With the birdlist at 99 I headed down to the Capertee Valley property again
on Sunday in the hope of finding that hundredth species and to check on the
new garden. As I mentioned a week ago I had just planted 25 shrubs, a
mixture of locally provenanced indiginous species and other Australian
plants in the beginnings of a garden near the cabin, and a couple of shrubs
near the dam.
When I arrived on Sunday morning the first thing I did was swear and
curse.... the %#!*@& kangaroos had pulled off the tree guards and eaten
some of the plants. So, Sunday was spent securing makeshift wire guards
around as many of the plants as possible, especially those remaining near
the birdbath which were the worst affected. It seems the kangaroos come in
at night to the birdbath for a drink, then turn around and have a munch
while they're there.
The second thing I did was look for the Regent Honeyeaters which had been
feeding in the flowering mistletoe a week earlier. Despite extensive
searching, there was no sign of them. This was not surprising as the
mistletoe is certainly past its peak now with just a few flowers remaining.
However it's that time of year when something different seems to be moving
through every time I visit. On Monday morning the 100th species turned up -
it wasn't anything terribly exciting like Swift Parrot or Barking Owl - it
was a little party of 3-4 Golden Whistlers! A very common species where I
live in Katoomba but in the drier Capertee Valley habitats they are mainly
winter visitors. Within a few moments a flock of Red-browed Finches flew
through becoming #101 and until now conspicuously absent. Another
conspicuously absent species became #102 a bit later with Crimson Rosellas
up the scree slope.
The best sighting was a family group of 3 Spotted Quail-thrush, wandering
around near the cabin. Until now I had only seen them up on the slopes
behind. Also near the cabin the resident Owlet-nightjar was particularly
vocal through the day and I found him (or her) sitting in the sun in a
hollow tree spout, looking rather sleepy. I flushed 3 Painted Button-quail
from beside the dam, and saw two Turquoise Parrots along the track.
I spent most of yesterday exploring the far end of the property up to the
cliffs, incredibly steep rocky country. So steep that in places the only
way down was to sit down and slide, grabbing onto plants to stop. There are
numerous caves and overhangs under the labyrinth of cliffs and boulders and
from one cave I accidentally flushed a Boobook, causing it to be mobbed by
Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters. I walked through forests of the rare Acacia
matthewii with its amazing peeling, curling bark, and through mint-bushes,
including the endangered Prostanthera crypandroides, which filled the air
with its heady aroma as I brushed past. The view from the cliffs is
fantastic. I could see the Capertee River snaking its way through the
valley and get an overview of the vast patchwork of habitats. Below me a
recent tree-planting site where I could see an entire paddock dotted with
thousands of white tree guards and little plants poking their heads out the
top. (For anyone interested in getting involved, the next tree-planting
weekend in the valley is coming up on 17-18 April.)
I promised several people that I would post the entire list when it reached
a hundred, so I've put that in a separate email after this one. Anyone who
would like the mammal, reptile, butterfly or plant lists as they now stand
please let me know.
The Capertee Valley is north of Lithgow in the NSW central tablelands.
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