Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Cunninghams Gap - Mt Cordeau and Bare Rock.

Wednesday 6 September

An early start saw us driving up the range to Cunninghams Gap at about 9 am. Mt Cordeau's Peak was sheer and dominated the skyline. I wondered how we would cope. It was a chilly, sunny morning, but the secluded picnic area we found was protected from the winds. We were enjoying the sun, bush, coffee, cake and the antics, of the rarly seen by me, satin bower birds so much, we could easily have spent the day relaxing here.

The adult male's glossy blue / black plumage was fluorescent in the sunlight and his violet blue iris's were stunning. The female, and males until 5 / 7 years are in contrast, an olive green.

Not only is the bower bird incredibly beautiful, but it has an exceptional courtship.

"The male Satin Bowerbird is the best known of all the bowerbirds in Australia. This fame partially stems from its practice of building and decorating a bower to attract females. Consisting of two parallel walls of sticks, it is built on the ground, and is used as a courtship arena during the breeding season. The male decorates it with bright blue coloured objects that it collects; blue clothes pegs, drinking straws and bottle tops are among the favourite stolen items, while bright blue parrot feathers, flowers and brown snail shells, make up the majority of decorations away from human habitation. A mixture of chewed vegetable matter and saliva is used to paint the walls of the bower. The bower owner meticulously maintains it throughout the year. .
On the arrival of a female, the male Satin Bowerbird leaps into a ritualised display of exaggerated movements, such as strutting and bowing, with wings outstretched and quivering, and accompanied by a variety of mechanical-sounding calls, such as buzzing and rattling interspersed with mimicry. One of the bower decorations is usually carried in the male's bill. If impressed, the female moves into the bower avenue for mating and then leaves to perform the nesting duties on her own, while the male readies himself for courting more prospective females.
The female places a loose nest of sticks in a tree or bush, up to 30 m – 35 m above the ground."

Copied from 'Birds in Backyards' on Google.

Below, our destinations - Mt Cordeau Peak, as seen by us at its trail end. [south side]
                                       - Bare Rock, accessed from behind Mt Cordeau.

The northern side of Mt Cordeau, with its masses of white flowering grass heads.

The Trail
Contrary to appearance, the gradient on this trail was brilliant.  The relatively even path, wound its way around the back face of the peak, through a variety of palms, rainforest, grasses and stands of flowering grass heads. We could constantly hear the chilly westerly roaring, but thankfully we were mostly sheltered from its force. Just perfect hiking conditions.

The flora
It pays to look up.

The fauna
One unidentified, quite long snake, sun baking on the trail, but thankfully scared off by the noise we were making as we approached. I was leading and was alerted to its frantic exit, from the noise and movement of plants, as it nosed dived off the edge of the trail. I saw about 50 cm of its body in mid air.

The views - impressive!

And they just kept getting better.



Ascent completed successfully!

It was a 'heart' stopping day in so many ways. Here we are looking across to Mt Mitchell. We will return to ascend at a later date.

The final heart stopping moment was when I walked in my front door and discovered the full moon was just making its way above the horizon.

I think this would have to go near the top of our list of our best walks - a truely blissful day.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Another wonderful walk you've shared. You manage to leave me with a feeling of participation with your excellent pictures. There's something about the forest parts of this one that reminded me of my childhood somehow--

  2. Lovely hike and great views as your reward! I enjoyed all the photos of you and your friends.

  3. Great day, fantastic photos, excellent summit

  4. OOh, I love joining you on your hikes. Shame I couldn't be there in person. Wonderful fauna and breathtaking views! Thank you for sharing your happy adventures Helen.
    Have a truly brilliant day :)