The cooler weather and slighty moister conditions are finally making
bushwalking an attractive option again here in the Blue Mountains (NSW)
after the long dry spell of last year. So with a renewed enthusiasm,
yesterday afternoon I decided to go for a walk down Kedumba Pass - one of
my favourite areas with its magnificent tall Mountain Blue Gums (E.
deanei), Turpentines (Syncarpia glomulifera), Grey Gums (E. punctata) and
spectacular views of the Kedumba Valley. The walk itself involves 6km each
way of very steep fire trail with a descent (and subsequent climb) of over
600 vertical metres - which obviously keeps the crowds away helps to make
it all the more special when I do get there.
There were plenty of birds around, though nothing particularly unexpected.
Highlights along the way included a Pilotbird seen hopping through the
ferns and over logs and at one stage being harassed by a Bell Miner, a
Wonga Pigeon flying up with a clatter of wings, and those characteristic
sounds of autumn - the frequent contact calls of Spotted and Striated
Pardalotes and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters getting ever more restless.
Allocasuarina chewings on the ground indicated recent Glossy Black-Cockatoo
activity (this is where I saw my very first Glossies more than 15 years
ago). I always find it interesting to watch the gradual changes in Bell
Miner colonies. Over the last few years a large colony here has moved
downslope, and a second colony has become established much higher up the
The track leads to the old Kedumba Farm, which is the cleared area that can
be seen way down in the valley from the lookouts at Wentworth Falls. The
farm has been reclaimed by National Parks, the cattle have gone and now
there is a camping area by the Kedumba River - a beautiful idyllic spot,
the river lined with casuarinas and with the escarpments of Kings Tableland
and Mount Solitary towering all around.
Along the river yesterday were flocks of Double-barred Finches, a Rufous
Fantail, Jacky Winters and many more common species. A particularly small
and pale-breasted Australian Hobby kept watch from the top of a dead tree,
and an Azure Kingfisher darted across the water. Mobs of Red-necked
Wallabies were grazing on the lush grassy flats, and a wombat ambled along
before disappearing into its burrow.
It was certainly worth the trek to spend a couple of hours relaxing in this
patch of paradise. The sun filtering through the casuarinas and the gurgle
of the water over the river stones made it hard to leave but the two hour
climb ahead of me could not be ignored. I'll definitely be returning again
whenever the need to get out into some beautiful bush - and survey a part
of the Blue Mountains which is seldom visited by birders - strikes again.
Blue Mountains NSW
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