A Curious Case of Birding in the Blue Mountains.
Those who visit the blue mountains may come across an odd sight on the many bush trails that run through the area. People standing ever so quiet and very still, looking up into the tree tops like their batteries have fallen out, these strange looking people are bird watchers, Which I’m very proud to call myself one.
The greater blue mountains are a mecca for bird enthusiasts. Here we can observe 1/3 of Australia’s total bird species at one point or another. I say this because of the huge migratory fluctuations that exist in this huge ecosystem that works as a sanctuary highway for our feathered friends during times of breeding between the north and south of our eastern coast.
Most of my own experiences occur in the “upper” mountains and the surrounding valleys between Wentworth Falls and Mt Victoria.
My day always begins the same way, I lie in bed and carefully listen to the chorus of birds outside my window, usually Pied Currawongs, Magpies, Satin Bower birds, Crimson Rosellas and Red Wattle birds. It is always a delight of mine to hear what seems to me as pure enthusiasm and excitement for the day ahead.
And from there it on with my day with half an ear and eye out for any other discoveries passing by me as I crack on.
I Have spent a lot of time recently in the warm temperate rainforests that reside in the sheltered gullies of the area. There it is common to spot the playful behaviour of the White-Browed Scrub Wren bouncing across the forest floor looking for small insects and worms to eat.
These little guys are also very adventurous. Whenever I come across the Superb Lyre bird tirelessly digging up the heavy leaf litter with its powerful claws to get a feed of bugs on the forest floor there is more often than not a small gang of scrub wrens close in toe pecking away at any small bugs and grubs missed by the Lyrebird!
Now of course the Superb Lyrebird is arguably the most iconic bird found in the area with its unparalleled mimicry, elaborate dance and its incredible tail feathers. These beautiful feathers is where the bird attains its name. The males tail-feathers when on display are fanned out over the entire body and have a resemblance of the ancient Greek harp the “Lyre”.
Another curious bird I often observe in the warmer months of the year finding refuge on the forest floor is the curious Bassian Thrush. Very well camouflaged amongst a mess of leaves, the Bassian Thrush performs a comical approach to getting a meal. It will simply fart on the ground which worms are for whatever reason are attracted to the smell, The thrush simply waits for the worm to investigate and it’s lights out for the worm (though there is scepticism surrounding whether or not this farty “fact” is true)
Higher up on the exposed tops of the valleys amongst the heathland (very woody short stunted trees that have adapted to the very dry acidic conditions) the environment is in extreme contrast to the lush humid rainforests beneath. Here you will find you more iconic Australian plant species Like Banksias, Acacias, Hakeas, Grevillias, Eucalyptus and many other species that have adapted to the dry and acidic conditions of the cliff tops.
Although conditions here are harsh, the diversity that ecosystems have here is nothing less than extraordinary
There is an incredible amount of flowering plants in this area and many nectar eating bird species that will be found here for just this reason
Here, I will often find the striking New Holland Honey Eater fluttering alongside the Eastern Spinebill seeking out nectar from the Banksia and Grevillea flowers amongst many other nectar rich flowers.
Further Back away from the wind swept cliff edges dry eucalyptus forests are the dominate landscape
I find it a little less predictable in these parts for what will be spotted. This environment is so vast that many birds will take up territories in many different locations
One of the more iconic visitors found here is the Crimson Rosella, with its beautiful reds and blues, it is often heard screeching and whistling amongst the tree tops, White Throated Tree Creepers darting up the sides of trees hunting ants, The Curious Satin Bower bird parading amongst it’s “bower” to attract a mate..
I really love when I catch a glimpse of the cockatoos in the tree tops screeching and groaning, in particularly the Yellow Tail Black, and the Gang Gang Cockatoos.
Of course, the list goes on and on. It is just nice to share a few of my regular sightings with you. I can’t speak highly enough for the time I have spent enjoying the birds of the mountains. I encourage anyone to take a moment and do the same