A day without binos

Subject: A day without binos
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 14:39:09 +1100
Hi all,

Yesterday I made a brief visit to my block in the Capertee Valley, mostly
to take various items to the cabin before heading up to Rylstone and
delivering a load of empty milk cartons for the Capertee Valley
tree-planting project. I was so busy thinking about loading the garden
bench, screen door, framed prints to hang on the wall and several hundred
milk cartons, and trying to fit them all in the vehicle, that I forgot to
take my binoculars! So that's how I found myself in the Capertee Valley
without binoculars, and as luck would have it, birds everywhere!

Glen Davis had received 20mm of much-needed rain the previous night and
there were still puddles lying around. There was more water in puddles on
the bridges than underneath them. When I arrived at my place the trees
around the cabin were full of Little Lorikeets. I'm not sure what they were
feeding on but I guess it was the mistletoe which is just starting to
flower. With many more buds yet to open, this is something I'll be keeping
an eye on over the next few weeks. Black-chinned and Striped Honeyeaters
were calling nearby, and White-browed Woodswallows, most of which had
departed from the site over the past month, were suddenly back in force.

I went for a quick walk behind the dam and immediately found a couple of
immature Turquoise Parrots. The Melaleuca lanceolata was in full bloom, a
beautiful sight with masses of white on these large shrubs and the
sandstone cliffs towering behind. I wished I had a camera with me as well
as my binos. I saw a Fuscous Honeyeater feeding at the melaleuca flowers. A
Lesser Wanderer butterfly (Danaus chrysippus), its wings a beautiful burnt
orange grading to yellow, was doing the same.

As I sat under a White Box eating lunch I could hear the resident Painted
Button-quail calling from one direction and a Common Bronzewing from the
other, a great opportunity to compare the two sounds as they called
together. The button-quail "ooms" at a much faster rate and with a
different tone. It's lower-pitched than the bronzewing but with a more
complex note (at least to my ear). Diamond Firetails and Peaceful Doves
were constantly coming down to the dam for a drink.

After a spot of shopping at Rylstone I headed up to see the wonderful
people who grow the trees for the Regent Honeyeater project. Their place
was alive with birds. Over a cup of tea we watched a pair of Cicadabirds,
the male making an interesting clicking sound in addition to his usual
cicada call - I guess this is the call that Pizzey describes as a soft,
explosive 'twik!' or 'twok!'. I hadn't heard them do this before. There was
also much chasing involving a Scared Kingfisher and Willie Wagtail, while
Yellow Thornbills and a pair of Leaden Flycatchers were very vocal in the
treetops. A Superb Lyrebird called from across the gully.

All in all, a very good day's birding considering it wasn't a birding day.
Fingers crossed for more rain in the valley!



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW

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