Capertee Valley birding - 6th September 2003)

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Subject: Capertee Valley birding - 6th September 2003)
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2003 12:57:25 +1000

On Saturday 6th September 2003, myself and David Mitford enjoyed a wonderful spring day in the Capertee Valley (approx. 200 km north-west of Sydney CBD). Most of the regular Capertee birds were seen and with much breeding activity in evidence as well as some fresh spring arrivals. We heard lots of Eastern Banjo Frogs (Limnodynastes dumerilii) giving out there ?bonk bonk calls, from many of the creeks and dams within the valley.


Our first stop approximately half way between the town of Capertee and the Crown Station Rd junction which proved a very good spot. Here we saw at least a dozen Plum-headed Finches (the first of several sighting of this beautiful finch which appears to be fairly common at the moment in the valley. We had very good views through David?s scope and our binoculars), a family of Southern Whiteface including 3 juv. birds, lots of Double-barred Finches (including some juv. brownish faced birds) and Red-browed Firetails, Jacky Winters, a nice pair of Turquoise Parrots, 2-3 Black-chinned Honeyeaters and other honeyeaters, a Little Eagle, a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles (we saw a number of both eagles in the valley on that day), a Collared Sparrowhawk, a few Pallid  and a Fantail Cuckoo, both Golden and Horsfield?s Bronze cuckoos heard and a Brown Falcon seen soaring.


At our next stop a few km further down the road we saw a group of (first of many) White-browed Babblers with one nest building, lots of Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters, another pair of Turquoise Parrots, Little Lorikeets and Plum-headed Finches flying overhead and heard a Common Bronzewing and a Red-capped Robin (the later a species which I don?t see/hear that often in the valley unlike at Bulga on the other side of the Great Dividing Range). We also heard a strange call at this spot which I thought came from a White-faced Heron, which we soon saw flying from near a dam.


Our next stop was near the T junction of the Glen Davis and Glen Alice Roads and also beside the Capertee River road crossing. We saw at least 2 Little Lorikeets land in the casuarinas and one of the lorikeets was seen feasting in the mistletoe flowers growing from one of the casuarinas and about a dozen of these lorikeets fly overhead. We also saw several Red-rumped Parrots, small groups of Zebra Finches, several Fairy Martins, and a Singing Bushlark singing away in the paddock and one vocal Hooded Robin calling from the other side of the river giving its ?chweep chweep cweep? (a bit hard to describe in words but a sort of fading away call). Still at this stage we still had not heard/seen a single Rufous Songlark which should be quite numerous in the valley at this time of year.


We soon met Timothy and Linda Hyde at about noon and they showed us around there place in the valley were we saw a pair of Little Eagles (which consisted of one dark and light phase birds) nesting, several Diamond Firetails also nesting, more Plum-headed Finches, Crested Shrike-tits, Striped Honeyeater, Brown Tree-creepers, Pallid Cuckoos, Speckled Warblers, Striated and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, lots of Dusky Woodswallows, White-browed Babblers, lots of Noisy Friarbirds traveling in groups of up to 20 or so, Golden and Rufous Whistlers, at least on pair of White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes (one being a light phase the other a dark-phase bird) and Olive-backed Oriole. I also heard a Rainbow Bee-eater in the distance. We also had seen a nice sized Common Wombat well outside his burrow on the side of a dry creek.


Before heading back towards Capertee, we decided to have a very late lunch at another spot beside the Capertee River. Our brief lunch was soon interrupted when I heard a Barking Owl call very close by. We soon had very good views of an adult Barking Owl calling ?woof woof? from one of the Casuarinas. Two bold male Hooded Robins were mobbing this Owl amongst other birds. We also saw another pair of Turquoise Parrots flying past as well as Jacky Winters.


We headed back up the road and stopped briefly for half an hour again at the Glen Davis-Glen Alice T junction near the river where we saw the late afternoon sun shine over the walls of the Capertee sandstone cliffs and a Brown Falcon standing for some time in the middle of a paddock (probably recovering from a good meal).  Further on and on the climb up towards Capertee was our final stop for the day, where we saw several Plum-headed Finches come to roost in the reeds of a small dam and where a Reed Warbler was seen, several Brown Tree-creepers on or on the side of the road, White-plumed Honeyeaters doing display flights and we also heard and a Painted Button-quail calling from the forest undergrowth on the other side of the road. We also heard our only second Rufous Songlark still without a single sighting of this species for the day (this will certainly go down as the day without Rufous Songlark sightings in the Capertee Valley for us in Spring!!!!)


Nether the less, another good day out and about in the Capertee Valley.


Edwin Vella

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