Black F/P-h Finch at Rylstone/Capertee

Subject: Black F/P-h Finch at Rylstone/Capertee
From: Andy Burton's Bush Tours <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 16:33:52 +1000
Spent two days birding in this area over Easter. About 3 hours drive north-west of Sydney, approximate coords. 33° south 150°east. The Capertee Valley is well reported on this list but it never ceases to produce excellent bird sightings. The Rylstone area,to the north of Capertee is less well reported but also has species that are rarely seen in Sydney or other spots on the coast.

Rylstone Dam is always worth a visit. Its upper reaches are accessed by a narrow strip of open woodland, Downstream the area approaching the dam wall has been partially cleared but has plenty of remnant eucs. and acacias.
The woodland has areas of Scribbly Gum in flower which are attracting good numbers of Brown-headed Honeyeaters. On the ground nearby, three Painted Button-quail marched past, one obligingly stopping for a dustbath on the track.

On reaching the lake we were fortunate to see a White-backed Swallow as it flew low  over the water, quite close and below our viewpoint. Tree Martins and Dusky Woodswallows were present, the latter being common throughout the area. On the water was a Musk Duck and Australasian Grebe while somewhat surprisingly for this area there were no Great Crested or Hoary-headed Grebes. It is often a good spot to see the three grebe species together.
Nearby a Fan-tailed Cuckoo called, the only one for the two days, while a male Crested Shrike-tit fed noisily on a nearby euc.. Before moving to the other end of the reserve a beautiful male king-parrot put in an appearance.
Nearer the dam wall a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo screeched. A pair of Hooded Robins gave good views and more Dusky Woodswallows, a Diamond Firetail, Weebills, Yellow-rumped and Buff-rumped Thornbills and Varied Sitellas put in an appearance while a Whistling Kite sailed slowly overhead.

In the grazing country around Rylstone Black-shouldered Kites were common as were Nankeen Kestrels. Good numbers of Jacky Winters were seen throughout. Gang-gang Cockatoos put in an early morning appearance outside the hotel in Kandos.

Coricudgy SF and the western edge of Wollemi NP produced good views of Wonga Pigeon and four Rockwarblers while some of the more open areas held Scarlet, Flame and Hooded Robin, though none in large numbers.

On Monday the drive from Rylstone through the Capertee valley produced some highlights and new species. Pied Butcherbirds were present as were small numbers of Restless Flycatcher and beautifully coloured Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters.

Port Macquarie Rd produced Peaceful Dove, Speckled Warbler, Striped Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Scarlet Robin, White-browed Babbler, Double-barred Finch, Diamond Firetail and others, all at the one spot.

For me, two of the best species came right at the end of the day. About 20 Plum-headed Finches bathed and drank in a pool of water in Red Rock Creek. The late afternoon light was perfect and these birds showed their plum colouring to perfection as they perched on the barbed-wire fence just below our vantage point.

And 1.75 km to the west of the nearby entrance to Goollooinboin Station a pair of Black Falcons circled overhead. This was my first sighting of this species here and my closest confirmed sighting to Sydney. I have only seen large numbers of frustratingly dark Brown Falcons in the valley before. I do not recall a pair of Black Falcons being reported from here. Has anybody seen more than a single bird?

An excellent couple of days birding with a total of 105 species.

Hope this is of interest to some of you.

Regards, Andy
Andy Burton's Bush Tours

21 Karabil Cr
Baulkham Hills
NSW 2153

Phone: 61 2 9686 4610

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