This runs each month, with the next session on 25 March. The Mountain Heritage hosts Theatre of the Mind, presenting 1920s-style live radio plays and throwing in a Devonshire Tea for just $15. Details here.
The Zig Zag Railway has its “Thomas the Tank Engine” days on April 13, 14 and 15. It’s a fabulous day for families with younger children – as well as the Thomas the Tank Engine ride, there are amusements displays and much more. More information here.
Once, years ago, I asked a friend what this bird was, and was told “Bronze-Wing Pigeon”, and that’s what I have called it ever since.
However, as it has turned out, this resident of Bunjaree Cottages is more likely the Slender-Billed Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia amboinensis, native not just to Australia but also to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Some scientists consider the Australian population to be a distinct sub-species, and give it the name Macropygia phasianella.
Around Bunjaree Cottages, there are several breeding pairs that stay all year. They will sometimes dispute the bird-feeders with the more numerous Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots.
Australia has quite a number of native pigeons, but none of them quite match the Wonga Pigeon, Leucosarcia melanoleuca.
The photo doesn’t really do it justice: the Wonga is a seriously large amount of pigeon.
While quite shy, the Wonga pigeon is a ground-forager. Around Bunjaree Cottages, early risers can get lucky and surprise a Wonga Pigeon around their cottages.
If the pigeon sees or hears someone, it will leave as quickly as possible, and here you will get your second treat: its takeoff is noisy and rather ungainly because they’re so heavy by pigeon standards. The wing-clapping noise is quite impressive.
The Superb Lyrebird is almost a mascot of the Blue Mountains: it only takes a little good fortune (and a watchful eye) to spot lyrebirds on a bushwalk. And we feel incredibly lucky to have Lyrebirds living around Bunjaree Cottages.
They are very shy, but can sometimes be spotted in the early morning, moving between feeding spots and crossing the driveway. Lyrebirds feed by scratching around the leaf-litter for insects and spiders, and leave quite distinctive scratchings.
We’re more likely to hear the Lyrebirds than to see them. They mimic a huge variety of sounds, but are particularly fond of putting whip-bird songs into their repertoire. I was so pleased with this recording of a Lyrebird (taken on my phone) that I use it as my ringtone!
Bushwalks where we have spotted Lyrebirds include the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, which runs between Leura and Katoomba; between the Three Sisters and Scenic World; and around Katoomba Falls.
Here’s another Lyrebird performance I recorded. First it has a dog bark, then it imitates the owner (“Yoo-Hoo!”), and then it kind of riffs on other birds. “Yoo-hoo Lyerbird”
We can’t guarantee that you’ll see every one of the 30 or more species of birds that frequent the bush around Bunjaree Cottages – some are shy, some are rare, and some are nocturnal. But we can absolutely guarantee that visitors will see Crimson Rosellas – Platycercus Elegans – because there are several families living here.
These beautiful birds love visiting the feeders at our cottages, and will stay around for several hours on any given day.
Apart from their looks, the Crimson Rosella is notable for its variety of calls. There are sounds that you will recognize as normal for parrots – the chattering when they’re around the feeders; a loud, short screech in flight; but most astonishing is the beautiful bell-like “family call” when they are perched in a tree and calling to their family. It’s a two-note, high pitched “who-he-whoo” (low-high-low) that seems to mean either “here I am”, “where are you?”, or “come here, there’s food!”
They’re also extremely agile in flight. We’re constantly amazed at the way they can streak through dense bush at high speed – it’s really something to see!
I’m celebrating the new WordPress version of the Bunjaree Cottages Website by instituting a “Bird of the Week” series to celebrate the many species of birds that live on the property. There are 30 species that we’ve been able to identify, although some of them are very shy; we know there’s at least one Lyrebird around, but we haven’t yet made his acquaintance.
First in our “Bird of the Week” series is the King Parrot. Although the Crimson Rosella is more numerous, the King Parrot is very impressive and fairly comfortable around people.
They seem to hang around in families rather than flocks – the male (pictured) and the female (which has a green head rather than red), and a juvenile at the right time of year.
And the King Parrot will happily hang around the cottages and feeders for hours. They’re truly magnificent and a treasured guest!
On Friday the Bunjaree Cottages website fell victim to hackers, and our backups proved inadequate. It was therefore quicker to just build a brand new site — something we’d been thinking about anyway. And here it is.
But this entire site was built in just one day — a but of a hurry — so it’s still a little rough at the edges. We’ll have the problems ironed out over the next couple of days.