Lots of waterbirds in the Hunter (7th April 2002)

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Subject: Lots of waterbirds in the Hunter (7th April 2002)
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 20:07:37 +1000
Checked out a number of places in the lower Hunter valley area yesterday after a week or so of heavy rain.
First of all, I briefly checked for waders and terns at Newcastle Harbour and at Stockton (opposite Korragang Island). There were only 15 or so Common Tern inside the breakwaters of Nobby's head, amongst the Silver Gulls and Crested Terns. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were entering the Harbour as they followed a couple of fishing trawlers.
At Stockton, only a few migratory waders were present which included 7 Whimbrel, 2 Eastern Curlews, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 7 Grey-tailed Tattlers. There were also 17 Pied Oystercatchers feeding with 3 Sooty Oystercatchers amongst the rocks, and in the Mangroves there were 3 Mangrove Gerygones and a Sacred Kingfisher. A juv. White-bellied Sea-eagle and a pair of Whistling Kites flew overhead.
Passing through Williamtown saw a Grey Goshawk perched on powerlines above an open paddock and beside a fairly busy road.
At Seaham, a small group of Blue-faced Honeyeaters were quite noisy as well as a group of Grey-crowned Babblers. In a small park adjacent to Seaham swamp were 2 Striped Honeyeaters, Striated Pardalotes, a Golden Bronze-cuckoo, a Pacific Heron and White-breasted Woodswallows.
At Millers Forest (a few km west of Raymond Terrace), the prize here was a brilliant male Spotted Harrier taking off from the ground.
At Woodberry and Tarro Swamps (both had no water a few months ago), there were lots of Black Swans, 130 plus Pied Stilts, 2 Swamp Harriers, an Australian Hobby (mobbed by a Pied Butcherbird), both Hardheads and Australasian Shovelers and Pacific Herons.
At Hexham Swamp at Leneghan, thousands of ducks and Swans were about (many too far to identify) but I counted no few than 300 Australasian Shovlers and a 150 Hardheads amongst hundreds/thousands of Grey and Chestnut Teals and highly likely, more Hardheads and Shovelers. White-faced Herons were also numerous. Also present here was another Australian Hobby (again mobbed by a group of Pied Butcherbirds), 8 Swamp Harriers, no less than 4 Whistling Kites, a White-bellied Sea-eagle, a Wedge-tailed Eagle, 2 Hoary-headed Grebes and 40 Glossy Ibis. It was interesting to observe a pair of Whistling Kites take a go at a Swamp Harrier (the later appeared much smaller than the former) and 2 of the Swamp Harriers were seen to tussle with each other in mid air. There were also lots of frogs about with 4 species heard - Limnodynastes peronii and tasmaniensis (Striped and Spotted Marsh Frogs), Crinia signifera (Common Eastern Froglet) and Uperoleia laevigata (Smooth Toadlets). A large group of Noisy Friarbirds appeared to be moving north and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were also passing through in small numbers. a Few months ago I also had some Freckled Ducks beside this swamp, but could not see them this time around.
A good day to be out in pleasant sunshine (around the mid-20's)
Edwin Vella
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