Some winter observations in Katoomba

Subject: Some winter observations in Katoomba
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 11:24:59 +1100
>From where I sit at my computer I can see across to Mount Solitary and
beyond, to the Broken Rock Range and Yerranderie Peak in the southern Blue
Mountains and even as far as Mount Jellore near Mittagong. This morning the
view is a constantly changing drama as I watch the falling rain and snow
moving around the mountains, alternately highlighting and enshrouding
various ridges and peaks. At the same time a Brown Thornbill is chortling
away in my garden shrubs, and the Pied Currawongs seem to delight in flying
around in the worst possible conditions.

During the fine weather on Friday afternoon I took a brief walk around my
local patch of bush, Catalina Park, 40 hectares of forest and sedge/shrub
swamp close to the heart of Katoomba. An ongoing bush regeneration project
in the park is battling the inevitable weeds such as privet, ivy and broom,
and it's great to see the healthy plantings of Leptospermum spp. thriving
on degraded slopes.

On Friday, three separate Lewin's Rails were calling from different parts
of the swamp but as usual, remained invisible. I've been hearing these
rails at this location since the 1980s, at all times of the year. The alarm
calls of the New Holland Honeyeaters heralded a Peregrine Falcon flying
overhead, carrying unidentifiable prey. A party of Southern Emu-wrens
appeared briefly. Until about ten years ago, Superb Fairy-wrens were common
in the park but I haven't seen them here in recent years. However, the
emu-wrens have remained constant, if hard to find, residents. The visual
highlight of the afternoon was a beautiful male Rose Robin which flitted
around only metres from me.

My neighbours tell me that there has been a Wonga Pigeon in their backyard
recently. This is a new species for our street and normally uncommon in the
typical sandstone country of the Blue Mountains plateau.

On Saturday morning fairly constant flocks of Yellow-faced and White-naped
Honeyeaters were moving through on their southward migration. Amongst them
was at least one Noisy Friarbird. And a Grey Fantail in the Carrington
Hotel's beer garden (I was just walking past - honest) was a sure sign that
spring is on its way. That is, until the snow and icy winds came again this


Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW

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