Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 17, 2009

Gap Creek Bird Photography 091017

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:14 am

Gap Creek, Wattagan Mountains Bird Photography 16-17th October 2009.

I usually get to the Wattagan Mountains by turning west at the main traffic lights at Toronto, which is west of Lake Macquarie. I go along Palmers Road to Wisemans Ferry and turn left towards Cooranbong. After the turn off to the freeway, I keep going a little and turn off at the sign to Wattagan Mountains, which is Faulk Road. I stayed the first night at Gap Creek. There is a small camping area with tables, fireplaces and toilets. Its a good place to camp.

In the afternoon I walked along the road. It was pretty quiet and I did not see very much at all. There was a Laughing Kookaburra and a Pied Currawong around the camp. About a kilometre down the road, I found a little water hole and made a mental note to check it out on the way back to see if any birds would be having a drink there. Further on, I spotted a Black-faced Monarch and a Golden Whistler. I started back after that, then saw a Wedge-tailed Eagle very high in the sky. That is pretty east for a Wedge-tailed Eagle. He would have only been about ten kilometres from the coast, if not less.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis)

I stopped at the waterhole and sat down quietly waiting for some birds to come in. And they did. There were some Red-browed Finch sipping delicately at the edge, then the Eastern Spinebills would swoop down and grab some water on the wing. A couple of Brown Thornbills were sneaking down under the grass tussocks. As a matter of fact I can see a one right now on a grass tree right in front of me. And I can hear a goanna lumbering around in the scrub.

Just before camp I heard this rustling in the leaves and it was an Echidna. I took a quick shot of him and then tried to get closer but I made too much noise and he was all curled up in a ball under a tiny grass tree. doh! (The goanna has come out into the open now, he is a big fat one. )

The next morning I followed the track along the Gap Creek. At first light I saw a Brown Cuckoo-dove and a Satin Bowerbird pecking around my camp. Up along the track, I heard this scuffling in the leaves and saw this magnicent tail on a Superb Lyrebird. I tried and tried to get some photos but he was always obscured by vines and leaves, so I could not get a clear shot. I was ropable, I tell you, dear Readers. But what can you do?

I carried on up the creek, only hearing a catbird and on the way back, I heard the Superb Lyrebird making his calls. He was mimicking whistlers and all sorts of other birds I did not know. And his tail feathers were all out spread wide on display. It was wonderful. He also had a little mound in a tiny little clearing but it was not much. Then I heard another one, who was competing with the other one in sight and sound. Further along the track, he was giving it all he had in the hope of a nice lady lyrebird to breed with.

Luckily I saw the lyrebirds and also saw a whipbird, otherwise the morning would have been a complete dud. Back at camp, a Pied Currawong was chasing a raven around the trees, and the Satin Bowerbird paid me another visit when I was having a snooze.

Gap Creek Bird List 16-17/10/09

Black-faced Monarch
Golden Whistler
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Eastern Spinebill
Brown Thornbill
Red-browed Finch
Satin or Leaden Flycatcher 8399
Laughing Kookaburra
Grey Fantail
Pied Currawong
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Superb Lyrebird
Satin Bowerbird
Eastern Whipbird
Green Catbird (H)
Australian Raven

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