A large white and brown Laughing Kookaburra sites perched on a branch in a tree looking across towards the ground. Vibrant yellow flowers of the golden wattle can be seen in the background
A Laughing Kookaburra seeks shelter from the Summer sun in the shade of a eucalyptus tree | Image by Kristie Kearney

Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of Wolgan Valley, January ushers in not just the warmth of summer but also a colourful display of native bird species. As the valley comes alive with the symphony of bird calls, let's take a closer look at five fascinating feathered friends that grace the skies and treetops during this vibrant season.

Sacred Kingfisher

As the sun paints the sky with hues of orange and pink, the Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) becomes a dazzling gem in the avian tapestry of Wolgan Valley. Recognisable by its turquoise plumage and a distinctive white collar, this compact bird is often spotted along Wolgan River and it's tributaries, patiently waiting for an opportune moment to snatch insects and small reptiles. The air is filled with the rhythmic melody of their high-pitched calls, adding a delightful charm to the summer soundtrack of the valley.

A Sacred Kingfisher with its turquoise back, turquoise blue rump and tail, buff-white underparts and a broad cream collar, is perched proudly on a branch 

 

Rufous Whistler

With the trees adorned in lush greenery, the Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris) adds its own melodic notes to the chorus of Wolgan Valley. Named for its enchanting whistle-like calls, this small songbird particularly the males are known for their vibrant rufous plumage and a distinctive black mask. During January, their songs resonate through the eucalyptus forests, creating a captivating ambiance. Observing these melodious creatures flit from branch to branch, it's as if they're composing a musical ode to the summer season.

A bird with a rufous chest, grey back, white throat and black mask perches on the branches of a tree. 

 

Grey Fantail

As you wander through the woodlands of the valley, the Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) might catch your eye with its lively antics. Characterised by its ash-grey plumage and long, elegant tail, this charming bird is a master of aerial acrobatics. Known for its habit of wagging its tail from side to side, the Grey Fantail adds a touch of playfulness to the serene atmosphere of Wolgan Valley. During January, these agile flyers navigate the air with finesse, capturing insects on the wing while entertaining onlookers with their delightful displays.

A Grey Fantail with its distinctive grey and white plumage and grey fantail is perched on on a branch

 

Bell Miner

The dulcet tones of the Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys) echo through the valley, earning it the nickname "Bellbird." With its distinctive olive-green plumage and a touch of orange around the face, they are most often seen feeding on sap-sucking insects called psyllids. Bell Miners form cooperative breeding communities, where non-breeding helpers contribute to tasks essential for the survival and prosperity of the colony. Their chiming calls create a serene background melody, harmonizing with the natural rhythms of Wolgan Valley's summer.

The olive coloured Bell Miner with its olive-green plumage and orange bill and legs searches for sweet lerp from psyllid insects that are abound on the gum leaves

 

Dusky Woodswallow

As the day draws to a close, keep an eye out for the threatened Dusky Woodswallow (Artamus cyanopterus) gracefully gliding across the late afternoon sky. Dressed in shades of smokey brown, to grey and black with distinctive white-edged wings and beak, these aerial artists are often seen in small flocks. During January, they gather on exposed perches, basking in the warm glow of the setting sun. Their soft twittering calls add a soothing cadence to the twilight hours, marking the transition from day to night in Wolgan Valley.

A smokey deep brown and grey of the Dusky Woodswallow as its perched on a fence post wings slightly open preparing itself for flight

Wolgan Valley in January is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, offering a front-row seat to a stunning avian spectacle. From the vibrant hues of the Sacred Kingfisher to the enchanting melodies of the Rufous Whistler, each species contributes to the rich biodiversity and natural beauty of the valley. So join us our Wolgan Valley Birdwatching Tour and immerse yourself in the captivating world of these native birds, as they paint the skies and woodlands with their presence in the heart of summer.

To book head on over to our Wolgan Valley Birdwatching Tour page. This small group tour (maximum four people) operates every Saturday and Sunday from 6:30am to 10:30am.

 


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