The legendary Capertree Valley is designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is regarded as one of the top birding areas in the world. In fact, in the US published book Fifty Places to Go Birding Before You Die, author Chris Santella lists Capertee Valley as one of only two locations in Australia selected in his top 50 world bird watching locations. More than 235 bird species have been recorded in the valley, including 25 threatened species and many endemics.
This Birding Day tour takes place in and around The Capertee Valley in New South Wales
The expert-guided tour can be booked as a small group private tour for dates that suits your travel plans.
• Regent Honeyeater
• Striped Honeyeater
• Red-rumped Parrot
• Painted Buttonquail
The Capertee Valley in New South Wales claims to be the widest enclosed valley in the world, wider and longer in fact than the USA’s iconic Grand Canyon! It’s more than 30 kilometres wide in its upper reaches, narrowing to a gorge one kilometre wide near the settlement of Glen Davis and further downstream.
The valley is bordered to the east by Wollemi National Park – home to the famous Wollemi Pine Wollemia nobilis, a living relict of Gondwana which was previously only known in fossil records but recently discovered in a couple of isolated canyons in the area.
Fabulous birding surrounded by a backdrop of jaw-dropping scenery makes for a fantastic short birding trip. There are a number of marked birding sites across the valley, each highlighting the different habitats found in the valley and of course attendant species. Habitats include grassland, pasture, dry woodland and sclerophyll forest set in a stunning backdrop of rugged sandstone cliffs.
The valley is home to quite a few south-east Australian woodland specialists and species that can be difficult to find in other areas. Unfortunately due to habitat disruption and loss this is sadly a declining group in Australia. One such member of this woodland group is the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater. The valley is regarded as an important breeding location for these unique honeyeaters so much so that extensive recovery efforts, including ongoing tree planting, are undertaken to support the birds. It is therefore considered a flagship species within its range.
The Striped Honeyeater, the only representative of its genus, breed in the area and are often seen if not heard. Other honeyeaters which can be found on a regular basis include White-plumed, Fuscous, Black-chinned and Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, and Noisy Friarbird. Occasionally Painted Honeyeater, a vulnerable mistletoe specialist, moves into the valley from further inland. When conditions deteriorate further west other inland honeyeaters can be found such as Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater.
It is not unusual for White-browed and Masked Woodswallow to move into the valley from further inland during drought. The colourful Mistletoebird, another mistletoe specialist, is also found year-round at many sites in the valley. The beautiful and endemic Red-rumped Parrot can be found at many sites. Other parrot species include the much sought-after, endemic Turquoise Parrot. These small parrots can be easily missed as they feed quietly on the ground usually in dappled light. When conditions are suitable many of the eucalyptus species are triggered into flowering which attracts large flocks of endemic Little, Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets and occasionally Scaly-breasted Lorikeet who all make use of the nectar bounty.
Other woodland specialists include Brown Treecreeper as well as both Hooded and Red-capped Robin. Speckled Warbler are also seen occasionally as are Restless Flycatcher. Two species of babbler can also be found, namely White-browed and Grey-crowned Babbler. Southern Whiteface are sometimes found but often overlooked. Jacky Winter are a feature at many sites and their song is a common theme in the dawn chorus. Plum-headed and Zebra Finch, and the spectacular Diamond Firetail are found in various locations across the valley floor. Painted Buttonquail are not easily found but are seen at a number of sites occasionally. The ‘cheery-wit’ call of the endemic Stubble Quail is often heard from mixed pasture which hasn’t been intensively grazed. Spotted Quail-thrush are also heard and seen where the habitat is suitable for them.
In summer Dusky Woodswallow , Rainbow Bee-eater, White-winged Triller, endemic Rufous and Brown Songlark, Sacred Kingfisher and Pallid Cuckoo are often present. Raptors are also well represented in the valley area. Wedge-tailed Eagle are often seen soaring high over the valley. Brown Falcon, endemic Black-shouldered Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Goshawk, endemic Little Eagle and Australian Hobby are a few of the other species seen in the area.
Other interesting and sometimes very colourful birds that are also high on most visitors’ lists and that occur in the valley are Little and Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Budgerigar, Swift Parrot, Double-barred Finch, Spotted Pardalote, Blue-faced Honeyeater and many, many others.
Nocturnal birds include Australian Owlet-nightjar, Australian Boobook, Eastern Barn Owl and in the warmer months White-throated Nightjar.
The valley also hosts a variety of interesting mammals including Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red-necked and Swamp Wallaby, Common Wallaroo, Common Brush-tailed and Common Ringtail Possum, Squirrel Glider and the Common Wombat, a large burrowing marsupial whose closest living relative is the Koala.
All this is only a three hour drive from the centre of Sydney, and less than 90 minutes from Katoomba!
Get in touch with one of our team members for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org