BLACKHEATH – [POPE’S GLEN -WHITE CAVE TRACK – EVAN’S LOOKOUT] – TRANSFER TO CAPERTEE VALLEY – GLEN DAVIS – CAPERTEE NATIONAL PARK
Cloudy, dull and overcast. Some sunshine, thunderstorm later with rain. Temp 17C
Our pre-breakfast walk found us walking a couple of tracks not far from the guest house, Pope’s Glen was the first. We met at 6am and drove the short distance to the track, it was chilly and threatened to rain. We found a good number of common species out in the open scrub before walking into rainforest to look for a Lyrebird.
After a while we could hear one and a quiet approach paid off in full as we saw a male standing on a branch about 1 meter above the ground, this bird gave us its full repertoire of mimicry, amazingly accurate renditions of common birds, according to Rob our guide. It failed to display its tail but it sang well for us before dropping down and walking out of sight, fantastic!
one of Bob Longhorn's best pics of the day - New Holland Honeyeater
We re-visited another section of rainforest and Evan’s Look-out in search of Rock Warbler, without success, before returning to the guest house for breakfast.
After breakfast and a shopping expedition it was 11am before we set off for Capertee Valley where we are to spend the next two nights. It took a while to get there and because we had a deadline we drove passed several new bird species along the way, Eurasian Skylark, White-winged Chough, Eastern Rosella to name but a few. We needed to be at the Capertee National Park by 2pm to meet a guy who was going to show us a very special bird.
Musk Parakeet - Bob Longhorn
Our frantic drive across beautiful countryside and along quiet tracks eventually got us to our destination, the ’Poplars’ Cottages in Glen Davis, Capertee Valley. What wonderful setting and beautiful surroundings our new accommodation was situated in, we didn’t have much time to admire it because after quickly unpacking the bus and eating a thrown together picnic lunch we set off for the national park and our rendezvous with Ross, a PhD student working in the park.
We arrived a little late but Ross was waiting for us, he led us to a compound where his study work takes place. Ross is studying the rare and endangered Regent’s Honeyeater, the latest estimated population puts this bird on the critically endangered list with just 70-100 INDIVIDUALS in existence!! They are nomadic and rely entirely on two/three types of eucalyptus trees which are also now rare.
Ross is monitoring a pair that have recently bred in Capertee NP, he showed us the pair with one fledged chick, what an amazing looking bird, we watched them for an hour or so. Other species seen there were the beautiful Musk Lorikeet and the ugly Noisy Friar, both of those species were competing with Regent’s Honeyeater for nectar from the flowering trees and were seen to chase off the smaller honeyeater on a few occasions.
quite common in Capertee Valley - Red Fox
We left the site after watching this gem for an hour and just as it started to rain, thunder rumbled in the distance and flashes of lightening lit up the horizon behind us. Our journey back to Glen Davis was far more relaxed and took us a couple of hours instead of the 40 minute outward journey.
We stopped to watch Eastern Rosella, then an Echidna on the side of the road and we took a short walk along a track where we found White-plumed Honeyeater, Rufous Songlark, Brown Treecreeper, Rainbow Bee-eater, Crested Shrike-tit and a few Willy Wagtails and Noisy Miners.
White-winged Chough - Bob Longhorn
We tried to stay ahead of the rain but it seemed to catch us up very quickly, our next stop produced Little Eagle and a Restless Flycatcher, also a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Next we stopped to watch Common Whiteface which led us to finding Australasian Pipit, Dusky Woodswallow, Brown Songlark, Tree Martin and more White-plumed Honeyeaters.
We parked near a bridge over a stream to look for flycatchers but instead we found a beautiful male Mistletoebird, another stop was made to look at a small flock of Red-rumped Parrots. A Brown Falcon sat nicely on a wire, it was a young, wet bird, that took some identifying!
Back at our accommodation we were greeted by a large group of Eastern Kangaroos in the paddock and a small flock of White-winged Chough that sat on the picket-fence around the cottages. The rain had stopped, we finally settled into our rooms spread over two self-catering cottages. Some of the group saw a Silvereye, Restless Flycatcher and a Peregrine Falcon before we all chipped in to make dinner, a pasta and tuna dish, yummy!