Northern Shoveler - a brush with fame?

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Subject: Northern Shoveler - a brush with fame?
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 09:20:55 +1000
Hi Birders
Yesterday Alan Benson Tim Morris & myself made the dash to South West Rocks (5 hrs drive from the Central Coast) to see the adult male and possible female Northern Shoveler in the pond next to the milking bails on a dairy farm Boyters Lane, South West Rocks. The birds were first sighted by local Ken Shingleton on Tuesday 14 May and he notified a number of people straight away. Apparently the birds were only 50m from the milking shed, on a longish wetland where there were many other birds present including 7 Australasian Shovelers which which they were associating. The bird was photographed, and when Ken Shingleton returned later in the afternoon after milking the birds were still there.
Alas, 2 hours enroute to South West Rocks, Ken telephoned to say that the Northern Shovelers could not be found on that wetland, and a quick check of other wetlands failed to find the birds.. We decided to keep going and he decided to keep looking. We arrived at 1230 hrs to meet Ken and found out that he had no luck. We spent the next 3.5 hours looking for the bird on wetlands close and further out but with no luck. Mind you around Boyters Lane we saw 17 Australasian Shovelers, all the Egrets, Buff-banded Rail, 12+  Red-kneed Dotterels, a constant Australian Hobby, Sea-eagles, Whistling Kite, Swamp Harrier & Ospreys, the latter two put up the ducks several times, Royal & Yellow-billed Spoonbills, many Hardehad, Black Duck, Grey Teal & Chestnut Teal, nesting Swans, Black-winged Stilts, Striped & Brown Honeyeaters, Drongos etc. I have dipped a number of times on the Northern Shoveler, so alas, another "Brush with fame" - having at least stood in the milking bails and looked across to where it was last seen!
This is the third sighting of a Northern Shoveler this year in coastal NSW as there was an unconfirmed report from Clarencetown near Maitland in March, and another male at Deep Creek Ulmarra (near Grafton) on 8 April 2002 seen by Russell Jago. Anyone going up that way should contact Ken Shingleton as the bird was on private land.
On route to South West Rocks we stopped for half an hour at Lemon Tree Passage, where Swift Parrots were recently reported. The Swamp Mahogany was in flower everywhere, the Swiftees could have been anywhere. Certainly we did not see them but we did see Rainbow, Scaly-breasted, Musk & Little Lorikeets, at least 6 Fuscous Honeyaters, White-naped, White-cheeked, White-naped, Scarlet, Yellow-faced & Lewins Honeyeaters, Little Wattlebirds, Eastern Rosellas, Drongos and Silvereyes all feeding on the nectar flow! A Koalas was resting in a Swamp Mahogany amid all the noise!
Alan Morris
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