A day like today was too beautiful to spend indoors, so I took my lunch and
some work and sat in the sun amongst the banksias and allocasuarinas on a
clifftop on the western edge of Katoomba for a couple of hours. The place
was alive with bird activity but most noticeable was an intermittent but
considerable stream of Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeaters flying
south, the beginning of the return migration. Amongst them I heard the
distinctive notes of a Fuscous, not a common species in the mountains.
Silvereyes of the Tasmanian race lateralis, together with a few of the
mainland race familiaris, had sticky and matted feathers from feasting on
the plentiful Banksia ericifolia nectar. Brown Thornbills seem to be
suddenly singing their hearts out everywhere, and the songs of a lyrebird
and Crescent Honeyeaters drifted up from the valley below.
Strangely I seem to have had more good views of Pilotbirds within the last
couple of months than I normally get within a year, and today was no
exception. I stood quietly while a very handsome Pilotbird preened and sang
his sweet powerful song literally five feet away. That is, until he noticed
me there - then he came closer for a better look! You cannot beat being
alone in the bush for the best bird experiences. A few minutes later I
became aware that a second Pilotbird was nearby when I heard, in stereo,
the two birds singing in duet, one answering the other. I continued to
watch quietly as the pair started gathering bark and dry grasses, hopping
literally around my feet as they did so. I don't think they were actually
building yet, but certainly thinking about it. I'll keep an eye on them
over the next couple of weeks.
All this in a "lunch break". Who'd live in the city!
Blue Mountains, NSW
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