Monday, July 11, 2005

(Capertee Valley, photo taken near Glen Alice village)
Capertee Valley, situated 230km north west of Sydney, is reputedly the best birding site within Sydney region. It is made popular among birdwatchers for being one of the few key sites where the endangered Regent Honeyeater breeds.

On Sunday 10 Jun 2005, I had planned an impromptu self-drive trip to Capertee Valley, mainly to look for the Regent Honeyeater and recce for a japanese birder friend. I have learnt from many resources that this year is a good year for Regent Honeyeater where there are relatively more sightings this season.

This is a 3.5 hours journey from Sydney. The last 20 km or so journey was unpaved road, which was bad for my 1.5 litre Honda Jazz. For more information about Capertee Valley, see Birds Australia's link.

Updated: See more of my recent trip report at

Capertee Valley, a picturesque and spectacular spot even if we put aside the spectacular birdlife. Fringed by Wollemi National Park and Gardens of Stone National Park. This is a 'hidden treasure' of Blue Mountains.

This part of Blue Mountains is so much nicer than the usual touristic 3 Sisters Rock. A Diamond Firetail (my popular finch) was seen on the fence a while ago.

Surprisingly this endangered species is found in a small narrow pocket of forest runing along a creek which is surrounded by farmland and cattle ranch. There I had cows mooing and horse winking at me while I was birdwatching in the area.
For more information about Regent Honeyeater, see BirdLife International link.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A lonely male Common Bronzewing sunning under not-so-sunny weather. Found along the 'Glenowlan Creek'. Male Common Bronzewing's forehead is buffy whereas female's is blue grey. Posted by Picasa

Due to my digiscope's limitation, it was very difficult for me to take photo of small birds flying around the braches. Regent Honeyeater is considered relatively easy to photograh, provided this scarce endangered bird is successfully located. Its elegent flight and rich yellow in part of its plumage (a color symbolic to Chinese emperor or Malaysian sultan) make it look like an 'aristocratic' bird. Posted by Picasa

Honeyeater Galore along Crown Station Road
I had a brief survey along Crown Station Road in Capertee Valley, which leads to a private property. I was stopped at a spot where there were so many honeyeaters calling around, mostly White-plumed Honeyeter (Lichenostomus pecicillatus), White-naped Honeyeater (Melithreptus lunatus) and Fuscous Honeyeater (Lichenostomus fuscus). There was a small puddle along the drain d a flock of these honeyeaters to come down to take a sip. Little Lorikeets were occasiothat had attractenally heard and flew over the tree canopies. This is a place of honeyeater galore - Except that no Regent Honeyeater was heard along this stretch of road. In this spot, White-naped is the most abundant, followed by White-plumed Honeyeater and Fuscous Honeyeater.
Photo shows a Fuscous Honeyeater on the left and a White-naped Honeyeater on the right. Posted by Picasa

Weather in Capertee Valley was windy and very cloudy in the morning. Despite this, a group of 3 RHE was spotted without much difficulty at the ‘Glenowland Creek’ along Glenowland Road, Glen Alice. One bird tried to follow the other one and fanned out its yellow outer tail when they were on same perch. I wonder if this is an indication of courtship display. No feeding activity was observed. There was a tree in full boom (sorry I am not good in tree ID) 30 meters further down the road, but RHE did not seem to wander that far from the creek. The tree was fiercely guarded by a Noisy Friarbird and would drive away any White-plumed Honeyeater and Fuscous Honeyeater that tried to have a share of the nectar rich tree.

RHE continued to be seen until 3pm when I left. They were usually seen in the group of 2 birds. Once I became familiar with their call and their elegant flight (slow flyer in another term), it is quite easy to detect their presence.

Other birds seen around the Creek,

Common Bronzewing
Nankeen Kestrel
Peaceful Dove
Little Lorikeet
Eastern Rosella
White-bellied Cuckooshrike (A dark morph, probably a juvenile, faintly barred on belly, mottled white on forehead. Head and face black)
Grey Shrike-thrush
Crested Shrike-Tit
Brown Treecreeper
White-plumed Honeyeater
Fuscous Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeater
Magpie Lark
Jacky Winter
Unidentified Australian Warbler

No sign of Noisy Miner or Red Wattlebird, although Noisy Miners were found along the gravel road before the turn to either Glen Alice/Glen Davis.

I think this is Genowlan mountain. It looks like Table Mountain of Cape Town although I have never been to South Africa. There is a creek not far behind the trees, this is where I found the Regent Honeyeaters.

This is the another shot of Regent Honeyeater exposing its mantle and rump when it lowers its wings. Hope to revisit Capertee Valley soon to hopefully will get better photos next time. This is certainly one of my best birding experience ever.

I'd like to thank Allan Richards, Nevil Lazarus for giving me useful tips as well as those providing useful informations to Birding-aus discussion group. All these plus a great deal of luck had helped me to locate the Regent Honeyeater during my first ever trip to Capertee Valley.

For more infor on conservation efforts to save the birds, visit REGENT HONEYEATER RECOVERY PROJECT.

Updated: See more of my recent trip report at