Birds of the Blue Mountains

Top 5 Best Bird Watching Spots in the Blue Mountains

There are plenty of wonderful native birds to be seen in the Blue Mountains and a lot of them can be observed just by being out and about.

Visitors to the 3 Sisters, Scenic Railway, Wentworth Falls etc, should be able to spot plenty of Parrots, Cockatoos and Honeyeaters. However, as with most topics here on Blue Mountains Insider we like to push the boundaries a bit and reveal a few spots that the locals like to visit rather than the bus groups.

Slightly off the “tourist track” you’ll be away from the selfie sticks, tourist crowds and their accompanying noise. You’ll possibly also run into other friendly birdwatchers at these spots. The Blue Mountains have a strong bird watching community and we will put some helpful links at the end of the article.

I’ve also listed my 3 top reccomendations for a Bird Field Guide Book at the end of the article.

I’ve been a keen birdwatcher for many years, in fact my personal Australian Bird list totals over well over 500 different species spotted!

The Top 5 Blue Mountains Bird Sites listed are all well marked and have mobile phone coverage. The usual precautions apply however – take water, hat, phone, snacks, maps etc.

We picked these 5 because they are easy to access, offer differing habitat types and should provide a wide range of good birds. We will possibly write up a second list at a later point.

I’ve noted a few possible species to look out for at each location. This is by no means a complete listing. If you are interested in more specific possible birds, I suggest looking up each location in eBird or on the other downloadable resources. (see links at bottom.)

We have started at the bottom of the Mountains and directions assume you are going up the hill, e.g travelling West.

Yellow Robin

Glenbrook – Euroka Clearing

This is the one location that you usually have to pay to enter, as it is National Park property. I would also suggest if you possibly can, go during the week and not in school holidays. The camping ground is a popular spot

Euroka campground is in the Glenbrook precinct of The Blue Mountains National Park.

To get there:
Take the Great Western Highway to Glenbrook.
From the Great Western Highway turn left into Glenbrook and then follow the signs to the National Park entrance. Grab a current map with your entrance fee, (a time of writing $8 per car) or get one before you go in from the Tourist information Center.

More precisely …
Turn off at Ross Street, opposite Glenbrook Oval and follow it to the end.
Turn left into Burfitt Parade, which becomes Bruce Road
Which takes you to the Park Entrance.

The drive to the Euroka Campground meanders along 4ks of sealed road through a good variety of habitat types. Open forest on sandstone, then shale and then into a valley area with some nice Blue Gums.

You should be able to see plenty around the car park, camping and picnic areas.

There is a nice 2km walk from there that leads down a creek line and gets to the Nepean River.

National Parks does have a very handy app – https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/app

Watch Out for – Bell Miner, Eastern Rosella, Satin Bowerbird, Superb Lyrebird. If you get to the lookout over the Nepean River, there is possibility of Sea Eagle, they sometimes nest along the river. If you are there early morning or at sunset you should also see the resident Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Red Hand Cave Side TripIf you are interested, the walk to the Red Hands Cave is side trip that you can take from the campground. A very impressive and significant Aboriginal site with both Stencil Art and Spear Grinding grooves to be seen. Check the map provided at entry and ask advice.

Collared Sparrowhawk

Springwood – Birdwood Gully

This is a delightful 2.5km walking track which has different habitat types and plenty of birds. It’s a regular spot for local birdwatching groups, which says something. It’s quite sheltered as well so if it’s howling with wind further up the mountains, this might be a good option.

Here is quite a fun information sheet, aimed as a kids activity guide, but lots of info and if you have children it’s ideal.

https://www.bushtrackers.com.au/images/pdf-guides/Birdwood-Gully-track.pdf

It starts out in open forest and then drops down into a wetter forest area along a creek line.
You can access the start of the track from Bednal Road or Borland Avenue.

Watch out for – Rufous Fantail, Eastern Spinebill, Eastern Whipbird. White-headed Pigeon, Australian King Parrot, Fan Tailed Cuckoo, Red-browed Treecreeper and Superb Lyrebird. There will be plenty of Thornbills and Scrubwrens to test your identification skills. There used to be a fairly reliable Owlet Nightjar but I don’t think it’s been seen for a while.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Kings Tableland – Wentworth Falls

Boddington Hill marks the start of the Upper Mountains. The temperature drops slightly, it’s more exposed and you should have different birds appearing.

Travelling up the Mountains, the turn off is immediately after the big garden “pot shop” on the left.

From Tablelands road you can access wonderful heath land with many Banksias. The Honeyeaters are plentiful.

You can turn off Tablelands Road onto Horden Rd, turn left at the end and access Flat Rock or go right to Rocket Point. There are numerous parking spots and tracks heading off to explore.

