Trip report: Swifty search of NSW coast.

Subject: Trip report: Swifty search of NSW coast.
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 17:19:40 +1000

Hi all,

I have just spent 18 days searching Swamp Mahogany and Spotted Gum habitats in
New South Wales.  It turns out that there ARE significant numbers of Swift
Parrots in NSW, and they're in the Hunter Valley feeding on Spotted Gum, as are
at least 35 Regent Honeyeaters.  After 13 days of little and no success, it was
marvellous to find these pots of gold (or should that be black and gold) at the

1  A total of 128 Swift Parrots, and five foraging sites, most in the Hunter
Valley, although 28 flew high overhead as I was watching 12 Glossy Black
Cockatoos (seen from car window....screeeech!) in the Jervis Bay NP between
Currarong and Nowra early in the trip.

At least 70 Swift Parrots were seen at Ellalong.  All headed south to an unknown
roost location during the late afternoon. To see the spectacular fast-flying
flocks, visit in the late afternoon (from about 3.30 pm).  Earlier in the
afternoon you may find them feeding in the flowering Spotted Gums.  Other Swift
Parrots were seen at Aberdare SF and the Lower Hunter NP near Cessnock, again
feeding on Spotted Gum.  This is a great breakthrough for the Swift Parrot, as
there were little data on use of Spotted Gum before now.

Also at Ellalong on 18/6, a Square-tailed Kite breezed in and watched myself and
Jenny Meynell for some time, there's nothing like the "unexpected instant
recognition twitch" is there?  On seeing it I let out a gasp usually reserved
for visions of god or a minor heart attack.

2 Now the Regents.  It was a special moment when I first saw one here, again not
expecting it.  David Geering has shown me these birds at Capertee before, but
then at least I knew I stood a good chance of seeing one.  Here, in Aberdare
State Forest, one flew into the tree, then two, then five,...."oh god what have
got here!"  This group turned out to be 20-strong, feeding on Spotted Gum nectar
and chasing, bill-clapping and carrying on... functioning as a feeding flock,
just marvellous stuff.  Another group (15) was found before midday some 3km
away, by which time I was wondering just how many were in the Hunter Valley.

I didn't find any more Regents, but revisited both Regent sites the next day
(19/6), and found them again with Swift Parrots now at one of the sites.  Here I
saw a Regent and a Swift feeding side-by-side in one binocular view.  I made the
most of the view, knowing it was something I might never see again.

3 Other great birds for me (although perhaps less surprising for NSW birders)
Three twitches:
Fluttering Shearwater (pointed out by Alan Morris and Craig Arms, skirting over
water with albatross off Norah Head)
Chestnut-breasted Mannakin (feeding on Paspalum seed heads in a swampy area near
a Swamp Mahogany stand)
Osprey (at Tanilba Bay, Port Stephens.  Began to drift away from me, and as I
began to take my binos down decided to make a casual 45 degree dive into the
bay, catching a pretty large fish)

Other interesting birds:
Glossy Black Cockatoos 12 at Jervis Bay NP
Sooty Oystercatchers 2 at Currarong (both these NSW south coast)
Albatross, Black-browed and Shy and White-fronted tern off Norah Head (central
Southern Emu-wren at Myall Lakes NP


Simon Kennedy

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Trip report: Swifty search of NSW coast., Simon . Kennedy <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU