Fireflies at Ourimbah Rainforest and Wildlife Sanctuary
Fireflies at Ourimbah Rainforest and Wildlife Sanctuary: (33° 21′ 0″S, 151° 19′ 44″E) a unique festival at dusk in November and December each year. About 4 km along Ourimbah Creek Road from the F3 Freeway and about 4 km before its intersection with the Great North Walk
The Great North Walk Companion extract- pages 240-241
The crested, official, bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) is a member of the shrike-thrush family. What most Aussies call a ‘bellbird’, however, is the bell miner (Manorina melanophrys), a member of the honeyeater family. This is a territorial and colony-living bird, up to 300 in a group. It lives in south-eastern Australia (only) usually in sclerophyll forests in gullies. The birds, hard to see, are fairly small (less than 20 cm), are olive green to grey with small darker patches around the bill. The nest is an insubstantial bowl of twigs, grass and bark and can have decorations such as lichen or the egg-sacs of local spiders.
“You can hear their call now,” adds his companion, “that bell-like ‘ping’ that resonates through the trees.”
“But,” adds his friend, “the call is not the source of the name. The name comes from the fact that their main diet is the domelike covers of certain bugs known as ‘bell lerps’ that feed on sap from the eucalypts.”
“And,” the first speaker finishes this impressive duologue, “the flesh of the bell miner is a delicacy for some Aboriginal groups. And I think I heard that the head was thought to have medicinal benefit.”
“Thanks for that,” I smile. “Quite a story.”
“Oh, we just learned most of it at the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary down near the freeway. It’s just about 4 km down there,” — he waves away from our track. “Don’t you think we repeated our ‘lessons’ well?” he finishes with a grin.
“Is it good?” enquires my companion.
“We thought so. The best time is apparently around Xmas when the fireflies come out around dusk and you can visit just to see these displays.” And, with this they head off uphill the way we have just come and we turn to walk along Ourimbah Creek Road.