Blue Mts/Richmond Trip R. - Spotless Crake and others

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Blue Mts/Richmond Trip R. - Spotless Crake and others
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 07:57:53 +1000
Good morning birders, a tiny little bit late I realise, but better than

Graham Turner and myself headed up the Hill (the Blue Mts) on Saturday
morning, hoping to fill in some of the glaring gaps in my life list. I
wasn't dissapointed. By the end of the day I had 14 new birds and about 90
species for the day.

Starting from Lapstone at 8ish under gloomy skies we started at Springwood
cemetry following up a good lead from Mr Kirby regarding a certain Glossy
Black Cockatoo sighting. Plenty of chewed cones on the ground, and quite
recent by the look of things, but no sign of the enigmatic cocky. Bugger

On then to Wentworth Falls lake, and a look through the heath on the western
edge. I don't remember whatwe were looking for there, becasue we didn't find
it, but did get good looks at a Beautiful Firetail, my first in the Blueys.
An excellent bird anywhere. Flying overhead were a number of Swallow and a
lone Fairy Martin, which turned out to be a tick for me, I didn't realise
the importance at the time.

Onward and upward, then out, along the Darling Causeway to Mt Wilson. Eyes
were on the fenceposts and poles for Grey Currawong and red Robins, but none
were found. I've got a feeling the grey 'wong is going to be a tricky one to
add. Most likely an incidental. Mt Wilson turned out to be stunning, very
wet, but great habitat. A bit of staggering around in the bush looking for
the right track eventually revealed 2 of my targets; Yellow-Throated
Scrubwren and Large-Billed scrubwren. Excellent looks at both birds,
including one YTSW stepping into a clearing on the ground between us,
posing, then belting out a perfect rendition of a Eastern Spinebill. Not
surprisingly I'm having trouble remembering the SW calls. A bit more bush
bashing revealed Crescent HE, another lifer. Things were going well. Also
seen here were good looks at Red-Browed Treecreepers, Golden Whistler,
Gang-gang and White-Brow SW.

Down along Bells Line of Rd then and through Bilpin. I picked up White Neck
Heron feeding on the side of the road, and then 10kg of tomatoes, which I
made tomato soup from last night.

Next stop Pughs Lagoon, in the Kurrajong/Richmond area. To be honest I
wasn't at all sure where we were. There were a lot of birds there though.
Checking the day list, there were 30 new birds for the day at this one murky
wetland. Great Egret (though we are still debating the ID) started the ball
rolling, followed by excellent views of a family of Nutmeg Mannikins.
Australasian Grebe paddled around the chocolate coloured water, accompanied
by PB duck, Mallard, Chestnut and Grey Teal. And then, what was that, on the
waters edge, poking around the reeds? The Bird of the Day, Spotless Crake.
An incredibly difficult bird to see, shy and prone to retiring at the first
sign of trouble, and well spotted by GT.

Next up was a quick turn through the turf-farms in search of raptors and
maybe another GH lapwing. We weren't dissapointed on the raptor front, an
Aussie Hobby (tick) sitting demurely in a dead tree by the side of the road,
which launched and flew over the car, followed by a Dukes of Hazard
handbraks turn and hot pursuit, giving excellent views of the bird in
flight, pounding low across the grass. The next farm dam added 2 more newies
for me, the badly named Pink-Eared Duck and Hardhead, pretending to be
normal ducks and trying badly to blend in. Hopes were high now and all eyes
were tuned. Again we were rewarded with distant, then excellent views of a
Swamp Harrier getting harrassed by a pair of Raven. Add one more to the life
list. Combined with BS kite, Kestrel and Goshawks not a bad crop of raptors
for an hour or so's work.

It was about this time I realised we were close to saluting the crowd (100
for the day) and so pushed through to Penrith, listening intently  for
anything new. No luck, finishing the day on 90, with 14 lifers for me. An
excellent result considering the gloomy weather and slow start. It's also
given us an idea, but I'll send a seperate e-mail.

216 on the life list now...

Evan Beaver
Lapstone, Blue Mountains, NSW
lat=-33.77, lon=150.64

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