I'll start with the bushwalking/birding:
For some odd reason, I saw only a few scrubwrens along the Prince Henry Walk this morning. HUH? But I did see a bunch of scolding thornbills (cute), heard the whipbirds sounding off against each other (Cascade St vs Katoomba Falls), saw currawongs, think I heard a pied butcherbird in the area where I saw the juvenile bird, didn't hear Elvis until I’d gone a long way past, BUT I did see (what we think is) a red-whiskered bulbul (i.e. like a large whipbird, but it’s in trees). I heard bark cracking and rustling, and stopped. Sure enough, there it was tearing the bark off and getting grubs, and digging into other bark bits. But the funniest part was a TINY thornbill shoved it off. It didn’t go far, but that was pretty neat.
This afternoon, I took a more relaxing stroll (for me) along part of the Prince Henry Walk. A heavy haze hung over the mountains (burning off?). Didn't see many birds until I heard something "cracking" alongside the path, and could hardly believe the source: a glossy black cockatoo calmly crunching on the melaleuca (?) bushes. I could hear but not see other GBs alongside it. WOW! Took a couple of photos and a short video - not real great but I'm so excited! Saw some (either) swallows or tree martins (not sure which), crimson rosellas, heard galahs (!), heard the Kiosk kookas, heard the Elvis bird and I think the rock warbler. If I'd had binoculars, I might've ID'd him/her. Never mind.
And Varuna: The last full day and it's going to be hard to leave. This morning, Tamara and I joined in with Marele's Masterclass: From Rough Draft to Final Product. That was a blast. A lovely group, very funny, and Marele showed us some great writing exercises so there's never an excuse to say "I can't think of anything to write." We all left with a short story (or longer?) to bash out, and some great ideas. And we had some fabulous examples from Marele's own work that she generously shared with us, and we're ALLOWED to let the first draft be "rough" - without guilt. Get the ideas DOWN! Thank you, Marele and Varuna, for the generous sharing of your time and such a wonderful environment in which to work.
Well, that's almost it from Katoomba. Tomorrow we all head back home. Varuna's an amazing place.
And now the explanation of the title: The Cliff View lookout one at 6am, the other around 6pm with the haze/smoke