Glenbrook trip report

Subject: Glenbrook trip report
From: "Peregrine" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 03:32:24 -0400 (EDT)
Trip report:  Glenbrook, Blue Mountains National Park

        Finally, an end to my drought of birding caused by the priority 
of uni work! I took the train from Sydney to Glenbrook in the expectaion 
of a good day's walk in the mountains.  Hopefully I would see some birds 
along the way too.  The weather was beautiful, sunny, not too hot, 
resembling what I would call an Indian Summer weekend.  I was not to be 
disappointed, as the first bird that I saw was a Black-shouldered Kite 
from the train. It was perched on the wire right next to the tracks 
facing us, and as we pulled slowly by I got the best look at this bird 
that I have ever had. I could see its bright yellow feet, its  black 
shoulders, and I was trying to figure out the color of its eyes as the 
train finally pulled me out of sight.  The birding on the walk from the 
Glenbrook train station into the national park was also good,  with a 
Grey Butcherbird perched obligingly near the road, and someones front 
yard trees were filled with thornbills, a few Eastern Spinebills, some 
Grey Fantails noisily hawking insects, and at least one Rose Robin, the 
sighting of which already made my day into a good one.  
        Flying above the national park office was a flock of Dusky 
Woodswallows, and a White-eared Honeyeater called noisily from the 
trees.  It has such an obvious call, that I should remember it in the 
future.   I got a good look at some White-naped Honeyeaters as well, both 
male and female so I could make a comparison between the two.   
 I took the track that leads down to Jellybean Pool, which is a rather 
shocking blue color  because of the clay particles suspended in it.   The 
track down to the pool has recently been burnt, so there wasn't too much 
activity there except for a Golden Whistler which was spectacular in the 
sun, and male Spinebill feeding on Mountain Devil flowers.  The pool, 
though I had it to myself, must be well used for swimming by people since 
there was unfortunately a lot of litter lying around.  I don't really 
understand inconsiderate people who can simply leave trash lying about in 
an area like this.   A single little Pied Cormerant eyed me from a rock 
on the opposite side of the pool.
                Rock hopping up the stream and accross the causeway, I 
turned right onto the Red Hands trail. The trail follows a creek bed, and 
considering it was about noon by this time, there was still lots of bird 
activity.  Flights of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters kept flying over all day 
long.  I assume this is their migration time, as I must have seen 
hundreds throughout the day.  At the beginning of the trail, the 
vegetation is  open forest, with Casurinas in the along the creek bed and 
Banksias higher up, and those eucalypt trees with the smooth orange bark 
and red sap.  There were quite a lot of the usual bushbirds along this 
half of the track: Grey Fantails, Brown Thornbills, Eastern Yellow 
Robins, White-browed Scrubwrens and Red-browed finches.  I'm getting a 
bit better at songs, but there was one I came to that was simply 
bizarre.  All these strange squeaking and nasal noises coming from inside 
a bush.  People walking from the other direction flushed a flock of large 
birds which of course flew into the bushes on the other side where 
naturally I couldn't see anything.  Finally, after a good bit of 
searching, I tracked down the source of the strange noises which was a 
large brownish bird with 'scaly' marks on its breast, a Satin Bowerbird.  
There were at least 6 birds in the flock, but no nice purple males in 
sight though.
        The track moves out of the dry forest into a gully with closed 
forest and lilly pilly trees. Harder to see the ubiquitous yellow-faced 
honeyeaters flying and landing, so I was just walking until I heard a 
tiny bit of noise down by the creek below me, like a leaf falling but a 
bit different.  A Lyrebird!  It was right out in plain view, and as the 
vegetation wasn't too thick, I got a good chance to examine it before it  
disappeared into the ferns.  It was a female, with a plain chicken type 
tail.  I followed her small rustling noises for some distance before some 
more people came down the track and when they had passed there was no 
more evidence that the bird was  still around.  Interestingly, the she 
was originally being followed by a scrubwren which was no doubt 
scavenging the insects stirred up by the scratching.  This was the first 
time I've ever seen this behaviour (of course, this is only the second 
time I'd actually seen a lyrebird anyway).  
        Happy with this find, I continued up the hill to the Red Hands 
cave, which is an interesting Aboriginal site.  Just past the cave, as 
the forest becomes more dry and open again, I spotted a little 
wren-shaped bird (vertical tail) next to a bench.  At first I thought it 
was a fairy wren, but on closer examination, it wasn't shaped quite 
right, and it had a definite rust colored rump.  A brief view of its head 
proved that it definitely wasnt shaped like a fairy-wren at all; it had 
more of the 'evil' look that a white-browed scrubwren has because of the 
eyebrow,  kind of like a little masked bandit.  The bird was confusing 
since there was a flock of fairy wrens in the same area, and when they 
appeared I was half convinced that somehow my mind had been fooling me 
and that the mystery bird was just a fairy-wren.  Now I regret not 
bringing my book along with me!  But when I got back to the park center I 
looked the bird up and discovered that it was a Chestnut-rumped 
Heathwren.  A life bird for me.  And apparently, according to the book, 
not a particularly common bird either.  The fairy-wrens were variegated, 
by the way, a fact I was only really able to decide on because I spotted 
one non-breeding male out of a flock of females with a little black in 
front of his eye. 
 I started the long walk back to the park office, genuinely glad I'd 
decided to do this track.  I didn't see anything particularly different 
than before, I even saw the same flock of bowerbirds.  However, as I was 
nearing the junction of the Red Hands track and the causeway I came 
around a corner and ran into a Rock Warbler.  Standing on one of those 
sandstone outcrops they like, I only got a brief glimpse before it ran 
off  into the brush.  Another really good bird that I've only seen once 
before.  Finally, as I hiked back up the hill to the train station, not a 
bird but a copper-tailed skink finished off my day.

Species list

Little Pied Cormerant (1)
Black-shouldered Kite  (1)
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (heard)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (heard)
Rainbow Lorikeet  
Crimson Rosella
Supurb Lyrebird (1, female)
White-throated Treecreeper  (1)
Variegated Fairy-wren 
Spotted Pardalote 
Rock Warbler (1)
White-browed Scrubwren 
*Chestnut-rumped Heathwren (1)
Brown Thornbill 
Yellow Thornbill 
Striated Thornbill 
Noisy Miner 
Yellow-faced Honeyeater 
White-eared Honeyeater  
White-naped Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater
Eastern Spinebill
Rose Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Grey Shrike-thrush
Golden Whistler
Grey Fantail
Satin Bowerbird
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Dusky Woodswallow
Grey Butcherbird
Australian Magpie
Pied Currawong
Welcome Swallow
Red-browed Firetail
usual Feral species

Copper-tailed Skink

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