An early flight - and I'm back in Katoomba for a few days BBW - bushwalking, birdwatching (feathered) and writing, although not necessarily in that order. Spring is simply the most glorious time to be here with the gardens full of azaleas and the bush tracks revealing arrays of native flowers.
First, I took short walk to Varuna, the Writer's House, to drop in some forms and catch up with ever-wonderful and uber-hardworking Vera. Next, I hiked up to the shops for some fruit (essential) and to check that my favourite Italian restaurant, Pappadino's, is back in business - YES IT IS!! I'm DEFINITELY a patron tomorrow night.
With only a few hours to spare before the cold really sets in, I decided on a short walk to Echo Point for one of the most amazing views in Australia (and the world), then trek west along the Prince Henry Walk to Katoomba Falls, down about half of the Furber Steps, then up the Round Track and back to Shelton-Lea.
What a change from last year. I'd forgotten that about a week after I left, some misinformed individual (the PC version of what I'd like to call him) lit a bushfire in this area. The result, this whole section is burned, and where there were once hectares of eucalypts, leptospermums (tea tree), banksias and so on - there are blackened sticks. Grrrr. About half the plants are regenerating (the beauty of the Australian bush), but many of the eucalypts are not, sadly. And of course, the birds have gone. I'm heartbroken. I'm hoping most have moved below the burned areas or over onto the west side of the falls (which thankfully wasn't burned). Thanks to the skills of the firefighters, the advance was halted around Katoomba Falls Road. It will recover, but it takes around 10 or so years.
Okay, not all was lost. I DID see some birds, not many, but it wasn't the best time of day to see them. Today's tally: thornbills, female satin bowerbird (what a joy! And I left the banana sandwich at home [long story with that one]), rock warblers (YESSS! OVER THE MOON!), yellow-faced honeyeaters, wood (maned) duck, sulphur-crested cockatoos, pied currawongs, HEARD a fantail cuckoo, possibly saw white-browed scrubwrens (not sure), and heard/saw quite a few others I couldn't identify. Wish they'd come with a QR code - it'd be SO much simpler!
Writing: of course. On the plane, on the train, about to enter it onto computer...if I don't fall asleep - it's been a long day.
Tomorrow: Wentworth Falls - the easy tracks (and I mean REALLY EASY). Too many ledges overlooking death-defying sheer drops. I will never be Mrs Bear Grylls!
Happy writing, birding, bushwalking, everything