Some recent highlights from the Blue Mtns & Capertee Valley

Subject: Some recent highlights from the Blue Mtns & Capertee Valley
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 12:23:03 +1100
Hi all,

I've been out in the field so much these past few weeks that I haven't had time to post much on Birding-Aus. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to list a few miscellaneous sightings from recent weeks in the Blue Mountains and Capertee Valley, NSW.

The Glossy Black-Cockatoos have been regularly feeding in Allocasuarina littoralis along the Katoomba-Leura clifflines. Here at Katoomba last week we also had wonderful views of a male Satin Flycatcher in a small patch of bush beside Cliff Drive. He truly lived up to his name with his feathers reflecting an unbelievable blue sheen in the sunlight. There was a Bar-shouldered Dove calling near my home on the 7th, and another reported from North Katoomba recently.

On 6th November while driving up the Great Western Highway, a Pacific Baza provided a moment of excitement when it flew in front of my car at Faulconbridge and disappeared over the treetops. There seem to be a lot of Sacred Kingfishers around this year with plenty of sightings from both lower and upper mountains.

A female Blue-billed Duck at the Lithgow Sewage Works on the 5th must have been there since the previous weekend when Fiona Lumsden, John and Andrew French saw a pair there during the Twitchathon. Also on the 5th I saw Musk Ducks with young at the nearby Lake Wallace (Wallerawang).

The Capertee Valley is now looking very green and last week, for the first time in ages, there was actually water in the river. White-browed Woodswallows are abundant at the moment and are currently nesting in several locations, but I've only seen less than half a dozen Masked amongst the flocks.

Regent Honeyeaters are still in the valley and breeding where there is good flowering of Yellow Box and Mugga Ironbark. Painted Honeyeaters have become more difficult to find again - they seem to have left the site at the river and I haven't seen them on my block for the past few weeks. Plum-headed Finches are also relatively difficult to find at the moment although they have been seen recently at Coco Creek and Glenowlan Road. By contrast, we've had plenty of nice sightings recently of Southern Whitefaces, Little Lorikeets and many other species. On 24th October there were 6 Cattle Egrets amongst the cattle on Goollooinboin station, a very uncommon species in the valley.

On my own block of land, the White-winged Trillers, White-browed Woodswallows and Rufous Songlarks have all suddenly taken over the landscape, making it feel like summer has arrived. My next-door neighbour has cleared an area of woodland adjacent to my fenceline - unfortunately this was part of the area inhabited by the Turquoise Parrots, but I was relieved to see the Turqs were still around (on my side of the fence) the other day.

Last week I saw a juvenile Black-chinned Honeyeater up at the back dam, quite distinctive with its orange bill and legs. The Diamond Firetails are breeding and the Wedge-tailed Eagle has been performing its undulating display flight up near the cliffs. I've been hearing the Spotted Quail-thrushes' fluty song from up the hill.

The Lace Monitors are always a summer highlight for my visitors and I, and on the 4th we saw an obviously gravid female climbing a tree near the main dam.

Finally, a visit to the Richmond-Windsor area on the afternoon of the 5th produced, among other things: 2 Glossy Ibis, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Swamp Harrier, Singing Bushlark & Skylark on Cornwell's Lane; Red-kneed Dotterel and more Sharpies at McGrath's Hill wetland (seen from the road), where a Peregrine Falcon also flew over; and at Pittown Lagoon a covey of Brown Quail, 4 Glossy Ibis and an Australian Hobby.



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains, NSW

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