bathurst-capertee valley-pipeline trail

Subject: bathurst-capertee valley-pipeline trail
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2004 03:19:05 EST
feathered friends
my eagle-eyed wife and i finally made it to the magical capertee valley for the first time last weekend and were not disappointed.
however, we almost didn't make it at all after missing the turnoff and ending up in bathurst!
we decided to chance the back road through limekilns to capertee village, which proved to be quite an adventure. we made it to within earshot of the mudgee highway only to find ourselves thwarted by the flooded turon river - twice - after three inches of rain on friday. this meant a very long detour via gorgeous sofala (well worth another look) and ilford to the north of capertee village.
it was fairly quiet bird-wise due to the heat - except for the raptors, with a brown falcon, hobby and a spectacular close-up view of a wedge-tailed eagle flying across the road in front of us with small black birds (ie crows) in hot pursuit.
i mention this area simply for the beautiful scenery esp towards the capertee end of the road. it may be a worthy detour for birders at the right time of day (and river height), particularly the unusual stunted white gum forest high on the hill on the western side of the turon river.  
after seven hours driving, we finally arrived at capertee with just enough light for a quick drive into the valley. we were rewarded with a long look at a painted button quail (tick) strolling merrily on the road near airly creek.
sunday 7.11: we were up with birds and made a beeline for glen davis with a possible swamp harrier on the way but it dived out of sight before i could get a good look.
the glen davis camp ground was teeming with honeyeaters (white-plumed, yellow-faced, yellow-tufted), very friendly and raucous jacky winters, white-browed babblers (tick) and white-bellied cuckoo-shrikes (tick). 
we trekked about halfway up the pipeline track towards newnes. on the way up (and up), we had great views of little lorikeets, sitting still for once, around a possible nest in a tree hollow. a family of dusky woodswallows with a fledgling was an unexpected surprise.
the ferny gorge was the highlight with the creek running (just) and wildflowers in bloom - well worth the hour-plus climb. it is guarded by bell miners which i'd heard many times but never got a proper look at. pilot birds (tick) were also in fine voice here and not shy.
others species seen in and around glen davis included: common bronzewings, red-rumped and king parrots, eastern and crimson rosellas, double-barred finches, brown and yellow-rumped thornbills, brown treecreepers, pipit, white-winged choughs, peaceful dove, eastern whipbirds, grey shrike thrush, superb blue wrens, yellow robins and golden whistlers. 
alas no "turks" or regent HEs - if they're still around(?) - but we'll be back.
heading home, the last thing we expected to see on the way back was an ostrich(!) racing our car, but it was no match, even for our tired old 65 merc.
happy birding
the drongos

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