Jugiong Jaunt.

The first overnight stop on our trip to South West New South Wales was the tiny town of Jugiong (population 260 approx.) 338 kilometres south west of Sydney.

Since the mid 1990s, Jugiong has been totally bypassed by the Hume Freeway, and nowadays survives as a tourist spot thanks to its two attractions: the Long Track Pantry, and the Sir George Inn.

On our night and morning there we snapped some of the local birdlife.

Crimson Rosellas (two juveniles):

A new bird for us – the Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis):

The juveniles of this species are easily spotted by the yellow-green skin around the eye, and the lighter grey on the the bib:

In the same flowering tree, Red Wattlebirds:

A Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops)

A female Superb Fairy-wren:

And of course the males:

The Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa):

The male Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris):

A Red-browed Finch:

A nice place to overnight when heading west…


Back in Blax.

On a visit to Amanda’s parents in Blaxland, we spotted a lovely Grey Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) in their backyard, before we headed out on a walk.

A Crimson Rosella:

An Eastern Spinebill:

There were many Eastern Yellow Robins around, but they were so flitty, and the bush so thick, that photography was a frustrating business:

But the real darling of the day was the Grey Shrike-Thrush.
We have read that this bird is considered one a Australia’s best songsters, and reports are that he has hundreds if not thousands of songs – which is really annoying: he was totally silent all the time he was in earshot of us! Next time.

For all their cuteness and their reputation as masterful songbirds, they are also notorious predators of other birds’ eggs and chicks.


King / Crimson 2.

Part Two of our big day of King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas at Blackheath Memorial Park. This time it’s the Crimson Rosellas’ (Platycercus elegans) turn in the autumn light.

Much like the King Parrots, the adults preferred to hang around in the more heavily-treed southern part of the park, while the juveniles went nuts (pun intended) for the acorns in the north parts.

The juveniles – of which there were many – have a lot of green about them which they lose as they mature.

There was a bit of squabbling between some adults and a juvenile:

More juveniles:

Amanda made good use of the High-Tree-Bird-Watching Facilitation Devices installed by the Park’s designers:

Much like the young King Parrots, the juvenile Crimsons seemed quite happy to forage for windfall acorns on the ground:

Another lovely flock of young parrots on what turned out to be a fantastic day for birding. And it didn’t end with the parrots…


Luncheoning Lakeside.

Bramanda is fortunate enough to work about 1.5km apart at North Parramatta. When we can coincide lunchtimes, we will occasionally nip over to Lake Parramatta. Here are some things we saw last visit – all without even getting up from the rock we were sitting on.

Lake Parramatta is a lake formed by damming Hunts Creek in 1856 as a water supply, but is now used only for recreation. It is surrounded by a 73 hectare Nature Reserve, and is home to many birds, lizards and snakes.

Not a bad haul for a quick lunch break!


Pink Flannel Flowers.

On a day of misty rain and mountain fog, we braved Narrowneck in search of the almost mythical Pink Flannel Flower (Actinotus forsythii). This wildflower requires a pretty specific set of conditions to make an appearance. Its seeds can lie dormant for decades (it seems), and will only germinate after a bushfire is followed up by plentiful rain.

Not wanting to miss what could be a once in a liftetime flowering, we headed out expecting to be searching for hours. But while they are rare, they were very easy to find. They were flowering en masse not far off the fire trail.

As you can see by the scale of the water droplets, they are a lot smaller than the Flannel Flower all Sydneysiders are familiar with (Actinotus helianthi).

It was definitely worth getting a little damp to see these elusive flowers “in the flesh”.

On the way back, we were treated to a Crimson Rosella in the fog…