With much thorough searching, I have finally found the Oriental
Cuckoo at Cattai. Thanks to all, in particularly Keith Brandwood (the
legend) for kindly putting his sighting to Bird-Aus, Nick who amazingly found
this lifer for 12 of us today, and Murray Lord for his generosity in allowing us
to use his good scope. Murray scope allowed us to obtain good views of the
Cuckoo for up to an hour of the bird perching in a Casuarina and at times
dropping down to the ground to catch prey. It was a fairly large dark-grey bird
(about the size of a Pallid Cuckoo) with clear barring below and obvious orange
feet. We also saw the bird in its typical hawk like flight.
Though, I haven’t done much birding in Cattai National Park in the past
years, even though I have frequently visited this area over this time, birding
in this area over the last week, has produced a good variety of other birds
- several Fan-tailed and Golden Bronze-cuckoos. I saw several
Fan-tailed Cuckoos in all stages of life, from juvenile to adults. There were
also both many juvenile and adult Golden Bronze-cuckoo’s. In addition one
or two juvenile Brush Cuckoos was seen. The juvenile Brush Cuckoo had
extensive speckling on crown and clear barring on whitish underparts and
extensive barring on back. With juvenile/immature Fan-tailed Cuckoos I have
seen, the barring on the underparts is less distinct and don’t appear on
the upper parts aswell as lacking the speckling on the crown found on the Brush
Cuckoo. All these and the Oriental Cuckoo were attracted to the abundance of
caterpillars in the lantana and acacia thickets.
- a Mangrove (Striated) Heron. I find it quite unusual to find this
bird this far up the Hawkesbury River and there are no mangroves for atleast
around 20 km down stream. The water is probably atleast brackish in this part of
- White-bellied Sea-eagle and Brown Goshawk
- Owlet Nightjar (heard on 2 visits)
- Little Cuckoo-shrike (pale phase). There were also many Black-faced
Cuckoo-shrikes attracted to the abundance of food.
- Cicadabirds (a male was seen and heard aswell as a female feeding a
young bird, the later having more speckling and less barring than the female
- Spangled Drongo chasing insects and hanging about the figs (which
apparently don’t have much ripe fruit yet). This bird is an early return
- 2 White-breasted Woodswallows. Not that common in this part of
Sydney. This species may be building up in numbers in Sydney based on an
increase in sightings over recent years.
Overall it has been an enjoyable birding experience in Cattai NP.