Hunter Valley Birding Watching

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Subject: Hunter Valley Birding Watching
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 10:17:20 +1100
Hi Birders,
The Central Coast Group (CCFOC) of Birding NSW had a mid-week outing on Wednesday 13 March 2002 to the lower Hunter wetlands and 7 people participated. Permission had been given by the Bartram Group to walk through the Steggles Swamp at Beresfield near Maitland. John Carpenter and Arthur Biggs had visited the swamp 12 years ago and had had good birding then. Alas, the cumbungi was too high, the wet areas too swampy and the paspalum too high and too wet in the rain to make walking easy so we eventaully had to give up. Not before having good views of 4 Latham's Snipe, Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Little Grassbird, a pair of Red-rumped Parrots feeding dependent young, and many Straw-necked Ibis. 22 species were seen despite the rain.
We next moved on to the Railway Swamp, Tarro where despite the drizzle, more waterbirds were present including Royal Spoonbill, a pair of Darters, a Sacred Kingfisher, Pied Butcherbird and about 8 White-breasted Woodswallows. From here we travelled via Woodberry Swamp where we picked up a Yellow-billed Spoonbill, a Hobby on the wires and another Sacred Kingfisher. Between Woodberry Swamp and the town of Morpeth were many White-necked Herons, Black-shouldered Kite, some Intermediate Egrets and another Hobby.
Arriving at Morpeth we spent some time at the Morpeth Common where eventually we had lunch under cover. Around the ponds and in the adjoining woodland, there were plenty of birds to see including a Nankeen Night Heron, 2 more Sacred Kingfishers & another Hobby, a Swamp Harrier, Brown & Yellow Thornbills, many Figbirds including one feeding dependent young and a Rufous Whistler, Grey & Pied Butcherbirds.
We moved to Morpeth STW where the raptores were representred by Whistling Kite, Black-shouldered Kite and Swamp Harriers. Among the ducks there were plenty of Hardheads and Black-winged Stilts were feeding around the edges of some of the ponds. Tawny Grassbirds were very easy to see, and there were Great, Cattle & Intermediate Egrets feeding in the flooded pastures.
Our final stop for the day was at John Brown Lagoon , Mulbring where we were able to scope up 2 Jacanas on the water lilies, we watched a group of Choughs and saw several Nankeen Kestrels. An injured Black-shouldered Kite was found at the edge of the road and was captured and taken to a WIRES carer and another Snipe was seen. All up we saw over 75 species during the miserable wet conditions.
Finally I understand that at the Ash Island Ponds, the Ruff was last seen on Saturday 9 March and the Yellow Wagtails on 7 March, and there have been no reports since.
Alan Morris
Alan Morris.
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