahs, Magpies ran up and down the motel walk-way, after their very good friend the owner and the Silvereyes all showed nicely in the motel grounds.
When we got past the Hat Shop etc there was a dam with Black Swans, Pacific Black Duck, White-faced Heron, White-necked Heron, Dusky Moorhen and Starlings further on a another dam had Eurasian Coots. A call altered us to striking blue Sacred Kingfisher that flew, arrow-like past a blackened tree down in bushland forest and Bogee Creek had Buff-rumped Thornbills and Grey fantail, our first for the tour surprisingly.
Down Huntingdale Road under flowering White Box we found the usual Little Lorikeets, Rufous Songlarks, White-plumed Honeyeaters plus Grey Teal on the small dam. Back to Glen Alice where the Willie Wagtails were waiting to have tea with us and then over to Oscar’s Place as the wind increased bringing fabulous clouds and good views of a Sacred Kingfisher.
Crown Station Road did not fail to bring us the highlight of the weekend. First stop we searched in vain for the Painted Snipe but then the White Box in flower attracted the usual plus White-naped Honeyeaters, lots of easily seen Little Lorikeets and a Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo calling, which kept us more than busy but in amongst them were Painted Honeyeaters: what a pleasure. Lunch on a log with Scarlet Honeyeaters and we departed the Valley.
Traversing the Mountains the colourful Rhodo Gardens brought us a trip bird – New Holland Honeyeater. Large warmly coloured Common Bronzewing rose beside the road, finishing a wonderful tour with a species count of lucky 108. Well done Elaine and Bernice, and many thanks.
By Leader Janene Luff