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Mount Solitary

Blue Mountains National Park, October 2003
Danny Yee, Camilla Ip
(thumbnails link to larger images)

We spent the night in the Katoomba YHA, but a game of scrabble had kept us up late and we slept in. So we didn't get away from the top of the Golden Stairs till 11.

There are advantages to doing popular bushwalks on weekdays (in this case a Tuesday). We ran into a few people walking out on our way in, and a father and kids setting up tent on our way out, but otherwise we had the bush to ourselves. Perhaps because of that, or perhaps because it was flowering season, we saw more birds than I expect to see in the area. Unfortunately Camilla hadn't brought her SLR and telephoto lens for once, so we had to make do with the binoculars and the 3x zoom on my compact digital.

Walking along the track approaching Ruined Castle, I was startled by a sprig of greenery falling on the track right in front of me. Camilla and I stopped to look at that before realising that a pair of Gang-Gang cockatoos were sitting less than a metre above our heads! Unfortunately the photo I took quickly before they flew away didn't have the exposure up enough to compensate for the bright sky behind, but I got some reasonable photos at a distance afterwards.

a gang-gang cockatoo (cropped)
a waratah

Approaching the end of the Korowall knife-edge, Camilla became certain that she had been there before -- that her trip up Ruined Castle last November had actually been a Mt Solitary trip!

On top of Mt Solitary we found a pair of glossy black cockatoos munching happily on the casuarinas - we heard their rhythmic crunching before we saw them. They hang onto the branch with their right foot, using their body as a brace, and use their left foot to feed themselves. (The two we saw were both left-handed, anyway!)

a glossy black cockatoo
(cropped at max zoom)
devastation on the casuarina nuts
a skink
Passing Ruined Castle on the way back we saw a female superb lyrebird, and heard her partner. Camilla spotted a cicada emerging from its shell, and we stopped to watch that for twenty minutes or so.
a cicada emerges
I think it's a Yellow Monday

We ended up doing the climb up the Golden Stairs in the dark.

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