Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Echo Point, New South Wales - August 2011 (pt 1)
Three days into our Australian week and the birding gods had already been kind, with Sydney's Botanical Gardens and Centennial Park providing sackfuls of new and suitably exotic species in distinctly relaxed circumstances, and then of course the pelagic exceeding even the highest expectations.
Fortunately for us, we'd hooked up with Sydney-based ex-pat Brit-birder Jason (by chance a close friend of a close friend back home, Mark), and after a fine evening with him and his lovely partner Emma at their place, we were up bright and breezy for Day Four, and a day's out-of-town birding.
Out-of-town being the Blue Mountains and the Megalong Valley, a good two and half hours west of Sydney and an area of rich and varied natural beauty, habitats and birds. Jason kindly set aside the day to provide us with local knowledge, good company and a fancy set of wheels in the pursuit of whatever we could pick up out in the country.
First stop, Echo Point - a breathtaking panorama of canyons, mountain ranges and lush rainforest many hundreds of metres below us. And almost the first bird we locked onto - hopping around on one of the viewing platforms, nibbling innocuously at discarded popcorn from one of the many tourists nearby - was an allegedly elusive, sought-after local speciality.
Barely on the radar (this being a non-species-targeting, all-comers-welcome day's birding), kicking off the day with an endemic not only of Australia, but of a small area of specialist habitat in New South Wales, was just fine with us - Rockwarbler, as unwittingly lured by a Japanese tourist.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos - as watched from above, noisy flocks coasted the canopy of the forest (a far cry from their marauding and pillaging in city parks.....)
(Part 2 to follow)