No more than 4 and ½ hours was spent today in the Capertee Valley (about 2
and ½ hours north-west of Sydney), nonetheless, some very productive birding was
had by myself, David Koffel and Dean Portelli. Some of the highlights of the day
were excellent views of about 4 Painted Honeyeaters and 2-3
Black-eared Cuckoos. Both male and female Painted Honeyeaters were seen.
The female bird being slightly browner in colour on the back, less distinct
white-ear patch and lacking the narrow black streaks on the flanks found on the
male. A male was also seen performing a spectacular display flight, towering 45
degrees high in the air, with wings out-stretched and calling, then plunging
down. They were often harassed away, by the more common White-plumed Honeyeater.
Also sharing the feast of fruiting Mistletoe with the Painted Honeyeaters, were
numbers of Mistletoebirds with one female feeding downy fledged young. In the
same area, atleast 2 (possibly 3) Black-eared Cuckoos were seen calling quite
loudly in Eucalypts or moving quite low from shrub to shrub in the pursuit of
nesting Speckled Warblers which were also found in the area. A Black-chinned
Honeyeaters also made it presence due to the number of flowering Eucalypts
in bloom. A nice male Diamond Firetail made itself conspicuous as it
displaying with and without a grass stem on top of a dead tree and attracted a
few other Firetails.
In another part of the valley, at "Rockview" property, we found a few
Plum-headed Finches (both male and females were seen aswell as one plain
juvenile bird), 5 Southern Whitefaces, a male Hooded Robin,
Little Lorikeets and a Striped Honeyeater being harassed by
White-plumed Honeyeaters. On one of the dams, we saw Peaceful Doves,
White-plumed Honeyeaters, both Fairy and Tree Martins aswell as a Diamond
Firetail come to drink.
On our way out of the valley, we stopped briefly beside one of the creeks,
and saw an adult White-plumed Honeyeater feed 2 very young chicks in a nest
suspended on a branch of a Casuarina (Riveroak).