A few Sundays ago I visited this national park, located at the foot of the Blue Mountains. What a gorgeous place it is! Not just this section of the park, but the roads, the trees and habitats that I encounter as can you as long as you visit. 🙂
I wanted to descend into the valley below Pisgah Rock near Nepean Lookout, but when I walked to the end of the trail I realized the descent is some 200 meters from the top to the creek below, and I really did not have time to carry out the climb. Sad, but that’s how it was. It was a semi-warm Sunday, but as I had arrived at Pisgah Rock the southerly buster that was predicted earlier hit and it suddenly got very windy atop the precipice.
I went for a quick walk to the west of the lookout to peer into the adjacent gorge and noted the healthy flowering gums, which had a few interesting species of birds. The prettiest being the Scarlet Honeyeater, which sadly I could not get a photo of. There were also Yellow-faced Honeyeaters as well as a few Eastern Spinebills, which were easily identifiable from their piping calls. Then the big surprise came when I heard an Australian Owlet-nightjar call from its daytime roost. Usually the calls I hear from these tiny nightbirds are something like a three note “whirr-whirr-whirr” and it is often they call during daylight hours. I am not sure of the significance of the call itself, but this is it.
When I backtracked to Pisgah Rock, I heard the calls of a Rockwarbler. These birds are only found in the Sydney basin and are endemics; very, very pretty birds indeed and they live on the rocky sandstone outcrops around the Blue Mountains and areas where similar habitats are found close to Sydney. A quick playback of their calls got a response with two adults quickly flying in very close to investigate the intruder. I was not able to get any photos for the batteries in my flash were not working well. Later I realized that I mixed good ones (fully charged ones) with semi-flat batteries so that was the answer to my question. In any case, I enjoyed their company for the rest of my presence there and I am not fussed to not get any images. Happy to just observe any wildlife.
I made my way back towards Euroka Camp Ground as it is known for quite friendly Eastern Grey Kangaroos and worst case I knew I could obtain an image or two of these amiable macropods. The weather was deteriorating and I was not confident of getting too many good images (if any), but my enthusiasm never vanes. Arriving at the grounds I noted no kangaroos, just a few Sulfur-crested Cockatoos. Nothing really special. I drove right to the eastern end of the trails to a car parking area, where I photographed some Noisy Miners, perhaps the most common Sydney honeyeater species. I believe all birds are pretty, common or not, friendly or not, pain in the backside or not. These guys also have their place in the ecosystems surrounding us and are natives of Australia.
Seeing a little bit of commotion on the grass adjacent to the car park, I was quick to find the marauding goanna (Lace Monitor, Varanus varius) lurking around and as soon as it spotted me it found the first tree and climbed as high as possible to escape the human danger. Once I was about 30m away, it climbed back down and headed into the bushland and I followed the edge down to the little creek there to check the path that runs along it. As I walked barely 100 meters, I noticed a new species of snake about which I got quite excited. It was a Green Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis punctulata) and no more than about 600mm long high in a little sapling. It was terrified of me and quickly dropped into the creek to disappear in the greenery. I managed one image that is sufficient for identification.
When I drove back to the main camping area, I noted there were two adult and one young Eastern Grey Kangaroos near a little causeway with the curious tourists poking their little point and shoot cameras at them. One young girl from overseas (I guess somewhere in Europe) was flicking bits of bread to them. I “gently” explained to her that the roos will prefer to eat vegetation rather than bread. She kind of smiled and probably thought I was a dork, but to me the welfare of the animal is more important than some silly tourist’s pride to feed a wild animal human garbage.
Not long after that the local cockatoo population began to stir as a Collared Sparrowhawk flew in a zig-zag about the trees and gosh, did I wish it would take out a cocky, but it was not to be. All in all the dreary afternoon was pleasant and mild with an exciting few encounters. Though not that much to write home about.
Enjoy your nature time!