Today, I was fortunate to be able to spare a full day birding in the Bulga
and Jerry Plains Area, in the western Hunter Region (about 200 km north-west of
the Sydney CBD). I have done a few birding trips to Bulga area over the past few
years and have found the woodland areas on the eastern slopes of the Great
Dividing Range quite productive and VERY important to our dissapearing woodland
birds (several are now becoming endangered because of the mass clearing of
woodland over the last couple of hundred years).
Today this woodland produced an excellent variety of species including
Collared Sparrowhawk (1), a pair of Brown Goshawks, Wedge-tailed
Eagles (atleast 3, but possibly upto 7 birds present), Little Eagle
(1), Painted Button-quail (3), Pallid, Golden and Horsfields Bronze-cuckoos,
Owlet Nightjar (heard), Tree Martins, several Red-capped
Robins (surprisingly mainly Imm. males/females, but atleast 3 adult males
seen), Hooded Robins (one pair and it was nice to hear the male give its
nice call a number of times), many Jacky Winters, Crested Shrike-tits,
numerous Rufous Whistlers, Restless Flycatchers, several Grey-crowned
Babblers, Rufous Songlarks, many Speckled Warblers, Western and
White-throated Gerygones, Brown Treecreepers, Blue-faced Honeyeaters (5),
Brown-headed and Striped Honeyeaters, many Striated Pardalotes,
several Diamond Firetails (including a few young birds with adults),
several Dusky Woodswallows, White-winged Choughs and the air was full of
the sweet flute call of many Pied Butcherbirds. Many birds were singing,
courting and displaying and getting my attention. Many Rufous Whistlers were
chasing each other and going around in circles, Speckled Warblers singing
beautifully and making themselves quite obtrusive etc.
Along the McDonald River which runs through Bulga, were several Rainbow
Bee-eaters passing through, the "doodle doo" of Peaceful Doves or the
"Hop-off..hop-off" of Bar-shouldered Doves and large flocks of
Yellow-faced Honeyeaters migrating south. Here I also saw an Imm.
Hooded Robin (with a dark grey hood rather than black hood), heard
Reed Warblers, more Diamond Firetails (adults and Imm.) and a
brilliant Olive-backed Oriole with a nice reddish bill.
I have never done any birding before in the Jerry Plains area (which is again
about 15k m north-west of Bulga) and found the area to be a good potential
birding area. There are some good stands of Woodland (including Ironbark, White
Box, Callitris and Wilga Scrub). There is suitable habitat for species such as
Red-winged Parrots, Spotted Bowerbirds and others that are more associated with
semi-arid habitats there. The birds are mainly similar to what you can get at
Bulga but heard quite a few Western Gerygones trilling away and a flock
of atleast 20 Zebra Finches perched in a Wilga. In one of the Wilga’s I
was able to spot a Tawny Frogmouth while driving past, a hundred or so
meters off the road. I just saw this grey lump in the corner of my eyes as I
went past and turned back to see this Tawny Frogmouth in a relaxed pose (not in
its usual dead stick pose).
All in all about 100 species were recorded in this area but saw or heard
other birds to and from Sydney along the Putty Rd, including a Spotted
Quail-thrush beside this road near Colo Heights.
Al in all a nice way to enjoy Spring.