Watchout for the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo and the much harder to find Glossy Black-Cockatoo. The Glossy’s usually are heard before they are seen, crunching loudly into Casuarina to access the seeds. Beautiful Firetails are another fantastic bird that can be found here. There are also fairly regular sightings of Peregrine Falcons

Male Satin Bowerbird

Blackheath – Evans Lookout

This is possibly the most touristy of the locations listed, but it’s certainly not as crowded as The Three Sisters or Echo Point.

Turn right off the Great Western Highway at Evans Lookout Road. Note – This is before you get to the village of Blackheath. Follow the road to the end and park at one of the car parks. It’s then only a short stroll to the lookout.

Truly amazing views out into the Grose Valley make this a great place to visit anyway, but it also has the chance of some special birds.

There are several walks starting from Evans Lookout, both around the cliff tops and into the valley and of course it’s very handy to the delightful village of Blackheath.

Watch out for – Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Superb Lyrebird could be possibilities, as could the famous Rockwarbler!

The Rockwarbler or Origma      Origma solitaria

This bird is justifiably famous for being the only bird species endemic to NSW. That means you can only find it in NSW, within 240 kms of Sydney, and as it favours sandstone country, especially outcrops and gullies, the Blue Mountains is a really great spot to see them.

You’ll mostly see them hopping around on the ground feeding on tiny insects, their tails flicking side to side. They are actually quite confident birds so you can often get quite close. A quick image search on Google or your Bird Book will provide plenty of awesome photos to help you recognise this special little guy.

As mentioned, keep your eyes out for them everywhere, they are quite often also seen at Echo Point & Pulpit Rock but this might have something to do with the numbers of people visiting those spots, rather than them favouring that spot. Our suggestion is the car parks here around Evans Lookout.

Basian Thrush

Megalong Valley – Coachwood Glen

A little bit more off the beaten track, is the fantastic Coachwood Glen Nature Trail.

It’s about a 15 – 20 minute loop through a great patch of rainforest. About 600 meters long. With parking right there at the start, it’s a very easy piece of rainforest to get into and should provide some different birds. You’ll probably have the place to yourself.

To get there from Blackheath, follow the road signs towards the Megalong Valley. You travel along Shipley road and then descend into the valley. You’ll come to the carpark on your left as you go down the road.

Once you’ve done the loop, you might as well head down to the bottom of the road and see the view from the valley. There are plenty of picnic spots, open farmland and places of interest.

At Coachwood Glen watch out for – Rufous Fantail, Black-faced Monarch, Brown Gerygone, Rose Robin.

Brown Cuckoo Dove

Bonus Location – Blue Gum Swamp – Winmalee

I didn’t include this in my Top 5 Sites for a couple of reasons, but it certainly is a great birding spot.

The track is a circular walk of 8km and in places quite steep. Veechi Stuart in her excellent book Blue Mountains Best Bushwalks rates it as Medium/Hard, especially if you do the whole walk. There are a couple of options to shorten the loop walk but you can also just head in for a while and then turn back when you feel like it.

After the track drops down the hill you get to the magnificent Blue Gums and the creek line.

Watch out for – Honeyeaters like Yellow-tufted and White-eared in the open forest and then Treecreepers, Owls, Cockatoo’s and much more in the valley.

To get there, take the Hawkesbury Road turnoff from the Great Western Highway at Springwood. Travel along the Hawkesbury Road and then turn left into Whitecross Road at the traffic lights. Drive past the Shopping Centre and School to the end of the road and park there.

Blue Mountain Birds RESOURCES

Books –

Blue Mountains Best Bushwalks, Veechi Stuart.

This is a really great book. Small enough to carry with you in your day pack, but crammed with maps, info, photos and good advice. 60 Different Walks described all over the Mountains. Click Image for Amazon Info.

 

Bird Guide Book

I own just about every Bird Identification book ever published in Australia.

This is the very best in my opinion and I’m thrilled it’s just been updated. I think if you ask any serious Birdwatcher, their number 1 Field Guide it would be this one.

Click the image to check it out on Amazon.

 

Second choice is this, Simpson and Day. Some people prefer the illustrations in this one, but the text is not quite as good as that provided by Graham Pizzey. Once again click the image for Amazon pricing.


My third choice is the Slater Field Guide. The Slater is a bit smaller in scale/weight which may be important for you. Once again click the image for Amazon pricing.

 

Websites

Blue Mountains Bird Observers https://www.bmbo.org.au/

If you are keen to go on a walk with a group of birdwatchers, check out the Blue Mountains Bird Observers website. They have regular walks, talks and other activities. They also have a downloadable Birdlist.

eBird          https://ebird.org/home

This resource site lets you see exact birdlists from recent and historical visits.

Blue Mountains Tourism Bird Trail Brochure

http://bluemountainscitytourism.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Bird-Trails.pdf

This excellent brochure has GPS Coordinates for all the sites listed and a few more target birds for each site. You may be able to pick up a printed copy at the Visitor Center.

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