The back dam
Carol Probets <>
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
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.
Blue Mountains & Capertee Valley, NSW
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- The back dam,
Carol Probets <=
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