To: "" <>
From: "Vella, Edwin" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 97 08:36:00 PDT
Hi Birders

Went for a short drive from home yesterday afternoon (July 27th 1997) to   
the Shanes Park Civil Aviation Authority Transmitter Station near the   
western suburb of Wilmont (approx 15km west of Blacktown or 55km west of   
Sydney).Here I observed for about an hour (with excellent views, I wish I   
had my video camera at the time), Six (6) beautiful and majestic Crested   
Hawks (Pacific Baza's) in mid afternoon feeding in the canopy of   
Ironbarks (Broad-leaf Ironbark).The birds were feeding on tree frogs and   
leaf insects and were being harrased when pouncing from tree to tree for   
prey by Noisy Miners and Grey Butcherbird.

This is the fourth time I've seen these raptors and have seen them with   
young near Epping.Such birds can be quite tame and approachable within a   
couple of metres (they do not mind) especially when feeding.When feeding   
they sometimes hang upside down like a bat or acrobatic.

This is the first time I've seen these birds in the Blacktown Shire (Has   
anyone else seen them around Blacktown?).These raptors however are   
becomming more frequently seen in Sydney's northern and western suburbs.

 At this locality I also saw nesting Sitella's and Eastern Yellow Robins   
were also probably nesting (quite early breeders!)

 The bushland remnant where I observed these birds is the home of some of   
Sydney's endangered plants (eg) Grevillea juniperina and all steps should   
be taken to protect it.I hope It will never come to the hands of housing   
developers as it protects a significant area of Cumberland Plain woodland   
typical of Blacktown shire.There is also a more larger area of   
Commonwealth Property just south of this area where there is proposals   
for housing (an article was published in one of last weeks Daily   
Telegraph newspapers).

 Other significant finds in the bushland were I saw the Baza's yesterday   
in the last year have included Square-tailed Kite (a regular but very   
rare raptor to Sydney's west), Speckled Warbler's, Scarlet Robins and   
Brown Headed Honeyeater (all uncommon in Blacktown shire).

Has anyone birded in this area before?


Edwin Vella

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