The back dam

Subject: The back dam
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 15:32:55 +1000
At the back of my place in the Capertee Valley, at the foot of a rocky slope, is a small dam hidden amongst shrubby wattles and dry eucalypt forest. Earlier this year it had completely dried out and as I'd been away for a while I had not visited this particular dam for about two months. Late last Sunday afternoon after the tree planting (a very successful tree planting weekend in the valley I might add - 3500 new plants in the ground by Saturday evening and Regent Honeyeaters putting on a great display for volunteers on Sunday morning) I paid a visit to this dam and found it now contains a little muddy water again.

Well, a little water is all that's needed for a variety of small birds to be attracted for a drink and a bathe. This little dam has now become the main focus for bird activity on the block, while the bigger, front two dams are all but deserted. A stream of honeyeaters dive in and out of the water or hang upside-down on emergent sticks to drink. These are mostly Fuscous and Yellow-tufted but there are also visits from Brown-headed, Black-chinned and White-naped, often coming in quick succession. A flock of Double-barred Finches are regular at the water too, and so are the Diamond Firetails and Peaceful Doves.

I love the tentative way the Common Bronzewings approach the water. They are incredibly cautious but by sitting perfectly still you are almost guaranteed stunning views of this lovely bird with its iridescent wings. On Sunday afternoon while watching one at the water's edge, we were surprised when a BRUSH BRONZEWING appeared by the dam at the same time. A spectacular bird with chestnut shoulders and a complete rainbow in its wing. The Brush Bronzewing is generally rare in the Capertee Valley and it became species number 109 for the property, the first new addition to the list in four months.

Yesterday I was back there again for another late afternoon dam-watch. Again a Brush Bronzewing appeared - but this time an immature bird, so I know there are at least two individuals there. I found it interesting to see it side by side with the Common, in fact at one stage they were both in the same binocular view!

An Eastern Yellow Robin also splashed around in the water for a while, getting drenched and appearing to thoroughly enjoy its bath-time. As we drove out in fading light along the rocky fire trail, a pair of Echidnas scurried up the bank and hunkered down into the ground - another new mammal for the property.

The Capertee Valley lies on the western side of the Wollemi NP, north of Lithgow in the NSW central tablelands.



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains & Capertee Valley, NSW

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