Nesting woodswallows, Capertee Valley NSW

Subject: Nesting woodswallows, Capertee Valley NSW
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 13:14:04 +1100
A strange thing about being a birding guide is that as soon as I have some time off, I head to my "workplace" for relaxation! It was a luxury to have a weekend off after a very busy season so I decided to camp overnight on my land in the Capertee Valley.

Last week I wrote that Painted Honeyeaters had become harder to find on my block. Well just to prove me wrong, when I arrived on Saturday one of the first sounds that greeted me was the sweet deliberate notes of a Painted Honeyeater and it continued to call for the whole afternoon from a large Slaty Box (Euc. dawsonii). I noticed it feeding at the blossoms in addition to taking mistletoe fruit.

It was cool and overcast for the whole weekend and a Superb Lyrebird singing nearby added to the wintry feel. However the amount of breeding activity left no doubt that it is indeed spring. Most of all, the campsite has been taken over by nesting White-browed Woodswallows!

On Sunday morning, still in my sleeping bag I awoke to the sight of a very agitated male White-browed Woodswallow divebombing a Yellow-footed Antechinus, which was scampering around on some fallen timber. After not much searching I found five active woodswallow nests within a very small area next to the campsite and I'm sure there were a few more. The nests were placed in all sorts of positions, with two being in forks of shrubby acacias, one high on a eucalypt branch, one tucked in behind an angled flake of bark against a tree trunk and the other, which was still being built, on top of the knobby centre of a dead mistletoe. It was the male who was building this nest; the female seemed to be just pretending to search for nest material. The other four nests had eggs and three were being incubated by females while on the other, a male was incubating. I can't wait to see the resulting profusion of young woodswallows (hopefully) in a few weeks time!

Also on the weekend, the campsite was "invaded" by a chattering flock of Red-rumped Parrots which included several fledgelings. I also saw a just-fledged Fuscous Honeyeater.

While in the valley I attended a public meeting at Glen Davis regarding a proposal to operate helicopter joy flights over the Capertee Valley. This issue will be of interest to any birders who visit and value the peace and tranquility of the area. At this stage the information is rather vague but flights could operate up to seven days a week at a height of just 500 feet, which is well below the cliff level. Anyone who is concerned can register their opinion with Air Services Australia, phone 1300 302240, press 3 for customer service and either speak to a real person or leave a message. One could say something like "I want to register my opposition to the proposed helicopter joy flights in Capertee Valley" and give your name and phone number. I'll keep the list informed of what develops and further information as it comes to hand.

The Capertee Valley is 3 hours north-west of Sydney in the NSW central tablelands.



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