A forest of ancient eucalypts and majestic tree ferns nestles in a sheltered gully.
After several days of bad weather, the wind has abated, and the birds are active. Birdsong fills the clear morning air, including the voices of Whipbirds, Lyrebirds, Robins, Currawongs, Kookaburras, Silvereyes and Golden Whistlers. A gentle breeze can occasionally be heard on the ridge above and in the crowns of the tallest trees.
"This recording was made in a saddle of a high plateau in the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are described as an incised sandstone plateau, where magestic sandstone cliffs drop away from gently undulating highlands into broad open valleys. At this location however, more modest cliffs protected a small defile from the winds and exposure of the ridgetop. This allowed a lush microclimate, with tree ferns, taller eucalypts and a moist forest floor. Many of the birds you can hear on this recording prefer this slightly moister habitat.
'The topography of the location was also unusual in that the defile acted as a short cut for birds flying between one valley and the next. You can hear this as wave after wave of small birds pass through, accompanied by some larger species such as currawongs and black cockatoos."
"I came across this location during blustery and rainy conditions, and whilst it did provide some shelter, it was only once the wind had a abated somewhat that I could get this recording. For me it captures some distinctive Australian birdsong, and the balance of species and acoustic is particularly enjoyable."
This recording begins toward the conclusion of the dawn chorus, with a community of songbirds vocalising repeatedly, including;
Brown Thornbill (high-freq song, often finishing with a distinctive, soft trill 0:23, 0:30, 0:40…)
Eastern Whipbird (not close, characteristic whistle-whip! sounds like only male initially, 0:35, 0:45… but a female is heard responding at 3:24)
White-throated Treecreeper (alternating a soft quasi-trill (0:27, 0:32…) with a series of chips (0:38, 0:42… Another joins in to the right at 2:55…)
White-browed Scrubwren (harsh, chattery calls to the right, 0:42 on …)
Rose Robin (light repeated call, left, 1:25, 1:31…)
Eastern Yellow Robin (middle distance to left, a strong "chop, chop", 1:18… 1:40…)
Superb Lyrebird (way off in distance 1:39)
A Satin Bowerbird joins in (loud, downslurred calls 2:34, 2:53 …, and buzzy rasping, 4:10, 4:23…)
along with a Grey Shrike-thrush (clear, melodious song, 3:07…)
and Golden Whistler (variety of songs, equally clear, but often containing a whip! element, …5:43, 5:50…)
A White-throated Treecreeper gives a more regular, but brief, contact call (rapid piping, 8:17)
The silvery tones of a Grey Fantail can be heard faintly (8:20)
A Brown Thornbill sings at 8:24, followed by a lot of scrubwren-like scolding. Sometimes these two species are difficult to differentiate by call, and the thornbill's trill is often the giveaway. The repeated song phrase from 8:44 are from a White-browed Scrubwren.
A Crimson Rosella flies past with soft vocalising on the wing (8:47)
The Golden Whistler can be heard almost solo now (9:18…)
A small flock of White-naped Honeyeaters fly through (10:08-10:34), and shortly after, another small flock, this time Silvereyes (11:25-11:36)
The Grey Fantail is closer now (… eg; 12:06…)
The bush flies have woken up, and a first breeze ruffles the treetops (13:15…)
Another flock of Silvereyes is heard on the wing (13:50-14:15), plus another Rosella flying by, followed by another group of White-naped Honeyeaters with their characteristic plaintive contact calls (14:32-14:44). This continues as waves of birds pass by, including some particularly vocal groups of silvereyes (16:09-16:30, and 17:15-17:34). On later occasions, you can hear these two species often moving through together in a joint flock.
The Grey Shrike-thrush is closer now (16:18, 16:31… 17:57), and the White-browed Scrubwren returns (17:34…)
I think there may be a Cicadabird faintly audible in the distance, a short buzzy call at 18:23.
The Grey Fantail, clearly 18:54
Two contact calls from a Crimson Rosella are heard (22:12) before another gives a series of bell-like notes (22:23…) - they end up seeming to have a little conversation back and forth (through to about 23:18).
The Rose Robin is closer now, giving clear delicate calls (23:19, 23:26…), and another White-throated Treecreeper diurnal call is heard (24:20).
Here are those plaintive contact calls from a flock of White-naped Honeyeaters again (24:40-24:50).
A series of three-note songs, "poo, Pe-Pe", from a Spotted Pardalote are heard (25:07-25:12, and then a few are heard softly from 25:32…).
A group of Crimson Rosellas chase each other around noisily (28:25-28:42)
Laughing Kookaburras chorus loudly (31:03-31:14)
Now a Striated Pardalote is heard, a less toneful call than the Spotted Pardalote, often comprising a quick pair of "chap-chap" (30:39-30:56 …)
A Grey Fantail flutters past, 'sneezing' (35:00)
Our cast of characters are largely complete now, and continue giving variations on their call repertoires. A few new species are heard though…
A King Parrot gives a few sharp, loud tones from a distance (35:48… and closer 38:12-38:21)
Some more bursts of song from a White-browed Scrubwren (36:52, and 37:45-38:24)
Incidentally, this two-tone call, which has been audible previously, is the contact call of a Grey Shrike-thrush (38:36)
I'm not sure who's flying close past at 39:20, but it could be either the thornbill or scrubwren. Meanwhile another sharp, high-pitched call, given repeatedly, is from a Mistletoebird (39:54-40:43)
A Yellow-faced Honeyeater is faintly audible, a "chick-up, chick-up, chick-up" (41:16, and more clearly discernible 42:04)
The Satin Bowerbird is heard again with a subliminal mumbles (44:29-45:05)
Pied Currawongs call in the distance (45:49-45:54), and later return much closer (54:40…).
A pair of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos fly overhead with evocative cries and chattering laughter (60:18-60:33). They settle and can be heard every now and then, while a Currawong makes some lovely calls (63:00…).
An Eastern Spinebill can be heard giving a high, quick piping (63:03, 63:38…).
Scuffling through the undergrowth during the last few minutes is now revealed as a Superb Lyrebird, giving simple utterances (63:51, 64:02, …). Among them, there is imitation of a Grey Currawong (65:15, and again 65:21, 65:26, and then quite a sequence of mimicry interspersed with 'chooky' noises 65:35-66:01). Pied Currawongs and Black Cockatoos are frequently mimicked by Lyrebirds, but on this occasion we're hearing the real ones - except for what almost sounds a half-hearted effort at a Pied Currawong (66:01, and another bit more confidently at 67:44). This Lyrebird really has a thing for Grey Currawongs though, and continues mimicry of them in with its own vocalisations, which include an unusual descending phrase (67:32 and again 68:03).
Meanwhile a Crimson Rosella does a soft bell-like yodels (67:38-68:05, and another quite musical phrase 68:25-68:58)
A final group of silvereyes wing past (69:16-69:26).